…and why you should definitely travel on your own

solo travel, fear, adventure, Angst, Abenteuer
Solo travel is not as scary as it seems

What if I don’t meet any new people I like? Or won’t find a job? Or maybe I’ll be out of money? Or I won’t know how to get around? And the long flight… all on my own…

What if I miss out on something at home? Lose my friends? Or maybe won’t find a job after returning home?

And what if everything just goes wrong? What if it was the wrong decision right from the beginning?

All these thoughts will wander through your head before actually deciding to go abroad.

I can still remember how they built up like a big wall right in front of me. And if you’re stuck in this circle of fear, it seems like there’s no way out – except quitting. Suddenly, I felt like life was beautiful just the way it is and that there is absolutely no reason to leave.

If you’re looking for advice from others, you won’t get the feedback you’d actually need most of the time. Because the people that have already made the experience of going abroad will just tell you that everything is going to be fine. Parents and friends have their own fears to overcome and the people that don’t really know about going abroad won’t be much help.

solo travel, fear, adventure, Angst, Abenteuer
Is it really as bad as you picutre it in your head? Think about it!

Why you should go anyway!

  • Just be aware that you will never find an answer to those question if you don’t make a decision. You’ll never know what would have happened if you decided to go with plan A and instead chose B and the other way around.
  • Whatever you decide on, it won’t be the only option for the rest of your life. We tend to think about what impact our action will have in 5, 10, 20 years – but it will just make our fears bigger than necessary. What is one year in a lifetime?
  • Be insured that if anything goes wrong, you can still catch the next flight and be home in 24 hours – sounds less scary then “the other end of the world” right? Maybe it’ll help to book a flight in advance that you have already payed for and that can be changed in no time.
  • It’s a small world! Or how we Germans like to say – The world is a village. When I was in Cairns for the first time, an old school friend turned up right next to me and I hadn’t seen him for years when I still was in Germany, even though we lived 20 minutes away from each other. Our generation is infected with the travel buck, so don’t be surprised when you also meet someone that you already know!
  • Travelling alone, you’re actually never alone. It is impossible to not meet new people because everyone is experiencing the same things that you are. Especially in countries like New Zealand and Australia, where everyone seems to be a backpacker travelling on their own. You’ll automatically start talking as they’re also looking for friends. Be open minded and just go with the flow. And you should definitely try the “Backpacker Nights Out” parties because I guarantee you that you’ll meet loads of people. I’ve never felt this strong sense of belonging like I did when travelling – you’re surrounded by people that share the same thoughts and experiences. Added to that, you can join a facebook group before leaving home, so you can get to know people beforehand. But in my experience, it is better to communicate with the people you meet there because that is how you learn about new cultures, improve your language kills and see the country from a different side of view – just travelling with Germans won’t give you all that. Don’t get me wrong, being friends with Germans is not bad at all, it is just important to keep an open mind.
  • You know the saying “Out of sight, out of mind”? In times of Whatsapp, Skype and Instagram it almost feels like you’re not even that far away! I can still remember my mom being totally shocked, when she noticed there was no difference in the quality of our phone calls from when I was in Berlin to somewhere in Australia. That’s how you’ll always be able to be up to date, to get some uplifting words when you need them or share your experiences with your loved ones at home. Especially at the beginning, I spend every evening in front of my laptop talking to my friends and family – but don’t forget that the actual adventure is waiting for you right behind your laptop screen! At some point you’ll have to be brave and explore your new home. And even if that might sound surprising to some of you – life back at home really won’t change.
  • The fear of not being able to get around on your own is really not necessary. It sounds crazy but people in other countries are so much more helpful than some Germans. When I took the bus home alone from a party one night, I started to freak out a little bit and imagined all of the bad things that could happen to me. The bus driver asked me to come to the front and I panicked – that won’t end well. He even asked for my address, I obviously didn’t tell him and from that point on he knew I was German – apparently, we are quite distrustful. He offered me to drive me home, so I wouldn’t have to walk through the forest just by myself. That sounded absolutely crazy to me! A bus driver in Berlin wouldn’t even take a detour of 5 meters. In Australia, a bus driver took me home, like right in front of my door. Being a little sceptic really doesn’t hurt but you don’t always have to expect the worst.
  • There is really no reason to be afraid of flying alone – if you get sick or you’re afraid, just take a pill. Once you’re seated, you’ll be distracted by the entertainment on board – it’s like going to the cinema for a few hours, with snacks! It is even possible to start a conversation with people traveling on their own at the airport – then you can meet up in between flights and go for a walk, so that the waiting time won’t feel as long.

Securities that are worth organising beforehand:

  • A job. That’s how you’ll always have money and meet new people at the same time.
  • Apartment
  • Support for paperwork – bank account, tax number, etc.

Other than that, just be open for new plans and opportunities! A lot of great things happen without planning them. For example, I started travelling in the North and wanted to make my way from the east-code to get to the south. But because of my job and the people I met there, I decided to forget about my plans and travel with them across the country. I would never change it, even if I could!

Tips for your first time at travelling alone:

  • For your first adventure, book a trip to a more western country that is appropriate for backpackers
  • Don’t get crazy! Just because you’re on the other side of the world, it doesn’t mean that everything will be different. Shops will be around, so you won’t have to walk around in your trekking shoes and your hiking trousers – might look a bit weird in big cities.
  • If you’re traveling alone, don’t explore remote places, like the Outback, only by yourself. Just book a tour with other backpackers!

This adventure will give and teach you so much more than anything before in your life. You’re going to be stronger and wiser and you’ll know that things don’t always go as planned. But you’re going to be able to conquer everything that must be done.{:}

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