tips for solo travellers
I have lived in many different countries for the last 20 years. Now, I live in a dreamy tropical island and I hear more and more about people who pack up to begin their journey to the unknown world.
I admire those with wanderlust in their souls. I love hearing that it’s been their dream to leave their home and travel around. Traveling truly opens up your mind and shifts the way we think of our lives perhaps forever.
Below are a few tips for the brave enough to do this. To make the most of it, it’s important to know what you are getting yourself into. I certainly would have loved some of these tips when I started traveling.
I hope these traveling tips are helpful to you and you will pass them along to fellow travelers along the way!
Settle your affairs. never expected to settle down in a certain place, but things happened. I got a job, met my husband, and had a baby. I caused a lot of trouble by leaving my belongings at my friend’s place. You never know what kind of events you will encounter. Starting your own company, meeting the love of your life, or finally getting the dream job could happen. Expect the unexpected, so to speak.
off your debts, discontinue your automatic payment for electricity and internet, properly say goodbye to your clients, and donate all of your unused clothes or store in a proper storage space because once things start rolling, you never know what kind of time frame the Universe will give you. And if you happen to go back home after your travels, then it’s fewer things to organize to settle back down. Also most likely, you won’t want the same things you left behind. You will know where to pick up where you left off.
Don’t be a “begpacker”
See this too often. Just because you’re in South East Asia does not mean you get to bargain for everything. Everyone has to make a living, which includes the locals from the places you are visiting. There are places you can bargain but make sure that this is a normal practice in the area. Make sure you have enough resources to travel.
Have a “home” to go back to
The beaches are absolutely picture perfect. Food is amazing in most places. People can be very nice. It’s constantly warm and fruits and vegetables are abundant. Life is slower and easier. Or not.
Electricity can be on and off daily. Slower lifestyle means your ferry might arrive or get canceled at the last minute. Prices might change. You might find bedbugs in the middle of the night. You might get food poisoning while the nearest hospital is a ferry ride away. Wi-fi signals are so weak you can’t make that bank transfer you need to. Your credit card gets blocked. point is, life in the tropics may not be exactly a dream life. There can be some unexpected challenges. There are times when you long to return to what’s ‘normal’. And at some point, you might feel lonely. It could be reassuring to know that if something happens, you have a home to go back to.
somewhere or someone who can embrace your sudden return without any questions. It’s insurance for travelers and it makes it that much easier to enjoy the traveler’s life.
Try to learn the local culture
You want to be productive, have a great time traveling, to connect and understand, it is important to show that you know you are in their country and you’re willing to learn different languages and cultures.
I hear quite often about tourists turning into a crusader for stray dogs or other animals without taking the time to understand cultural backgrounds. Don’t get me wrong. I love animals. But any kind of conservation work must involve understanding local culture also. If you want to improve the way local people live, question yourself first, why you want them to change. Find the time to research, talk to locals, and find understanding in each other’s cultures.
Know that being alone can be strange at times
I used to live in Ubud, Bali, local fancy raw food cafés would be filled with people sitting alone at a table, reading, checking their phones or working on computers. There’s nothing wrong with being a digital nomad. It’s not uncommon to hear that the more they travel, the more they are on social media.
Meeting new people is one of the best things about traveling.
Do things because you enjoy being alone AND meeting new people, not because you’re afraid of loneliness. Yes, sometimes, it is scary to be alone. There are times you will crave sharing this journey with someone else, yet it’s also a precious time in your life to be able to do this on your own, so enjoy those precious moments spent with yourself. This kind of life doesn’t last forever, enjoy it and take your time.