Movies, books, and t.v shows always show traveling alone as a life-changing experience. Still, it is terrifying to do so. Here’s some advice from someone who almost did not do it.
On my way to the airport, there was only one thing on my mind: I lost my mind when I decided to buy this ticket. There is nothing I love more than traveling, except maybe going to concerts, and I was on my way to doing both alone. The decision was an impulsive one because one of my favorite artists was not coming to my country, so I decided I should go where she is. But none of my friends could afford such a decision, so I had to do it on my own.
Back then I did not know there were so many options for people who travel alone, especially women. The websites Focus on Women, Mujer y Viajera and Trips4girls help travelers to find secure places to stay, advice for each location, food recommendations, and even suggestions on where to travel next. It’s a reminder that even when we decide to travel by ourselves, we are never alone. It can bring a sense of comfort when the world becomes a scary place.
Because even when there are barriers preventing women from traveling, such as payment gaps or the risk of trafficking networks, more than 51% of travelers in the world are female. When going alone, it is important to research the country’s customs and have more precautions, but fear should not be the reason why the world closes up for women.
In my experience, one of the best things that come from traveling alone is the people you meet along the way, proving that we are never truly alone. One of my favorite movies is Eat, Pray, Love, and seeing Julia Roberts’ character making friends along her trip seemed like a unique and non-relatable experience, but it turns out that building new homes is part of the traveling experience.
Minutes after buying the plane ticket I had to start to think about where I was going to stay since I did not have any relatives or friends living in Santiago de Chile. Funny enough, I used Twitter to ask my friends if they knew someone who traveled recently there to give advice, and I found an incredible guy with a common friend who not only offered me to stay with him during my stay but was also my tour guide, advisor and companion to the festival. Suddenly I was no longer going alone, I had something to wait for.
Still, the arrival was one of my biggest concerns: getting off the plane and finding my way through the metro for the first time. But that was until one of my closest friends found out that some acquaintances were also going to the festival… in the same plane, I was. So in the end, I got to make five new friends with whom I keep in contact now that I am back.
So I got the best of both worlds: by going alone, I got to choose what I wanted to visit, define my own pace, rest when I wanted, walk if it was better for me, and stay longer in a museum just because it felt like home. Having the independence of choosing what I wanted to do was a highlight, but it was nice knowing that I also had people in the city who knew where I was and would go out for food or a drink with me when I had enough alone time. It was a perfect balance that made the trip so special, even more than the ones I had accompanied. Walking and exploring alone gave me a sense of adventure I had forgotten I had, but I also had the opportunity to test my social abilities by creating new friendships that were making sure I was okay.
It was a nice and necessary reminder that even when there are risks and dangers, you can find peace and good people everywhere. Fighting the fear of the unknown can lead us to unexpected happiness and sides of ourselves we could not find anywhere. So if you are looking for a signal to book that first trip alone… take this article as one.