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Please Don’t Be Afraid To Travel On Your Own

Bundi, India
You want to travel. You make a vague plan. Maybe you’ll fly to Thailand or maybe to Mexico, but either way, you’re leaving in six months time. You start saving money, you start doing research every single night and your level of excitement grows with each passing hour.

Of course, as this will be your first ‘real’ travel experience, you naturally prefer to travel with other people and so you start asking your friends to join you on your epic adventure. As you show them photos you found online of white sand beaches on a Thai island and of the Mayan ruins of Chichen-Itza, you are more than confident that you will have a travel partner or two in no time at all.

But interestingly enough, the first friend you ask, perhaps your closest friend, turns you down. And so you move on to the next friend, but they too, tell you that they have no desire to join you at all. The third friend, the fourth friend and even that guy that you don’t really like but whose company you think you could stand for a few months in Southeast Asia, all say no as well.

Suddenly, you are faced with the idea of embarking on a journey to faraway and very foreign lands all alone. You start to doubt whether or not you are up for the challenge, whether or not you have the courage necessary to survive as a solo traveler.

Maybe you decide to postpone your trip for another six months, hoping that one of your friends will change their mind and decide to tag along. Maybe you decide to forget about your trip altogether, fully convinced that you can only travel so far away from home with a friend or travel companion by your side.

You still desperately want to travel, so much so that you still spend many a night awake in bed researching random destinations, reading every travel article you can find and browsing through travel blog after travel blog. But now you try to accept the fact that what you read and see online is as close as you’ll come to actually traveling yourself.

DON’T GIVE UP JUST YET!

Perhaps, during your online dreaming, you stumbleupon my travel blog and you decide to stick around long enough to read a couple of posts. Maybe you find yourself reading this very post and you can relate to that process of giving up on your travel goals simply because you don’t want to travel alone. And in all honesty, if that is the case, then I’m quite happy that you are reading this post right now.

Here’s my advice to you. You may be on your own when you board that flight to Bangkok or Mexico City, but believe me, once you arrive, you’ll NEVER actually be alone.

That’s how travel works. Unless you stare at the ground and never talk to anyone, you’re going to meet people when you travel, lots and lots of people from all over the world who will be interested in meeting and hanging out with you. In fact, meeting new people is probably one of the easiest things to do when traveling because you have an instant connection with every other traveler. All travelers are strangers in a foreign land and as a result, we often would love an opportunity to travel with a new friend.

Maybe you’ll meet someone at the hostel or guesthouse where you’re staying or at a cafe, in a shop, on a bus or just in the street. Maybe you’ll end up wandering around a city for an afternoon with this person and then parting ways. And the next day, you’ll probably meet someone else to share new experiences with as well. Perhaps you’ll meet someone and decide to travel together for a couple of days or even a couple of weeks. Maybe your plans match up so well that you team up for a month or more.

The point is, you’ll meet plenty of people in just about every single corner of the world, even if you’re the most shy, introverted person on the planet.

Drinks in Mumbai, India

MY FIRST SOLO TRIP

When I left for Southeast Asia back in 1999, I did so all alone. Sure, I asked every single one of my friends to join me, just as most of us would do, but they all said no. However, after a long, hard internal debate, I made the decision to visit Asia anyway, with no travel companion. And this decision proved to be the most important decision I have ever made.

I won’t lie to you. When I boarded that flight from Los Angeles to Bangkok, I was shaking. I was so scared of the uncertainty that awaited me that I could barely even think and as a result, I couldn’t help but realize that this was the most terrifying experience of my life.

In fact, several years later, when I was given ten seconds notice one day that I would have to give a forty-five minute presentation to 1000 people on a cruise ship, the fear I felt at that moment was NOTHING in comparison to how I felt on that flight to Thailand.

But of course, despite the fear, as I soared high over the Pacific Ocean, high over Taiwan and eventually into Southeast Asia, I knew that there was no turning back.

AND THEN MY FLIGHT LANDED…

…and I passed through immigration and customs at the Bangkok Airport and I even managed to make it from the airport into the city center without any problems despite the fact that it was after midnight. I spent the night in a budget hotel room and then, during my first stroll around the streets of Bangkok the very next morning, I met a British traveler at a cafe. We started talking and sure enough, we both had planned to travel overland to Cambodia in order to celebrate the Millennium at Angkor Wat.

That was it. Just like that I had a travel partner, less than nine hours after I had arrived in Bangkok. And we got along so well that we ended up traveling together for almost two months.

Will that happen to you when you embark on your adventure? There’s no guarantee of course. But again, if you look up, smile and start conversations with those around you, the chances of you actually being alone are quite miniscule (unless you want to be alone).

And before long, you’ll understand why I answer every single email that asks me what it’s like to always travel alone with the very same response. I simply say, “I may be a solo traveler but I’m never really on my own.

