Personal/ Travel

My Experience of Travelling Solo

Today I wanted to talk about something that I’ve touched on before but never in any real detail. In the last few years in particular, there has been a lot more information on solo travel. You know the type of posts I mean: “Why Travelling Solo is the BEST Way to Travel”, etc etc. But rather than fiercely defending one side of the argument, I’d like to share my personal experience. I’ve found it quite tricky to talk about but I pride myself on honesty so here goes!

My Experience of Travelling Solo

My first ever solo trip was actually part of a Contiki group tour so there could already be some debate over whether this is ‘real’ solo travel. But as I left for the trip alone without knowing a single person, I’m pretty sure this counts. I won’t beat around the bush about why I did it – I was heartbroken, recently unemployed and I needed to escape. Being in a vulnerable frame of mind with little confidence, I knew that going completely solo wasn’t a great option for me and with no friends able to travel, the group tour was a fantastic compromise. When I returned three weeks later, I’d had some of the best times of my life with amazing new people who I’m still in touch with today.

My experience of going solo here was completely positive. For the first time, I saw something I was afraid of turning into something amazing. It allowed me to come out of my shell and open myself up to meeting new people. Spending time with people who were like me and wanted to see the world was a reminder that I could still love life. I still think group tours are awesome and it’s definitely something I’d consider doing again. It was this trip that made me brave enough to buy a one way ticket to Australia, confident that I’d be able to take on a full solo adventure.

sydney harbour bridge sunset

Now when I left for this trip – almost exactly a year ago as I write this – I was in a very different place. From discovering that I could be genuinely happy as a singleton to settling into a new job that I really enjoyed, it was one of the best years of my life. When I decided to book a solo trip, I was excited but I also knew that I’d be leaving a lot behind this time around. My friends and I were doing tons of fun things and a few months after booking my ticket, I unexpectedly got into a wonderful new relationship. I wrote about my fear of solo travelling a few months before I left but come 13th August 2016, I boarded that plane.

I spent my first night in Australia in floods of tears but things did look up. The very next morning, I met a couple of lovely girls to hang out with and continued to meet some amazing people who I have incredibly happy memories with. However, despite the good times, I didn’t enjoy my experience of travelling solo this time around. Looking back now, it’s easier to only see the highlights but almost every day there was a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach that just wouldn’t go away.

I can’t even truly explain what it was – homesickness doesn’t really affect me and I usually don’t mind doing things alone. But I ended up in a few uncomfortable situations and really missed having consistent company. I honestly think if I’d have done another group tour or flown out with a friend, things would have been completely different. Luckily, an amazing friend from my Contiki stepped in and let me stay with him and his family to get back on my feet. But at this point, I’d reached the stage where I knew that I’d taken on too much by flying to the other side of the world alone with no real plan. My boyfriend was already planning to join me a few months later so I decided to go home, earn some more money and then continue the adventure as a pair.

My Experience of Travelling Solo

I’ll never regret pushing myself to go through travelling solo. It’s really important to learn about yourself and there’s no shame in realising your limitations along with your strengths. But I’ve also never regretted booking that flight home and honestly, it was a scary move. I was scared of being judged for my decision and also scared that I was taking the cowards way out. But the real truth is that everybody likes to travel in different ways and unfortunately, it just didn’t really work out for me. While it’s a shame, it’s not the end of the world. I’m still confident that I could take on a city break alone and maybe one day I will just for the fun of it! But learning that you like company is no bad thing and if anything, it makes me appreciate my travel partners even more.

I know this post is quite personal but if you’ve managed to make it to the end of this epic ramble, I hope it’s been interesting to read about how my two different experiences of travelling solo have shaped my travel habits. I’m definitely envious of those who feel totally comfortable travelling far and wide on their own but even having the courage to learn that it isn’t for me is something that I’ve learned to be a little proud of.

What are your thoughts on travelling solo? Do you love it? Hate it? Or are you curious about giving it a try for the first time?

Laura x

Read more about my travel experiences:

How Travel can Heal a Broken Heart

5 Reasons Why you Should go on a Group Tour

Adjusting to Life after Travelling

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8 Comments

  • Reply
    Lottie Gibbons
    July 30, 2017 at 2:42 pm

    Very interesting read. But I agree that it was good for you to book that one way ticket even if it didn’t go the way you planned!
    http://www.lottiegibbons.com

    • Reply
      Laura
      July 30, 2017 at 5:09 pm

      Thanks Lottie! It’s a shame that it didn’t go to plan but I don’t regret it for sure 🙂 x

  • Reply
    Jenny Lilac
    July 30, 2017 at 3:54 pm

    Great post, Laura. I’ve just come back from my third solo holiday in the past three years, and I know I can easily hack a 5 day trip in Europe, but not certain if I’d be able to cope on the other side of the world!

    • Reply
      Laura
      July 30, 2017 at 5:08 pm

      Thank you! 3 trips is awesome, where have you been alone? x

  • Reply
    Jessica Riley (@thecrownwings)
    July 30, 2017 at 6:04 pm

    I can’t do long trips alone. I like a couple of days, but I’m not one of these complete backpacking on my own type of people. That’s why tours like Contiki are so good though! I did Trek America and it was great to give me that buzz, but also giving me company.

    xoxo
    J
    from
    The Crown Wings

    • Reply
      Laura
      July 31, 2017 at 5:36 pm

      Ahh I’ve seen a lot of people talking about Trek America and they look so fun! I’d definitely consider one of those in the future 🙂 xx

  • Reply
    jasmincharlotte
    July 31, 2017 at 6:33 pm

    It’s nice to see another side to this as you definitely see loads of posts raving about it. I have done some solo travel but I think in future I’d do a group tour instead!

    • Reply
      Laura
      August 6, 2017 at 10:23 am

      Thanks Jasmin – I hope you have a great experience in the future whether it’s more solo or a group trip 🙂 x

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