Monday, August 22, 2016

The Dark Side of Solo Traveling People Seldom Talk About

I will be honest with you. Although I like to travel solo, there are still certain aspect of solo traveling I am (still) struggling with.  

1. Emotional Attacks

       Looks like you are contradicting your own article here. I thought you said solo travelers wouldn’t feel lonely? Well, loneliness is a sneaky monster that will attack when you least expect it. Normally I won’t feel lonely on the road, but it sometimes catches me off guard especially when walking into the arrival hall realizing that no one is waiting for you. 
       Secondly, I’d feel lonely when a new friend and I had to go separate ways at the end of the day. I have no problem accepting the fact that people come and go, however, we are only human. 

2. Envious to see a group of people

Sometimes when I see a group of friends traveling together, I can’t help but thinking how perfect it would be if I were traveling with my friends too. Sure, I love traveling solo, but having a travel buddy or 2 once in a while is therapeutic. Plus, it is always better to travel and share special moments with your loved ones! Just my two cents. 

3. It challenges your physical strength

I always make sure that I’ve packed light enough for me to carry my backpack around without a problem. However, the long journeys or hilly areas will make you feel like there were 1000kg on your shoulder. And then you start screaming in your head: Can I just throw away this burden? Where is that God-damn boyfriend when I needed one? 

4. You have to sleep like a giraffe, standing!

I am kidding, you don’t have to. However, what you really need to do, is to stay highly attentive all the time. Because you have no one beside you to look out for you, you have to do your homework: research about the safety of the region, be aware of travel scams, and take good care of your possessions. 

5. It’ll gonna be expensive. 

       Yes, you heard it right, traveling solo can be more expensive compared to group travel. Most attractions offer family or group tickets which are far cheaper than buying individual tickets. and how about that time when you had no choice but to hail down a taxi? I bet you wished someone were there to share the fare!  
       I especially felt the sting when I visited a food market. Too many food I wanna try, but too little space in my stomach, and too little money in my pocket. If you travel with a friend, at least you will be able to share the food and cost, trying more varieties. 

6. You will possess an unwanted magnetic force 

       I hate to admit it but by traveling solo, you will be a magnet for a lot of random people asking you random questions in random places. Don’t get me wrong, I like making new friends but sometimes when I needed time alone, I would appreciate it if others would respect my private space. and by the way, not all questions asked were termed "descend". 
       I’ve encountered people who want to know about the history of China when I was busy working in Starbucks (What? Why me?), people who insisted on coming with me when I was clearly annoyed… I can write 13 pages about this but let’s just stop here. 
      *Some may involve cat calling, flirting, and in more extreme cases... sexual favors.  

7. You aren’t free to do everything and anything you want. 

Traveling solo means total freedom? Wrong! I would rather say we have total flexibility but not freedom. The reason? No matter how much I wanted to visit the tree that owns itself in Athens, Georgia, I decided not to go because I’ll have to go down a deserted street. When you are traveling solo, safety should ALWAYS come first

8. You’ll get labeled. 

Often I got some questions that sound like these: “So, found a guy on the road?” “How do you find Italian men?”… the worst has to be this “Who are the best kissers in the world?” One word, people: FACEPALM! We travel to open our eyes and heart to unknown cultures, meet different people, try different cuisine, find inner peace and relax! It isn’t fair to label every female solo travelers as “that kind of girl”.

9. You become harder to impress

My travel buddies know this well. When riding the train across Switzerland, my friend Catherine was so happy looking out at the sheep grazing next to the track. However, I didn’t seem interested so she thought I was in a bad mood. She finally asked me about it one time, “No, I was happy too, just that I’ve seen too much sheep in Iceland, I need a break from sheep. (especially after eating the devilish sheep head!)

10. It's hard to take your own photos

Sure, I've been telling you to take your own photos using a camera stand and self timer. However, there are certain places that require a helping hand, for example, a extremely crowded destination, on moving vehicles, hilly areas, waterfalls and so on. 

11. You still get scared

       I remember my heart pounding so hard while tracking in Bled alone. What if a ferocious animal shows up? Should I run or fight? What if someone jump out from the bushes back there? What if I am on the wrong track? A million thoughts dashed through my mind while I hiked higher and higher and they all disappeared when I marveled at the incredible vista at the summit. 
       Then soon enough, the thoughts started rearing their ugly heads again when it was time to trekked back down. I was like: What if I fall down the slope, hit a rock or got chewed up by predators? No one will know that I died... Thank God I made it down safe and sound.   

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Thank You for Reading! This post is based solely on my honest opinion or personal experience. 
 If you have a different opinion, feel free to share your thoughts with me by commenting below!


tommychai said...

totally agree on what you wrote, im a solo travel myself and i know how you feel deeply.

Alexandra L said...

I admire your bravery, practicality and spirits, perhaps even more than that. Thank you for all your sharing.

Perhaps life is always more than accumulating wealth, getting marry, have children and be the role model that the society expects of us.

It is boring that way.

missasoen said...

I totally could relate to you! Being a solo traveller and a woman has some "restriction", especially safety! I never wander late at night alone evehtho the city safety index is high. Just use my commonscense. And there were times when i don't find people to speak to for 2 days straight cause no body speak English. So yeah, sometime loneliness can really make me feel sad when ever i'm on the road.

Noorhana Zamri said...

I travel alone one time to singapore. I love to be out at night near the garden by the bay but force to back hotel early because of safety issuea... hmmm