So, with that now said, I urge you to not let the fear of traveling by yourself stop you from achieving your travel goals. It would be such a shame to let that happen, especially when that fear will disappear shortly after you arrive at your first destination.


Have you experienced this fear? Have you reconsidered your travel plans when your friends didn’t want to join you? Do you agree that meeting people is quite easy while on the road?

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350 Responses to Please Don’t Be Afraid To Travel On Your Own

  1. Jemima says:

    Hi Earl,

    I will be 18 this year and want to go overseas next year for the first time. I have travelled alone before but never overseas. Do you think that is wise or should I wait a year or so?

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Jemima – It depends on you and whether you feel you’re ready. There are 18 year old solo female travelers out there, that’s for sure, but if you’re not comfortable with it and don’t feel ready, then perhaps you should wait. I would spend some time thinking about it all, doing some research and figuring out whether it makes sense for you right now. And if it does, just know that plenty of others have done it and you can make it happen as well.

  2. Ilona says:

    I have done extensive travelling on my own as well and because I have not been “protected” by a companion, it was easier to meet other travellers and that seat on the bus next to me often provided interesting travelling companions. I travelled around South America following my intuition each day and thus was always at the right place and the right time for the next adventure to exceed my expectations. Having no one to consult with and making your own plans is liberating and I will always remember those experiences. Also learning Spanish at a conversational level meant that I was able to meet and make friends with local people as well as other travellers.
    Having said all that, done that and got the T shirt, I would now like to experience travelling with with a like minded companion.
    Thank you for your blog, I am enjoying perusing it.
    Ilona

  3. atif says:

    To cape town betwen 28 nov to 4 dec 2014 travelling solo for first time need company to feel comfortable

  4. Darien says:

    I’m 20 years old and I’ve been wanting to travel for years now.. everybody I ask to come with me always make up excuses. I don’t want to look back on life saying what if I did this or what if I did that. Traveling is my passion but I’ve never traveled alone. These next few years I want to travel everywhere possible. I’m willing to let go of the life I have in my small town to see what this world has to offer. How can I get passed this hump. I’m from NJ and I’d really like to meet others with the passion of traveling.

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Darien – I recommend starting with my Getting Started page as you’ll find plenty of useful posts that will guide you towards your goal and provide you with ideas on how you can begin such an adventure.

  5. Hey Earl,

    I am from India and I also wish to travel the world starting from my own country just as you. Although it won’t be possible for me to go on a non-stop escapade as you did. Still, I wish to travel each and every country on the Earth.

    Now the one question I want to ask regarding this post is whether you encountered any thugs or anyone like that during your traveling especially in India or South America for instance..

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Rajeesh – No, I’ve never encountered any thugs. I had my wallet pickpocketed in Delhi once but that was the only crime I’ve really faced in over 14 years anywhere in the world.

  6. Dennis says:

    Chris I turned 40 last fall, and finally decided to go somewhere none of my friends or familly ever visited. So after a bit of research and asking around if any friends would join me I ended up in Panama, alone. I only had 2 weeks so I decided to spend it all in that country. I was as Earl says terrified while sitting on the plane there, not seeing another european on the plane (from Sweden)
    I only had one adress to a hostel in P city. I managed to get there, and there a whole new world opened for me. Lot’s of people lived there from all over the world. Finding new friends at every turn. Everybody you will meet are in the exact same shoes as you. Curious about the world you are in, and interessted in meeting new people. I would be amazed if you did not find new travel companions after 1 day there.
    I am now planning my new trip to central/south America, planning to go from Mexico to Brasil, and guess what. I havn’t asked anyone to join me :)

  7. franky A says:

    Hello everyone ,

    My name is franky Im from Los Angeles ,CA
    Im at a point in my life where I need adventure and something new. Im 24 years old independent male and have a descent paying job which I am willing to give up in order to travel. I have a genuine passion to travel I love learning new things and will try anything, I am planning to travel within the next few months possibly europe and would be nice to find like minded individuals to accompany me. If your interested send me an email I would love to hear from you

  8. Tagel M says:

    I think it is a life changing experience and you are so lucky. Do U have a plan to visit Africa. If so, U have to start from its capital Ethiopia!

  9. Chelsea says:

    Sounds like we’re in the same boat. I’m 26 and also a female wanting to experience another country. Where are you wanting to travel to?

  10. Andrew Porter says:

    Great post. I too love travelling ‘alone’, you meet new people so much easier and are free from commitment to anyone.

    I first went travelling for a year with my best friend which was great. I then eased into solo travelling by flying off to Africa on my own to do an overland trip with a company, so that’s kind of half and half. Finally I set off for South America on my own and it was the best trip I’ve ever had. These days I have friends asking to travel/go on holiday with me but I turn then down as I’d rather set off on my own for the freedom and adventure. It really is as easy as Earl says to meet people travelling. You always have the standard ice-breakers, “where are you from”, “where have you just travelled from”, where are you going next”, etc and of course usually tourists are of great interest to locals, as locals are to us.

