5 Questions I asked myself before my first Solo Travel
Ask the most experience solo traveler you know - "Do you remember how you decided to go on your first solo trip?" I bet they answered "I just did!". I went for my first solo trip 11 years ago to northern China. And because I love to write & scribble in general, I remember exactly the questions I asked myself before taking the leap of faith. 1 WHY DO I WANNA SOLO TRAVEL?
Obviously, there is no correct answer. But it's worth asking yourself this question. It could be something as simple as "I haven't seen that part of the world". Or it could be something as deeply personal as "I have to rediscover who I am". We all secretly have a traveler inside us, and that traveler has its own personality. The traveler in me, for example, would save budget on transport and spend it on trying unfamiliar cuisines. Think of yourself as making a Traveler Resume applying for a Solo Travel mission, and then ask yourself what motivates you to think about it. Heck, ask yourself "Where do I see myself solo traveling in 5 years" if you feel like it! 2 DO I HAVE THE MONEY? People who travel with family and friends have an easier time justifying the money spent on tourism or holidaying. It's usually Family budget, Honeymoon budget, Reunion budget or something that two or more people would discuss, debate and agree to. But deciding to Solo Travel is like running your own enterprise. Who decides the total budget? You! Who decides cost cutting strategies? You! Who buys risk management services like travel insurance? You! Money is a constraint on the best of us, and it's get tougher when traveling to a country with higher cost of living. Don't sweat it - put on your entrepreneur hat and do the math. Personally, scribbling my budget plan helped me feel more confident of the decision to solo travel. 3 DO "MY PEOPLE" EVEN SOLO TRAVEL? No secret that solo travel has largely been the "tradition" of people from rich countries traveling to Southeast Asia, South America or South Asia. Before my solo trip to China, I genuinely asked myself, raised in a traditional East Asian family, if I was trying to be someone I am not - because that's a really fragile motivation. Over the last 11 years, I have been the first in my family to solo travel to about 43 countries. The first time as well as each of the subsequent times, I found that the desire to solo travel has no cultural boundary. It is no one culture or country's "thing". I dare say that If life affords you the opportunity to solo travel, then you have a human obligation to make that pilgrimage. 4 SHOULD I TALK TO SOMEONE ABOUT THEIR EXPERIENCE?
It's easy for me to say now that solo travel gets easier with experience. But before that China trip, I had this illusion that solo travelers are also solo thinkers. I couldn't have been more wrong. Solo travelers are and always have been a community. Before the internet, travelogues and storytelling were the mediums of sharing experience. Now with your phone, you have infinite freedom to find the nuggets of experience most helpful to you. Solopacker.com wants to push that convenience to a real-time map based platform so you can find a trusted travel buddy where you want, when you want, with the travel preferences you want.
5 WHAT WILL I DO IF SOMETHING GOES WRONG?
To me, the answer to this question was as important to me as to my loved ones. Trust me, you don't want to go off the radar and make your family and friends unnecessarily anxious. As a solo traveler from the East, I believe it was already a bonus that I had their trust before heading to a relatively remote part of norther China. It's worth spending some time thinking through what precautions you ought to take in your solo travel, and give them a sense of assurance that you're in the driver's seat of your journey.