Travelling solo for long period of time: daydream or a nightmare?

I think we all had those gloomy Monday’s when our boss wasn’t happy with anything we did or our co workers irritated the crap out of us by simply breathing. Or maybe your boss is great or you are your own boss but you simply wondered if there is more to life than just paying taxes, searching for our other half and getting a mortgage.

At one point or another we all sat at our lunch break and considered packing our bag with essentials only and boarding a one way flight to another continent.

We all had a vision of ourselves sipping cocktails by the pool, dancing with strangers during the week, hitchhiking through most scenic routes, tasting new cuisines and star gazing, maybe living with a local family whilst learning how to horse ride:)

Exactly 165 days ago I’ve left London with one small backpack and a suitcase and one way ticket to Central Asia and this hasn’t been one long happy trip.

Between you and me I’m also surprised that I lasted this long 😂 I gave myself a month top lol was ready to fly back to safety after a week!

Btw that’s me on my flight… can you see the doubt on my mind!???

If you look at my Instagram you will mostly see pictures of beautiful scenery with the occasional smiley selfie and mandatory wise quote underneath 🙂 Believe me , it’s not always sunny and things will go wrong one way or another…

There will be rainy days, flights or buses will get cancelled, accommodation will turn out to be not so good, you will meet rude people, you will get injuries. It’s all part of the journey.

To date those are my injuries and downfalls:

-had altitude sickness twice

-one scorpion bite

-one bee sting

-one spider bite

-2 bruised bones

-one raven attack

-2 shepherd dogs attacks

-been scammed by a taxi driver

-met some unkind travellers

-almost got into a fight in a club

I thought saying goodbye to all my old friends and acquaintances was hard. I didn’t know that I will meet so many lovely people on my way and saying goodbye will become as common as saying hello.

People travel for very different reasons. I met married people who travel solo, couples who met whilst travelling, people who take break from the corporate world, people making their ways across continents. The youngest traveller I met was 21 and the oldest 74:) There is no such thing as the right time as you can see!

My reason? I love discovering new places, tasting new food, walking down a street and not be haunted by memories…

I was also tired and bored of having the same small conversations with the same people every day: how are you? When are you going back home? What will your next job be?

Unfortunately as a traveller I had to face even more tedious questions: where are you originally from? Why arent you married? When are you going back? Where are you travelling next?

I’m not even joking but some people asked me where am I from before they even said hello…

Im not saying I’m hiding my nationality (I’ve been accused of that!) I just simply don’t see how it matters to someone I just met? And do you know why it matters to most people? Because when you tell them where you from they will immediately put you in a box. Box full of whatever information or impression they have of that country and they will treat you accordingly. I hold two passports but frankly I don’t associate my nationality with my personality.

My favourite type of travellers so far are all those fearless independent solo female travellers. I consider myself a beginner when it comes to travelling and I’ve met women who are on the road anything from 2 yrs to 5 yrs. non stop! They always had a piece of advice and encouragement to share. Of course I also met fantastic males travelling solo. However they never encountered certain issues so I couldn’t ask for advice…

yes, travelling as a female can be a bit more challenging especially when it comes to safety.

I often get asked if I’m scared. My answer is always the same: of what?

The truth is of course I’m scared. I’m scared of dogs, bears and…people. I now carry a whistle and small knife with me. Rather as a precaution than a weapon. Had to use my whistle couple of times to draw attention of a sloppy dog owner and used my hiking poles to keep the dog away from myself. The knife is mainly for a survival emergency scenario like if I have to build myself a shelter (as if knew how to!).

For me this trip is mainly about discovering myself and letting go of any attachments. I also decided to face my fears such as claustrophobia. So far I got mixed results on that:) tunnels and small caves are still a no go…

Since I’ve mentioned downfalls it would be nice to also mention my small victories:

-done my first through hike (3 days)

-finally capable to walk 30km a day without breaking too much sweat

-I can pretty much navigate my way out of most forests or mountain areas (but still can’t find an exit out of shopping mall)

-I can live without cheese and be happy

-minimalist when it comes to clothes

-faced my fear of public speaking by volunteering at a school

-I learned to be happy in the moment instead of constantly fretting about the future and next step

But travelling solo for such a long period of time does take its toll on my mental health… I can rarely fully relax as I’m responsible for booking all accommodations, bus tickets etc… of course I became more relax when it comes to planning but still…it has to be done.

Sometimes, especially at nights, you will crave someone you can tell about your day…share the good laughs with or the tears. Journal can help with that a little bit:)

I know that for most people travelling solo is such a crazy idea as jogging is to me but if I encourage even one of you to take that step and do at least one solo trip, then I believe I fulfilled my life purpose:) no, I’m not saying that travelling as a couple of with a group of friends is bad… I’m just saying that everyone should at least try one solo trip in their life time!

The biggest fear many people have about this type of travel is that they will be lonely… trust me! That will be the least of your worries! Especially if you are a woman!

During my 165 days of travelling I had maybe 20 days when I was truly on my own. Oh, what a bliss that was since I’m an introvert :)) I needed that to recharge myself!

But believe me, you will always meet whoever or whatever you currently need.

Safe travels!

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