Traveling is such an exciting activity. I love taking a trip and discovering unusual places. Summertime during my younger years meant family outings and outdoor activities. I also enjoyed “educational field trips” and “Boy Scout Camping” during my middle school days. For long years of my existence, I traveled with relatives, friends, classmates and colleagues.
I was bitten by the travel bug. There was a time when I planned out a beach escapade and some of my colleagues became interested. Everything was set up. The excitement was on fire. I patiently waited for a couple of days, only to find out in the end that others couldn’t make it. There were excuses like they needed more time to save up, or there were work-related issues and other personal matters. I waited for nothing. They asked me to re-schedule the date for another couple of weeks. I just said “forget it”. At that moment I told myself “It’s now or never”. That’s when I started traveling solo.
I have read countless pieces of writing about how exciting and fun it is to travel alone. Others who already did it even said it was empowering. Apparently, more and more people went with the flow. On social media, traveling alone has gained popularity or to put in a more updated word – it is trending. I have been doing it for the past couple of years now myself. I went on several backpacking trips to different places in and out of the country. Despite the fact that I met a lot of fellow solo backpackers and exchanged awesome stories with them, though, I still think that solo traveling may not be for everyone, particularly those who were born introverts. It ain’t for the shy type of person. If you plan to try it, you should be vocal and know how to express yourself.
I remember when I went to Phnom Pehn in Cambodia some years back. There was this Japanese girl I met who cried hard because she got lost and had a difficult time going back to the hostel she was staying at. She was too shy to ask for directions from the locals and not even confident enough to talk to other tourists because her English vocabulary was very limited.
On the contrary, I also experienced the same thing when I went to Mueang Boran (Ancient Siam) located at Samutprakan Province in Thailand. I got lost, but the funny thing is, I enjoyed it because I was able to see different unique shops along the corners and discover interesting spots that were not featured in any travel shows or magazines. What’s more, I found joy in talking and asking the locals for directions. I don’t speak their language and they don’t understand English. It was awfully hilarious because despite the language barrier, we communicated using body language and hand gestures. We were laughing real loud while having that kind of conversation. I found my way back to the hostel.
Traveling alone is thrilling, but you need to be fearless and must be geared up to face any problems that might arise. Good communication skills play a vital role in any journeying stage. If you finally decide to take the plunge, ask yourself if you can strike a conversation with a total stranger. Can you start a simple chitchat? Can you do the initiative of introducing yourself to unfamiliar people? If not, ask yourself this time by knowing if you can endure the idea of eating alone. How about going to a bar and drinking all by yourself? Can you dance without a partner at a local club? If not, then just be satisfied on staying in one space and place. Traveling solo is not for you.