The idea of traveling solo has always come and go in my mind for many years. The idea excites me but soon after thinking about it, I had never been able to pick it up and go forward with it. The fear of the unknown and risks involved had taken over me in a form of procrastination. “I don’t have the time” and “I’ll wait for my friend to get on board” are some of the things I told myself to calm my excitement down, and move on with my “life”.
Last week, the idea came back to me again. I wanted to see the Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Planning the trip doesn’t seem like a hassle so I decided to let my excitement took over the fear this time and pushed myself out of my comfort zone. I started booking a flight to Cambodia and committed myself to the plan preventing me from backing out like I used to. On Saturday that week, I went to Cambodia for 3 days, see the mind blowing Angkor Wat, talked to a few locals and some travelers traveling alone. The experience was so fulfilling that If I can choose, I’ll travel solo again on my next trip and here’re a few reasons why:
When you are traveling with companions, each one of them are fulfilling their own goals individually and it requires you to compromise and sacrifice in order to come up with an itinerary that everyone approve. In some cases, the trip would be canceled before it began because the itinerary can’t be agreed upon. This is not the case for traveling alone. Traveling alone is all about you fulfilling your goals so you can do whatever you want. If you feel like sitting and chilling out for an hour at the top of Angkor Wat, you can. Want to be adventurous and travel to places not many would go? Again, you can. Traveling alone, you are the star of your own movie. Meeting New People
When you are traveling alone, you are more likely to meet new people than traveling in groups. Many people will approach you and strike a conversation with you more. In Cambodia, I have met with a few locals, and one is a waitress at a restaurant at the night market. She was around my age and we exchanged experiences on what it was like to live in Cambodia and Thailand. I have also met another experienced solo traveler on the plane. He told me about his experiences around South East Asia and how he prepared for each trip.
As a solo traveler, you seek small connections such as these to keep you company and these small connections are what made the experience so unique. You will not get such a personalized small connection if you come in groups. Living in the moment
In Cambodia, I was walking around at a very remote temple called Banteay Srei. It was early in the morning and there weren’t many tourists around. It was so quiet that I started observing the surrounding more. The birds chirping away, the sounds of leaves being blown by the wind. I have never enjoyed a single moment as much as I did on that small walk around the temple. Without any distraction, I started to be aware of what I am doing, where I am at, and the purpose of why I am there. This is me living in the moment at its finest.
Best environment to get creative with your life
I am now back in Bangkok, and I can tell you that I’m more motivated to work than ever before. Traveling alone allowed me to came up with so many business ideas for BucketListly.com that I can’t wait to work on it. Traveling offers not only a time for me to be alone with my thoughts, but it also exposed me to new information and allows my mind to wander trying to find a connection between the differences of my home country and the country I am currently in. These are the kinda things that can only be experienced if you are in an unfamiliar places and you are left alone with your thoughts. You will become a better version of yourself
You may not realized it but once you are able to make yourself travel alone, challenging yourself, and go against your fears and negativity, you have become a better version of yourself. You will make decision faster and better. You will learn to rely on yourself and not others. You will learn the value of trusting a stranger. You will learn how to entertain yourself, to be alone but yet connected. You will learn to observe the world around you, seeing the value in little things. And in the end, you will learn that the fear of the unknown and the risk involved that you’d experienced being taking the leap are all lies. You are no longer bound by your fear. You are now truly free. Everyone should travel alone at least once
After my solo trip in Cambodia, I can confidently say that everyone should travel alone at least once in their lifetimes. There’s just nothing like it. All you need is 90% courage and 10% money. The experiences you will gained from traveling alone is worth way more than the money you are paying for it. Next time when you are spending thousands of dollars on clothes and gadgets, ask yourself this: “Would I rather invest in this which I’ll likely throw it away in a few years or invest in an experience that will last forever?”
Tip: The trick to ease the process is to start by traveling somewhere near, where you can communicate in your own language. That way, you will be less intimidated by the risk involved and planning required.