  11. Kathy says:

    HI. I came across your blog while googleing for this exact topic. I laughed because it was talking about me. I have never traveled out of California and is so scared, and yes I sit home researching random stuff on google about traveling.
    Maybe I can find someone on your blog with the same fears. I am almost 28 and have never been anyway. I am tight on budget but I have been saving, and being a female, I am more worried to travel alone than if I was a male. What do you think? Also, do you have tips for traveling on a tight budget. I don’t want to live life worrying that I am not rich enough to see the world before I die….

  12. Chris says:

    Hi Earl, do you think the same ease with meeting people and finding friends occurs for older solo travelers? I’m 36 and thinking of doing a month or two in SE Asia and getting lonely is a big concern for me.

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Chris – I would say that it’s probably easier for older travelers since we tend to be more comfortable with who we are at that point in life. We don’t worry too much about what others might think about us, making it easier to approach people or to be approached by others…the point is, you’ll have no problems at all, especially in SE Asia!

  13. marmaeyer says:

    I’m 19 years old and I would like to travel to Africa with absolute Africa later on this year. I spent 1 month in Nepal last year alone, but I’m hoping to find a travel buddy to spend about 3 months with in africa
    If your interested please contact me

  14. Connie says:

    Hey Earl,

    I’m 17 and finishing my last year in high school, and wish to throw away all the expectations of the daily grind and education and success in the from of paper and a pay check for a while when I finish, to go on a journey to see the world and deepen my experiences, and learn more about foreign cultures and myself.

    Thing is though, even travelling within my home country of Australia, I have inhibitions about travelling alone, mostly coming from my parents.

    I worry that because I am a woman travelling alone I might be more likely to become a victim of all sorts of horrendous situations that travellers can sometimes find themselves in. I worry about rape and sexual harassment, about theft, about getting kidnapped or lost. I feel like I can’t go without a group to have people looking after each other, especially for a hike. (One to stay with someone if they get injured, the other 2 to go get help together).

    Do you think that it is wise for a young teenage woman to set out travelling by herself? Or should I try and find a travel buddy, at least to accompany me until I meet someone else to travel with?

    Thanks, I love your blog. It is very inspiring and helping me get through this last horrible year of high school.

    From Connie.

    • Arry says:

      Hey Connie! You know that is the same case with me! Even I am gonna be 18 soon and want to leave to explore the world. But as I am also a girl, I fear about all the things you mentioned above! But I feel there are many females who explore the world ALONE and all they use is a bit of awareness and common sense while travelling. I don’t think we should give up our desires just because we are girls! Let us go out and explore!

      • Connie says:

        Thanks for the encouragement Arry! It’s great knowing there are people like me who are going to do a similar thing. I will definitely be reading up on tips for safely travelling alone. Maybe invest in some pepper spray for peace of mind. Maybe we will cross paths in our travels one day :)

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Connie – Thanks for the comment and overall, my advice is that if you use the same common sense you use at home, the chances of anything happening while abroad is as equally small. Would you feel better traveling with someone else, at least at first? That’s a question for you to answer and if the answer is a definite ‘yes’, then maybe that’s a good idea until you get comfortable with traveling and see that the world is not as scary or dangerous as you currently may think!

  15. J says:

    Good post, I’m leaving king Friday from UK to Bangkok and I’m terrified.

  16. Ruth says:

    This is exactly the article I needed to read right now. I’m planning on taking some big trips soon. I’ve traveled on my own before, but never for extended periods of time, and I’m terrified that my hopelessly shy and socially awkward self will just wind up depressed at the end of this trip. But this was reassuring. Wish me luck and thanks!

  17. Kelly says:

    Hey Sebastian, thanks for the recommendation. I will definitely check it out next round. =) I booked my tickets to Ams/Belgium/Paris prior to your reply. Yay!
    Hey Earl, I booked my tickets! With 3 weeks left, I am now trying my best to research as much as I could. I will read your posts for more tips.

  18. Hannah says:

    I can really relate to this post and this is basically what I have been telling my friends who ask me if I do not find it lonely travelling on my own. I reply that I do not – like you, I find it very easy to find company (and I’m a fairly shy person, but with a an appetite for travelling that far supersedes that).

    I cannot make any claims that I have gone as far as you – one of my furthest trips was a week-long trip around Western Scotland (I’m a Swedish 20-year-old woman living in England) – but I always prefer travelling on my own. I always meet so many interesting people at hostels of all ages and some I still keep in contact with. On the trip to Scotland, I met an English-Chinese couple on the train to Edinburgh which I talked to during the whole journey. Then I met a Brazilian woman in the hostel, who I did sightseeing with and dinner. In Western Scotland, I made friends with the staff at the accommodation where I stayed and we went on a pub crawl. So was I ever lonely during my trip? No, I wouldn’t say so.

    I think you have to be fairly self-reliant, though, but that is something you will learn by just taking the plunge.

