Anxiety of a Solo Traveler

Every night I slide my feet between my duvet and my sheets, thinking this could be the last time I travel Solo. I am convinced that I will end up with some mess up on the plane

 

A golden early morning sun was just sneaking up to paint the sky copper over Charles de Gaulle Airport  as I boarded my 6:30 a.m. departure flight. Running on (at best) two hours of sleep and an airport Donut snack, I kept thinking to myself, “Wow, I did it” — and I didn’t just mean getting through an absurdly crowded TSA PreCheck and to my gate on time. I had finally conquered Paris city on my own.

Perhaps “conquer” is gratuitous, but for someone who used to be paralyzed by the thought of traveling alone, the idea that I could go it alone on a cross-country flight for fifteen full days of solo exploration in foreign territory basically felt like summiting Kilimanjaro.

But frankly its not that simple. I would admit that every time I go on a  solo trip I get nervous and I don’t just mean excited-nervous; I mean almost-having-anxiety-attacks nervous. And I don’t just mean before big trips; I mean before just about every single trip I take. As much as I have learnt a lot from my solo trips I also realized that every time I ventured on one it was about starting all over again as they lead to new lessons from not so expected incidents that blew me off guard on my travels. Boarding denial in Amsterdam with less than 24 hours Visa, Getting stuck in bad traffic jam at 0600 in the morning in Athens and a bad run for almost closed boarding gate, Receiving my Schengen visa  stamped on my passport just 4 hours before my flight departed for Rome, Missing the last ferry to crossover the Bosphorus in Istanbul from Asian side to European side; I have experienced many panic attacks but it has never reduced my appetite to go there and explore more.

As I prepare for my solo expedition to see Northern Lights in less than two weeks, I am nervous. Every night I slide my feet between my duvet and my sheets, thinking this could be the last time I do this. I am convinced that I will end up with some mess up on the plane as usual and if somehow I will manage to reach my destination           (which I always do) I will be stranded on the road at least once during my trip. This fear goes deeper as I will be taking a good number of cross country flights between Scandinavian Countries.

You must be thinking then why do I still go. Now thats the Kick!

Traveling on such trips has put me in multiple complicated situations but these are the reasons I still plan the next one

Traveling Solo has changed my Life

I was always happy with once a year family vacation where everything will be planned, we followed a touristy itinerary and came back with hell loads of photos with famous monuments and a bag full of souvenirs which always occupied more space in the store room. My first solo trip actually taught me that traveling was more than seeing the famous monuments, it was discovering myself and understanding life deeper. It gave me freedom to go and see places that I liked rather than piling on someones plan to just spend my annual vacation. I swam with turtles in the sea, Hiked up Caldera in Greece at 0400 am, meditated in the forest in Indonesia surrounded with natural springs, Cycled around Eastern Europe along the river Danube, Climbed up the pyramids of Giza, Had lunch with chameleons running over my feet in Africa, danced with local folk dancers in the golden dunes of Jaiselmer. I learnt that I have the freedom to go and see it all, well there has been no looking back since then. 35 plus countries and I still have a long bucket list of the adventures around the world and soon I take off to see Aurora Borealis

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Solo travel helped me find the core of me

Part of my healing process in life juggling various setbacks has come from traveling. I took a girls trip to Bali to get in touch with my spiritual side. I went deeper into my yoga practice and started to meditate. This made me search for nature wonders that became integral part of my life. Watching Surise-Sunsets over the sea, hills, dunes, historical monuments; walking in dense green jungles, passing through rain forests; walking barefoot on the beach have been few activities that my heart yearns for. I discovered that nature is my biggest go to place. Being closer to nature is always one of the biggest purpose on my travels.  traveling is like discovering a deep well, no one knows whats at the bottom; you can only imagine by what comes on the surface once in a while.

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Solo Travel healed me

A very special moment for me was waking up in a tent near Arabian Sea on the beach somewhere in Oman I could hear the ocean, smell the sea, a fireball coming up from the Ocean turning the sky copper, I could feel the sweat beading on my skin as I shed a few tears coz’ I was awestruck by how beautiful the world is! My heart hurts much lesser than it used to hurt before and I felt freer that ever before. I started to feel grateful for every thing I had been through.

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Solo travel is not Scary

Even though I have butterflies in my stomach before I take off to my next expedition to Iceland and it still leaves me anxious but let me tell you it is not at all scary. The thought of staying with the locals (I couch-surf in some locations and also use AirBNB). Walking on the Charles bridge with Dave, my host, who took me around Prague and not only showed me some hidden lanes but also shared many unknown stories about Graffiti on the streets and how he has seen Prague changing over years. These stories and authentic tours with locals get etched on my memory forever and make me forget every single incident that caught me off guard because in the end we remember reaching the peak of our being than remembering all the hardships. Travel has shown me that the the world is beautiful and awe inspiring, and that while at times the big picture can look scary and heart-breaking, there is no better way to restore my faith in the world than witnessing how endlessly diverse yet equally beautiful it is.

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While I would continue to fight with my anxiety over next two weeks the pictures from my past trips are my source of confidence and clarity

Trekking in Periyar forest, I sat by the river to learn the stilness from natureRiver.jpg

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When are you taking your first solo trip?

