Me, myself and I – Solo travel is a must! – Anj (Anjli’s Look Book)notyourwife1214
I have had the travel bug from a young age I was fascinated by aeroplanes and the airport. However, my love for travel grew significantly in my 20’s and is even stronger now in my 30’s. There is something about travelling that just really excites me! The things you get to see, the people you get to meet and the cultures you can learn from. Oh and the food (definitely one of the best things about travelling) and the unique landscapes. I always wanted to have stories to tell my grandchildren. I have been lucky enough to have travelled to over forty countries and counting. However, travelling can be stressful when planning and aligning diaries and interests with other people.
I am no longer married which means I no longer have a travel companion. I am also at an age where my friends have their own families and responsibilities. I realised if I want to travel I would need to do it on my own. If you are considering doing it my advice is STOP considering and just book it! I have flown to the world’s busiest airports on my own Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Delhi etc but had never done a full holiday by myself. I know many of you must be thinking – who do you eat with? What do you do on your own? etc. Don’t think about those scenarios, as tackling them is part of the adventure and the experience.
In July 2020, after lockdown, going through a divorce, a death in the family and experiencing depression I decided that I needed to get my mind in a different place. I booked a 5 day trip to Kos, Greece for the following week. I got my first “I did this” moment came when I picked up the hire car and made my way to the hotel driving on the opposite side of the road. Nobody to read the satnav instructions or to remind me not to swerve on to the other side.
As I was driving I spotted a secluded beach that just looked so peaceful so I stopped and sat on the sand just watching the waves. I felt so peaceful and proud of myself. I also figured out later that this had such a positive effect on my confidence which had taken a significant hit in the past year. I sat there and thought “I just flew to a different country, got in a car and drove here to this little paradise all on my own”. I didn’t need to worry that I was running late for anything or rush to get somewhere. I just stopped and listened to the waves (as cliche as that is). It was a freeing feeling unlike the usual guilt I feel when I do something for myself. Nobody has ever made me feel that way but I think it is an innate feeling that so many of us feel from within ourselves. I also realised that I wanted to share what I could see with someone else and how grateful I am when I do get share these moments with someones. So I facetimed my mum, that is the beauty of technology you can solo travel and still take people with you. Of course it is not the same thing but when you are missing the company it works.
I made it to the hotel, sat and then came the “What do I do for dinner question” – due to my job I have had dinner on my own when working away. However, this felt different as I’m on holiday by myself rather than a business trip. A quick tip if this is something you are nervous about then I would urge you to go out to your local restaurant and just have lunch by yourself. Take a book or some headphones and get comfortable eating out by yourself.
I showered and got dressed to go out for dinner. It did feel odd getting dressed up for myself but also felt nice. The restaurant was beautiful and as I sat down I was very aware of a couple continuously glancing over. I know they are probably discussing if I am on my own – we all know we have done it but as I had my book with me I just got lost in the food and my book. I also got talking to the owner until she had to close up. First evening done with success – the rest will be a breeze. Being able to sit and eat by yourself, getting comfortable in your own company is something anyone of any age should experience.
When solo travelling people approach and speak to you differently, they are so friendly. It gives you a different way of looking at life. On my first morning I went to reception to ask about local places to visit and things to see and the girls at reception were so helpful and came up to me every morning at breakfast to ask my plans for the day. The hotel staff would also look out for me coming back in the evenings knowing I was out on my own. I made some friends on the trip as well who all had different backgrounds and was interesting hearing their stories. I spent the next 5 days relaxing by the pool , exploring the island, swimming in the sea and creating content. I found a hidden beach by driving off road and yes it was a little scary but it was worth it. I also decided one evening not to go out for dinner but to put my pjs on sit on the balcony, watch Netflix and eat some food I picked up from the local supermarket. Having the freedom to do what you want, when you want, even if that is to sit in your pjs and watch Netflix is rare and something everyone should experience at least once.
Whether you are a parent, married, single, in a relationship, 20, 30 or 40 and above – I would recommend doing a solo trip. You don’t need to backpack across Thailand, just a try few days. I will definitely be doing more solo travelling but even if it is a one time experience I feel it is necessary for confidence and growth. I can guarantee you will walk away with a sense of pride. Before you do solo travel especially for the first time try 4/5 days rather than a week. Research the hotel and area carefully. I always look to see on google maps what is around the area and read trip advisor, instagram and blog reviews. Pick a smaller, boutique hotel as there is a more personal feel and less people so you don’t feel so intimidated when going for breakfast or sitting at the pool side. I also feel an adult-only hotel is a good option.
I hope my experience has motivated you to do a solo trip. We spend too much of our lives wishing we had, thinking if we should and dreaming about if we can. If 2020 has taught as anything is that life is too short for wishing, thinking and dreaming as well as the need to look after ourselves. We all deserve that break even if it is just a few days – a few days is all that is needed to give you confidence, memories and strength that can last for years!
By Anj (Anjli’s Look Book)