Eighty percent of my travels were done solo. Experiences are more unique and awesome, that losing my memory is now one of my greatest fears.
Please don’t say I’m lucky I get to travel, because I’m not. I believe traveling is completely by choice and by priority – the same way that others prioritize climbing the corporate ladder or buying the latest designer bags or getting married. I work hard so I can travel. As soon as I get my monthly salary, 30-40% goes to my travel fund that I like to keep fat and full.
My first solo adventure was in Bangkok years ago. Out of curiosity, I watched a ping-pong show alone (which made me depressed after), and because I was again curious, I watched a ladyboy show alone. Then because I am insatiably curious, I traveled most of Asia alone, then Europe, then who knows what’s next.
Kill me now, I’m going to say YOLO
(*To Baby Boomers and beyond, YOLO stands for ‘You only live once’)
Solo travel is the ONLY thing that gives me ultimate freedom and the feeling of having complete control over my life. Each day is mine alone and I can do whatever I want. It is the only time I come face to face with myself – in all my glory, failures and occasional selfies.
I can spend the whole day in bed because I don’t feel like going out. I can savor my precious coffee time until noon. I can sit on top of a pagoda for hours and not worry about someone waiting for me. I can get lost, miss a flight, make a stupid mistake and just laugh, charge it to experience. I don’t have to worry about people who panic or expect that I follow their plans or to pretend that I like something even if I don’t. And most of all, I will not be annoyed by someone who says “Hurry up!” or asks “What time do we have to wake up tomorrow?”
I know it sounds selfish and self-indulgent, I won’t deny that. But right now – while I’m still young, healthy, and adventurous – I let myself be those things through travel, or I fear I might regret it later in life. After all, we always hear the saying, “The only things you will regret are the things you didn’t do”. I think so too.
As long as I don’t hurt anyone (including myself) and I try to help others the best way I could, I’m free to live life to the fullest, right?
Like a sponge
Traveling alone opens up my mind, soul, and senses in a special way that would otherwise be dull, distracted, and filtered if I were traveling with friends. Because I am solely responsible for myself, I am more appreciative and willing to see places, meet people, challenge beliefs, discover secrets, learn new things, and even make mistakes.
“But can’t you do those with friends?” you ask.
Yes, I can but I realized it’s not the same. There are some things in life best learned alone, and that is travel for me.
Do I ever get lonely?
Of course I do! Once I spent an entire day in a bathtub, drinking wine and cursing a then boyfriend.
While I have a huge appetite for alone time, I can go out anytime to mingle. It’s exciting to meet people from all over the world – young and old, male and female, solo or group, sane or insane! You’ll be amazed at how a simple ‘Hi’ can turn into hours of chats and friendships across the globe. And for some reason, I feel comfortable talking with strangers, though I don’t necessarily trust everyone.
The truth is, you will never really be alone because you’ll always meet people. No fail, promise. Just avoid freaks and stalkers, ok? And think twice before adding them on Facebook.
Words of the not-so-wise
People often ask me for advice on solo travel and I always say: “Guts and common sense are all you need. And get travel insurance for your dear life.”
Solo travel may not be for everyone, but right now, it is the perfect thing that makes me happy.