Solo Travel – Meeting New People

Since I’ve been posting about Japan quite a lot, this post will focus more specifically on my first-hand experience of solo travel. This is the second part of my series 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. You can read the first part here: Solo Travel – Deciding To Go It Alone.

Part 2: Meeting New People

[The featured image is of the Kamo river that I was walking along after parting ways with a newfound friend and before being introduced to another friend at a konbini in Kyoto.]

It felt weird leaving home, boarding a plane and heading off to an unknown country, all on my own.

An adventure it was and it’s something I’d definitely like to try going solo again perhaps in a more challenging country.

So, what’s it like to travel alone?

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Do Anything by Counting to 5

1…2…3…4…[Insert anything that you want to do here]

A year or so ago, I learned a life rule that I still use to this very day.  It has helped me out in a variety of situations and has led to getting things done.

I was directed to a post on Reddit that was titled ‘What life rule do you have for yourself that can never be broken?’ and from reading the responses on the page, one stood out called the Rule of 5 and below contains a description of that rule:

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Preparing for Japan – Have I done enough?

For the past couple of weeks, I haven’t put much thought on my solo travel plans for Japan this April. Perhaps that is a good thing as I can focus on the present moment and worry less about my upcoming plans.

Where will I go and stay?

I have confirmed my 3-week itinerary which I will show you guys below:

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Climbing Welsh Mountains!

I did not know what I signed up for nor did I know what to expect. Back in November, I received a generic email sent to the county organisation that I am a part of about participating in a weekend of mountaineering in the heart of Snowdonia in the cold winter of January. “Who’d want to do that?” I asked myself as I was sat by my laptop in my hotel room during a business trip. And at that very moment, I thought “heck, why not? What do I have to lose?” and signed up for it. It’s a new experience and the weekend will only cost £50 for hostel accommodation and food. I never knew much about where I’ll be going, who else will I  be going with and what exactly I will be doing, but I wanted to be spontaneous and try something new. So I replied to the email, transferred the cost over, and confirmed my place for this trip.

“You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.” – Benjamin Mee, We Bought a Zoo

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Solo Travel Japan – To Plan or be Spontaneous

After a week of booking my flights for a 3-week first-time solo travel trip to Japan this April (that was a mouthful!), I spent at least 30 minutes each night planning my budget and itinerary. I made a long list of tasks to do in my last post, which can be found here, and I will update you on my progress!

Itinerary Planning

The main topic of this post is to talk about the planning and spontaneous side to planning my trip to Japan. I must admit, as a first-time solo traveller, I am quite anxious when I think about going halfway around the world and planning what to see and do on my own. Contrary, I’m very excited and I’m all in for getting out of my comfort zone, meeting new people and finding adventure. The question is whether I plan the whole of my trip and stick to a structured itinerary by the day, be spontaneous on what I go and where I go and stay, or use a combination of both to ease my way and gain more experience in this sort of travel. I’ve decided that I’ll pick option 3 and add a touch of spontaneity in the middle of the trip.

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Flights booked, Japan here I come!

Happy New Year, everyone! The first post of the year and this first week has been great for progress on my travel plans.  There wasn’t too much to do at work and after confirming that I want to travel to Japan this year, I spent the whole week searching on Google Flights and Skyscanner for cheap flights from London to Tokyo.

Firstly I had to decide on a time frame and I knew I wanted to take advantage of using the bank holidays in England which are Good Friday, Easter Monday and the Early May Bank Holiday, so I narrowed it down to leave on or before the 14th April (Good Friday) and arrive back in England on or after the 1st May (Early May Bank Holiday). Both Google Flights and Skyscanner have been really useful tools because I can work out which date has the cheapest deals and I managed to find return flights on suitable dates for around £400! On Google Flights, I have also used a feature to track prices of flights I wish to save and also get alerted on any price increases and decreases.

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Your Life Stories, Lessons and Plans

“Learn from the past,  live in the present, plan for the future” – Audrey Farrell.

During a recent business trip, I had opportunities to have meals out with my colleagues whom I don’t really talk too much in the office as I am in a different team. As an Apprentice, it was especially important to not just learn about the job and what it entails, but also about working life and the stories and lessons learnt by colleagues that are far older and wiser than me.

A man in his mid-50s emphasised the importance of doing things while I am still young: to travel the world and to live and love without regrets. He told me about his time in the Royal Air Force and more about his life regrets and ambitions. He was a bit more drunk further on in our conversation and mentioned a lot about his love life, but I won’t go there, but there is more to come later.

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Fighting Fears of Solo Travel Plans

It has been a while since my last post and since then I have thought long and hard about my solo travel plans coming next year in April/May. The main objective is to travel somewhere on my own before I reach the age of 20, as a limit such as this motivates me more to accomplish it. The hardest question that is preventing me from going ahead with my plans is: Where? It’s been a struggle choosing between Thailand (the backpacker’s starter destination), Indonesia/Malaysia (the backpacker’s unknown destination, or Japan (the backpacker’s expensive destination).

I’m leaning more towards Japan now because of all of the YouTube videos that have inspired me to pursue visiting various places and immersing myself in the Japanese culture and trying out different and wonderful types of food. It’s not a set decision just yet, but if I were to go to Japan, I really need to book flights real soon. Upon reading other posts, the best time to book flights is between 7 weeks and 12 weeks, so I am aiming to book those flights by mid-January for a price range between £400 – £500. Please let me know if this is possible for travelling in April – May. I don’t want to leave it too late, though, otherwise, I may need to delay it for after I turn 20 years old. Regrets are something I want to minimise from now on and want to draw in opportunities instead.

Now onto the main topic: the fears of my solo travel plans.

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So, Who Are You Travelling With?

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.

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