Beginnings of my Solo Travel Adventures
So the first time I experienced a true solo travel experience, apart from of course when I decided to move to China to live and work alone, was last January/February 2016. I'll never forget it. I went traveling to South East Asia; Bangkok>Laos>Vietnam>Cambodia>Bangkok and then back to Shanghai, or at least that was the plan. In fact, originally my trip was planned with a work friend of mine. We both wanted to travel South East Asia for six and a half weeks so we thought why not join up?
It wasn't a total disaster but we quickly learned we'd be better off traveling separately. We both had different styles, desires, paces and interests. I quickly learned so much about myself. I learned that I have good instincts, intuition about people, that I’m quite fast paced, I know what I want and I trust people quickly - but with good intuition. I was happy to talk to strangers, locals and non-locals (such as other travelers), try new experiences, go off the beaten path and truly explore, discover and embrace my surroundings. There is a quote that will stay with me because it really is so true and was symbolic of that trip and every other travel I've done since;
"Become friends with people who aren't your age. Hang out with people whose first language isn't the same as yours. Get to know someone who doesn't come from your social class. This is how you see the world. This is how you grow."
Anyway, I am going to be completely honest and say that I was scared shitless when my work friend and I parted ways. I didn't completely believe in myself. I still had six weeks ahead of me, three different countries, no hostel bookings (my friend had been doing that for us in advance via her iPad), no proper plan and I was all alone in a different country. But you know what? I will never regret or forget embracing it and persevering. Upon arrival into Laos, my true SOLO adventure began when I checked into a different hostel as my friend and I had decided to do our own thing from there on. This was the moment I realized, you are never truly alone. Within moments a guy in the same hostel room came to speak to me and we agreed to explore together that day! By the way, I was in Luang Prabang, Laos.
Since then onwards I've traveled to more and more places, more often than not "alone". But I no longer ever feel that fear or feeling of being alone anymore. Humanity, people, nature, and the world have become my friends and family. You will always meet friendly people and I truly never feel alone now. As a solo traveler, I genuinely meet more people than those who just stick with their friends who they know.
I could talk forever and tell you how amazing that day in Luang Prabang was with my new friend. The point of this blogpost was to explain to you how my love for solo travel all began. The routes of it, I guess. I decided to start with this, even though it was over a year ago, because it was truly the beginning of my journey. I continued to travel through Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia and I can't even explain to you just how amazing my experience was. I met people from all over the world, of all ages, backgrounds, and ethnicities. This grew me as a person, more than you can imagine until you try it yourself.
I have deep memories of an eye-opening village homestay in Sapa Vietnam, sleeping in a hammock on the beach in the jungle on a beautiful, isolated island in Cambodia (Koh Ta Kiev), wandering in my thoughts on various journeys, making amazing friends, travel romance, challenges, sunrise over Angkor Wat and endless more.
And at the end of the six and a half weeks how did I feel? The feeling is indescribable. I'd traveled four countries, on my own but never really alone, made so many friends who I'm still in touch with today, I'd survived, not lost anything or gotten seriously hurt, seen so much nature, culture, and beauty. And the main outcome was a complete adventure of self-discovery. It truly is a surreal adventure. Being in the world, no real plan, hopping country to country via train, night bus and the like. Not knowing who you are going to meet, connect with and learn from next. I'm truly blessed.
I'll develop my story in my next blogpost! If you have any questions, especially my fellow women fearful of traveling alone, please don't hesitate to contact me. I also post a general weekly blogpost of my travels and life in Asia via wanderlusteast.blogspot.co.uk