I have the feeling that its time to write about this one again, because the last time I got pretty emotional thinking about it. It all started for me last year in spring, when I was heartbroken and felt deeply empty, stupid and exhausted. The trip came not naturally for me, because I hated to travel ever since I knew. As a child, everyone would get excited about the summer holidays and spending time with their families, but not me. I just loved to visit my dad together with my sister and go hiking in the woods, watching TV until very late or use his computer to make art in PAINT 95 - what a childhood, right? Taking a plane to get to some beach full of tourists has never been my thing. And that was all I connected with "traveling".
So I had to prove myself wrong and especially to get out of my comfort zone. Thats why I booked some random fights, to lisbon first and then to the azores, from where I took ships to explore the islands. It was a three-week thing and completely different than I expected. I wanted it to be some act of self-fulfillment, eat-pray-love-ish or at least very meditativ. But it wasn't. It was challenging, every day - I am not the most social person, but I had to become one in order to find my way. Asking People, learning from them to explore the area, doing this together. For some of you this must sound so normal, but for me it was new and exciting. Traveling by oneself has some magic about it. The Independence that I barely feel normally. But since this should be more informative, here are some tipps for traveling by yourself (as a girl).
1. Be openminded
I literally went diving for the first time in my life by doing so. Meeting new people with an open and honest heart made me experience the best things ever, no matter where I went. In Antalya, People have a different helping culture. Once you are stuck or not sure where to go, they not only guided me but gave me tips, food, their phone number and the brightest smiles. The same is for Madrid, Lisbon, the Azores, Athens and Amsterdam. I never regret when I was openminded and warm.
Its sometimes hard to travel solo and at the same time knowing whom to trust. The most important thing is to trust yourself 100% - you cannot expect that everyone is just a good person, even if you did not experience anything bad during your travels yet. Try to avoid risky situations like being too drunk with strangers, sleeping at someones space when you just met the person or going to places without telling anyone with whom you are going to stay. This worked for me and so I avoided to go home with men who clearly did not only wanted to show me some "very secret waterfall" that no one but them knew.
3. forget the awkwardness of being alone
You know that feeling when you eat out alone? And I am not talking about getting some food in a restaurant and munch it in your hostel. I am talking about really eating out solo. There is always a waiter asking if you're waiting for someone. As soon as I shook my head and said "I am here by myself" I would get that look. But it really doesn't matter to anyone, you will not be the firs person ever they served that ate by themselves. Take a good Book with you, look through the pictures you´ve taken or just watch and listen to your surroundings. Its not that bad, if you put off the prejudices.
4. don´t force it
You don't have to stay in a hostel, if you don't like it. In my opinion, Airbnb is a good alternative to feel like home while traveling. I am not really the type of person who likes to share a bedroom, (besides of friends or my boyfriend) - I prefer to meet locals on the streets than other travelers in over crowded hostels. The best way to find cool locals is in real life, if you are shy, try tinder haha. Otherwise, there is no classic way of meeting someone, it always happens if you expect it the least.
5. Don't plan too much
You don't have something like a bucket list, that you have to end, you should act more the way you feel. I usually had one goal per day, which were set in kilometers to hike or one thing I wanted to see. Everything around that goal was flexible, I was able to go left, if I should have gone right and keep on hiking the way I felt it should be. I easily get distracted by everything, I fall in love so quick with the nature that I sometimes forgot why I was there in the first place. But I always loved what I did, the flexibly I usually don't have inspired me. In other words: do what you feel like doing, despite the way you "should" go.