Whether you’re planning on going on your first solo trip, traveling full time by yourself, or planning on moving to a new city where you don’t know anyone, your mentality has to be the same. You have to be independent. You have to be comfortable being alone. To get comfortable traveling alone, these two things are non-negotiable.
Going on my first solo trip helped prepare me to move to a new city by myself for the first time. And getting used to moving to a new city (or country) every time I got bored is eventually what led me to traveling full time.
I grew so much while on my first solo trip in a way that helped me move and become the independent traveler that I am now. I learned how to trust my intuition and listen to my heart. I learned how to recognize what makes me particularly happy and unhappy in a place.
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If you’re looking to move to a new city, I’d recommend taking a solo trip first. It doesn’t have to be anything major. It could be going to a town an hour away from where you live just for the weekend. But get comfortable traveling alone first.
Get comfortable making your own decisions and itineraries. Get comfortable researching things to do in a place, figuring out a budget and sticking to it, navigating places on your own. Motivating yourself to follow through with your plans. Going to a bar or restaurant alone. Talking to strangers and meeting new people. All on your own.
Related Post: 12 Life Lessons I Learned From Traveling Solo
This is extremely important when moving to a place where you don’t know anyone or traveling by yourself for long periods of time. I have no issues going to a coffee shop or bar alone, or going hiking with just me and my dog.
I make a point to be social and make friends, but I know that you have to be patient with it. You WILL make friends in a new city, but it takes time.
You have to realize that you’re not going to build the same relationships that you built throughout your childhood or throughout college in your first month. You realistically honestly need to give it at least a year.
Related Post: How To Avoid Getting Lonely When Traveling Solo
I used to be the most introverted person on the planet, to the point where the idea of doing something alone or talking to people I didn’t know absolutely terrified me, and it wasn’t an option.
When I started traveling alone I realized that if I didn’t talk to strangers, I was going to get really lonely really fast. I decided that I had to just ask people to hang out, and that if they said no it didn’t really matter because I’d never see them again.
I’ve met some of the coolest people in the world by just initiating a conversation, both in person and on social media.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to someone and just ask to grab coffee or drinks. The worst they could do is say no, and generally the only reason they will say no is because they’re busy. I did this with a couple friends of friends when I moved to Colorado and now they’re some of my closest friends.
I’m always reaching out to people on instagram who I know live in the area of the places I’ll be visiting and have made some really awesome friends that way!
This sounds like a silly thing to mention, but you’d be surprised how many people have to turn to someone else to answer this question.
Next time you’re with one of your friends ask them what they like to do by themselves in their free time. A lot of people trip up here, because they’re so used to being in a group or a partnership that they don’t spend any time by themselves.
You’ve got to know what kind of activities you like to do. What is going to make you really enjoy the places you’re going? Do you want to go hiking, shopping, sightseeing, clubbing, visit museums, art galleries, or just lay on the beach? If you’re moving, what kind of activities do you like to do in your daily life? Do you want access to nature, the beach, the city? Do you want access to public transportation, good schools, specific types of work, or access to certain activities?
You can figure a lot of these things out as you go, but definitely have a rough idea of what you want.
Kill the idea that “home” is a place.
As long as you have the specific things that make you happy, you can be anywhere in the world. The happiest moments to me are when I wake up next to my dog and feel the sunshine on my face. Step outside barefoot. And have constant adventures right outside my door step.
I read a study in a book about how our brains adapt to change and create thoughts called Elastic by theoretical physicist, Leonard Mlodinow (which I HIGHLY recommend you read and you can purchase here) that discusses how “those who accept options that are good enough at the time rather than feeling compelled to find the most optimal choice, tend to be more satisfied with their choices and, in general, happier and less stressed individuals”.
I travel full time because I have no idea where I want to live. I love the mountains but I also love the desert and the beach. I love constantly changing my routine. I’m grateful that if I end up not liking a palce or growing tired of it I can just pack my stuff and go.
I get asked every day how I have the balls to just pick up and move by myself all the time. The truth is I still overthink things sometimes. But the more I travel the more I realize that knowing where I’m headed doesn’t matter. I’m more terrified of being stuck somewhere that I’m unhappy than I am of the unknown. I trust my intuition and just go for it. The only thing that matters is that you don’t look back.
Everything has always worked out one way or another and it always will.
If I thought about the fact that I was going to miss my friends I just had to remind myself that I was going to make new ones, and that “home” or my friends are just a quick plane ride or facetime call away.
Give everything a shot until you find what you like. Change jobs until you find the right one for you, check out different communities for your hobbies, switch up the area you live in, and always try something new.
Overall, to get comfortable traveling alone: you just have to know the reasons why you’re moving to the next place, remind yourself of them constantly, and just have faith that everything is going to work out. If it doesn’t work out, then you always have somewhere to go back to or you can go somewhere completely new again.
But you’ll always regret the chances you didn’t take more than the ones that you did.
Related Post: Road Trip Planning Guide and Essential Tips
Click here to read more blog posts about life as a full time solo traveler. If you want to make traveling more of a priority this year, watch my free webinar that will teach you how you too can travel full time. And lastly, connect with us on Instagram! We’d love to get to know you! Happy traveling!