Truth be told, every adult woman should take at least one solo trip in her lifetime. Understandably circumstances may not always allow, but if you can, you should. Here are ten things I learned during my first solo international trip:
Honestly, all you have is yourself. If you are intuitive, now’s the best time to touch up on it, if you are not, this is the time to get to know your instincts. They are there for a reason. Learn to say no when your intuition gives you a feeling.
Depend on Others/Ask for Help
For the most part, South Africans are very friendly. I ran into the occasional racist, or they don’t actually speak English, but I was able to ask for help with directions and things I wasn’t so sure of, especially if I wanted to learn about the culture. I’m naturally an independent person (Sagittarius), so I’ve always struggled with asking for help. Learning that the only way to succeed is to ask for help, this trip allowed me to improve on that.
Trust in God
No matter what your relationship is to Him when you’re left with nothing but yourself, you’re bound to be placed in a situation where you have no choice but to depend on Him. I had a couple of those moments during my trip which strengthened my relationship with God.
This one is a given for any trip, but even more so when you are solo. I have always naturally been an observant person, so my radar is typically on high for a solo trip. It’s a demanding task for me because I am already hearing impaired and seeing with only one eye, so I am grateful that my other senses kick in.
Research or map beforehand
Thank goodness for technology improving. In the first few days of my trip, I was using my super slow T-Mobile network. Anytime I entered a new city; I would plan on a whim. There were times where even my MTN minutes or data ran out, which caused me to be without maps. If I did not download the map or the information I saved in my Google Trips App, I was screwed. One of the things I did manage to do is make a note of my route before I left the house. One of the lessons I learned is to go back to my old ways with reading and picking up maps and making notes of phone numbers and addresses.
Be prepared for the unexpected financially and mentally
There was a lump sum of money that I had been expecting to use for this trip. Despite being an entrepreneur, who hired assistants for my first trip in two years, I still had a lot of expenses, while occasionally getting the urge to splurge on food, what made it even more confusing was dealing with multiple currencies and price ranges. Despite having a calculator app, I am not a math whiz.
Testing yourself and your attitude when you have nothing
Lining up with the same thing I said in the above statement, the trip started off with me having just about nothing except my flight covered and the basics needed to get to where I needed to go up until the time I was halfway to my destination. I just prayed and kept the faith along the way. Risk taker I am.
You will meet at least five people to connect with on your trip
As long as you are open-minded throughout your entire trip and not intentionally closed off, you are bound to meet, connect with and cross paths with more people than if you were with a partner or a group. I can attest to this fact because I was a part of a Whatsapp group full of Nomadness Travelers who were also traveling at the same time, even when there wasn't a meet up to eat dinner or lunch, I met a handful of other locals!
Be grateful for small things
There’s this challenge floating around social media called something like the Gratitude challenge, where every day you should be thankful for at least one thing. Since I was leaving my husband, not on the best terms, being on my own in a new environment, made me truly look deeper into myself and be appreciative of the small things, such as, I have a good man, and I no longer have to deal with getting hit on while traveling. I must have had a ‘married aura’ around me because the men I was around 1) very few 2) respectful. Or maybe South African men just respect marriage more? But you get my gist.
Count your blessings
Life is so fragile; time alone gets you to thinking about your blessings and how good you really do have it good. In all honesty, there are those that have it worse than you. Being able to travel is a privilege. Me, a cancer survivor, being able to visit 12 countries, including own home country, is a definite blessing.
Well, that’s my list. All in all, you should take at least one international solo trip.
Technically my first international solo trip was when I flew over to The Gambia to meet my husband. I still ended up flying with people I knew, but spend time in a place with new people.
But just to rewind it a bit, my first actual solo trip was domestic; I took the Amtrak train up to Philadelphia for the Made in America Music Festival.
So, if you are looking to make your first independent trip and want to start small, take your own eat, pray, love trip right here in your own country of residence. Not a study abroad or group trip, but book your own flight, with your own accommodations, and just meet people along the way.
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