    To be honest, I don’t really mind some solitude either, to be able to quietly take in your surroundings while walking.

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Hannah – I think what happens is that we quickly realize that if we do want to be around others while traveling, it just takes a little effort, and not much else, to ensure that happens. And I also like some solitude while traveling as well, so it’s nice to switch back and forth, knowing that I’ll always be able to find people to hang out with if I so desire.

  19. Kelly says:

    Hi Earl,

    I went for my first solo trip to Japan in 2010. I decided to stop looking for like minded people and choose to believe in myself. Even though few months later I trembled at the thought of what I did, I felt free and happy then.

    I have always been a socially awkward person. =x

    I almost went to Northern Europe 2 weeks ago but the plan was aborted because people around me told me all kinds of scary encounters. Fear got the better of me. (Imagine I have colleagues who thought it is unbearable to even have lunch outside on your own.)

    Now I am back to square one. My desire to travel is so high I am now looking at travel forum for travel buddies.
    It is good to know that there are many solo travelers out there with the same concerns.
    But as an introvert, it is tiring me out.

    I’m researching on UK/Amsterdam/Paris when I came across your site. Reading the introduction makes me laugh as I am having similar roller coaster emotions now.

    I think my most important step now is to book the very expensive air ticket so there is no turning back. But I still lack the courage. Hopefully I will post here in a month or two later with the words I did it! Wish me luck T.T

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Kelly – Just go for it! Especially in Northern Europe where you’ll meet plenty of other travelers everywhere…it has to be one of the more comfortable regions of the world to travel! Book the ticket and let us know how it goes :)

      • Sebastian says:

        If you go to Berlin you will see that so many expats live here…you will have no trouble at all finding people to talk to or to join you for a night out. I highly recommend coming to Berlin…best place to be in Europe ;)

  20. wesley says:

    After about 3 months thinking how crazy it would be to travel on my own i suddenly decided that i had to get away for holiday and escape the stress of daily life. My friends dont travel alot or some would to in the summer. so i went on my own 1 week to morocco. On my way i feeled like i was doing something very very crazy and was quite anxious, nervous. Would i spend a week in social isolation not talking to anybody. Nothing of my thoughts were true. On my way travel from holland to the hotel in morocco i had already had a good conversation with 4 persons. After the days i made many friends, from couchsurfing and also many local people. Especially a hospitable country like morocco would be (for guys) very advS isable for first time.travellers by themselve. One advise i have to give is that you would have take caution with people that you meet because every country has good and bad people. But dont let that stop you because while being in morocco i have met some people that are out for your money but also many people that treat me like im there brother and actually take care of me and want to give you more than they take. Overall experienc
    Was very very nice i would definatley do it again. However my preference would be with a friend.

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Wesley – Those are all great points and I’m glad you ended up going out there on your own and having a positive experience. And while you would prefer to travel with a friend, at least you’ll probably still go after your travel goals even if you can’t find one to join you. As you know, there are plenty of people out there, including other travelers, that you can meet along the way!

  21. Christina says:

    Hej Tasha!

    Im from Denmark! When you arrive somewhere in Europe, you can buy what they call an interrail pass….its not expensive and that way you can travel through Europe with train….Its a good inexpensive way to see Europe. I’ve done it plenty of times-always fun. :) Other than that….Ryanair and other similar discount companies fly to many places in Europe and you won’t be broke from the buying the plane ticket alone… :P
    People are generally very friendly in Northern Europe….But its more expensive here…But we speak English very well and there’s always someone to talk to if you feel like it. :)
    If you happen to arrive in DK before August 18th (when I leave for my trip), I’ll be happy to show you around :)

    Let me know! :)

    Christina

  22. Tasha says:

    I’m so glad I stumbled across this blog! I’m a 22 year old femal, Canadian, and I’ve never been out of the country. I’m planning a solo trip through Europe in four months time, and I’ve been procrastinating on buying a plane ticket because I’m so nervous about committing to this trip! I think the thing I’m most worried about(besides flying on an airplane, which I’ve never been a fan of) is actually meeting people. I’m a fairly shy, socially awkward person, and I’ve never been the type that was able to walk up to total strangers and strike up a conversation. I guess I’ll just have to really push myself (farther) out of my comfort zone.. It’ll be an experience, that’s for sure. Reading this post has made me feel a bit better though, so for that, I thank you :)

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Tasha – If you really want to visit Europe, you should give it a try and believe me, it’s so easy to meet other people that you won’t even have to push yourself too much at all. Staying in hostels will ensure that there are always other people around and all it takes is a simple ‘hello’ to meet new people!

