It’s been quite a while, exactly nine weeks since I’ve posted any blog posts. Am I upset about it?
Not at all.
I needed a break, as well as a routine change. Too much content was being forced out, instead of letting it develop naturally. I’d rather take my time, and put out quality posts that I’ve personally experienced.
Enough of the rant and back to the topic at hand. Nine weeks ago, I went on my first international solo trip to Krakow, Poland (pictured above). Originally, the plan wasn’t to go alone, but plans changed, and I was set on going to Krakow, Poland, regardless of whom could or couldn’t come.
This post is dedicated to all those who are considering traveling the world all by yourself.
Being Comfortable in Solitude
Most solo travelers aren’t to themselves 99.9999% of the time. They surround themselves with likeminded people doing the same thing, and in my opinion, voids the entire purpose of traveling alone.
My number one reason to travel alone was to be with my own thoughts.
And to do this, you must be comfortable in solitude.
Let your mind wrap around what’s going on. Take in every minute detail, and give yourself a chance to process everything without having other people influence you.
Not everyone can do this. You’ll end up having to look over your own shoulder, make sure you’re going the right way during the right times, talking to the right people, and making the best decisions on your own.
Destination is Key
Before and after my trip to Krakow, Poland, people asked and keep asking, “Why Krakow? Why Poland? I’ve never heard of Krakow. Why go there?”
Krakow is a historical city that stands in its 14th century form, surviving both WWI and WWII, nearly untouched. Krakow contains significant WWII history all throughout the city. And best of all, Krakow stood as my base for a day trip to Auschwitz.
All these factors gave Krakow personal meaning to ME. Other peoples’ opinions of Krakow didn’t mean jack s**t. I was going regardless.
The beauty of solo travel is that you have the opportunity to choose any destination you want. Pick a destination that means something to you, and not just any ordinary tourist hotspot.
And of course, other factors need to be considered.
For one, many American solo travelers don’t look into how well English is understood or spoken in foreign countries, and/or how safe is it for Americans to be there.
Unless you plan on learning a new language, I advise choosing a city or country that speaks some English. Besides obvious reasons where you might need to ask someone for directions, lack of communication with so many people around you takes a toll on your mind.
Fortunately for us Americans, we live in an ultra-safe society compared to the rest of the world. Most solo travelers think they can stroll into any country, do whatever they want, and have zero consequences.
Make sure the places you travel to have low crime rates, and aware yourself of the risks before leaving. People will know you’re a foreigner AND alone and will look to take advantage of the situation.
If you’re not an organized person, don’t attempt solo travel, let alone international solo travel.
You’re alone in an unfamiliar part of the world, and “winging it” is not the best idea for international solo trips. If you want to get the most bang for your buck in a safe way, you must plan, and then plan some more.
Spend 50-60 hours on planning your first solo trip. That’s what I did, and it worked wonders. Will some of it be over kill? Absolutely, but it won’t go unused.
You should have a mental map of the area where you’re going before stepping foot there. That’s how prepared you should be. Being this organized raises your confidence, effects your mood and how you carry yourself, which keeps trouble away, and one less thing to worry about.
Overpreparation leads to lower stress levels.
One of the more surprising things I noticed during my trip was the alternating mood swings and stress levels. Being prepared helps tremendously with this. Things WILL NOT go your way 100% of the time and being overprepared helps you remain calm when all you want to do is stop and scream.
After returning from my trip to Krakow, Poland and having nine weeks to reflect, I asked myself, “Would I solo travel to another foreign country again?”
It depends. Depends on where I would go and who I would bring.
I do wish a few certain (emphasis on certain) people could have joined. Would them tagging along have changed things? Yes, but for the better.
Experiencing life events, such as traveling abroad with people whom you care for, will always outweigh any trip you go on your own.
“If you’re waiting for someone to travel with you……….you may be waiting a lifetime.”
Book of the Month: “Boy 30529: A Memoir” by Felix Weinburg