I wrote this post about how much I love solo travel and while I want to keep this blog positive, I think it’s only fair to share all sides of that.
While I still encourage people to go on at least one solo trip abroad in their lifetime, and I will continue to plan my trips with or without friends here’s a few things you may not expect to happen:
- One of my big points for solo travel was the freedom that comes with it. You can do whatever you want, whenever you want! The only downside is that doing whatever you want whenever you want is hard if you’re feeling indecisive! This past trip I had an idea what I wanted to do but left a lot of days open to see where I wanted to go and I had the hardest time making decisions! I never realized how go with the flow I am because sometimes when traveling I’ll just ask the other person what they want to do and we’ll do that and being solo for a while I started procrastinating leaving certain places because I was so unsure about what to do next. I made a decision and leapt for it and it all worked out in the end.
- You may not get as many pictures of yourself places. OK I know everyone loves a selfie stick but I just love my camera and coming up with creative shots that aren’t selfies. I have found that if you go anywhere touristy there are likely other people taking pictures and if I see a couple or a group of friends I will offer to take a shot of them and I’ll ask if they can snap one for me. This has always worked out and people are usually so happy to have a picture together! I think people want to ask sometimes and are hesitant. But I have done this for people when we haven’t even spoken the same language and it all worked out. And if they trust me with their camera, I can trust them for a second with mine. (Honestly, even before social media existed I loved photography and enjoyed taking classes about it. I care about photos and I’ve always enjoyed taking them whether it’s to make other people feel happy or beautiful or just to capture a special moment even if I never share some of them.)
- I get asked a lot how I avoid being lonely. I truly enjoy my own company. But, I try to make friends and ironically make way more friends when I’m traveling alone anyways. Whether it be other tourists or locals, just smile and try to find common ground. When in Italy, talk about futbol. 🙂 If I ever start to feel lonely I go for a walk or find something interesting to do. Normally when I’m going, going, going it doesn’t even occur to me to feel lonely! The only time I wished someone was with me was usually when a little hiccup would happen because it would’ve been nice to look over at a familiar face and laugh about it.
- You won’t always feel welcome at restaurants. Usually everyone in Italy is so extremely warm & friendly but restaurants weren’t always welcoming if I wanted to sit and eat or have a drink. It’s the busy season and I’m taking up space at a table where 4 other people could be sitting. I was actually shooed away from one place when I said it was just one! I didn’t encounter this all the time but I realize where they’re coming from. On the flip side, when you’re alone sometimes you’ll get a drink sent you 🙂
- You can’t get too tipsy. Of course I went to that party I was invited to at a private villa! But when no one was looking I was pouring my drink out onto the grass. I don’t want to expect the worst from people and I’m confident I made pretty safe decisions but if you’re a girl traveling alone you have to keep your head about you and that means you can’t drink too much or put yourself in dangerous situations.
- You need to pay more attention to your things. You should always try to be observant of your surroundings but even more when you’re solo. I had to keep an eye on my belongings at all times and this was tricky when I wanted to go swimming and leave my stuff for a minute. Most of the time I would look for people who looked like they were tourists as well and for this reason I would sometimes pay for a bed on the beach because I feel like they help to watch your things some and it occurred to me if my neighbors on the beach were willing to pay for a bed too, they’re probably not interested in any of my stuff. In fact, at Arienzo beach someone left a bag with an iPad and a whole bunch of stuff. I’m sure the owner was flipping out when they realized it was left. But I watched a boy turn it into the staff so keep in mind there are good people everywhere. 🙂
I really do try to keep things positive always & I hope none of these things come across as negative or discouraging because I’m such a fan of solo travel! Part of the reason I started this blog is because I want to inspire others and encourage them to see the world! These are all thoughts I had the past few weeks and it is a truly different experience than going with a friend so I wanted to depict that.
Another thing no one tells you about solo travel is that it will become addictive! I do feel like travel humbles you while building your confidence at the same time. Travel is my favorite hobby and has gifted me with my favorite adventures.