I have heard of people wanting to travel solo but are too hesitant to actually do it. I can understand them though. Honestly, it was not easy for me to let go of fear and uncertainty because there’s always comfort and security in traveling in a group. So if I take that out of the equation, my mind will start taunting me and I’ll probably end up not going.
My “self” was my biggest hindrance. Once I defeated my self, there was a whole new world, filled with new experiences, waiting for me. Trust me, solo traveling is very rewarding. I, for one, did not regret it. In fact, I want to do it again.
So what exactly are these new experiences?
I met a lot of people from all over the world.
Strangers became acquaintances and acquaintances became friends – this was the best gift I gained from my solo trip. It was so amazing to talk, to explore, to eat, and to laugh with different people every day. I met men and women from the UK, the US, Australia, Lithuania, Taiwan, India, Portugal, and of course Japan. They can learn from you and you can learn from them. It was one of the most amazing feeling ever. Everyone was unique and has a story to tell.
I discovered something new about myself.
I’m not really the type of person who will take the initiative to approach strangers to talk to them. But if you’re traveling solo, you have to do it. It was very scary and nerve-racking at first. I was second guessing myself everytime I uttered Japanese words because I might sound weird and awful. But as the days progressed, I found out that I was actually enjoying it a lot.
Another discovery was that I can actually push my body to stay active from 6 in the morning to 12 midnight for 9 days. I wasn’t able to do this when I was traveling in a group. There’s something about going solo that excited me everyday.
It is more budget friendly.
This was a surprise to me too. I thought it would be more expensive to travel alone but it’s actually cheaper. I didn’t have to adjust my budget to fit any group.
My accommodation was cheap. It was just a dormitory type hostel with common bathrooms (I just realized that I don’t have a picture of my lodging 😂). Since I’m not very picky with lodging, I instantly booked it without having to be considerate of others simply because there is no others.
I had full control of the things I wanted to do and the places I wanted to go.
I didn’t have to compromise anything. No item on my itinerary was missed (well, except the TokyoLabs Digital Museum but only because tickets were sold out) . I was able to go wherever I want and stay there for as long as I want (maybe except the Fuji tour I booked).
I was able to be spontaneous in my adventures. I ate what I felt like eating and joined others when they invited me to come with them.
I know solo traveling contributed to my personal growth.
My parents were really surprised and worried when I told them I will travel solo. They were twice as worried when they found out it was going to be in Japan.
My father was probably thinking how I will be able to navigate my way around Tokyo, how I can converse with the locals, and how I can return home in one piece. I understand where he’s coming from because he didn’t really have the best experience in his visit to Japan. It was during the time when there were no signs in English anywhere, no smartphones with navigational apps, and nobody can speak to him and understand him. He was literally lost in Japan. So you can imagine his shock when I was about to go there alone. I had to explain to him that things were different now and hopefully convince him to come back.
I am currently living by myself so being independent is nothing new. However, I have the comforts of a familiar culture surrounding me. It’s completely different when you step outside your routine and embrace a different culture.
Being alone in a foreign land definitely boosted my personal growth. I learned how to navigate better. I became more conscious of my surroundings. I learned to be humble and honest when I meeded help. Most importantly, I learned that it’s okay not to become an over-planner.
Less of me, more of Japan.
I will always have someone to take my picture anywhere I like when I’m traveling with someone. Chances are, I will feed myself more and only use the surroundings as accessories.
Solo traveling removes this and allows the traveler to fully dive into the beauty and richness of the experience. The focus was not me, it was Japan; it was the people of Japan. It is only then when traveling becomes an enriching experience.
What do you think? Will you do it too?
Let go and just go!