It’s a topic I’ve been asked constantly about for the past 10 years. Don’t you get scared? Don’t you get lonely? You’re brave! Granted I’m not on the road full time by myself, it’s usually only for a week or so at a time, but solo travel is solo travel no matter how long it’s for. Maybe it’s just my style of travel or the routine I’ve got myself into but no, I don’t get scared, it’s quite nice to travel alone sometimes!
Why I’m not afraid
My style of travel tends to be the following: get up early, cram as much into daylight hours as humanly possible, go back to my room after dinner and spend an hour or so before bed reflecting back on the day and writing it all up in a journal. I’m not a big drinker, I never have been, so for me part of the risk has already been eliminated. There’s no need for me to be wandering around alone at night and I’m not feeling the affects that come with being drunk. I don’t live under a rock though, if there’s something I particularly want to see at night time, I’ll do it.
In 3 weeks time, I’m off to Barcelona for a long weekend. After all the recent craziness that’s going on in the world at the moment, my Mum had said ‘you do realise Spain is High Risk too at the moment?’. Yes, it may be, but in all honesty, I believe I’m more at risk doing my daily job than my likelihood of being in the wrong place at the wrong time somewhere in the world. Currently I’m a delivery driver, I spend 10 hours a day driving on roads that are far too crowded and full of idiots. I sit in accident tail backs on a daily basis, I’ve seen people drive round roundabouts the WRONG way, a car under the back of a lorry/truck, people don’t seem to give way at junctions anymore, they overtake on blind bends and I’m often wondering when am I going to be the unlucky one that someone decides to smash into the back of…not such a happy thought. I live 50 miles away from London, I was suppose to be going to there to see a band the evening of the 7/7 attacks, but at the end of the day…I wasn’t there when it happened. I think nothing of going up to London, I’m there several times a year.
It makes me sad that travel is such a huge part of my life that I love so much, and now the USA have announced a worldwide warning about it being dangerous to travel? I hope it doesn’t put people off following their dreams. The WHOLE world isn’t a scary place. To be honest, there are some parts of me moving to the States that I’m concerned about, but I’m not going to let these things control me, otherwise I’ll never leave the house if I had that view of the world!
What if you get lost?
I have a mouth, if I get lost, I’ll go into a shop or a train station etc and I’ll ask for directions, there are a lot of countries that’ll speak good enough English to get you back on track. Before going to Costa Rica, I brushed up on my Spanish (VERY basic Spanish) but it was enough to get me a ticket and be in the right place to get the bus back to the city. Which leads me on to…
Always be prepared
Whether I’m travelling alone, or as part of a group, I research like crazy…I actually enjoy it! So I’m not one of these people that pride themselves ‘on traveling with no plans’, but then I travel for myself, not for other people. I will book myself on tours and activities, I’ll hunt down all the places I want to visit, I’ll leave myself an odd afternoon or day in case I find something I want to do while there. I’ll load up my iPod Touch with screen grabs of Google Maps directions, maps of all the areas I want to go to, where my accommodation is, tour offices, transport time tables etc etc. Being on an iPod I find that if I do have to find out where I need to go, it’s not as obvious looking at a small device compared to whipping out a huge great tourist map, I could just be replying to a text. It’s also good as it has WiFi so I can load and update it with more information if needed if I’m in a hotel or an area with a WiFi connection.
In the coming weeks I’ll be writing a couple of posts on the reasons why I enjoy solo travel and although I’m not afraid to travel solo, a post about the negatives too! Watch this space!