*Written in May 2017, Sydey
All travel articles are written from my first-hand experience. I travelled solo during 2014-2016.
- Make sure you really really want to go in the first place. Leaving home is a BIG decision. Extended periods of travel come with so much more to handle than your average long weekend or holiday with your mates.
- Do your research. Google has unlimited resources for finding out more about places you might want to visit – if (like me) you’d rather find things out as you go, it’s a good idea to have a loose plan or where you may want to see, as aimlessly moving from one place to the next can end up being expensive and you will almost certainly miss out on things you wish you’d known about beforehand.
- Prepare yourself for doing everything alone. The road can be a lonely and very challenging place, are you ready for it? If you’re a shy person but you’re super keen to do it I highly recommend getting yourself out to events and into public spaces that you wouldn’t normally go to – practice.
- Quit your job the right way. Give plenty of notice, be sure to do a detailed handover, meet the ‘new you’ to help them get started – whatever you can do you leave your role on the right foot, do it – you might need to go back one day.
- Leave no loose ends at home. Store your stuff, or sell it for travel funds – it might sound romantic rushing off in the heat of the moment but you’re only leaving things behind for your unlucky family (and/friends) to sort out while you’re gone.
- Try your best not to fall out with your loved ones. If you’re off on your own for the first time it’s highly likely that tensions will be running high. Don’t say things you might regret ”I’ll go for as long as I want” / ”I don’t know when or if I’ll ever be back” / ”You’ll have to visit me wherever I end up”. Few words like this may be said in jest but they may well come back to haunt you.
- Don’t even go there with an Ex before you leave. Done that, got the T Shirt – it’s not worth it, it’s never as good as you remember and all in all, the precious time you have left should be spent with the people you truly love – not one who previously broke your heart and left your life.
- Ensure you have enough cash to get where you wanna get. Not saving enough then calling home a few weeks into your trip for back-up funds because you blew what you had partying isn’t very fair is it. It’s amazing how many of first time travellers do this.
- Smooth any troubled waters. If you have any rifts worth saving, don’t be shy to put yourself out there and make an effort to calm things before you go – I can’t stress enough, that once you start traveling your life changes forever and upsets will haunt you sooner or later.
- Listen to your family. If your family ask you not to do something, 9 times out 10 it’s because they love you – not because they’re trying to control you. Try to curb your ego a bit to give them some support – I didn’t listen to my Mum when I first went away and looking back now (of 3 years later), I can only imagine the sleepless nights she had when I told her certain things I had done / didn’t check in every now and again to let her know I was safe.
- Be prepared for your life to change forever. Whether you end up staying away long term (like me), or you travel for a shorter time and return home, you will view your world differently.