Now. It's something that stops people from doing things they want to over and over. I have nobody to go with. Or my friends/family/boyfriend/girlfriend can't or won't do this with me. Or I'm scared of going alone/will get bored.
I hear this a lot in general and when I decided to travel for a month to a new continent on my own (and will continue to do so because it was BOMB), the most popular questions I get by far are:
-Weren't you scared?
and straight up
-Why did you go alone anyway..?
Well as always, I'm here to kill your excuses for not travelling!
1. Try as you might, you will never truly be alone in this world. There are 7 billion of us and as idealistic as it sounds, that’s billions of possible friends or at least brief interesting encounters.
2. Generally, there is a local somewhere to give you guidance. It’s made even easier in this digital age with sites and apps like Couchsurfing (http://www.couchsurfing.com), AirBnB (http://www.airbnb.com/), MeetUp (http://www.meetup.com) and even Tinder! My weapon of choice (outside of just chatting to random people the old fashioned way) was Couchsurfing. Whether I was finding hosts or adventure buddies, I ended up with big savings, city secrets and a couple of lasting friendships. If you take a chance and show interest somewhere new, people will often want to look out for you in their back yard.
3. If you, like me, get uncomfortable or straight up annoyed getting stared at, it can be a comfort to know that when this happens while you’re travelling, it’s likely from a place of curiosity rather than malice or judgement. In my case add to that being both black and a young girl travelling solo (with a blonde mini-afro). Surprisingly this could make you seem more approachable to people and you can easily answer some questions about yourself and your travels, ask your own about them and their story and even crush some ignorance around women, travelling alone, the place you’re from and more. #WorldPeace
Which brings me to my final and favourite 2 points:
4. Freedom. Travelling alone will grant you freedom from stereotypes, freedom from your normal life and freedom to be yourself (or whoever you want to be at any given time). The best thing for me was being free to:
- spend a day indoors or walk for an hour exploring or looking for something
- be my normal self around new people and hopefully shatter some attitudes about Africa, Africans and our relationship with Europe/America/the west generally
5. Sooner or later in life you’re going to have to face some of your fears and going through them away from your comfort zone and the people in it will make you better, not to mention more proud of yourself for pulling through. Which you probably will. With some badass stories to tell afterwards.