I have been lucky enough to venture to many countries around the world, and a great deal of this travel has been on my own. Every time I come back from traveling alone, I have learnt something new about myself and grown in a way that is very different to any other experience.
My first experience was on a School Exchange when I was 16 years old. I went to Finland on my own for 6 weeks and stayed with a lovely host family. I was very young and it was the first time I had ever done something like this. I remember the beginning being a bit difficult but as soon a I got to know the family and got involved in the country it got a lot better. I grew up a lot in 6 weeks and I believe my maturity level increased. I learnt that I can handle things on my own and that it’s so important to put yourself out there and have a good time with whatever you do.
Then a couple of years later I adventured to Europe on a Contiki tour. I spent the first 2 nights on my own in Paris and that was probably the scariest part of the trip. Having to organise how to get from place to place with no signal or data was the biggest thing to conquer. But I managed and had a lovely time. I met so many people from around the world and it was an amazing experience. I often think back about how it would have been different if I went with someone. I feel like I put myself out there more to make friends and have a good time. I think I made more friends because I was on my own. You also develop that attitude that you CAN do things, instead of ‘I can maybe do it’.
I now sit in Hanoi, Vietnam. I traveled, about 4 months ago from South Africa all on my own, to a country where I knew no one. It was definitely the most out of my comfort zone I have ever felt, but I think I have grown heaps and bounds in the last few months. I have only myself to fall back on. Yes I have made lovely friends but I have to deal with most things alone. This has made me stronger and believe in myself so much more. Yes sometimes it is difficult to deal with everything on your own but you know what… I now know I can deal with almost any situation life throws at me.
- You realise your own style of travel.
- You are forced to make friends and talk to people from the cities you are in, because otherwise you will just be alone your whole holiday.
- You get to be your complete and honest self.
- You discover a lot about yourself and become stronger.
- Independence is something that grows in you.