… Exactly 3 years ago, I got on the bus, which would take me from Bangkok to the Thai-Cambodian border. I was overwhelmed with emotions: excitement, joy, fear, and anticipation. At that moment, I thought my solo trip would last for 3 months maximum, and I would go to another country and settle again. Little did I know that 3 months would turn into 3 years of adventures all over the world. Or that it would be the biggest challenge yet the best decision to leave “normal” life behind and start living on the road. That’s how I ended up living everywhere and nowhere.
- 1. You are the only one responsible for yourself, your trip.
- 2. What is freedom for you?
- 3. To be grateful.
- 4. New experiences stretch your mind and push your limits.
- 5. Common sense is your best friend.
- 6. Gaining confidence in everything you do.
- 7. What are your core values?
- 8. Are your fears bigger than your dreams?
- 9. You learn how to be alone with yourself.
- 10. You are enough.
These are the 10 lessons I learnt while travelling solo around the world
1. You are the only one responsible for yourself, your trip.
Well, and your life. Nothing pushed me more to take care of
my shit myself as being all on my own in a foreign country. I learned how to be wholly independent and accountable for every decision I make. It’s up to me what kind of trip I have. Do I keep an open mind and try everything I always wanted to do? Sometimes travelling goes wrong. We can either learn lessons from it and move on or keep whining about it forever and be negative. The ball is in your court.
At the end of the day, we are the ones who make decisions. Yes, i
2. What is freedom for you?
Travelling solo taught me that my ultimate freedom is to be free of prejudices, consumerism, judgments and so-called “norms” that are rooted in us since our childhood. You learn about the world, people and yourself in so many different ways by going through many uncomfortable, challenging and exciting experiences. Having conversations with locals and other travellers taught me to explore the topic from different angles and not force my opinion on anyone.
Thanks to travelling solo, I also hammered in my head that I do not need to live up to someone’s else expectations. The same applies to you. I thought I would tell you that, in case if you need a reminder. It is a long process, but once you realize what freedom means for you, you can’t get enough of it. Liberty is so addictive.
3. To be grateful.
Continuously exposing myself to different realities and learning how to be grateful is one of the biggest life lessons I gained. Frankly speaking, solo travel is a selfish journey. But learning how to appreciate this life leads you to live it selflessly. Why? Because when you are grateful for what you have, you start sharing this gratitude with others. I want to help and give back to the people around me.
I don’t remember when exactly I started to think more and more about it. But I was and am feeling grateful daily. And I’m not talking about positive experiences only. Oh man, so much shit happened to me during my travels. But I still thank Universe that it occurred to me. Because we learn from it and become stronger. And lastly, for me practising gratitude is deeply connected with self-love.
4. New experiences stretch your mind and push your limits.
The reason I wanted to go travelling was simple. I got fed up with a repetitive life I had in Bangkok. Isn’t it in our human nature to crave for changes? I knew that travelling would incorporate new experiences in my life. Enthusiasm, and willingness to learn everything I could, helped me to enjoy every moment of my long-term trip. I was trying to seize every opportunity to go on an adventure. I also wanted to get myself out of comfort zone and keep exploring.
It takes time to learn about this world. We first get to know the place, culture, customs and traditions, food, climate. The more you travel, the more you get to know the world and people. You realise how we are all virtually same! Doesn’t matter if you are from Peru, Germany, Japan, Indonesia, or elsewhere, we all have th
I have massively changed. The way I make decisions, the confidence I gained, my outlook on our society and the problems we face. Yet again, I’m grateful I was open to take it all in and process it. I have learnt more in my travels than I could have ever imagined.
5. Common sense is your best friend.
Safety is one of the biggest concerns of travellers. It’s easy to fall prey to fraud and scams. Unfortunately, in some countries, not so nice people will try to take advantage of tourists. I was very aware that I can not let it happen. Travelling solo helped to develop my common sense and be aware of my surroundings. You need to trust your intuition and if something doesn’t feel right, leg outta there asap.
