1. “Aren’t you scared?” As unbelievable as it may sound, I didn’t feel afraid once on my travels. Tired, overwhelmed and stressed, sure, but not scared. Once you get the hang of solo traveling, you begin to act with confidence in yourself and rather then being afraid when a challenge arises, you see it as an exciting opportunity for character growth instead.
2. “Don’t you get bored or lonely traveling by yourself?” Even as an introvert, I did find myself getting bored and lonely on my travels. That is simply how every traveler will feel when he or she is that far away from home for a long period of time. The traveler’s trick is to remember that feelings of boredom and loneliness are always temporary, and in the meantime, a friend is just one Skype call away.
3. “Maybe you’ll meet someone!” As nice as it is to meet exotic men, it is not the point of my solo traveling. I do it to explore the beautiful world we call our home and to enrich my soul with experiences no money can buy. Meeting someone is just a fun added bonus.
4. “Be careful.” Telling someone to be careful is another way of saying, ‘I love you.’ But I hear this so much that I think people actually believe I will willingly step inside a stranger’s car or follow someone down a dark alleyway to buy drugs. I am always careful and a good common sense is my anchor, but even the most cautious person in the world will find themselves in tricky situations!
5. “Where do you get all that money to travel?” You can’t talk about an OE without mentioning money. As lovely as, ‘Don’t worry about money, just travel,’ sounds, it’s not realistic. I certainly don’t have a trust fund or rich parents, and I’m definitely not anyone special. I worked for eight months in customer service and sold my car to fund my travels, and I firmly believe that anyway who wants to travel badly enough can do the same thing, too.
6. “Why don’t you travel with friends?” I love my friends deeply, but the benefits of traveling solo is too hard for me to give up. Solo traveling challenges you, grows your character and pushes you out of your comfort zone. You become a confident, strong and courageous person just from having to figure out everything yourself. You can also wake up, see and eat whatever you like without having to ask permission from a friend first. No arguments or waiting around necessary.
7. “What do your parents think?” My mother gets worried, but she has grown to become more supportive of it. She understands that this is what makes me happy and that’s all a parent wants for their child. But even if she did strongly oppose my desire to travel the world, I would still do it anyway. As someone once said, your responsibility isn’t to make other people happy, it’s to make you happy.
8. “You’re brave.” I wouldn’t consider myself a very brave person. As cheesy as this may sound, I think bravery is having the courage to do what makes you come alive. And being alive means different things to different people. Someone could get as much as a high working an office job as much as I do riding a tuk-tuk in Cambodia. At the end of the day, if you do what sets your soul on fire, then you are brave.