What did we do before the internet?!
There are so many sites and blogs out there that I can’t even begin to try and list them all but I am going to write about a few that I found incredibly helpful and why.
First of all, being a female solo-traveler brings with it a couple of extra anxieties. As a sufferer of depression/anxiety this was something that very nearly made me back out several times from my trip. However whilst researching different anxiety & travel blogs I came across the neverendingfootsteps which completely restored my self-belief. Luckily I am not afraid to go out alone, see new things etc., but it is the perfectionist in me that tries to knock me down. Upon reading Lauren Juliff’s blog and subssequently reading her book ‘How not to Travel the World’ I thought that if this girl can do it, and actually overcome her anxiety, then so can I!!
That really was the first step to my new adventure 🙂
Of course I worry that I will begin to dip again once I’ve left alone, and discussing it with a friend I asked the question “When am I allowed to be in bad form?” Just because I suffered from depression I too have the right to just be in plain lousy form sometimes, after all everyone else is allowed to be! Only when I accepted that this is inevitable and I will of course be anxious (because it is a normal feeling for all travelers and in particular those travelling alone), it became okay again.
Mind Over Matter
I read a blog post called 4 Anxieties You Face As a Solo Traveler and How to Beat Them and the little tips they give are just so logical! I am an avid planner in everyday life which tends to minimize those dreaded feelings of anxiety but for some reason I have gone to the other extreme and in relation to this trip I cannot sit down and plan at all! I think it’s a little bit of fear I have which has managed to disable this feature in my mind. As long as I don’t think of all the potential risks and problems I will inevitably face then it’s like it won’t happen… mind over matter etc., Unfortunately this is not the case! These anxieties are discussed on yTravelBlog and I know they are most definitely going to creep up/pounce on top of me… after reading their blog though, I feel that little bit more prepared!
Between that blog and TravelwithKate, they have given me little tips to face every day life and restored a little bit of confidence, so all in all, a very worthwhile reads!!
Safety is a huge concern of mine as I have always had someone else with me when travelling. I have always been considered quite accident prone, lacking common sense and generally an easy target which has come from previous experiences whether it be injuring myself whilst away, getting lost or being mugged etc. I have had to reassure myself plenty of times that I can do this alone and with such entries like 46 Incredibly Useful Safety Tips For Women Traveling Alone or asking advice from other travelers, it has restored my faith in myself. It is wise to be cautious and mindful for safety reasons and luckily I have had time to start practicing mindfulness and meditation before I leave. Headspace is a really good free site to get you started!
When I started researching what to do/where to go I had no idea how I would do it alone. I knew I wanted to improve my Spanish so that made the decision of heading to South America for me. When living in Germany back when I was young and brave etc., I remember a friend mentioned having a tandem partner. I googled this concept in Buenos Aires – my first stop – and I stumbled across the site conversationexchange.com
This is exactly what it sounds like – it’s a way to meet and talk to someone in person/skype/whatsapp etc., with the aim to improve your language skills. In my case it would be Spanish that I want to practice and being a languages teacher it gave me the confidence to offer my services which I may otherwise have felt that I couldn’t. Everyone can do it and it’s 100% free! It’s the feeling of loneliness that stops so many of us doing things alone, being adrift with our thoughts etc., and although I know there will be times when I am alone, I will hopefully get more comfortable with that, but this just shows – we are not alone 100% of the time!
I got in touch with people and before I knew it I had several emails asking to meet up to chat/hang out/site-see etc. Of course this is an online site and of course like any other site it brings with it it’s very own dangers but as long as you’re careful it works – a bit like internet dating I suppose! I myself have decided to meet just girls with whom I have skyped in advance. Straight away it takes away that feeling of being alone and being unprepared because every little question I have, regardless of how minuscule it is, they want to speak English so they are more than willing to answer! Win/win I say 🙂
Another concern I have had was the dreaded M word….. money! Naturally I am on a budget and as I am travelling alone it is a worry that I will run out/lose my cards etc. How I can afford to do everything I want and yet have a bed to sleep in?! Well look no further than Workaway! It is an amazing site which for a little registration fee, you can work for board/keep! You don’t need to do this in advance just set up a profile and contact people/business’ that are in the vicinity of where you want to stay! Already I have organised a few weeks work in an Argentinian kindergarten and a Chilean hostel! Not only is this an amazing way to meet new people but also to immerse into the local culture and it has given me some peace of mind and structure too!
Again, safety needs to come first though! I have read all the reviews on these and talked with previous ‘workawayers’ that have stayed/worked in my chosen places, asking opinions etc. This is something I would definitely recommend to do! And of course I’ll write about the experiences I have with these, giving an honest account and review of each stay! Any questions, just ask 🙂 xoxo