What I've learnt from travelling alone.
Just over a month ago, I took my first solo trip to Bangkok right after my final exams.
Unlike other travellers, I headed to Bangkok with little intention of shopping at the city’s numerous shopping districts and markets. For me, the solo trip was mostly a quick getaway to recalibrate myself after dealing with the stress of a school semester and gruelling exams.
After spending five short days alone in Bangkok, here is a list of reasons why I think everyone (if possible), should take a solo trip somewhere at least once in their life.
1. It forces you to be independent
Right from the start of the packing process, travelling alone means you are fully responsible for whatever you are packing along. Forgot something essential? Too bad, you have no one but yourself to blame.
Even if you encounter a problem later, you will have to find a way to resolve it on your own and not rely on anyone else to help you.
2. You gain new perspectives
Travelling alone means you are stuck with yourself for company. And in silence and solitude, all kinds of thoughts will run through your mind.
Perhaps it is something you saw on the news that struck a chord with you, some philosophical article you read about online, or even just deciding what you want to eat for your next meal.
In isolation, you will be able to have a clear head to sort out your thoughts, even if it is about your existential crisis.
3. Ease of making friends
Because I opted to stay at a backpacker’s hotel away from the shopping areas in Bangkok, I met many other travellers from all around the world. Many of them only stayed for two to three nights, so people were constantly checking in and out of the rooms.
That meant there was at least five new people to interact with each day, and getting to know them meant impromptu nights out for the solo travellers!
4. Freedom from schedules
My favourite part of travelling solo was having complete freedom over the day’s itinerary. Everything was free and easy, without the stress of having to accommodate to the preferences of travel buddies.
If I wanted to sleep in in the morning, I could! There was no one else’s schedules that I had to consider.
5. Sense of empowerment
Upon returning from my solo trip, my friends and family members were both relieved and surprised that I came back unscathed. I could not help but feel a tinge of pride with how well my solo trip went, despite getting ripped off by several taxi drivers and risking food poisoning by eating at dodgy-looking roadside stalls.
All previous stories I had heard about Bangkok being dangerous for tourists, especially for ladies, served as a good warning though. I did pay heed to some advice from friends and family by not going out too late alone at night and keeping my belongings close to me at all times.
Of course, this trip was not on the same scale as Elizabeth Gilbert’s self-discovery in Eat, Pray, Love but it was a good getaway that was as enjoyable as travelling with some company.
What do you think – will you be going for a solo trip any time soon?
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