|Leave your hesitations behind
Here are my tips for building confidence with traveling alone.
1. Spend a couple days a month exploring your own city by yourself. The tendency for most of us is to ignore our own backyards for the sake of traveling hundreds of miles to explore a more “foreign” location. Visit a part of your city that you haven’t been to in a long time, or perhaps ever. Play with the amount of preparation you do prior to these days out. Initially you may want to plan out the entire day but a sense of comfort with being flexible will go a long way in helping you feel more confident on your own.
2. Go out for meals by yourself. If you’ve never had lunch by yourself, start there and you’ll quickly notice that many people eat lunch alone. Dinner without company is the ultimate test, however. Try this worthwhile trick once shared with me by a good friend: sit at the bar where you have the option of interacting with the (usually) friendly bartender. Bringing a good book for company is another good strategy.
3. What are your interests? If you’re not yet sure what you do and don’t enjoy doing, trying tip no 1 above should help you realize where your interests lie. Take some time to reflect on this as it will help you meet like-minded people when you travel or live abroad.
5. Undoubtedly, you’ll want to make friends at some point during your solo venture. You’ll find that you’ll strike up conversations with random people for the sake of human interaction. If that doesn’t sound like you, start practicing while still in the comfort of your city. Starting with a smile usually helps.
6. Recognize that not all destinations are created equal when it comes to solo travel. This tends to be especially true for female travelers. Do the necessary research and follow it up with the necessary preparation. If this sounds overwhelming to you, plan your first independent trip to a location not too different from your own home. No two places are entirely the same so even if you think you’re not venturing far, you’ll be surprised at the differences you’ll find and the memorable experiences you’ll come home with.
7. Loneliness comes in short bouts. Have a strategy in place to lessen the impact, such as a sending a postcard to someone back home or partaking in something active that brings you joy.