Travelling by yourself to the unknown can sound like a daunting experience, although for some it is the most fascinating and adventurous time in their life.
Experiencing a whole new world, with or without a plan, opens new doors to enriching experiences that will test you and all of your abilities as a human being.
Facing the fear in your eyes and deciding on spending time in your own company will push you to gain confidence in yourself, you’ll be the only one there so you have to talk to people, you have to ask questions (google maps can’t help you forever).
You’ll be facing situations you may have not been through before and above all, you learn problem solving skills because if not you then who will?
The idea of becoming a global citizen can be very appealing as you will meet new people from different backgrounds with different stories to share that you can learn from, tasting different foods and broadening your palate is also on the menu for solo travel.
Discovering yourself, who you are as a person, who you are to the world and putting yourself out there is brilliant on the sight of employability as you become way more interesting, you learn how to trust your instincts and how to remain calm in situations out of your control as they will happen.
Amalia Cunha, 22, from Portugal, solo travelled to Venice in September 2021 and it was one of the best decisions of her life.
She had initially booked the trip with one of her closest friends, however close to the date personal problems did not allow her friend to join in the trip, who lost all his money and insurance.
“I thought a lot if I should go alone or not, I am a people person and going by myself is way out of my comfort zone.
“If I didn’t go I’d lose all my money as well, and that has always been my dream destination, I’ve worked all summer to afford it.
I got a rush of courage and I went on my own.” said Amalia.
Behind solo travel there is always the feeling of not feeling safe on your own, but for Amalia being in Venice made her feel safer than at her own home in Porto, Portugal.
There were so many tourists on the streets, solo travellers and the city just gave her all the inspiration and safety she was looking for.
On her first day in Venice, Amalia also met a solo traveller, Praxi, an Indian girl living in Munich, Germany who she spent the whole day with and now keeps in touch with through Instagram.
“My best experience qas meeting Praxi, I was not expecting that at all, it was so spontaneous!
“We shared experiences, cultures, impressions, it was so enriching.” she said.
A thought shared between Amalia and other solo travellers is the freedom of travelling on your own. You live in the moment, you make your own schedules, you choose where to eat and go and you have more control on how much you want to spend.
“I’ve learned that I am way more extroverted than I thought I was, I used to hate being on my own, even at home, and I discovered that I quite enjoy my own company, I’ve discovered myself”
Amalia Cunha, 22, portuguese solo traveller
“I loved the feeling of being in control of my own trip 24/7, I truly advise Venice for solo travelling!
“I will always love travelling with friends but now if I don’t have anyone to go with nothing is stopping me from booking and going on the adventure!” Amalia added.
Ross Andrews, 21, from St Albans has also taken a couple of days to solo travel in Lille before taking a train to Brussels to meet some friends who were coming from Germany.
He never felt unsafe throughout his days travelling as he states that if you’re on your own you are and have to me more aware of your surroundings than you would with friends.
However there’s a different freedom with one’s time and if you’re in charge you can choose your own comfort zone or how to step out of it.
Ross said: “I always stay in hostels as they are cheap and you do meet some interesting characters.
“On this particular trip, the people in my dorm kept to themselves which is fair enough but sometimes you end up going on nights out with them and they can be people that you stay in contact with virtually.”
For Ross, the budget on travelling with friends or on your own doesn’t differ much as hostels, transport will always be nearly the same, although for individual price it might mostly differ on places to eat and things to do around the city.
“My best memory is definitely successfully navigating the trains to Brussels.” Ross said.
“Foreign travel alone isn’t that scary and most people are helpful if you need it.”
ROSS ANDREWS, 21, ENGLISH SOLO TRAVELLER
“I’d recommend short trips alone to others, but if you’re going for a while it’s always for fun with friends!” he said.
Experiences and more experiences is what solo travellers live up to, creating memories, meeting people and evolving as a person.
Adding to our solo travellers list there’s Raya Walczak, 20, a Bulgarian student at NTU who has solo travelled many times and been involved in Erasmus projects around Europe.
Her most remarkable trips were to Austria in 2019 where she spent two days by herself exploring the city before meeting other unknown people for an Erasmus project.
“It’s my dream to travel and explore the world, I always wanted to do that so the moment I got the opportunity I just took it!” Raya said.
As travelling by yourself can be considered lonely as you don’t get to share the experience with the closest people in your life, Raya believes it is an opportunity to grow.
“I always talk to the people sitting next to me on transports.
“I never felt alone because I have my best friends and I was sending them pictures and sharing the experience.
“I have friends that I’ve met whilst travelling that are still in my life, they even came to Bulgaria to meet me this summer and it was amazing!” she added.
For a woman travelling alone, safety questions are always a big step back, however when someone takes the risk on solo travel they have to be aware of all the risks surrounding them, being a woman or a man.
On safety measures Raya said: “Most of the time I travel alone. I’m only scared of my stuff, can’t sleep on the airport or train because there’s no one to watch over my things.” said Raya
“It’s always on your mind that something could happen, especially as a woman, but I’m just trying to be positive and make the most of my trip!”
RAYA WALCZAK, 20, BULGARIAN NTU STUDENT and solo traveller
Raya’s best memory from travelling on her own brings her back to her trip to Budapest, Hungary in 2020 as she met the most wonderful people and fell in love with the city.
“We stayed one day before and one day after the Erasmus project and I just met people from the hostel, we explored the city for one night and it was amazing and I made really good friends for life, for sure.
“I learned that I’m brave, I can do things on my own, see the world and explore without being afraid. I just need to work on meeting schedules as I constantly didn’t catch trains and buses.” Raya said.
Do you need a plan to travel or going with the flow is the best option?
According to our solo travellers it is best if you plan the main things as transport schedules, where to stay and if you wanna feel in control write down some places you’d like to visit as there will be a lot happening on your trip.
However, if you’re feeling adventurous and in a risk it all mood, why not just meet locals and follow their stories, places and grab a map from the nearest touristic shop and be your wildest self?
If fear of solo travelling is something that has been with you for years now but you always wanted to challenge yourself, why not take this year as an opportunity to do so?
This is a year of challenges, memories and growth. What’s better than seeing the world, meeting people and being proud of how much you have achieved?
In here you can find the ‘Ultimate guide to travel alone and love it’ where you’ll find even more reasons why you should take a chance on yourself and some tips on how to make your trip safer, better and a once in a lifetime opportunity.