« Travel by yourself, you will never be alone. »
SOLO TRAVELING PROVE TO BE A SOCIALLY-BASED, LIFE-ALTERING EXPERIENCE, A MOMENT TO FIX AND ACHIEVE SKILLSET GOALS, A CREATIVE MANAGEMENT PROCESS AND A SPACE ALLOWING SELF-DISCOVERING STUFF.
I don’t know about you guys but usually when I decide to go on vacation, I can smell margaritas and hot guys by the beach. I even would consider inviting a friend or three mostly do some day drinking.
Here you will find everything there is to know about me !
Every time I choose to take time off, well .. I quit my job, and go for as long as I can, far away, with a clair enough idea of what I wish to see, experience, meet, eat, visit, discover, appreciate, learn, and yes, day drink a little bit. That said, I feel I have to precise that axiom : I pack my stuff, take my pig – yes, I have a pig teddy bear that I love very much named Bartock – , and off we go. Just us pigs. I am a solo traveler. The need for one to travel by oneself can be understood, and feared, and craved.
Traveling is a high, an addiction which can take you down. Being on the move, staying ont the move. It allows you to be as close as you want from your true self. My favorite part : it is just me during the decision making process.
Are you willing to take the first step towards it ?
You can actually do what you want, choose to commit, stay, extend, leave, run, fly, jump, or day drink ! This is the real high. This renewed sense of freedom is empowering ! Once you experienced it, there is no going back. You will crave it. The routine, boulot, metro, dodo, the to-do-lists, the everyday life that 91 % people you know live. I thought I wanted it too. It became boring, senseless.
On the road, you are constantly fixing stuff, solving problems, and enjoying it. It is a strange feeling to be able to enjoy your struggles. This is the life altering part : once you get a taste of this freedom, you can’t go back to regular life. The process is managerial in nature. Point A to point B, financials constraints, time or some kind of schedule, different options, well the process will teach you patience. Because if you think everything will come easy. Oh boy let me tell you something. You think you struggle before, I did too. But then, you get lost in a train station half a world away with no more papers and money, almost enable to communicate with the authorities, then let’s talk about how white you are.
You learn more about yourself through the struggle, and the evolution and numbers of situation-ship you will face. All the moment, you meet people from across the world, well mostly white westerners and locals, with amazing stories, life experiences ! This brings a smile to my face. I love this part when you first encounter someone while sharing a story gives you the chill to do something new, or go somewhere just with his smile and enthusiasm ! You have to listen, learn to listen. Keeping your relationship home, wherever that maybe be, is also about listening. Sometimes, I do regret not spending more time keeping in touch more frequently with my friends. Their lives are moving on too. Do yourself a favor, listen to them too. Socially, solo traveling is demanding, but the rewards outshine the rest. Pride, and propose !
Well, by now buddy, you would know if this is for you.
Don’t get me wrong : the perks are as real as a cute butt. I would like to offer a piece of advice : prepare to alter your life. This idea, the simple concept of not wanting a « simple » life, a more socially accepted one, is hard to admit and to hear. There will be this voice saying « not more than 6 months ». This career-impacting can also be define as an opportunity to open your mind and change your perspectives on what you « need ». This should not stop you.
You will be socially confronted by friends, and family. And also, you will struggle with your own expectations. There are expectations to come back a changed person, a better version of yourself. You make a bucket list and intend to check every box ? If, like me, you have embraced your inner german for a while, I guess that’s it. I do it too. Nothing wrong with planning. Allow yourself space and flexibility though … Because, my dear, things never go as planned. After a bit of traveling experience, you will see. I used to be mad at myself not achieving this arbitrary set of goals ! People are going to offer some unsolicited advices some times, like saying « oh you should go there, do this and try that … ». It might be very useful, or utterly annoying. Some people go hiking, Some do museums, some do both. Recently, someone said to me « You went to Nepal and did not do a trek ? that’s a shame ! » And I say « Treks take time and equipment, maybe one day … » I lied. Because what I wanted to say with this : « treks are for straight people, people with money, and people wanting to freeze to death. So no, thank you. » It is okay not wanting the obvious, or the simple, or anything !
Let go, trust me, I wish I had received this advice a life time ago !
Do not allow yourself to drown in other people expectations or choke on yours.
In the title, I put this « to fix and achieve skillset goals« . The fuck ? Well, let me explain. Please go and try to imagine this has a spectrum of ideas : from linguistic to computer skills.
I am terrible with digital stuff, but socially skilled. Good with learning, but no sense of directions. Very curious, mostly incapable to execute basic mechanical stuff. So, every time, I leave France for a few months, I decided on 6 things I want to get better at, and learn. I learnt the Hindi and Urdu scripts in airports and trains in India and I learnt how to use some apps in Myanmar for social media. I was thought how to use a photoshop like software and how to operate a semi automatic bike. Things on my skillset goals. Remember our little talk about expectations ? Well, I have not learnt how to sail yet !
The great social experiment
Let’s make this simple : you will have to talk to complete strangers, who might not know a language you speak. To find your way, take a bus, buy a train ticket, order some food, every firsts will be a challenge. If you choose to stay in hostel and want to have a conversation with the cute mexicano gent or pretty indian lady, you will have to try.
With friction, you’ll learn to be more confident and soon realize that it requires a highly worthy effort.
I could make a list of pros. I do like lists. That one though, oneself needs to make its own. Why ? Because my experience is mine, and your will be yours. That must be a song already.
I would humbly offer some tips on how to manage troublesome situations and easy fixes :
- Shit happens, deal with it.
- Try to find practical informations.
- Put in place a contingency plan.
- A guide book, or letdown plan of what you wish to see, and do, and how to get there.
- Listen to locals, they know better.
- Efforts need to be made.
- Try to learn the local langage, few words at least.
- Be patient.
- Beware of the law, costumes, and practices.
I will expand on this later on through an other article about « Embracing your inner german« . You know, this disciplined part of you that can do anything with a bit a focus and patience. Another alter ego, this one useful and less slutty.