As the title suggests, I get this question asked a lot. Recently, I confirmed plans for my first ever solo travel trip! The kind of questions I am getting asked now are usually the Five W’s and the One ‘H’. That is ‘Who’, ‘What’, ‘When’, ‘Where’, ‘Why’ and ‘How’. I’ll answer them now as I’m sure they’ll be Frequently Asked Questions in the near future.
Who?! Just me, simple as that. I’ve decided after going on family trips to Barcelona, Spain; the Isle of Wight, England; and camping with a group in Haverfordwest, Wales, this summer. I wanted a personal challenge and I feel that backpacking (travelling on a budget) on my own (but not alone) meets that challenge. Initially, I have asked friends if they wanted to go, but due to university, time, and money, there was not one that would want to commit to such an adventure. I think it will be more fulfilling taking on this challenge as I’m at the prime age (19) to be going off on my own adventures and growing independent.
What?! I plan on going backpacking on my own and the routine will basically be doing everything myself: Planning my own itinerary and sourcing my own food, accommodation and transport. This will be a challenge, especially on a budget, but anything is possible and the rewards will certainly outweigh the risks. There’s the also the challenge of learning the language, culture and communicating with the people. I’m not the most outgoing person but I believe that doing this will develop so many transferable skills both personally and professionally.
“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer” ― Unknown
When?! As I work full-time as an apprentice, I will have to make full use of the annual leave that is available to me, which is about 25 days. Fortunately, I work for a company that allows employees to buy up to 10 or 15 days annual leave per year. These are obviously unpaid and the sum comes off your payslip each month, which is fair enough. So with up to 35 days of annual leave, I plan on using 13 days of annual leave for up to 24 calendar days travelling! How is that possible? Wait, I haven’t got to the ‘How’s’ yet. Only joking. I plan on taking advantage of the Easter Bank Holiday (Good Friday, Easter Monday) and also the Early May Bank Holiday, and also weekends. This means I am spreading my travel plans during April/May of next year.
Where?! Not sure where yet, but I know I will be flying back home from the Philippines. This is because I have family in the Philippines and as my parents are going there next year to see my grandparents, it is a good opportunity for me to travel to somewhere in South / South-East Asia beforehand by myself and meet up with my family in the Philippines after. A rough plan is to travel to a country or countries close by, to this could be Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand or even further away to Japan perhaps.
Why?! Let me rephrase this question to ‘Why travel?’ or ‘Why travel solo?’. As I said previously, I’m currently 19 and I turn 20 in May and I want to do something spectacular before I reach that certain age which is filled with commitments and responsibilities. I’m already working full-time and I personally do not feel I will have the opportunity to take extended-travel to faraway places because of the commitments and responsibilities life throws at us. I know this is not completely true but I don’t want to wait for the opportunity to arise in several years time when I have the opportunity right now at my fingertips. I’m still living with my parents and I don’t have that many commitments and responsibilities so life is at ‘easy-mode’ for the time being. I may as well go for this opportunity now while I have this chance.
Let me share with you a quote that relates to this:
“And then there is the most dangerous risk of all — the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.” ― Randy Komisar
That’s all for now. Thanks for reading.