What made you start to solo travel? I actually started solo traveling by accident. My first trip to Europe, even though I flew by myself, I was meeting someone there so I don’t really count that experience. My second trip to Europe was supposed to involve a friend of mine and a month before he was no longer able to go.
Ok, so why should I solo travel? If I could sum up solo traveling in one word, it would be “freeing”. It’s the freedom of going where ever you want to go, when you want to go and do whatever you want. There have been times I talk to people about their travel experiences with others and they may travel with their best friend but there is always some sort of mixup in travel styles. You want to wake up early, they want to sleep in…you want to see museums, they want to walk around the city…they are hungry, you’re not. All of that is erased because in the most selfish manner, it’s about what you want.
How can solo travel help my anxiety? First let me say that I can only speak from first hand experience and it may or may not apply to everyone. When I talk to people about why they don’t solo travel, part of it is fear and anxiety. For myself, most of my life I have had different degrees of social anxiety. I felt uncomfortable in crowded areas, talking to people I don’t know or was never introduced to and being in unfamiliar places. My life revolved around what I am familiar with and it made me live a closed life in many ways. Why was I like this? Anxiety.
My first real solo trip I did 2 weeks away in 4 countries. I knew no one in these countries. I remember when I first landed in Berlin and I’m standing in line for a party and this Brazilian guy started talking to me. Fast forward, he introduces me to his friends and we had a great time. It was like a shock to my system of comfort, how stepping into the unfamiliar can be so rewarding. Being in a foreign country alone puts you in a position to talk to people you don’t know. After that event, everywhere I went, I put myself out there to introduce myself. I talked to everyone…roommates in hostels, waiters, taxi drivers etc.. I asked them where they were from and asked about their life. You start to realize that the world isn’t that scary and that there a lot of like minded people for you to share your life experiences with.
Since that trip, my daily life has had a greater improvement. I started realizing how I’m not as anxious or anxiety driven. I talk to random people without fear and much more comfortable in my skin.
Is solo traveling safe? Yes but of course use common sense and trust your instincts. I can say for myself, thankfully, I’ve never felt in danger but I always used a healthy amount of caution. For example: While in Germany someone asked where I was staying and my instincts kicked in so I pretended I didn’t know what part of the city I was staying at and kept my eye on them to make sure I wasn’t followed since I was clearly by myself. Every country is different so when you land, ask locals what to look out for as far as scams or sketchy areas.
It is ok to be concerned for your safety but if you really want to go somewhere, don’t let the anxiety of safety stop you. The world is not as dangerous as it seems. As long as you’re not entering a war-torn area or conflict-zone, go there and enjoy yourself.
Is it safe for me to travel as a woman? Yes. I have met a bunch of women who have solo traveled safely. Just like I stated, use common sense and trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it or stay away from that person.
With that said…go see the world and enjoy yourself!