10:43:00

HOW TO OVERCOME YOUR FEARS AND GO TRAVELLING SOLO

Koh Tao, Thailand

Hello from Thailand! 

I've been travelling solo now for just over three weeks. I've seen countless beaches, visited beautiful temples, drank more Chang beers than I care to remember, and made some amazing friends. The best part is that I still have over three months left of my trip!

I've wanted to go travelling for years. This desire started around three years ago, after I booked a solo trip to Bali after quitting my full-time job and going freelance. I was free from a job I had so desperately wanted to leave, and after reading Eat Pray Love (go ahead and cringe), I'd always fancied Bali. 

The trip was incredible. I'd just come out of a strange and short lived romance that culminated in a whole load of heartache, and getting away by myself was the perfect antidote to my pain. I felt empowered as I navigated my trip alone and inspired by the people I met. The island was unbelievably beautiful, the people kind and the relaxation a breath of fresh air. I returned home completely refreshed and desperate to book a longer trip. I started saving straight away and kept it up religiously until the time was right, also managing to save enough for a quick solo travel trip to Sri Lanka. Eventually, when I had enough cash to go, I booked my flights. I couldn't believe that it was finally happening after years of talking about it, and I don't think anyone else could either. 

The White Temple, Chiang Rai, Thailand

Then the strangest thing happened. Fears began arising inside me about going it alone. I read hundreds (and I mean hundreds) of irresponsible and scaremongering articles online about the risks of women travelling on their own. I read awful news reports about tragedies that had occurred and the comments, branding women silly for even considering going to a foreign country solo. I expressed these fears to my friends and family all the time, so much so that my stepdad even said he didn't think I'd go through with it. But when I say I'm going to do something, more often than not, I do. This was no different. I'd wanted to travel for years and I wasn't going to let anything stop me.

Perhaps you are feeling like I did. Maybe you've booked the trip and are now wondering if you've made a big mistake, or perhaps travelling is something you've always dreamed of doing but are just too scared to go it alone. 

I read a lot of articles about safety advice before I took this trip, and while some were comforting, many scared me even more. I don't want this to be a similar story, so I'm going to be as positive as possible and encourage you to take the same attitude. 

Breakfast at Oasis Yoga, Koh Lanta

Here are the reasons why travelling solo is the best...

You can do whatever you want


This is the number one best reason to go it alone. 

I've absolutely loved being able to adapt my trip to suit my needs and my needs only. I love the beach, so I booked weeks at the beach, but that might not be everybody's jam. I also decided to ditch some much-talked-about areas of Thailand because I knew they'd be tourist traps, full of partying Westerners and that's just not my vibe. Maybe it's yours, and that's okay, because you can choose to do whatever you want!

It also means you don't have to worry about anybody else's budget. If your friend has more or less money than you, it affects you. This way, if you're running low on budget, you can stay put for a few days and reduce your spending without feeling guilty about affecting another person's plans. 

You can also stay in whatever type of accommodation you want, whether that's fancy hotel or budget hostel. I like to do a bit of both to keep the balance (financially and mentally), but I have friends who would hate to share a dorm room. Luckily, I don't need to consider anybody else.

You'll meet so many lovely people


We all have the fear that we won't meet anyone. 

During my first few days in Bangkok, I pretty much kept myself to myself. I got up early and visited countless sites and in the evenings, I was too tired to talk to anyone. I panicked that it'd be this way forever, but before I knew it, I was travelling with two other women. 

I've met some really amazing people who have really inspired me. Everybody is friendly travelling and will definitely want to hang out, so this just isn't a concern. 

Sure, you'll have days on your own, but it's nice to have some time to yourself, which brings me on my next point...

The Black House, Chiang Rai, Thailand

You'll get some me time


When you find yourself with nobody but yourself as company, it gives you time to think. 

You might have big life questions to ponder, or maybe you just want to put your feet up and read lots of nice books. 

Don't worry about it. Me time is good for all of us, and my advice is just to embrace it. I spent time panicking that I was a loser for having nobody to hang out with, but now I'm glad I got some time to myself.

Your accommodation will be as cheap as chips


Because you're travelling alone, you can stay in hostels. 

This is something that's more difficult with a group of friends, or if you're in a couple. Hostels book up super fast, as I'm now discovering (I'm travelling with my boyfriend and two friends for a couple of weeks in April and we've struggled to find a hostel to fit us all in!). 

Not only are they great places to meet people, but they're cheap, central and have a lovely laid-back vibe that I love. 

Koh Tao, Thailand

You can go whenever you want


You don't have to wait for anybody to be ready but yourself. 

If I'd have wanted to go with friends, I could have waited forever for the right time. 

You're reading this


If you're reading this, you already know you want to travel alone.

Don't let fear stop you. You'll have an incredible, unforgettable and enriching time. 

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12:44:00

THE SOLO FEMALE TRAVELLER'S GUIDE TO SRI LANKA

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