42 thoughts on “Anxiety of a Solo Traveler”

  1. Can I admit, I am so so touched by this. Just like you, I am anxious, planning to do another solo trip somewhere in Asia, but almost getting panic attacks because will be doing it after a leap of almost 2 years. Am I scared, hell yeah, but literally so so excited to do it also. That’s the beauty of travel I guess 🙂 Thanks for sharing such a wonderful post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your inspiring words. I can understand the anxiety and excitement. Asia is beautiful and you are going to have the best time here. Do let me know if you come to India.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Uncertainty of the unknown, I suppose, is what makes it exciting!! I am sure as always, you will have a great trip and we could look forward to another detailed and interesting travelogue. Safe travels.

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  3. I love what you injected on this entry. It’s always been a anxious at the same time fulfilling and priceless experience when you done things that requires you to explore outside your comfort zone. I hope I can do traveling alone outside our country. By the way, It’s really nice and inspiring at the same time reading your piece. 🙂 keep exploring and wandering across this universe. XD

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  4. I can so much relate to your post. I am continuously traveling solo around the world now for more than 5 years and all your point are so true. It can be scary at some times though, when I meet cool people and they want to travel with me. I am like NO I travel solo, hahaha. 🙂 Loved your post, thanks!

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  5. I’m so glad you’re conquering your anxiety to travel solo and finding beauty in the experience! I’ve travelled around several European countries solo and loved it, but then again I do most things alone, I’m just kind of a loner by nature. I hope you manage to come to Finland while in the Nordics! 🙂

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  6. It takes a lot to travel solo especially when you are a woman, but I personally agree that there cant be a more enriching experience than this one, it changes you inside out, and changes you for good, its the perfect boost to your self confidence and gives you a chance to know strangers and most importantly meet yourself like never before

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  7. I do a lot of solo trips and I just love it, the only time it bothers me sometimes is the dinner part. When you are sitting in a restaurant on your own but my diary and write to distract from the glaring eyes. Good on your for still travelling solo even with your nervous and having-anxiety-attacks. That takes alot to conquer this :-). Good luck with your next trip solo

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    1. Ha ha I can relate to those lonely dinners. A glass of wine and nice music does the trick for me. I also choose to go to quite places for meals usually so that I am not surrounded by too many couples or families 🙂

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  8. Uplifting post. Wish I can travel solo, but perhaps one day. Totally agree that traveling solo can be a source of healing & finding self. I used to walk by sunrise at the beach by myself, most peaceful walk there is.

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    1. There you go, walking by the beach during sunrise is so healing and am sure it elevates you. Just imagine a few sunrises and sunsets in a row all by yourself….thats the only difference. keep exploring 🙂

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  9. I have never traveled solo, as I am afraid of it. But reading your post with so many benefits of solo traveling, convinces me to go for my first solo trip. I totally agree with you that solo traveling introduces a different person hidden in us. Making locals as friends and to sort out all the problems alone makes us a mature person. Good luck for your upcoming visit to Northern Lights tour!

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  10. In the past year (more than ever), I’ve seen more bloggers and personal friends of mine who’ve gone on solo trips. I am now really convinced to try it myself. This post of yours could not have come at a better time. I now realize that the feeling of anxiety is all but normal. But it doesn’t mean that because you have certain fears that you should let it stop you!

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    1. Oh am glad you are getting inspired by the travelers community to take a trip alone. It surely is life changing perspective. I wish you go soon and have a great time exploring

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  11. So glad that your solo trips have been so gratifying!! I know the pre-trip anxiety can’t be fun to deal with, but it definitely sounds like it is all worth it in the end. Waking up to the sounds of the ocean in Oman sounds amazing–I hope to do that one day.

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  12. I love solo travel! I think it’s great that you go anyway even though you feel anxious. I have been to six continents and over 30 countries by myself in the last four years and it’s been wonderful. I agree that solo travel is healing!

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  13. Nice post. But, I have to tell that I am not a solo traveler. I tried it for a month and never done since. I sometimes can split a group and go somewhere alone, but prefer traveling in groups.

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  14. I love reading posts on traveling solo! Such a great way to inspire other people out there who wants to travel but don’t have any one to go with. I’ve traveled solo on business trips before, though I know it’s quite different when your exploring for leisure and/or experience, but still :). Although everything is already planned (accommodations and itinerary) when on business travels, that feeling of anxiety because of several ‘what ifs’ and fears is always there.

    So good to know that despite the anxiety, traveling solo had a positive impact on you. Keep on inspiring others! 🙂

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    1. I totally get what you mean. Though i travel a lot for business too however traveling to explore a place leaves a different impact. Once you do it, you will be inspired to continue in spite of challenges

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  15. This is a wonderful read! I have never solo traveled and I feel as though I would have similar feelings, but it is something I would really like to do. I love how much it has done for you!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Having anxiety is definitely not easy. I struggle with it myself. I have never traveled alone and probably never will, but if I did I feel that I would also struggle with my anxiety maybe getting out of control as I get overwhelmed if I get lost. It is great that you still continue to push forward. I am also jealous of your 35 countries! That is awesome!

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  17. I rarely travel solo in the last years, but I think that solo travel has its own power and especially when you go in a place for the first time, it challenges you in a very creative way, especially if you are a travel writer.

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  18. Such true emotions . I loved reading this honest article. The solo trips are the best thing to discover your strengths and weakness. I have traveled solo once and I realized that I need a travel companion to express my emotions. I personally don’t enjoy solo travel but I really like reading about the adventures that a solo traveler encounters.

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  19. I’m going to Edinburgh and Copenhagen soon….not my first solo trip, but the first one i’ll be alone for the entire time! This post was super reassuring!

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