Exactly a year ago, just before I came back to Malaysia, I went traveling alone. Alex had left London two months prior to that, and I was left to ‘learn’ how to live alone in the big city. To travel alone was something that I had always wanted to do when abroad, but hard because I was blessed with an excellent travel companion (Alex). The idea of traveling alone slowly disappeared from my mind.
Initially, I was very excited with the idea of traveling alone. However, fear started to creep in, and the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to back out. I hesitated to walk out of my comfort zone, but in the end I am glad that I forced myself to do it. The experience of traveling alone was different because:
1. I had to take care of all the details on my own and make sure that there are no mistakes by checking them 1023848 times. No one would be there to help out if I had left any out.
2. I had to be self-disciplined in making my own schedule.
On the first day of the trip, I left the B&B at almost noon, making the excuse that it was raining outside. I spent the first few hours of the day working on my laptop, which I could actually do after the trip. I regretted it, and after that I was determined to leave the hotel early on the following days.
3. I rented a studio apartment through Airbnb.com because the idea of staying alone in a hotel room seemed very sad. It was a lovely apartment rented out by a lovely couple. The only downside of the apartment was its location on a main street, which could get rather noisy from the noise of party-goers after midnight.
4. I had to be 1247398471 times more careful with my belongings and travel documents. In a group, there are always extra eyes to watch over the surroundings, but sadly not when traveling alone.
5. Travelling alone can be lonely. During the journey, I sometimes questioned myself if I have made the right decision, but in other times I felt so confident that I could conquer the world. Having some me time in a nice restaurant or place could be pleasant, but also lonely when there was no one else to share the experience with.
6. No falling asleep in the public transport when traveling alone! That was challenging because I almost always fall asleep in public transport when not traveling alone.
7. It wasn’t easy to make plans. I wanted to join a local tour to Monaco but I couldn’t because they needed at least 2 people to start a tour. It was the off peak season so it was a challenge just to find another person. I took the local bus there in the end. On the bright side, I saved so much, with the return trip costing less than 6 Euro (including a stop at the Eze Village on the way). The same route done on a tour bus would have cost me about 80 Euro! I joined a local tour to the countryside the next day though, because it would be very time-consuming to travel by public transport.
It was winter so the whole village on the hill was very quiet. There was only me and another couple wandering around. I took the effort to climb up alone to the peak for this view! (I knew it was a safe place.)
8. Seen another way, it was also easy to make plans. I could do make impromptu plans and then change them immediately and at any time. No discussion or compromise needed.
The whole journey went smoothly – no missing items, no getting lost (in a major way) and no missing flights or buses. I will consider doing it again, but first I would like to visit the place again with Alex in the summer! Winter came early and it was unpleasantly cold along the coast.
For some, traveling alone is a norm. To me, it was a big deal at that time because I had never done it before. As we grow older, we sometimes become reluctant to push ourselves out of our comfort zone. I am not an adventurous person, in the sense that I don’t really enjoy outdoor activities, but this post shall stay as a reminder that I shouldn’t bury the adventurous and courageous side of me.