So, you’ve made the tricky decision to travel solo. Nice one. Now get ready for the wave of shocked responses that are sure to sail your way.
Here’s 10 responses every traveller will face when they declare they’re going it solo:
- 1. “No you’re not.”
This is probably your mumma talking. And who can blame her for being so worried? You’re going on probably one of the biggest trips of your life. But don’t let your family’s worry stop you. There’ll get their head around your travelling intentions pretty quickly and will accept that you’re going whether they like it or not. If you’re flying in a couple of days and the fam still haven’t warmed to your travels, then maybe keep an eye on your passport.
- 2. “I’ll come with you.”
If this is your mum again, then tell her to calm down. She does not need to hold your hand whilst you trek around South East Asia (as much as she may want to).
If it’s a bezzy mate who’s decided to jump on your travelling bandwagon, then great – the more the merrier! Just make sure they’re someone you definitely want to travel with. Budget living conditions and swletering climates can be pretty testing on friendships, so think twice if it’s someone you can’t hang out with for long periods of time.
- 3. “Is that safe?”
Ah that old tinker: safety. The argumentative backpacker might respond with “is anywhere really 100% safe?!” Although a valid point, you can calm the interrogator’s nerves with some more common sense knowledge; namely that it’s a person’s awareness of their surroundings that makes a place safe, not the place itself. Basically, it all boils down to you being sensible and not being a total idiot abroad.
- 4. “You’re very brave…”
If this is a compliment, then great, ta. But if this is said with a sense of uncertainty that suggests the opposite, then just shake it off. Yes, travelling on your own is brave, but it is not stupid as some people may suggest. Just be sensible and you will be fine.
- 5. “You’re not street-wise enough to travel on your own.”
If you’re anything like me, then this is a completely valid point. I am not in the slightest bit streetwise. I’m probably one of the few people who can still manage to get lost whilst using Google maps and I always get talked into picking up flyers and buying shit that I really don’t need (like that time a monk convinced me to buy an entire collection of meditation books.)
But hey now, you have to cut me some slack: I have managed to survive the past 24 years without causing some serious damage to myself (so long as you don’t count the time I broke my leg on the baby slope on the first day of skiing. Or that time I nearly burnt my student house down).
Okay, I’ve had a couple of hiccups, but I’ve made it this far. And you have too. So proof again that you will be totally fine.
- 6. “Be careful. It’s a big world out there.”
This is a total dad response. Yes, it is a big world out there, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go out and explore it. Size doesn’t matter, duhh.
- 7. “But female travellers go missing all the time?!”
Ahhh, the panick-stricken friend. Always there when you need to be made to feel even more anxious about your life decisions, or any decision for that matter (“oh, you’re having diet coke? I heard the artificial sugars take 10 years to get out of your body and they give you cancer.”)
Don’t let your friend’s anxious nature diminish your excitement. Whilst you do hear the odd horror story about travellers on the news, this is rare and the vast majority of backpackers experience little trouble on their trips.
- 8. “Don’t trust ANYONE.”
Add a healthy dose of paranoia to your panicky friend and he/she is likely to come out with something like the above. But whilst you’d be wise to ignore her previous ramblings about traveller abductions, there is some substance in this warning. Solo travellers need to be aware of new people they meet, whether they’re fellow backpackers or locals, as not everyone sets out with honest intentions. It doesn’t mean that you have to alienate yourself from every human being you meet, but it does mean that you have to think twice about investing your trust in new acquaintances.
- 9. But you’ll be on your own…
Well, yeah. That’s kinda the point. Travelling on your own means you decide where you want to go and when – there’s no compromising or having to think of anyone else, which is why it’s so great. But if you find the whole going it solo thing a little bit daunting, then remember it’s so easy to meet people on the backpacker scene that you only have to be in your own company for as long as you choose to be.
- 10. I’m going to worry about you so much.
This is probably your mum, a relative or anybody who remotely cares about you. But sadly there’s nothing you can do about their worrying. Family and loved ones will worry about you wherever you are in the world, whether it’s in the same house a different continent, so don’t be put off by their concerns. You’re doing a great thing, so stick to your guns and travel solo.
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