Note: This post was written in 2017 in anticipation for my first solo backpacking trip.
In exactly 31 days I’ll be flying out of Canada and heading to Europe for three weeks. I would have liked for the trip to be longer, but I start work shortly after and student funds can only get you so far.
The planning process has been quite different than the trips I’ve done with friends or in organized groups. For anyone beginning to plan their solo trip or considering doing one in the future, here are some of the thoughts I’m having as the departure date draws closer:
- Decision making is much faster: “Oh that hostel looks great, has good reviews and I like the location – book!” It’s so easy to make decisions like these when you don’t have to get an entire group’s approval on everything.
- Faster doesn’t mean easier: Sometimes you just want a second opinion on something, and that can be difficult when you’re doing the trip alone. Online forums/reviews and asking friends can help a lot with this though.
- You’re either fearless or crazy. Everyone I speak to has one of two extreme opinions on me traveling alone. Some people comment on how brave I must be to go to a foreign country alone, especially as a young woman, and how they could never do something like that. Others think I’m out of my mind, mostly based off the idea that the unknown is so unsafe. I don’t think I’m necessarily either, or maybe I’m both, I don’t know. Either way, don’t let it deter you from going. Find solace in the people who love solo travel and do so much of it.
- What if I get lonely? Most women solo traveling for the first time get anxiety over staying safe; I get anxiety over becoming lonely. I think there will be some moments where I do get lonely, but I’m trying to overcome this and learn to better enjoy being in my own company.
- Be excited. Whenever I’m bored and need a pick-me-up, I search the places I’m going on google images or plan another portion of the trip. I always have countdowns going, and my current screen savers are of Copenhagen, so every time I open my laptop or phone I get excited all over again. Traveling is exciting so let yourself be excited.
Overall, I’m incredibly excited to be going on this trip; it is the light at the end of the exam period tunnel.