Everyone one and their dog seems to have solo travelled. It’s like this accolade that you earn as a female explorer. ‘You’ve travelled alone?’ Here’s a massive pat on the back. And a huge bunch of flowers and a badge. Because everyone loves a badge.
As I near 30 years old (it’s in two years by the way) I’ve started to reflect a little. You see all of these posts, you know the ones. 30 things to do by 30. No pressure then. And it got me thinking. Why have I never done it?
Well firstly, I have. I’ve travelled to London, granted for work, but still I was on my billy. Navigated the underground, which I hate with a passion. Alone. Roamed the streets, even at night. Alone. Ate in restaurants and drank in bars. Alone. Explored Museums. You guessed it…
But it’s different isn’t it? I had visited in the past with my partner so I was a tiny bit familiar with the city. It’s in England so I’m not exactly throwing myself into another culture or jumping on a flight and landing into the unknown.
So why I have never travelled solo in a new country?
- I think I would be absolutely petrified. The idea of taking a plane on my own, walking in a foreign city and staying in a hotel or Airbnb among strangers is scary. As a small, young looking, blonde girl I’d be frightened of getting mugged or worse. I don’t think it’s an irrational fear so I am always super cautious even in the UK. I know it would be heightened abroad. I’m not an anxious person but I think I would be alone on holiday. Especially at night.
- I can barely find my way around the UK. I’m shocking with directions and my fella is the designated navigator anywhere we go. How would I get the right train or bus from the airport? What if I get completely lost in a not so friendly area? My phone battery might die and I wouldn’t be able to find my way home or call for help. Then what.
- I would miss sharing moments with family and friends. I love seeing new places and doing new things WITH people. Having a twin meant we did everything together growing up, which we don’t so much any more but that feeling doesn’t leave you. There’s something beautiful about sharing experiences and talking about them all day and night. I’d miss that a lot.
But I love spending time on my own?
I regularly wander around Manchester shopping, enjoying the galleries and eating solo. It’s bluddy brilliant. I don’t have to talk to anyone and I can just take my time. Do what I please. But this is in my home town and it’s a Northern city I know. I’m not thousands of miles away. I don’t need health insurance in case something happens. I think it’s comfortable. That’s it. It’s my comfort zone.
Surely I can translate that feeling abroad, right? The more I think about it, the more I really feel like travelling solo is something I need to do. Just to push myself and prove that I am braver than I think. I don’t need to rely on someone else and I can be as independent as I am in the UK.
So in the next year or two you might just see me book a single ticket abroad. I’m not an idiot. I would make sure to research safe cities for females somewhere not so far away. I don’t want to run before I can practically stand, never mind walk. I’m not promising this will happen but my mind is open to it, which is more than it has ever been before. This feels like an exciting new chapter…
If you have any suggestions or tips please comment below. Let me know of your experiences travelling solo.