  23. Christina says:

    Great Post! This was what I’ve been looking for…
    A couple of months ago I decided that if I EVER wanted to see New Zealand, NOW is the time to go….with being single (no responsibilities to a husband/kids), no mortgage payment and leave from my job, there’s really no better time…But I’ve been struggling with the loneliness issue of traveling alone….I went to Honduras alone (BIG MISTAKE-one lesson learned there: always research before you go anywhere!) and was miserable! I’ve never been extremely outgoing….But this post more or less confirmed it for me…At the end of the day I’ll be okay. If I want company, I can find it…..If I want a travel partner, I can find one…..strangers are merely friends I have yet to meet. :)
    So! One year in New Zealand/Australia/Fiji here I come!

    Thank you for boosting my confidence when I was THIS close to canceling my ticket.

    Cheers!

    Christina

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Christina – I think that by the end of your trip you’ll be quite happy you didn’t cancel that ticket. You’ll find plenty of people to meet if you want in those regions of the world. There’s a reason why New Zealand is often on travelers’ lists of friendliest country they’ve visited…you’ll have a blast!

  24. Andy says:

    Great post! I’m leaving for a 3 week solo trip to Colombia in less than a month and I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get a full nights sleep until then, but I’m going to go ahead and do it anyway despite my fears because I’ll never know if I like it unless I do it.

    I’ve spent 2 months in Chile studying, a week in Guatemala for a work trip, and done a couple solo road trips in the US and Canada, but have never travelled completely alone in a “less developed” country where I will have to rely on public transport.

    I think in the end I will be glad I decided to go. I’m hoping to meet other travelers in hostels to hang out and travel with too.

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Andy – I don’t think you’re going to have any problem at all meeting other travelers and having the kind of adventure you’re seeking! Do let us know it all goes in the end!

  25. Yoshi-Man says:

    Hey.

    I was thinking about travelling to south-east Asia on my own and I’m half-Asian. I’ve wondered if I will have difficulties to be recognized and communicate with other travellers and the local people. Maybe the other travellers will see me as an local inhabitant and as I can’t speak a word of the asian language, I will have difficulties with the local people as well? Maybe these issues doesn’t matter but I just don’t want to be ignored in the whole of my trip.

    • Wandering Earl says:

      @Yoshi-Man – I don’t think it will be a problem at all and in the end, the best way not to be ignored is to talk to people :)

      That’s all you have to do and nobody is going to care at all. You’ll meet plenty of other travelers and locals will communicate with you too, even once they realize you’re not a local!

  26. Ebony-Rose says:

    This article is great! I have actually been given the gift of travel by my Godfather, for my 18th birthday. I can’t wait to look into where I could go and your article has made me really excited! The only thing I really worry about is my safety. I’m careful and sensible, but I’m young girl, 5’4″ and quite skinny. And very weak when it comes to self-defence. Would it be wise for me to travel alone to somewhere I’ve never been?

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Ebony-Rose – In general, if you practice the same common sense while traveling that you would practice while at home, the chances of anything happening are quite slim. Common sense really is the best security measure that you can take!

  27. Jo says:

    See the thing that worries me about going it alone is getting lost. In a big country you have never been before and trying to find your way around is scary. I’m from London but if I step out of my town into another I’d get lost as I am useless with maps but at least I can retrace my steps back to familiar territory, you can’t really do that in an exotic place.

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Jo – The idea of travel is to get lost from time to time :) But seriously, getting lost is not something to worry about to the point where you don’t travel. You’ll learn how to get around very quickly.

  28. Barry says:

    Hi Earl, thanks for the helpful advice as I am pretty much on the same boat as most other people on this page, wanting to travel alone but doubts stopping me. Would you never argue that sometimes people though wouldn’t be as friendly as you claim to be? as putting trust into random strangers even if they seem nice and are travelling too, can be potentially dangerous especially if people find out you are alone and see you as an easy target.

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Barry – In the end, people are good and if you use common sense while traveling, the chances of anything happening are quite slim. Contrary to common belief, there really aren’t mass amounts of people in every tourist destination following around foreigners, looking for easy targets. It’s about the same as it would be back home probably. Trust people, use common sense and if something doesn’t appear right, then walk away. That’s all you need to ensure you stay as safe as possible.

  29. Ashley says:

    Hi Kayla,

    You are absolutely making the right choice! The fact that you even made this decision is reason enough to know that you are doing the most exciting thing that you’ve ever made happen in your life. I spent a year in Australia and loved every minute of it. I travelled with my best friend for the beginning and then ventured out on my own which was when the real experience began. You don’t need a concrete reason to do this, as in school or work, just your drive for adventure is reason enough! Trust me and save yourself the worry, you will have no problem meeting people and having a blast. Australia is one of the easiest places to backpack and meet young people similar to yourself. It’s packed with backpackers looking for the same thing, an amazing experience and even better friends. It will change your life I almost guarantee it. :)

  30. Sue says:

    I posted in this around 6 months ago just before I headed off on my independent travels. I have to update. Best thing I ever did. Traveling by myself has shown me a completely different side to traveling than you get when doing group travel. Locals approach me more – much less intimidating by myself than in a group of travellers and pretty much everyone is friendly and helpful. And I get to decide myself where to go, how and when. Local transport is another great experience. And there are always other travellers in the same boat so I’ve ended up traveling with some for a bit. And then we go our own ways and it’s easy and nice. Fear is the thing that holds us back – and so far my worse fear (not meeting anyone and hating it) definitely hasn’t happened. The opposite has. I strongly encourage anyone who is considering it to just do it!

