Why Quitting Everything and Deciding for a Solo Travellers Life Was the Right Decision…
It took me two years to realise it even though I had always known it. Travel is my life. The road my destination, and here I am now, at the other end of the world. It has not always been easy and I have had some obstacles thrown my way regularly but I also realised I am not a quitter. Not at this.
Be Your Own Comfort Blanket
Where I would have shrouded myself in regret and negativity back home, here where I walk cities with not a soul in it knowing my name, I am the only one who can pull myself back together. It is me who has to walk on. Sure, I could work out the time zone difference, hope for my friends’ presence on Skype or their accessibility on the phone and rant my heart out but that would not help me in the middle of the day on the road when I need support the most. Ultimately, I have to rely on myself and learn to be my own best friend.
Find Your Inner Strength
In turn this means that I also not only need to cheer myself up in the hard times but also congratulate myself in the good ones. Achievements whether big or small need to be celebrated. After all, I did this trip to gain more confidence in myself, and to get there my own mindset needed to change towards that direction. It is a continuous process and a hard one as well, but luckily I am never completely alone even among strangers.
People Can Surprise You
I find that often if I just talk to people, new opportunities and perspectives open up that can totally change my outlook. For instance, in New Zealand I was often offered a lift back to my accommodation just for telling my story of how I got stranded in the first place. I could have made it back myself but the kindness of the people over there was enormous and genuine. In Australia too, I been offered free help that supported me in my travel blogging endeavours, whether it was advice or an actual gift. It as heart-warming.
Stand Up For Yourself
However, there will always be people that put you down and if it’s one thing I have learned before I came here, it was that you have to cut out people that steal your energy and rob you of your happiness – whether intentionally or out a misdirected “meaning well”. There is no use in maintaining such toxic relationships for both parties’ sake of happiness. So when I met people who gave me a really bad feeling, I acted on it. I had my doubts but following my gut was a lesson that I gave myself to learn. So this time around I had the freedom as a backpacker to instantly quit and leave whenever I was treated badly. I still need to practice to say no in the first place, though. I am getting there.
Despite all the obstacles I was facing and the successes I made in overcoming or at least sticking through them, I always lacked the ultimate positive attitude and overflowing gratitude. Hearing my friends tell me how jealous they were of my adventures and eager to hear more of all the amazing things I see every day made me realise that I should stop whining. Sure, I was robbed, left out on the streets at 7pm when most of the city was fully booked or was completely let down by people I thought I could trust, but as one woman said to me: “you are still here. You have made it to where you are now.” She was absolutely right.
Enjoy the Moment
And while I was on my way of getting there, I saw the most amazing things. I raced along the Great Ocean Road, explored the red centre, stood on a salt lake, swam in a volcano, had a peeling on the whitest beach ever, swam in the Great Barrier Reef and cuddled with koalas. These are things that will stay with me forever and the sad and lonely bits will just remain a fact but the dreariness of them will be gone unless I drown myself in my misery. By saying that I moved on actually means having moved on. It is all about the attitude and solo travel certainly changes it. Just make sure it changes you for the better. It remains your decision in the end.
This article was written by a fellow solo female traveller, Annemarie Strehl. Follow Annemarie's adventures on her blog: Travel on the Brain.