During January and February 2017, I made the courageous decision to travel solo across South East Asia. Was I scared? Hell yeah, but I think that would be everyones initial reaction, especially when you're hopping onto the first plane to a land you've never stepped foot on before.
As South East Asia is a popular choice for travellers, youngsters in particular on their gap years, I didn't have to worry much knowing that I wouldn't be completely alone.
You aren't alone for most of the time
It is travelling solo but you will find yourself constantly bonding with other travelling, getting friendly with the locals and meeting people on route to your next destination. You won't ever have long periods of time where you are by yourself, unless, of course, you choose to.
Meet fellow travellers and share experiences
Whether it's at your accommodation, on transport, at a local bar or restaurant, it's very likely you will meet a mixture of travellers along the way, whether they are in the same boat as you or have been travelling for a long period of time. It's good to meet travellers to share experiences and tips for one another. It's especially good to hear stories from those who have travelling for a year or longer to find out how they've got on, where they've been, what they've experienced, and any advice/suggestions they have for you. And you can just go for drinks and share some of the funny parts of everyones trips, who doesn't love a funny story?
Become familiar with yourself
Spending time with yourself at home is important but travelling to different places and experiencing new cultures by yourself gives you a different perspective in life. You will learn new things you never knew before, you'll be faced with challenges and surprised at how you respond to them, you'll pick up skills you never knew you had...travelling alone ables you to learn so much about yourself and have time to focus on those aspects.
Challenge yourself by dealing with the unknown
Travelling alone is a good way to start the beginning of your adulthood and start to become more independent. During your journey, there will be unexpected situations that will come your way. They will challenge your fears, insecurities and dislikes but you will come out the other side stronger, braver, more courageous and ready to face the next challenge. It will boost your confidence massively. Facing these circumstances on your own is important as you find out how you deal with them.
Tip: Do a little research into the places you are going to to find out a little more to what you should expect and then maybe you can prepare a little in advance.
You have the freedom to do whatever you like
You can even recreate your life, press the restart button and have another go at becoming someone you want to be. Discover parts of your personality you never knew you had, be that confident person you didn't have the guts to show back home, and explore life to the fullest with nothing holding you back.
Choose to de-stress and enjoy life!
It sounds so cheesy how I've put it, but what's stopping you? Take the most of not having a 9 to 5 job back home and spend it experiencing a new culture and indulging in rich, tasty cuisines. Put all the studying behind you and relax on the beach with a delightful cocktail. The world is your oyster, do what you want with it!
I wanted to be brave enough to discover countries and cultures on my own. Also getting to do whatever I wanted was definitely going to be a highlight. Learning new things about the various cultures in the world and going on continuous adventures seeing spectacular wonders in the world are some of the reasons why I loved travelling solo.
The meeting other travellers part is one of the fun parts as you connect with these people so quickly and spend part of your travels with them. Sharing everyones experiences and stories behind their travels is very eye-opening and interesting to hear.