I did fuck up here and there, but it was never life-threatening. When I went to Wadi Rum desert in Jordan, the camp picked me up from the checkpoint, but I could feel something was wrong. The so-called guide couldn’t answer basic questions about my booking. I was surrounded by 10 men in a camp. 20 minutes later I asked to be dropped back in the village. If not, I was ready to walk across the desert to get outta there. Then I found out I was “kidnapped” by a random camp. And it’s one of the common scams in Wadi Rum. Or Egypt is considered an unsafe destination by many people, but it was such a great challenging experience travelling to Egypt! My will to be safe is greater than my curiosity.
6. Gaining confidence in everything you do.
I never knew what I was capable of until I started travelling solo. For example, I always believed that I suck in doing a physically demanding activity. I was surprised when I was one of the few people who actually completed 65km trek in Myanmar. We were 9 people on Day 1, and only 5 of us arrived at the final destination by Day 3. Or I took stairs to Machu Picchu at 5 o’clock in the morning, and after a waterfall of my tears and sweat, I made it to the top in what felt like the longest 1 hour of my life.
However, it’s not just about confidence in physical shape, but everything. How often do we think we are going to fail before we even try? If you can travel solo, you can do shit lots of other amazing things. Gaining confidence is one of the best investments you can do in yourself.
7. What are your core values?
Travelling is a beautiful way to learn more about this world and ourselves. For example, realising what utter bs the “first-world” problems can be. *There are people dying, Kim*. When you continuously see poverty, inequality, children are dropping out of school to work, streets filled with homeless people and entire families living for less than 5$ a day… You start re-evaluating your life. You dive into this long discussion with your own self about life purpose, values, and how you can help.
And while we can’t eliminate inequality entirely (there always be ridiculously rich and extremely poor people), how do we help to make the gap smaller? Changes start within ourselves. I promised myself I will stay true to my values and care about things that matter to me. It may sound naive, but I do care about bringing a positive impact to our society. I am becoming more obsessive with the idea of having “volunteering tours”. I would love to have volunteers and travel buddies, who would enjoy helping in remote villages in different parts of the world. Then we would all travel together upon completing the project.
Isn’t it a greater purpose which empowers us to get through the grind and the obstacles?
8. Are your fears bigger than your dreams?
Mindset is a powerful thing. It’s crucial to believe in ourselves and not let any of the past failures determine who we are. Back in 2013, I learnt about growth and fixed mindset. If we aren’t born “naturally” smart or talented, society tells us to give up. But fuck that, efforts make us stronger and lead to higher achievement. Do you know that abilities and intelligence can be developed? A growth mindset drives motivation and performance. I’ve seen lots of examples of how people all over the world achieved their goals because they believed in themselves and took failures as a way to grow. Anything you think you can’t do – it’s in your head only.
9. You learn how to be alone with yourself.
3 years ago I went to the Perhentian Islands in Malaysia for 4 days. It was a digital detox: no internet and no electricity to charge the phone. I was scared of what I was going to do with all my free time. I also lived in a chalet on the beach and had quite a dreamy view out my window. But there were no people around me unless I crossed the jungle to go to the other side of the island. I started journaling and writing down all my thoughts, fears, dreams. Basically, everything that came to my mind. I also had paper books with me, and it slowly but surely occupied my mind. Those 4 days massively helped me in enjoying my own company.
It is the scariest yet the best thing ever to be comfortable with your own self. I was always around people: at home, work, university. What I didn’t know about myself, how hard it was for me to be alone on my own. Travelling solo taught me how to accept myself entirely and enjoy my own company. Having an opportunity to be alone from time to time is a blessing.
10. You are enough.
Our generation lives in a fast-paced overachieving world. It seems like everyone around you is already making 6 figures a year, has a house, marriage (name anything that is a “measurement” of successful life by our society). Meanwhile, you are out there still trying to figure out what you want. The stress of catching up with “successful life” we are supposed to be living is creeping on us day by day.
Why did I include it in one of the lessons I learnt while I was out there “living my best life” aka exploring the world? Having hundreds of conversations, with all kinds of different people, travellers, locals, expats, lost souls led me to this conclusion. I can’t stress enough how similar we all are as human beings and how everyone needs to hear “You are enough”.
I am enough. It’s only me who gets to determine how happy I am and what I want from this life. I accepted myself the way I am now, and I am striving to grow. And it’s coming from a place of self-love, power and wholeness, not a place of deficiency.