On My Own

I wrote this over a month ago, sitting in my guest house in Vientiane:

I’m on my own again.

It’s so funny, when I first planned out this trip, up until just a month or two before leaving, I always thought I’d be doing it alone. I was okay with that, even excited for it. Well, life intervened in weird and wonderful ways. I was able to convince my friend Liz to go to Australia with me, and then I fell in love . As a result, I’ve been travelling in either a couple or a pair for the last 4 months straight!

I’m happy things worked out the way they did. It’s been great to have someone to share the high andlow points with. Still, there have also been times when I’ve been close to crawling up the wall with desire for some alone time. You know, to be abe to sleep in, or walk around, or even grab a bite to eat without having to consult with someone else. When you travel together the level of codependency that evolvesbetween two people is just absurd.

Not as fun solo

So now I’m alone again, and it just feels WEIRD. Mike is back at work in China, Liz is acutally meeting up with me for a couple days in Vang Vieng but then she’s off to Europe. There’s nobody to joke with, nobody to watch my stuff when I go pee and nobody to help me decide what to order for dinner! I’m a capable person, I swear. I’m just really out of practice.

***

Eesh. Looking back now I can see how nervous I was. As nervous as I probably was at the start of this trip. I’d grown so reliant on other people to entertain me, shoulder the burdens and ask for directions (I HATE asking for directions, I don’t know why, it’s a phobia).

The anticipation of something is always so much better or worse than the actual doing. As soon as I got moving I was fine. I kicked things off with a 24-hour bus ride to Laos, then reaquanted myself with the skills of eating alone, navigating a map an negotiating guest house fees. It wasn’t all that hard, once I quit worrying and just did it.

Pretty much mastered the self shot too!

It actually turned out to be pretty fun! I meet more people when I’m alone; I end up with weirder stories. I got lots of massages and slept through breakfast without feeling guilty. I pretty much did whatever I wanted, when I wanted, and while sometimes I felt terribly lonely, it wasn’t half bad.

Yet, here I am once again. Been hanging out with the boyfriend for almost a month now and it’s been lovely. I’m headed off to Hong Kong this weekend, on my own, and the butterflies are back. It’s silly I know, but there’s something about putting myself out there that’s nerve-wracking.

I think it’s health though: the being nervous AND the doing it anyways. Solo travel can really force you out of your comfort zone. Personally it makes me deal with my weird social anxiety quirks head on.

While I love that I have awesome people that I can share my adventures with, their will always be a place in my life for solo travel. It’s only when everything else is quiet that I can actually here the voices in my own head. I can find my balance.

14 thoughts on “On My Own”

  1. I’m all set for my solo trip round the world in october, leaving a week after I turn 18! Your blog is very inspirational and helpful, thanks 🙂

  2. You could totally be talking about me. I love traveling with friends, and solo travel freaks me out, but I do it anyway. I have some weird social anxieties like your phobia of asking for directions, but being on my own forces me to just do it anyway. I get the biggest rush of confidence from traveling on my own.

    I hope you’re having a great time in Hong Kong!

  3. I just took my first solo trip to Ireland for my spring break & absolutely LOVED it! Your blog was definitely one of the ones that gave me the inspiration and courage to do it, so thank you!

    I am so grateful that I just went ahead and did it. It was amazing. I can’t wait to take some more solo trips soon. I’m planning a RTW trip eventually (just about to graduate from college, so it’ll be a few years down the road once I have some money saved up) – but thanks so much for this blog and encouraging ladies to get out there and travel on their own!

  4. I love your blog. I stumbled upon it tonight and can’t stop reading. I was a white, 21yr old American girl when I headed to China ALONE. I didn’t even make hotel reservations for my first night, I was crazy. After about 2 days I got so sad! It really forced me out of my shell. I survived & am proud of doing it. I covered SE Asia and literally walked across all the borders.
    Well now I’m married, 29yrs old and stay at home with my three yr old little girl. I hope she will one day have the courage to do the same. (My MIL thinks I’m crazy that I would want my daughter to do something like that..lol)
    Stay strong, I look forward to reading more.

    1. That makes me so happy! China’s pretty crazy now so I imagine that was even more true 8 years ago- good for you! And way to go for raising a strong, adventurous daughter!

  5. enjoyed your post and glad you’re enjoying your solo travels! i’m in my 30s now and still solo traveling. Some of the best times I remember is when I was alone, having the most spontaneous adventures and meeting people. I didn’t have a set plan, just wandered and went with the flow. Whatever happened, I kinda let it happen, freely.

    have an awesome time!!!

  6. Wow.. You´ve done much since you started your travel! I´m impressed and I envy you for doing this.

    Myself I´m planing an Around the world travel, but that´s a long way into the future.. But I´m not going for a 1 year.. Might do a 1 month or 2.. From Oslo – Tokyo – Australia – Hawaii – Seattle – Las Vegas – Reno – New York – Oslo, something like that..

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