In my head, I generally regard my travel-self (as opposed to my “domestic-self”) as some sort of daring, adventuring, vagabonding type able to change my mind on a whim and take what ever challenges come my way with great ease. While at home I’m pretty flexible and adventurous I certainly don’t exhibit the same sort of easy spirited nature, at least not the same extent. There are few places I’m unwilling to travel, and few things I’m not willing to try. Not much scares me in the world of travel. Well, giant amazon spiders do, quite a bit, but they would never prevent my venturing.
There is this one thing, though. Solo travel. It stirs a sort of uneasy anxiety that I haven’t experienced since my first trip out to east Africa. The truth is, I’ve never traveled alone. My volunteering doesn’t really count. I met my Moshi roommate in the Amsterdam airport. From that moment on, I was never alone and always had at least a few people (if not twelve) to keep me company. It’s a bit of a safety net. And there’s nothing wrong with that, but I don’t count it as solo travel.
I have this (probably irrational) fear that if I venture out on my own I won’t meet anyone. I’ll be perpetually alone. Even if I stay in dorm-style hostels or actually make an effort to meet people, some force will keep me painfully alone. Travel wisdom suggests making a lone venture may be difficult, but will ultimately reap great rewards and insights that can’t be afforded with others in tow, or when mindlessly following a tour-guide. Having the freedom to explore the world entirely uninhibited by any schedule or preference, other than that inflicted by the traveler. It sounds great, but still. And I’m actually a bit hesitant to admit this fear, as if it somehow makes me less of a real traveler, or worse, a tourist.
I’m curious, though. To see the world (or part of it anyway) by myself. I would imagine it could only prove a good experience in the end. No one to share the responsibilities you must become pretty highly self-sufficient. Plus, I don’t like that it scares me. This simple hesitation I view as as something I need to remedy. I’ve generally found that the greatest experiences result not from barricading myself from fears, but running full-force at them until they surrender. So I think this will be my next project. Maybe I’ll start out easy, a month or two on my own. The prospect fills me with nervous conflicting energy, just the sort that suggests I’m in store for something fantastic.
I totally get the fear about solo travel. I’ve dont it numerous times and still get that uneasy/nervous feeling about being alone. But trust me, once you step off the plane, you’ll never go back to groups again. Good luck!