Traveling is not for everybody. Some people are afraid to go out of their comfort zone and content with their lives. How much more if doing it alone? Solo travel is for people who are brave enough to experience a new environment and prepared to depend only to thyself.
After college in 2010, I’ve always dreamed of traveling, be with friends or solo. It was my ultimate dream at that time. However, when I got my first job, I got busy. And when my 2-year relationship ended, I got busier. I forced myself to forget through working hard, and it paid off. From a mere parser, I was promoted and climbed all the way to become a team leader.
In 2014, I was having my lunch with my co-workers. They were all talking about Cebu Pacific’s, a popular budget airlines in the Philippines, piso fare promo. I got curious so I checked the website. The prices were really cheap so I decided to book a flight (out of the blue!) to a place I’ve never been. Fortunately, my work leave was approved!
For 1,085php, I booked a ticket Davao-Cebu-Iloilo-Davao. My itinerary was Cebu, Dumaguete, Bacolod and Iloilo. And this is how my solo traveling started and I have 6 reasons why I did it.
1. To test my capability as an individual. A lot of people are afraid to be alone. We usually go out as groups, be it partying or just heading to the toilet room for a make-up retouch. I was once like that. The bad side of doing this is if someone can’t make it, the rest won’t do it. And I thought to myself, how will I grow as an individual if I keep on relying with other people? So, I did something on my own to know to what extent I can do. And I proved to myself that I can travel, immerse and deal with the locals, and live like the locals on my own. It wasn’t easy but you’ll learn along the way.
The only disadvantage I can think of is when I want to take photos of myself in certain places, I need to ask somebody to do it for me. I should’ve brought my own selfie stick!
2. I have my own time and no one can stop me from doing or changing my travel plans. Let’s admit it. In a group, if somebody can’t make it, sometimes the plan won’t push through. If somebody wants a different place to visit, the whole itinerary will change. A majority is needed so everybody will agree to something. That made me decide to travel alone and I have no regrets on doing it. I’ve had my own time, I went to different places on my own pace and I tried the things that I want to do without relying to somebody. And that was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life.
Unfortunately, there was a typhoon in the area and my trip to Siquijor was cancelled. So, I had to change my plans and decided to do something else.
3. I want to see new places and meet people outside my comfort zone. I always wanted to visit historical landmarks that I can only see on books and magazines. And during my trip, I was able to visit those places. I can’t be happier!
Throughout my solo journey, I’ve met different people from all walks of life. I have one story to share. I was in Bacolod and I decided to see the old houses in Silay City. The travel by bus took almost an hour and I managed to find the right place (or else I’ll be lost!). I kept on walking around the village and jumping from one old house/museum to another. When I got tired, I took a trisikad and met an old woman. She was asking where I’m from (I didn’t look too touristy to be honest!). She was sharing different stories and giving advice on how to move around the city. And she told me “halong ka gid ha” (take care!) over and over again. For a short time, I’ve enjoyed her company while listening to her sweet Ilonggo accent.
4. It’s time to be more independent. I’m not saying I wasn’t independent prior to my solo backpacking. But during my travel, it boosted my confidence as an individual like dealing with different people and how to handle my self in places I’m not familiar with. I somewhat felt “fearless” and made me always think “I can do it” to almost everything I’ve encountered. The experience shaped a “new” me.
5. Time for a deep reflection. At some point in our lives, we need a recharge from all the stress. I was also in my quarter-life crisis at that time, I didn’t know what to do and my life was a routine (home-work-home/see friends). Nothing exciting. But in a snap of a finger, I just thought to book the flight, pack and go for an adventure. That trip made me realized how lucky I am. I have a job that pays me well, I have real friends who are always there for me and, most importantly, I have a family who loves me. My experiences changed me for the better.
6. To live the life I wanted. When was the last time you made your dreams come true? It’s time for you to think and just make it happen. Me? I just decided to do it. It’s now or never. And we’re not vampires who can live and wait for thousands of years. Act now!
Solo backpacking is not an easy thing to do. You need to do a lot of research before your trip to make sure you will not get lost and you have enough money in your pocket. Safety precautions must also be done like telling a family member and/or a trusted friend where you are going. And most importantly, you need to be sure that it’s actually what you wanted to do in life.