When I first told friends that I was going to travel solo for about three weeks in Europe, I was met with incredulous stares and eye rolls. Some even called me crazy. Those who knew about my semi solo USA trip were more understanding – to a certain extent.
I wasn’t forced to travel alone. I chose to travel alone.
But a few years ago, I was just like my friends. Solo travel was unheard of in my little world. Being from a big family, I was used to being surrounded by noise and not having alone time. Eating alone was unheard of. I never Googled ‘solo travel’. To me, travel was meant to be with friends/family.
Solo travel = sad.
My first trip started with my sister and the company I was working for at that point of time. And the years following that was with friends and family. It took me six years of traveling and a few tension-filled trips to open up and embrace solo traveling.
See, it was like finally having freedom – the freedom to move around wherever you want, whenever you want. The freedom of not pandering to others whim and fancy. The freedom to sleep late, wake up late. The freedom to just sit in a park and soak up the sounds of nature without having to make small talk.
But solo travel is not without it’s fears. From an uncomfortable encounter in Venice to travel and accommodation hiccups – these moments will make you wish you had someone beside you. Hey, but it’s exactly these type of problems that make you stiffen up your spine and just deal it.
Surprisingly enough, the biggest hurdle to solo traveling was myself. I’m an over-thinker and it doesn’t help that I’m more of pessimist. I would think of the worst scenarios…what if my plane goes down? What if I’m harassed? What if I get lost? What if I’m kidnapped? All the what ifs. But you know what? My guardian angel definitely puts in overtime to ensure that I remain safe.
So yes, solo travel can be more dangerous (for a female) but so can crossing the road. Just don’t take unnecessary risks, don’t follow strangers or accept candy from them, don’t drink and remain aware of your surroundings. But most importantly, follow your gut.