The thought of traveling solo makes you nervous. Perhaps this dread stems from everything you’ve seen starring Liam Neeson, or maybe it’s the crippling fear of being alone ever since Brenda broke your heart in the 8th grade on account of the fact that she “doesn’t dig guys in head gear” or because ”my name is not Brenda, please stop.”
Everyone’s been there—the anxiety of the unknown coupled with unyielding desire to see the world. Yet there is that moment where each of us realizes we are, in fact, adults; capable of making our own choices and sometimes washing our own dishes. So, why not choose to travel while we can?
The problem: everyone else seems to be preoccupied with their “school”, “work” or “house arrest”; Brenda is still totally ignoring you, so you have no choice but to one-man-wolf-pack your way across the globe. Though you have never felt fear due to your skills in kung-fu and/or wizardry, you may still be frightened at this prospect. However, the truth of the matter is this: traveling solo is one of the best things you’ll do with your life. Just keep these few things in mind to make it better:
- Ask Questions.
Unless your destination involves the uncharted far reaches of the outer galaxy, chances are that someone, somewhere, knows exactly how to get where you need to go. Or at least where you need to go to find out where you need to go. Point is, there’s no use for the socially awkward routine when you’ve got a plane to catch or a mountain to frolic upon. Approach a trustworthy looking stranger (just try to find your mom’s doppelgänger), and simply ask.
People are generally kind and helpful, as long as you show them the same respect. Said stranger will be honored at your presumption of their brilliance, and you’ll be amazed how easy is to get anywhere by asking.
- Make friends (faster than you usually make friends)
But you know, like, better than the ones that ditched you in the first place.
Plain and simple: there’s no better way to make friends fast than traveling alone. On one hand, you’ve got your fellow Americans who already share the same sense of wonder and adventure that brought you all abroad in the first place. On the other hand, there are all the locals with their mass array of stories, cultures, and fascinating lives that they will tell you about with the most fascinating of accents.
Sharing a new experiences is what unites us. You’ll never forget these times—the first moment you saw the Eiffel Tower light up at night, the Colosseum in all its epic Roman glory or that time a cow licked your hand in the Swiss Alps. And you’ll never forget the brand new friends you shared them with either.
And that was the story of how I found my spirit animal.
- Be adaptable.
Number one rule of travel. All the time, any time. This is especially applicable if you’re going at it alone. Travel is all about rolling with the punches, going with the flow, seizing the moment and so on and so forth.
The number one enemy to any traveler is false expectations. The truth is, nothing out there is exactly as it appears in your head. Your luggage might get lost, the weather might be off, and Paris will smell a little bit like that thing you left in the fridge too long.
In these moments where you are powerless to change the situation, you have two choices: complain, or embrace it. One of them will make you a miserable pity-party, and the other will take you on a journey your expectations would never have foreseen. Being a solo traveler gives you that freedom to live in the moment. You determine the quality of your experience; you are not dependent on whether or not your friend has a headache or the fact that they walk slower than Kim Kardashian can read.
Indeed, the thought of traveling alone might make you nervous, but don’t let it. Traveling is for meeting new people, expecting the unexpected, getting lost on purpose, and realizing that the world is so much bigger than your own. It’ll require a leap out of your comfort zone, but if any part about it was comfortable, it wouldn’t be an adventure to begin with.
Brenda will be so jealous.
You’ll never travel alone when you travel solo with EF Ultimate Break.