Since I’ve been posting about Japan quite a lot, this post will focus more specifically on my first-hand experience of solo travel. I’ll split this mini-series into multiple parts, giving my full and honest opinion on the idea of solo travel, hoping that it can help you to decide whether or not it’s right for you.
Part 1: Deciding to Go It Alone
Solo travel has been on my mind for some time after the events that occurred during my A-Level exams; being hospitalised has not only affected me physically but also mentally and socially since it was the end of college and most of my classmates were going to university. More people were coming out of my life than in. I never got the social opportunities in my apprenticeship as I would if I went to university. I wanted to do something about it and rejuvenate and restore myself.
Travel was the only thing on my mind at the time. It’s true that you’ll never be cured by the travel bug once you’re bitten by it. But, who was there to go with? Friends were either at university, not interested in the idea of travel, or simply didn’t have the time or money for it. Knowing that I’m turning twenty soon and wanted some sort of personal challenge to undertake, I took that plunge and decided to travel solo.
I kept the idea of solo travel to myself, mostly due to the fear of people thinking that I’m weird and having to explain my reasons for doing it alone. That’s why I wanted to start this blog – to express my thoughts and share my plans and adventures with likeminded travellers.
It was only until after I booked my flights that I announced to my family that I was travelling on my own. Not because I thought they would disagree (frankly, it was quite the opposite), but I didn’t really know how to justify it and also didn’t want to be influenced to change my mind on travelling alone.
I told more friends and colleagues of my travels nearer the time and they were very supportive of my decision to take on this venture. Although I did face some people that did get somewhat worried and sceptical about the whole idea, I was able to positively explain my reasoning and what I hoped to achieve by doing it.
Reading solo travel blogs and participating in forums has definitely helped support my decision to go it alone. However, I’d only know for sure once I actually try it out. That was when I put what I read and learnt into practice in two different occasions:
- January 2017 – Joining a group of strangers I didn’t know to climb mountains in the heart of Snowdonia, North Wales. Feel free to read more about it here.
- March 2017 – Taking part in a powerboating course and staying onboard a Royal Navy warship with another group of strangers.
In these two occasions, I’ve met some amazing people with wonderful stories to share and learnt how I’d manage to cope with challenging situations. More importantly, I learnt more about what I enjoy to do and how I can be more approachable to people in social situations. This was only a taster of what was to come and not long after, it was finally time to go to Japan.
Part 2 will contain my thoughts about solo travel when I was in-country: meeting new people, finding my own food, and the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Thanks for reading and until next time,