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Sue – I appreciate you sharing your experiences and of course, I’m definitely not surprised that it all turned out that way and that you’re encouraging others to travel on their own as well! That’s what I love to hear because, that’s how I feel too of course and it’s a shame when we don’t end up traveling because of that fear.

  31. Sara says:

    Hi!

    I want to travel this summer, and I was thinking about doing this college group backpacking tour, but I’m terrified because I’m really shy and I’ve never been one to party and drink all night, and I’m afraid that if that’s what it’s like, I’ll end up beind a total social pariah. I really want to get to know a city and drink coffee in a cafe and maybe do some writing — really mellow, uninteresting stuff in between the sightseeing and so forth. But I’m not quite brave enough to travel alone, and I feel like a group tour might be safer? I’m so mixed up!

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Sara – The best thing you can do is to try it out and see how it goes! You don’t need to party all night to have a rewarding travel experience. You can focus on what you want to gain from your trip and forget about what others are doing.

  32. sarah says:

    Hey, I love this idea. I’ve always wanted to road trip around parts of America especially San Fran to la. When are you planning on leaving? Hopefully I’ll have enough cash to not have to return to the Uk. I did travel around parts of Sri Lanka and India by myself for a month earlier this year and yes although it is scary o met so many lovely people that the time just flew by. Now I’m home all I’m doing is working to save the cash so I can leave again. The idea of going by myself for a longer period is daunting but this might be the only chance I have to do it so why not

  33. Jasmine says:

    Hiya Earl,

    I really admire you and your travels!
    I am just finishing university and really want to travel but have no one to go with. I am also very socially anxious and I fear I’ll have a hard time making friends when there’s probably more interesting and outgoing travellers around making friends with each other. My whole life I seem to have been left out, perhaps I’m just easy to ignore haha. I fear it’ll be the same when or if I travel. Do you ever meet any shy or socially awkward solo travels? I’d love to know how it goes for them… Also, I live in England but my friend who is on a placement in Philadelphia at the moment says I should visit her there for a few days and then I could travel to somewhere like Washington or New York… I don’t know, somewhere like NY I’d imagine is somewhere you’d go with other people, I’d feel silly on my own and probably very self-conscious. What do you think?

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Jasmine – With travel, you quickly learn that there’s no reason to be self-conscious because so much is going on and you realize that nobody really cares what you’re doing, how you’re acting, how you look, etc. Nobody’s paying any attention at all. And while I’ve met some shy travelers out there, usually they will say that they are still able to meet other people while traveling. It’s quite difficult not to meet other people regardless of how shy you may be :)

  34. Pingback: Please Don’t Be Afraid To Travel On Your Own – Wandering Earl | SweetWildLena

  35. Lauren says:

    Hey Kayla!
    I’ve just come back from travelling Australia and New Zealand for 4 months on my own. I was so excited until it got closer to the date I was leaving and like you, was so nervous about venturing into the unknown all alone I almost considered cancelling my flights! When I was on the way to the airport and saw the sign for Heathrow I was literally shaking from the nerves! What my mum told me really helped with my nerves when I was worried.. and that’s that if it’s really that bad when you’re away and you decide after a while that travelling really isn’t for you then guess what… you can just get a flight back home :) at least you’ll know that you tried and you’ll never look back with regret thinking I wish I’d have done that. I can honestly say it’s the best thing I ever done and had the most brilliant time! So much so that I am now saving to travel Asia and then go back to Australia on a work visa. Of course I was a bag of nerves on the way there, convincing myself I wouldn’t meet anyone but I was never really alone from the moment I arrived. And when I did have the odd day alone it was actually quite nice to just chill out. Traveling really does change you for the better. You become so much more confident and self assured. Just remember that nerves are perfectly normal and have an amazing trip!

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Lauren – That is so great to hear and I guess for your next trip, you won’t be dealing with those nerves any more! That confidence you have gained will never disappear!

  36. Jessica says:

    So, you may want to look into an organization called WWOOFING, the acronym stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. It is an exchange program that’s offered in tons of countries. You need little money and I am positive it will give you the experience you are looking for. To sum it up, you volunteer on an Organic farm between 20-25hrs a week (typically M-F 5hrs a day and weekends off). In exchange for your labor, the farm owners give you a place to stay, food, and the true experience of the culture. I did this in Spain for 3 months and LOVED it. My intentions were similar to yours, I left a finance job in order to pursue a more simple, less chaotic life. Another motivating factor was to learn Spanish. The great thing is, you select the type of farm you want to go to and you can stay anywhere between a week to a year depending on what they are looking for. I spent money only in between traveling to different farms and of course on sight seeing and tourism. Hope that helps!

