Why I Need to Travel Solo

If you didn’t know yet, in less then a week I’m headed to China for a 12-day solo trip. When I tell people I’m going on my own, some people call me brave and say it sounds cool. However, the vast majority don’t get it – why would I want to travel on my own? Aside from my introversion and tendency to enjoy myself more on my own, there are a few very real lessons I’m hoping to learn from solo travel:

FEAR

I’m scared of everything. Seriously, I know three year olds braver than me. Most of them are. From snakes to the dark to bathrooms (I watched a horror movie), almost everything makes me nervous and I hate how it affects my life. Travelling alone will show me that I’m capable of doing something pretty scary – so why can’t I get over my fear of the dark?? It’s getting pathetic.

 

An update from three years later – guess who conquered my number one fear, water? ME! This is a photo right after scuba diving in Zanzibar.

Getting out of your comfort zone is one of the most therapeutic things you can do, and backpacking China alone at 18 is definitely out of my comfort zone.

VANITY

I like wearing makeup and getting dressed up, but when you feel like you can’t leave the house without undereye concealer that’s a problem! Travelling alone will be the ultimate escape from trying to impress people – there’s literally nobody there that I know.

Why would I wear makeup for a horseback ride around Cappadocia?

Travel also shows you how little how you look matters – walking through an impoverished town makes me regret that $35 face powder more than I already did, and shows me that beauty doesn’t come from the outside.

DEPENDENCE

I’m definitely a very independent person and I hate accepting help from other people, but that doesn’t mean I’m not dependent. I call my mom every time I cook, I don’t clean anything without asking my roommates how to do it, and I Google the rest. I won’t really be able to do any of these things in China, and I’m hoping it’ll force me to learn how to stand on my own two feet.

I can do anything on my own now – including solo photo shoots.

 

PRIVILEGE

I come from a middle class family and parents who have showed me the value of travel, advocated for me to skip grades, and given me everything I could ever need. I like to think I’m very aware of my privilege and what’s going on in the rest of the world, but every time I travel I’m given a stark reminder of how lucky I am.

The worst trip of my life, where everything bad happened – and yet, because I’ve travelled, I can still look back at it as an amazing week.

SHYNESS

One of the most irritating parts of my personality is my inability to open up and start a conversation with a stranger or just generally put myself out there. When I’m in China, I’m fairly certain I’ll need to ask people for help (see above point on dependence), or be thrown into conversations with other backpackers at hostels, encouraging me to break out of my shell and get over my shyness. Maybe this will even translate back home.

Didn’t know any of these people until this day.

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