When I told my friends I was going travelling alone I had a range of reactions. They would ask why, or look surprised as if the whole idea perplexed them. But, more often than not, they told me they wished they were brave enough to travel solo too.
I will admit – it was scary booking the flight. I stared at the screen for a long time before I built up the courage to click ‘buy’. One ticket to Thailand was suddenly mine! I was so worried about whether I could survive travelling solo but it was truly the best thing I’ve ever done for myself and I would love to encourage other people to be brave and do the same. So hopefully after reading this blog post you will be more eager than ever to embrace the opportunities that travelling alone presents and surprise yourself with what it can teach you.
Here are the top six things travelling solo taught me…
To Be Comfortable Being Alone
Travelling alone forced me to face my fear of doing things on my own. When I went out for dinner in Thailand the waiters would always ask, “excuse me, is someone joining you?” as I sat down for my meal. After the first few days I got used to saying “no, just me” without feeling embarrassed. Initially I could feel people’s eyes on me and I got so paranoid thinking that they must have been wondering why I was sitting alone…. well, I was sitting alone because I wanted to be sitting alone! I treasure having some ‘me time’ where I can relax and be alone with my thoughts. Why did that embarrass me? And why did I care what other people might think?
Now that I’m home I’ve started spending more afternoons on my own. Going for lunch with a book, wandering through an art gallery or just taking a walk are all things I really enjoy doing by myself but I never felt confident enough to commit to doing them before my trip to Thailand. Travelling solo helped me overcome my fear of being alone and taught me to be comfortable spending time by myself!
To Live More In The Moment
At University I spent most of my time worrying about the future. My thoughts were usually consumed with what essay deadlines I had coming up and what job I would get after graduating. When I was travelling I was forced to stop and live more in the moment. Every morning when I woke up in a new place I had such a feeling of excitement – there was so much to explore!
Embracing spontaneity didn’t come easily at first for an over-organised neat freak like me but when I stopped stressing and went with the flow I had so many unexpected adventures that I could never have imagined myself. Before I realised it my tendencies to overthink the future and obsess about the past were slipping away. Travelling alone taught me to live more in the moment so I came home with a new philosophy, “wherever I am, be all there”.
To Overcome My Fears
If you’re a solo female traveller, then the world seems like a scary place on your first trip. Will I get robbed? Am I safe getting in a taxi? Can I trust the people I meet? Obviously it’s important to be sensible and take precautions to keep yourself safe but I found that most places I visited were just as safe as home.
Going on holiday alone encouraged me to trust the people I met on my travels and this really reinforced my belief in humanity. By talking to locals I met, being brave with visiting unknown places and putting my trust in other travellers I learnt to not let my fears inhibit me.
To Have Perspective Over Everyday Stresses
I can get very caught up in my own little world (I mean, can’t we all!) so travelling alone gave me a chance to put some perspective on my life. Sometimes I get so frustrated over everyday things that are out of my control – like delayed trains or extra-long queues in coffee shops. Seeing some seriously beautiful places helped me remember that the everyday stresses don’t matter tomorrow. What is important is how lucky I am to live the life I lead in this spectacular world!
Meeting people from all kinds of walks of life also taught me that we aren’t all that different. Wherever in the world you live and whatever you do people all just want to be one thing – happiness. Understanding this has helped me prioritise things in my life and keep my ambitions at the center of everything I do (as well as stopping me getting stressed whilst I wait a while for my flat white).
To Only Compromise When I Want To
Most holidays are full of compromises as finding destinations, accommodation and activities to suit everyone can be tricky. When I travelled alone I didn’t have to alter my plans for anyone and it felt amazing! I was completely in control of my trip and it’s definitely changed my attitude towards things now I’m home.
There are always art exhibitions or theatre productions that I want to go to but can’t find a friend who is free or interested so I end up missing out. Instead of continuing to be dictated by the people around me I’ve started being content doing activities in my own company. Traveling solo taught me that life doesn’t have to be a compromise and that I have the freedom and flexibility to choose how I experience life.
That I’m Never Truly Be Alone
The most important thing travelling alone taught me is that you are never truly alone. When exploring a new place, shopping at markets or joining group activities you have lots of opportunities to meet people – all you have to do is pluck up the courage to start a conversation! Chances are, if they’re a solo traveller too, they’re probably thinking of what to say to you as well.
When I got home lots of my friends asked me, “didn’t you get lonely?” and I could honestly say that I hadn’t. When you travel alone you make so many meaningful connections with travellers from all over the world and you all have something in common – you’re embarking on this amazing journey of self-discovery! By the end of my trip to Thailand I had made lots of friends from different countries and I will continue to keep in touch with them. Strangers you meet when travelling could become lifelong friends.
Shop My Look
This Botanical Print Dress by Unique 21 was my wardrobe staple in Thailand. The drop waist silhouette kept me cool in the humid weather and the floral print kept me looking colourful! For my holiday I also shopped for a few bargains at Topshop Sale and Reiss Sale to get some of my favourite brands at better prices – but shhh don’t tell!
I styled my dress with this sweet and sophisticated smaller bag by Radley – how cute is this shade of pink?! It features a detachable cross body strap and can be worn three ways: across the body, as a clutch, and as a bumbag. You can buy this one at Selfridges.
The jewellery in this outfit is a mix of my favourite brands: Rings by Orelia, Merci Maman and lovely Lola Rose – I think they all look gorgeous styled together. Crafted in rose gold, this GC bracelet watch is my favourite new addition to my accessories collection. I love the fresh cream dial and think it’s perfect for taking on holiday as it can be worn both smart and casual.
These photos were taken by Travelshoot – a company that connects travellers with local photographers. You can find out more about what they do in my blog post on How To Take Photos Of Yourself When Travelling Solo . For my next solo adventure I’m planning on taking a sunny trip to Algarve in Portugal so that I can relax, indulge in a little me-time and write with a view of the ocean. Where would you go for your first solo adventure? Comment below to let me know!