  37. D says:

    Hi Earl,

    I want to be like you, I want to leave the UK and travel the world, literally.

    I will be doing this on my own and have no money or savings as of yet.

    I intend to save up around 2-3000 pounds to be able to get me going but I am wishing to live off the land and go back to the roots and essence of being a human being.

    I dont know where to start or what to take with me but I cannot take the bull*** stress of inner city life. What do you suggest?

    PEACE

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey D – Just have a read through the blog as that’s what it’s here for, to help others figure out how to achieve their travel goals!

  38. Kayla says:

    Hey!
    Wow this site made me feel so much better! I’m 19 years old and moving to australia for a year. It’s my first trip alone EVER, I haven’t even been somewhere out of Canada without my parents. I one day just booked a flight, got a visa and called it a day. Only a few more months now and I’ll be boarding a plane, to a place where I don’t know a single soul. I’m so excited but I’m so nervous to the point i feel as if I should cancel… I don’t have any real reason as to why I’m going. I’m just.. Going. However I do feel it will be good for my soul and a great experience. Am I making the right choice??? Please help!

  39. vinny says:

    Hey there!

    Great post man … so glad i found this from a simple google search…my stuation is similar to what happened to you. However, our destinations are different. I live in London, England. My friend has decided to drop out of the idea of travelling with me to california, due to his other priorities in life. Of which i undoubtedly respect his decision to do so. But i really want to go california..and do the epic road trip of travelling from san francisco to LA. I want to see the landscape and sights that california has to offer…and i feel that this kind of activity must be taken with a group of friends…me travelling by myself to a place like this and doing road trip type activities and even enjoying the nightlife is not something one usually endulges in on ones own. Thats just me opinion…it seems a little weird. But i’m here hoping you would help me change my mind and maybe offer your expertise in world travel.
    Thanks

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Vinny – Well, I’ll say this…if you travel to LA, stay at one of the more popular hostels in the city, I’m sure you’ll find other travelers who would love to join you for that road trip. Most people want to take on that adventure and I would be very surprised if you didn’t find anyone to share it with! Either way, there are new people to meet everywhere you go, so even if you begin alone, you’ll be meeting people in every town – Santa Barbara, Monterey, Santa Cruz, etc. – along the way!

  40. Rob says:

    HiEarl,

    Great site. I have just stumbled on it from a google search and I’m so glad I did. I was meant to be flying to Cancun Mexico for a 2 weeks with my girlfriend but we have now split up. I only have a flight, no accommodation and the trip is in 3 weeks. I was thinking of cancelling but after finding your site I feel like I should venture out solo and explore. I’m a bit apprehensive but seems like a wasted opportunity if I don’t go. Can you point me in the direction of some good sites to read up on given my short timeframe. Also any advice from you travels would be great. Keep up the good work. Wish me luck!!

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Rob – You should definitely go, you’ll have a great time down there. What kind of advice are you looking for exactly? If you have any specific questions, send them my way and I’d be more than happy to answer.

  41. PS says:

    Thank you for your post. I’m leaving for my first solo trip this week and as the days get closer, my anxiety level has increased. I can’t sleep right now since I’m so caught up in my own fearful thoughts! But I realize they’re just thoughts and I’ll hopefully be fine. Great post to help people reduce anxiety.

  42. Rob says:

    This is spot on to how planning my trip is right now. T-minus 2 months, and it seems like i’m staying up later each night reading and researching.

    Thanks for the post!

  43. kat says:

    Hi guys,
    I almost today booked for Thailand for a month in November to travel on my own and panicked.
    I feel I need to do this, I have had very bad health in the last four years and found myself completely reliant on people. Now I am on full form and I need the courage to do this. For me to learn again how to trust in myself. I am 24 and now after a broken relationship and living on my own I believe it us the perfect time.
    Sorry about all the babbling. . My family are very against this idea
    Kat

    • Matthew Cheyne says:

      This is awesome to read Kat. More power to you. I too am a solo traveler with many health problems. Sometimes we just need to do the things that empower us and make us feel better. To hell with what others, family included may think.

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Kat – If you truly want to take that trip then you owe it to yourself to book it!

      • Matthew Cheyne says:

        You’re right Earl. Kat just needs to do it and go ahead and make that booking and put herself beyond the point of no return as far as solo travel is concerned. That’s what I did back in 2001 when I bought my ticket to Sydney, the first of many solo traveler trips there. It’s scary at first, there is a lot of fear and trepidation but it is so so worthwhile in the end.

  44. alicia-joy says:

    I couldn’t agree more that travel alone rocks! Yes, it can be intimidating at first, especially for us ladies. But you just have to start. Like anything, you get more comfortable with it the more you do it. I meet so many interesting people when I travel alone. I also think it has helped me to grow. When you travel alone, you have to think & make decisions on your own. It will test your resilience, your patience, and your faith in yourself. It is a powerful life experience. Always be aware of your surroundings, follow your instincts, stay smart, and have a blast!!!!

