Solo traveling is an interesting topic, some people swear by it and will only travel solo, others are scared of it and avoid it like the plaque, and some do it because they have no choice. When I first started traveling I fell into the scared category, moving up to the having no choice category and spending time in the prefer solo travel category. Now I enjoy a balance of going on some trips with friends and others alone or a combination in one trip.
Firstly let me mention traveling alone does not mean you literally spend the whole trip alone, on the contrast it means you are free and flexible to go where your heart takes you and hang out with those you connect with. The main difference is you don’t have a friend with you 24/7 to hang out with, plan and compromise with.
After traveling around the world for a year solo and also going alone to countries such as India, Nepal, Egypt, Thailand, Morocco and Peru, I feel I’ve mastered how to have the most balanced and amazing experiences traveling solo. Here are my tips:
1. Enjoy your own company
As mentioned above traveling alone does not necessarily mean you are traveling alone, as you can meet and hang out with lots of people. However those traveling solo that don’t enjoy their own company, often strive to always be meeting and hanging out with other people as they are too scared to be alone. If this is the case I would recommend enjoying your own company first before traveling solo. Although a lot of the time you may not be alone, this behavior is a big turn off to others. I mean who wants to meet someone that wants to attach themselves to you?
While trekking the Annapurna circuit in Nepal, I started solo and met 2 guys on the way who I finished the trek with. We met a young guy from England traveling alone who did not want to be alone. He attached himself to anyone he could find wanting to spend every meal and moment with anyone he could. Unfortunately all this did was repel everyone from him even though he was quite a nice kid.
2. Set your intention and allow yourself to receive
This is where the law of attraction comes into place (see Abraham Hicks). Make goals of where you want to go and what you want to do, if there are sites or activities you want to go to that would suit being with other people ask for that. At the same time be open and happy to doing these activities alone. Then release your desire and let it come to you.
I found that whenever I did this, I meet the right people every single time. In fact I always attracted the most ideal people that wanted to do exactly what I wanted to do, which lead to me having the most amazing experiences. I know if I was desperate or attached to other people being there, I would of repelled them or attracted the wrong people. This technique also works in attracting the right travel partners which I’ve done numerous times for 2 – 3 week periods. Some examples of this technique led me attract others to visit Ankor Wat in Cambodia, visit the top of the empire state building in New York, celebrate Australia day on a beach in Cambodia, visit the Taj Mahal in India, and visit Petra and the Dead Sea in Jordan.
3. Be selfish
Yes you heard me this is the time to do whatever the hell you want. You don’t have to compromise. It’s all about you and what makes you happy. Be in the moment and live day-by-day, experience by experience. You can eat wherever you want, sleep in, stay in a place you love longer, leave places you are not connecting with sooner, change your plan, change your mind, and follow some cool people you just met. You can do whatever you want without having to ask, consider a travel partners feelings or feel guilty that anyone is waiting for you or holding you back. Traveling solo is an amazing time to learn more about yourself and what makes you happy.
4. Relax, Rejuvenate and grow
It’s also a good time to relax, rejuvenate and focus on personal growth without worrying about someone else. You can use all your energy on yourself. It’s a great time to take a course you’ve always wanted to do, go to a retreat or spa, do a cleanse and spend much needed time alone on the beach to build your energy back up.
I spent some of my solo traveling time doing courses such as yoga teacher training in India for 3 months, cleansing for a month in India, cycling for a hours everyday in Hawaii, 10 days of silent meditation and reading and regenerating on Thailand beaches.
5. Give Back
Solo traveling is also a perfect opportunity to volunteer and give back to the planet and other communities. Match the activities you enjoy, with the skills you have to the location you desire. Are you good with your hands, enjoy nature and want to help a community? Building houses in Costa Rica may be for you. Do you love people, have good business skills and want to empower women? Working with woman artisans in Peru may be for you.
I wanted to help people, interact more with kids and was fascinated by the Nepalese culture, so I volunteered in an Nepalese orphanage for a month. Going alone allowed me to have a more in depth experience as I could be fully present with the new culture, my tasks and my learnings without having to worry about someone else or compromise what I wanted to do and how long I wanted to stay.