10 Harsh Truths I Learned After Deciding to Travel Solo
May 3, 2017
I’ve just started traveling on my own and I feel like I’m in no position to say anything negative about traveling. In fact, one of my bravest decisions in life was to travel solo. I would say that it was the best thing I ever did for my self. But there are also some aspects that make me uneasy or I just find challenging.
1. Not all friends are happy for me
My personality according to Myer-Briggs Type Indicator is INFJ (Introvert, iNtuitive, Feeling, Judging). I am sensitive and I notice little changes in how people treat me, even the slightest. Having said that, I just know that majority of them are not supportive of my new goals in life. It’s actually okay that they’re not happy for me. I’m 33 years old. At this age, I’ve learned a long time ago that I don’t need other people’s validation to know that I’m taking the right path. I’m just a bit hurt because I’ve always been supportive to them.
2. My mother can be annoying
As I’ve mentioned, I am already 33 years old. And my mother is still worried that I am traveling alone. I didn’t tell her I was going to Palawan solo because I just know that she’s not going to like the idea of me being alone in a faraway island. So when I went home to Manila from Puerto Princesa, I got an hour worth of lecture (sermon) about what could happen to me on the road while alone. I love my mom so much, but she can be annoying sometimes. Sorry, Mom.
3. It’s difficult to go back to work
Geesh! The first few days of work right after my El Nido trip was torture. I couldn’t concentrate on my tasks and my mind was thinking of white beach, fresh seafood, islands, sunset by the beach, and the purity of being alone. I love solo traveling. I realized it’s not scary as long as I am alert and I research about the place before heading to it. Can’t wait to do it all over again!
4. Stress starts to creep in after two weeks
Let’s just say that I was 100% stressed before I traveled solo. Then after my El Nido solo travel experience, I felt like I was healed, rejuvenated, renewed, refreshed, reborn … whatever the right term is. But then …. in just two weeks, I started feeling stressed again as work started to pile up. So I learned the terrible truth .. traveling is not a permanent solution to stress. Yes it is healing … my soul was healed during my short trip … but it’s not enough … I need to do more traveling.
5. It can be costly to travel solo
I am happy to read blogs about hacks that make it possible to solo travel on the cheap. But it’s really difficult to copy their tricks when you’re alone and nobody is going to share in the expenses. For an average-earner like me, this is a big problem. I don’t want to drain my small savings but I still want to travel. Now I am seriously thinking of doing a side hustle just so I can sustain my new addition.
6. Awkward moments are inevitable
I told the trike driver to take me to the town proper. And almost a minute later, he still didn’t start the engine. I thought he didn’t hear me so I told him again. He looked at me with a puzzled expression and asked “Mag-isa ka lang, Ma’am?” It turned out he was waiting for my “friends.” 😀
7. Korean drama is no longer that attractive
Before I decided to travel solo, most of my spare time was spent either reading books or watching Korean dramas and Japanese Animes. Currently, Goblin is my favorite. But I’m not that obsessed with Kdramas anymore. I’m now often dreaming about the places that I want to visit and making plans on how I’d be able to save up for those trips. Prior to this, Gong Yoo, Song Joong Ki and Rain are my LIFE.
8. Immigration Officers in the Philippines are now a thing
I mean … in the past, I wasn’t even aware they existed. Until recently that I’ve been reading bloggers’ personal travel experiences and discovered about “OFFLOADING.” Oh no! I didn’t know it was even possible. In my mind … wait … I’m not a criminal so they should let me board in case I decide to travel abroad, right? Wrong! Based on what I’ve read, IOs will decide whether you are allowed to leave the country or not. And you cannot argue with them or else they can take you to prison. Okay … wait wait wait … I still need to read more about this topic.
9. Prayer is not enough
The Pray-and-Work Benedictine motto is true! Last year, I started praying to Saint Joseph and asking for his intercession. Our priest said that he is the patron saint of travelers and women seeking a good husband. So I asked for the best kindest tenderest husband. Travel was out of my mind. But the opportunity to travel came so … anyway it’s not that simple. Aside from prayers, work is also extremely important. I am working hard so I can afford my next trip. NO! I’m not traveling because I’m searching for love. NO NO NO NO! 😀 This is for my self. Only for my self. Fall in love with places, culture, food and people – not with someone. That’s what I know. And all I’m saying is that prayer is not enough. It should be partnered with lots of work … if I want to travel.
10. Life plans totally altered
Last year when traveling was out of my mind, I was seriously considering of getting a house loan somewhere in Cavite or Bulacan. Having a stable homebase is super important especially I’m not young anymore. But now … I set that aside and decided to spend my little money for short travels. It may not be the best decision, I know, but for now it’s important that I make myself happy. In my 33 years of existence, I haven’t done anything that made me truly happy and satisfied. So now I want to make myself happy. What if I die tomorrow? What will I do with the house loan? LOL. We are all different and we have different priorities. A Pinoy traveler wrote in his blog: live cheap so you can have rich experiences. That’s what I intend to do!
My decision to travel solo is changing me. How it changes my views and how it changes my life. I wish to live longer and travel more. Right now, I can’t claim that I’m already a different or better person. I just traveled once. LOL. I hope to do it more. God willing!