A few days ago over lunch, while discussing travel, someone wondered out loud why anyone would be interested in spending their hard earned money to travel solo. How is that fun? It didn’t make sense to her. It got me thinking, do you have the same feeling? Would you prefer company? What if you are part of the baeless battalion but you love traveling? What if your friends don’t show up? This discussion led to this post that discusses the commandments of traveling solo.
1. Thou shall not let the internet rush you
Traveling solo does not mean breaking the bank and rushing to the new wave that is Santorini or Morocco. These destinations are magnificent, and so is that unknown destination so close to you that does not get publicity on Instagram. Pack your stuff and travel an hour away and explore the hidden gems in your country. Travel is travel. So go at your pace. It’s not a competition.
2. Thou shall not wait for anyone
If you have a passion for travel, then none of these things I mentioned above should stop you. Traveling alone is not odd. You are not weird. You are not brave as people put it. You are not unique, I mean don’t you commute to and fro alone your hometown? There’s no difference except you are in a different region. You are merely someone that chooses to pursue what you love. You are living your dream. That’s what matters. If you’ve been planning to travel with someone or people but for some reason they cannot make it, I say go ahead and travel. Take that trip. If you keep waiting for people. You’ll wait forever. I traveled alone last year across five countries, this year to West Africa and I intend to travel solo soon.
3. Thou shalt always pack light
Unless you’re a fashion model scouting for locations getting paid to be extra, do you need to be on the road solo while dragging a suitcase of heels and gowns you will never wear? I used to have this problem until I discovered packing cubes. When packing, I usually assemble all the clothes I need then reduce the load by half. There’s, a quote on the same “when preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money”. Packing light is not an issue anymore, now to work on getting twice the money.
4. Thou shall let your no mean no
No is a complete sentence. Do not feel guilt tripped to shop for something you do not like just because the owner is nice. Is someone making you feel uncomfortable? Say a firm no and walk away. Are the people you met on the road engaging in activities you do not like? Say no. It’s easy to be intimidated but remember you do not owe anyone an explanation.
5. Thou shall research and prepare in advance
Unless you want to arrive in a foreign country all washed up and stranded, it will be good to be ready. For example, you should ask yourself, is anyone picking me up after I arrive? Is it possible to purchase a sim card at the airport?. Remember, traveling solo means being entirely independent on yourself. No one is telling you what to do and when to do it.
6. Thou shall interact with locals
Locals know a region’s best secret. In Cape Maclear, I made a couple of locals who would later take me to otter point at no cost. I had a fantastic time swimming with cichlid fish. They then took me to a fun party. I would not have this opportunity if I never befriended them. However, you need to be careful as not everyone has great intentions.
7. Thou shall be flexible
Yes, you may create your itinerary, but there’s no gun pointed at you to follow it strictly. Relax and create room for spontaneous experiences. It’s this mentality that allowed me the chance to met another traveler, Teresie who would then introduce me to one of the most beautiful Islands in Malawi. Step out of your comfort zone and allow people to intrude your space. It will be worth it.
8. Thou shall not spend too much time on the phone.
I cannot for the good of me multitask. I am the kind to pause a movie to text someone back. I do not know how people manage to upload videos and pictures in real time. Honestly, if I did upload my content in real time, I would not have the chance to enjoy my travels. When traveling, I usually set aside time to take pictures, and record videos then put my phone aside to live in the moment. It’s in the evening when I am resting in bed do I find time to upload my Instagram stories.
Read more: STOP CAPTURING MOMENTS, ENJOY THEM
9. Thou always shall use common sense.
Behave the way you would want someone to carry themselves if they came to your home. Respect people’s culture in the way you dress and act. Always remember, Human beings are not tourist attractions.
10. Thou shall always have travel insurance
Insurance is especially significant when traveling outside your home country. I will take more about travel insurance in the next few weeks.
Read more: How To Be Safe When Travelling Solo
Lastly, do not let fear stop you. Have you traveled solo?