8 things to NOT expect from your first solo travel
Your idea of first solo trip can be dreamy and filled with expectations. But tell you what, it is not the same when you experience it! Not trying to scare you, just trying to give you a picture of reality. My first solo trip to Bali had a wobbly start even before I landed there. But I’d still say that I learnt a lot from it since I went through a rollercoaster of emotions. There were mistakes, nervous moments, confusions and a lot of everything that was not very…pleasant? Anyway, now coming back to the things to not expect from first solo travel.
1. A life of solitude is fun
This is something that most solo travellers would expect in the first solo travel. Like, duh! I too expected the same. No matter whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, a state of mind in solitude is not ALWAYS fun. Especially when it is your first solo trip. If you are a woman, you would subconsciously feel the need to stay safe on your first trip. Furthermore, you would choose to stay back at hotel/hostel in the late nights. And sometimes, it could be excruciatingly overwhelming. I felt lonely and bored in my hotel room, and it was one of the worst parts of the trip!
2. Solo travel is easy-peasy
First solo travel is generally not easy at all. Well, at least mine was not that easy! Having said that, travelling alone requires patience, responsibility, presence of mind and a lot of guts. And don’t worry, you’ll get used to these attributes in sometime. Your experiences, mistakes, and lessons from your first solo trip would help you with your future travel plans. But what makes the first one more special is the hardships and the feeling of accomplishment. It is certainly indescribable! Trust me, it may not seem like a ‘big deal’ when you’re back home.
3. Appreciation for the ‘bold’ decision
If you are already planning for backpacking, then kudos to you for your decision. But you are fooling yourself if you expect others to appreciate you for the same! Yeah, solo travelling is great. But it may not seem very interesting to everyone. Some may find it very bizarre too. I had to constantly remind myself that I’m doing great on my first solo trip to Bali after some of the locals told me that it was very strange of me to travel alone lol. It was not a very flattering comment, but I brushed it off with a smile. So stop expecting others to think alike. What may seem big to you need not necessarily be important to others. This applies to everything in life!
4. Lifelong friendships
There are people who do solo travelling to make friends for lifetime. Well, it is possible but I’m not sure about it on the first trip though. Honestly, I thought I’ll make best friends and have fun like a student from foreign exchange program in Bali. But my bad, I didn’t! A: I was very conscious all the time. B: I didn’t start any conversation even when the locals were friendly. However, I didn’t make the same mistake on my second trip. I was more calm, friendly and approachable in Egypt. So don’t be so rigid and expect to make friends. All the best!
5. Feeling of independence
Feeling of independence is not just about travelling alone. It also correlates with the state of your mind. You cannot expect to feel independent while you’re on your first solo trip. It is about choices, decisions and priorities along the journey. It happens over the course of time. In that case, it is also more natural. Trust me, the wait is all worth it! A feeling of independence cannot be forced as it must only be felt. You cannot expect your first solo trip to change your life completely. Be more open-minded. It will happen when you least expect it.
6. Great self-portraits for Instagram
I truly sucked at taking self portraits on my first solo trip. But thank god, I made friends with the local driver. He helped me take a couple of decent shots for my blog posts. However, I did a pretty good job with self portraits on my second solo trip. Well, what can I say? Practice makes everything better I guess! If you still want to capture the best shots on the first trip, try not to be bothered about people awkwardly looking at you when you do the camera set up for self portraits. You’ll get used to it eventually lol.
7. Cover all the dreamy places
As far as I know, it is not easy to cover ALL the non-touristy/dreamy places for newbies. So relax and don’t rush things when you have no time or energy. There is always next time! It is difficult to keep up with time management on your first solo trip no matter how organised you are. And it is totally fine too! I didn’t get a chance to visit all the places from my overly-ambitious travel itinerary. I had to cancel out a few places since I didn’t predict the time well. Also, I was completely overwhelmed with everything!
8. Same experience as the blogs from social media
Alright, now this is something where most people make mistake. There are thousands of fancy travel blogs on internet today. The amazing pictures and recommendations you see could be products of sponsors or extremely good camera with filters. Henceforth, stop BLINDLY following these blogs, not at least for your first solo trip. Oh well, I couldn’t afford a local guide to take me to an unexplored waterfall on a two-wheeler in Bali! Too bad, I had high hopes after watching a famous travel blogger on Youtube lol. Sometimes, your actual experiences are nowhere close to the picture you had in your head. Travel with an empty mind and make your own memories, experiences and reviews. Trust me, it makes a huge difference!
Hope this list helps you to prepare your mind ahead!
An introverted blogger who is looking to make unforgettable solo travel memories with one short life.