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Travelling on your own: Daunting or freeing?

You’ve been talking about it for weeks, maybe months: you want to travel. You’ve pestered friends and family but no one seems quite committed enough to accompany you, so you have to make a decision. To travel alone, or not travel at all?

Image courtesy of Sam Fox, New Zealand 

Travelling with friends is all well and good, but it often requires an inordinate amount of organisation: finding countries, activities, and dates everyone agrees on often devolves into not going anywhere further than the local coffee shop. Leaving that behind to organise a trip for yourself, the way you like it, may seem selfish but may also be the best decision you ever make for your gap year. The prospect of leaving the comforts of home for a – probably dustier and hotter – foreign country can be daunting, but there are many options open for you to make this a truly amazing experience.

Standing at the airport security check, waving goodbye to concerned parents, the weight of the unknown facing you might feel overwhelming. By undertaking such a trip on your own, by tackling this exciting new experience head-on, you will learn to love the thrill it presents you with. Soon enough, you will welcome that unknown with open arms and embrace it.

Image courtesy of Sarah Goodfellow, Madagascar Wildlife Conservation Adventure

First Time Traveller Worries

Some of the main concerns first-time independent travellers have fall in one of two categories: organisation and social life. Organising a trip on your own requires a lot of know-how, and may not be the best choice for your first foray into the big bad world of globetrotting. Fortunately, there are many organised trips and projects out there, which will still allow you a lot of liberty in deciding what you’d like to do. Signing up for one of these trips will reassure you, knowing that everything is planned for you once you reach the country of your choice. 

The other factor preventing many a youngster from travelling alone is the fear of loneliness. Joining a group tour or field project alongside other independent travellers is a great way to meet people you otherwise would never have had the chance to interact with. Introducing yourself and meeting new, like-minded globetrotters from all over the world will be part of pushing your limits and moving out of your comfort zone. 

Step outside your comfort zone

Image courtesy of Frontier Indonesia

Beyond the people travelling alongside you, remember you are visiting a real live country with real life people living in it! Don’t feel shy, introduce yourself to the locals. Language barriers may occasionally be an issue but communicating through signs may lead to some interesting results… like a mystery meal at the local restaurant. If anything, it will definitely be memorable and will make your next interaction much easier. 

Invest yourself fully in whatever it is you are doing – whether you are trekking through a jungle in South East Asia or riding a horse through Mozambique, enjoying yourself means you are also more likely to enjoy the company!

Image courtesy of Frontier Indonesia Construction Project 

So, is it daunting or freeing? We think both. Like jumping off a tall cliff into the sea: it’s scary before the jump, exhilaratingly freeing during the fall, and a great feeling of accomplishment afterwards.

Frontier offers many opportunities for those wishing to travel alone; from spending ten weeks discovering South East Asia to working to conserve wildlife in Costa Rica, there is bound to be something for you.

Frontier runs conservationdevelopmentteaching and adventure travel projects in over 50 countries worldwide - so join us and explore the world!

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