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  • Writer's pictureSamantha Lara

Travel, But Make It Solo

So many people ask, how did you do it? My first response was always, plan, research, execute. But then I realized what they were really asking me: how did I find the courage to do it?

The two excuses people cite consistently when talking about solo travel are safety and boredom. You know what both of these have in common? The need for bravery. You have to be brave to navigate a new place all by yourself, and not because there are bad guys out to get you. And doing this in a place with signage in another language? Sheesh. Places are all so different from each other, and if you are from the States like I am, you may be in for some culture shock. I remember the first time I travelled abroad to somewhere that didn't have sidewalks or stop signs. See, this is where bravery steps in.

I am gonna give you four tips on how to build and harness your bravery for that first solo trip you are hesitant to take.

Tip #1 - Take baby steps

Believe it or not, you do not have to leap across the ocean for your first solo trip. Take baby steps. Try a roadtrip to a city maybe three hours away. This will help you build confidence in your self and your ability to navigate new places. Mini trips are exactly what you need to build your solo muscles.

Tip #2 - Do your research

This is crucial. Do so much research on the place you are going. What are their customs? What are some key phrases you should know? Are there articles of clothing you should not wear? What kind of food is prevalent? What should you be aware of? Research helps you calm those nerves down and know what you are getting yourself into.

Tip #3 - Spend time with yourself

People are so quick to say, "Don't you get bored?" I can totally entertain myself. I can wander through a museum, listen to a podcast, read a book, order myself a bottle of wine, go thrifting. I have gone full days not talking to anyone but the waitstaff at restaurants. And no, I was not bored. But you know what? People aren't always comfortable with themselves and their thoughts. Maybe their minds go on overdrive. Maybe they psyche themselves out. Who knows? But really and truly, spending time with yourself, getting to know the inner you, feel ing comfortable with silence, all these things really build you as a person.

Tip #4 - Leave your expectations at home

You cannot go to a new place and say, "Well back at home I have (insert here)," and then pout about it. Menus will be different, coffee spots will be different, transportation will be different, types of toilets will be different (serious on this one). You have to leave your expectations at home and in some ways, just roll with it. Go into it like a baby: curious and excited about it all.

Building your solo muscles takes effort

I did not just wake up and become a solo traveler. It took time, and even still, I am getting better at each with each trip I take. The bottom line is this: it is totally worth it.

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