Want to take that solo trip but your anxiety is getting in the way? Here are 5 simple steps to get you on that plane (bus, boat, horse, taxi, tuk-tuk) and become the person you’ve always know you can be; an adventurer.
1. Book the ticket The hardest part about going on any big trip is fully committing to the journey. You may be worried about the cost, language barriers, or the unknown. Those worries are not only valid but totally normal, however, you don’t want them to keep you from starting your adventure. Booking your ticket solidifies your commitment to the journey ahead, to yourself, and to your goals. My favorite sites to book flights are skyscanner.com, momondo.com and I also recommend signing up for airline e-mail lists for more savings.
2. Choose your lodging wisely As an online teacher, it’s tempting for me to book a place that is quiet and within my budget. This often means Airbnb; HOWEVER, if you have social anxiety like me, it can be very easy to stay in your room for too long, hiding away from the world. This is why I recommend choosing a place that can offer social interactions AND some privacy. My new booking routine usually includes the first week in a hostel. Also, did you know you can book private rooms in hostels too? This usually pushes me to interact with others while giving me the privacy I need.
3. Connect with a community Anxiety tends to build with unknowns. One way to overcome this hurdle is by finding ways to connect with locals BEFORE you leave your home country. I know, I know, “But how?” There are so many great sites out there nowadays to help you connect with someone from the country you’re journeying to. I have used Facebook groups, posted on social media asking if anyone could connect me with locals in the area, and used sites like Couchsurfing, and Airbnb to connect with locals. Reach out, send messages, and eventually, you will have some future friends eager and ready to welcome you to their country. Just like that, it’s not so scary or foreign; it’s a country with real people just like you and me!
4. Know your limits and plan accordingly If you know you’re not a morning person, maybe it’s not the best idea to book that 5 AM jungle trek. Granted, that’s a hard one to pass up, however, you get the point. If you know what you really don’t like, you don’t have to do those things just because you are in a new place. I will say though, travel provides a great opportunity to get out of your element, expand your comfort zone and pick up some new hobbies or habits along the way. Make a plan for the type of person you want to be during your trip and what kind of travel you’d like to be doing. You took this leap abroad for a reason! Travel gives a great opportunity to be whoever you want to be. No one knows you so it can be a chance to start over or build the life you want to build.
5. Remember you are never alone There are so many others just like you who are traveling and looking for a buddy. I have been to over 17 countries and for at least half of those, I’ve traveled solo and have rarely been alone. In fact, I’ve met even more people while solo traveling than I ever would have with friends. Why? Because I was more open to meeting others. Hostels are a great place to find a travel buddy. You can even see if there are any tours that hostels in the area are doing and join in! I can guarantee you will not be the only solo traveler. Our world may seem big, but that’s the beauty of travel-you
make it just a bit smaller with your new friendships and perspectives gained from stepping foot outside your comfort zone.
Hi friends! I’m Mia, a traveling teacher, and mental health advocate, working my way through anxiety one country at a time. I enjoy slow travel and have worked as an ESL instructor and for a variety of non-profits across the globe. These days, I can be found sipping on the nearest cappuccino while boosting my Spanish and Japanese language skills in Costa Rica. Want to join me on this journey? Reach out at: IG @miaonthemap