  45. pheobe says:

    Hi Morgan, I am travelling solo to thailand in August. I’m 21 and this is my first time travelling alone. I am more excited than nervous but i’m sure as the date gets closer I will be very afaid. I am glad to hear I am not the only female solo traveller

    • Gina says:

      Hey Pheobe,
      I’m travelling to Thailand in July/August too! Pretty anxious too, not going to lie! I’m just making sure i’ve read up on everything and all the crazy things i want to do! Hope you have an awesome time!

      • Nadia says:

        I’m also 21 and thinking about travelling solo to Thailand in August! I am so confused though because all my friends (including one who has travelled in SEA with a group of people she met on a volunteering trip whilst out there) keep saying how I shouldn’t do it alone and that it will be too dangerous and I’ll get lost…the list goes on. Still, it is very encouraging to read posts like this, but can’t help thinking why they’re trying to put me off going solo?

        • Anna says:

          Hi Nadia,
          I know how you feel…I booked my very first solo trip a year ago. I was absolutely terrified, I couldn’t sleep for weeks before the trip and yes, everyone kept saying it was dangerous. I did it anyway and it was the best decision of my life. I was never alone unless I specifically chose to be. I’m going for a 3 months trip on my own very soon (Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and possibly Myanmar) and I’m so excited. Thailand is a really great place to start, it is safe, it is friendly and there are a lot of chilled out travellers you’ll meet. Don’t listen to your friends, do it anyway! You’ll absolutely love it.

  46. Morgan says:

    Hi there

    I am 22 years old and i would love to travel to Thailand and then onto Europe but i am scared to go alone as i am a young girl and many people have said not to go alone. What would you recommend?

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Morgan – It’s your decision in the end but all I can say is that there are plenty of solo female travelers out there of all ages who I’m sure would tell you that traveling on your own to Thailand is not a problem at all. Just have a look through my “Links” page and you’ll find plenty of travel blogs written by solo female travelers out there exploring the world.

    • Kristen says:

      I went alone to Thailand, Laos and Cambodia when I was 24, and it was AWESOME. SE Asia is a very good place to go alone, because there are a lot of other solo travelers there too, and they’re usually glad to join up with you. I had the choice to be alone, but it was also easy to meet people to travel with, just by staying in a hostel dorm. I never really felt unsafe. I would say definitely go, you’ll have a great time!

  47. Wesley says:

    Dear Earl,

    Your article persuaded me to go travelling alone. I was wondering, which country in Europe / North-Africa have very open people and would you recommend me travelling to. I ask this because I’m a little affraid I end up not talking to anybody (I’m very socially, if a conversation has started though).

    Thanks

    Wesley

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Wesley – I don’t think you’ll find much of a difference wherever you go as it will all be up to you in terms of communicating with other people. There are open, friendly people everywhere but usually, you need to initiate some kind of conversation. Luckily, you can go to couchsurfing.org and instead of using this service to find sofas to sleep on, there are plenty of locals that just want to meet up for a coffee/beer/meal. This is a great way to connect with locals right away, wherever you go.

  48. Lorraine Sonney says:

    Hi Earl,
    I am planning on travelling to Playa del Carmen. Reason for choosing this location is from stumbling onto you site. I wanted mexico. I have been there once for a week in an all exclusive paid for by my boss. What a beautiful place.
    I think I am having a midlife crisis, a very serious one where I need to get away for a month or longer before I have to figure what ever it is I am going to do. I am turning 55 Feb 1st. Still look young and feel young at heart. I always wished I had of traveled when I was younger and had no ties…
    I never did. Well why the heck not now before I get any older and find myself wishing years down the road that I had of done this.
    I am a little scared but really think I can handle it. Planning on selling my car and putting everything else in storage. I am very out going which I think is good…
    I found your site so helpful about living abroad for under $1000 per month. I have really enjoyed a lot of the information shared period. I have to say thanks because more than likely if not for your site I may not be making this decision.
    Thank you for all the information and all you said about Playa del Carmen.
    Wish me luck! Any helpful last minute hints??
    Thanks Earl,
    Kind regards,
    Lorraine Sonney.

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Lorraine – I think Playa might be the ideal place to just relax and figure things out. You’ll meet plenty of people, have access to beautiful beaches, great food and plenty of interesting destinations all over the area. It’s natural to be scared but usually, shortly after you arrive, those fears quickly disappear!

  49. Traveling alone is the coolest thing I’ve ever started doing in my life! It’s nothing more than a freedom of choice, no hurry and being where you are and when you want. Friends always ask me if I don’t feel lonely traveling alone. No, I don’t. Traveling alone doesn’t mean being alone 24/7. We still meet people on the way and make friendships.

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