I just came back from a 5 weeks trip to Koh Samui, Thailand and Bali, Indonesia. My skin is still sun kissed 🙂 This was my first solo trip and the only thing I can think of right now is ‘why the hell didn’t I start traveling alone sooner?’.
Taking the step to travel to these two countries wasn’t easy. I postponed it too many times. I was scared to the bone! How would I survive alone? What if something happened to me? Who will I hang out with? So many questions ran through my mind.
But I really wanted to do this trip and I got tired of waiting for someone to travel with so I decided to just go.
You’re probably sailing in the same boat. Too scared to travel alone but the desire to travel just won’t leave you. You’ve planned a million trips with your friends but they end up disappointing you every single time.
Fear holds a lot of people back from doing what truly makes them happy. So why don’t we go through a few fears that are holding you back and see how to deal with them?
The answer is resounding Yes! Safety is the biggest fear that all solo travelers face.
It’s absolutely important that you think about your safety as you travel around the world. To overcome this fear, prepare well, be aware of your surroundings and always act smart. Just like being home, there are precautions that you take to stay safe. This should be the case even when you’re traveling.
Research your destination before you leave home. Read up on the culture, how to behave as a foreigner, where to go and where to keep off, how to dress appropriately, and much more. Don’t call attention to yourself by wearing flashy outfits and jewelry. Don’t get drunk and disorderly.
I also ensure that I share my travel plans with a friend. I give her details about all the flights that I will be taking and names of hotels I will be staying at. I also keep her updated often during my trip. This helps me know someone knows where I am at all time should anything happen.
When I first arrived in Koh Samui I spent 2 of my 4 nights in the hotel room watching TV. Quite a waste of a trip right? I just couldn’t bring myself to go anywhere alone. I kept thinking I’ll feel lonely and out of place sitting in a bar alone. Then I figured I had to suck it up and make the best out of my trip otherwise it would all be a waste.
So I got out and had lunch at a gorgeous cafe’ overlooking the ocean, went out for drinks by myself and went shopping at a night market.
Portuguese Piri Piri Chicken The Cliff Bar Samui
The experience in Thailand made me think that I need a strategy to deal with the loneliness so I came up with a to-do list with things I could occupy myself with while in Bali to ensure I didn’t spend my entire trip indoors. This was quite helpful.
To ensure you don’t have a dull moment, plan ahead on what you want to spend your time doing in the city you’re visiting. You could go as far as to have a daily itinerary.
Another awesome trick is to join Facebook groups where other digital nomads hang out. You will always find people looking for other nomads around the world to hangout with. I met a lovely lady (high five Petra!) on one of the groups I’m a member of and we hanged out twice in Bali and we had a very lovely time. Glad to have met her.
A few of my favorite groups are:
I was sharing a villa in Bali with three other nomads and I found this to be an awesome way to travel instead of staying in a hotel room alone. My roommates were quite friendly and helped me forget that I was indeed alone in a foreign country. So if you get a chance to share accommodation with other nomads, consider it.
Don’t be anxious about loneliness because you will meet lots of great people on the road all the time.
One of the things that I found out during my trip is that I’m extremely shy. I’ve always known that I’m the shy type I just didn’t realize how bad my shyness is. But funny enough the trip also helped me learn how to cope with my shyness.
I learnt that people are more willing to help you than you think. All you have to do is ask. Talk to the locals, ask for directions, recommendations for hotels and tourist sites etc.
Work up the courage to start a conversation with a stranger. If this is too much, simply learn how to walk with your head held high, make eye contact and smile often. This makes you inviting and will make people want to talk to you.
Missing family and friends will be inevitable. You love them and you’ll therefore miss them and there’s nothing wrong with this. The remedy is to stay in touch with them when you’re on the road. With so many communication tools at our disposal this shouldn’t be difficult.
Family will always worry about you and some will be entirely opposed to the idea. I planned my entire trip without telling anyone and only let my family and friends know a few days before I left, when it was too late to talk me out of it.
Sometimes you have to put your needs ahead of others’ and do what you believe it best for you. When the people you love see how dedicated you are to making it happen they will eventually support you.
As you can see all these fears can be overcome so let it go and just do it!
Is there any other fear holding you back from traveling alone that we didn’t address? Let us know in the comments and together we’ll overcome it!
I’m Stella, a Freelance Digital Copywriter and expert Virtual Assistant. I write good, simple strategies that get the results you’re looking for. When I'm not working I'm either catching up on the latest episode of...anything, trying to stop pinning natural hair pins or exploring the world :)