Travelling solo is like falling in love for me. It’s exhilarating and scary at the same time. I have so many good things to say about it but they’ve been said before again and again by many seasoned solo travellers. I am sure there’s nothing more I can add about the joy of travelling alone. So today I am going to do an antithesis to the subject. Let me once and for all share with you something that I have discovered while travelling alone. It’s not all pretty like we all painted it to be. It has its ugliness and downsides. Here are a few of them:
Safety is one of the biggest downside of travelling alone. There are safety in numbers. When you are a woman being alone and looking very foreign is enough to make you a target of unwanted attention. In some countries, you have to be very extra careful about your safety. Since you don’t have anyone to rely on you just have to be responsible for your own safety while on the road. It’s not as hard as it sounds. You just have to be extra aware of your surrounding. Some people just give you negative vibes right from the beginning. Learn to trust your instinct. Always know what to do when you are in a bad situation. For example: I was followed by a scary old dude when I was in Chiang Mai. After unsuccessful attempts to lose him, I took a detour into a book store. Spend an hour there and by the time I was done, he was gone. Voilà!
Yes. If you are not into dormitories like me, you have to be prepared to pay extra for accommodation.
The Heavy Lifting!
I carry a 55 + 10 L. It’s heavy! Carrying it around took sooooo much energy. In certain countries, you have to put your bags on top of the vehicle ( ie: Song Theaw in Laos). That’s when you realized how heavy your backpack is! This is not a big problem if you are a girl because usually help will come in the form of strong-armed fellow male backpackers… but if you are a male backpacker, this is something you really need to think about.
The Constant Selfie
Yes. This harsh reality of travelling alone. If you don’t make friends along the way, all your photos will be the lone selfies of yourself and even if you do make friends, you won’t stay with your friends throughout your trip (because at one point or another, you will have to part and go separate ways) so, most of your photos will still be a bunch of selfies of yourself captioned “missing my friends, already”.
The Random Feeling of Loneliness
After travelling for a while you will get one of those random feelings that emphasize your loneliness. Being far away from familiar comforts and having no one to talk to could take a toll on you. I remember waking up in the middle of the night in Viantiane feeling hopelessly lonely. For some reason, I remembered where I was and what I was doing and I felt something that I could only describe as fear of being alone. I cried. But when I woke up the next morning, I thought it was hilarious!
The Random Craziness
There are things that you will do when you are travelling alone that you will never do when you are at home. People will judge you for it. But it takes a little ‘crazy’ to be able to do this travelling alone thing. As long as you don’t end up dead in a ditch somewhere, why not?
Haters. No matter what you do there will always be people trying to bring you down. The worst case scenario is someone would say that the only reason you travel alone is because you are so ugly that one would want to rape you. Classy. But it only hurts if you let it hurt you! So don’t let it hurt you and you will be fine!
When you look back, they’re not that bad. They’re nothing compared to all the great memories you will make when you travel alone. Trust me, after a while even the bad times don’t seem that bad at all! You make good memories and bad ones. It’s part of life. Even sitting where you are, you are bound to have your ups and downs. So why not strive in your own ups and downs while seeing the world? Right?