We live in an age where travelling is a real option. And many of us love it. We crave the wanderlust way of life, the new, the different and the unknown. We want to trace every corner of the globe, every desert, every beach, every forest. While travelling, we collect memories. From camping in The Syrian Desert, to backpacking our way through the Gringo Trail in South America. From eating snakes in Vietnam and safaried in Tanzania. Those of us who are lucky, have someone to share it with. A friend, or partner who craves the same adventure and wants to accompany us, as a witness and co-author to our life changing memories.
In your early twenties, it can be easy to find such a companion. See, when you tell people, "I want to backpack (insert amazingly fun/diverse/new country here)' there is usually someone with the freedom and desire to join you. And what a better way to live, right? Spending your time with a backpack on on your back and friends in company.
The thing is, things change. People grow up, get married and have families. They settle down and buy houses and form roots. Less and less often are there people jumping at the opportunity to trek the Himalayas with you over the Summer, when there is the mortgage and kids to worry about.
So comes a time when you need to embrace solo travelling.
And it's amazing.
It's fun and empowering and scary. It's the best.
When embracing the art of solo travel, there are a few tips that help you embark on your first trip with confidence. Little hints to help you take that plunge and embark on the journey of a lifetime.
1. Do NOT feel self conscious.
Everyone thinks that as a solo traveller, people are watching you. They are not. You can eat solo, drink at a bar solo, walk around town solo. People don't think you're weird. They envy you.
2. Talk to everyone.
If you see someone that you think looks nice, talk to them. Don't overthink it, just go up and say something. I met some of my best friends in the world by walking up to them and just chatting about nothing. People are nice and want to to talk back.
3. Language is not a barrier.
Don't speak the language, don't worry! Try and word or two and then just smile. A combination of sign language and laughter will get you far.
4. Find things you enjoy.
This is a great way to meet people. Find things you enjoy doing and use this a base to meet people. Try cooking courses, scuba diving, kitesurfing, yoga (of course), parasailing and rock climbing courses to mention a few. It actually doesn't matter what it is, any kind of interest will help you meet people and find common ground. It's the best way to meet people. Don't have any interests? Even better- try something new.
Remember, this is a holiday. Don't like it here, you can go home. Finding things difficult, just relax in bed, sleep a bit more than usual and you'll be home in no time. Take the pressure off. It's a vacation after all!
Stephanie Johnson is a passionate school teacher, yoga teacher and environmentalist. As a primary school teacher in Sydney, Australia, she incorporates yoga teaching into all aspects of the curriculum. She has a severe and incurable case of wanderlust and has travelled to over 50 countries, with more plans to jetset abroad in search of yoga and adventure. Connect with her on Facebook or check out her blog at www.thatyogafeeling.com