How to Be Yourself When You Travel Solo For the First Time


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Who are you? What makes you well, YOU? 

Are you outgoing or are you rather shy?

You’ve been thinking about going on that first solo trip for a while now…

But you’re worried about meeting new people, and making new connections. Maybe you’re actually excited to make new friends from different cultures, but you’re worried that others won’t want to connect with you in the same way.

I’ve been there.

It’s scary to put yourself out there. It’s a daunting and overwhelming feeling, knowing that you will be all ALONE surrounded in a sea of strangers. Literally, if you find yourself in Phuket, Thailand.

BUT, it’s also exciting! 

Think about it…

These people that you meet are exactly that – strangers. You may connect with some, and you may not click with others. That is the beauty of traveling and getting to decide who you want to spend your time with. 

It doesn’t matter if you are outgoing or shy, the right people will be out there waiting to meet you. 

If you read my previous blog post, then you will remember how I talked about accepting yourself. I’ve talked to so many women who grew up feeling like they were a bit different and didn’t necessarily fit in with the crowd. 

I have always loved to connect with individuals who dreamed of living a life that wasn’t so black and white. I dreamed of making connections with people from all over the world who didn’t want the cookie-cutter life. 

That’s why I decided to put myself out there at 22. I went on my first ever solo backpacking trip to Thailand in December 2014 – almost 6 years ago now. 

I was scared to put myself out there, but I realized that if I didn’t take that leap, then I would be stuck in the same place. I had one good friend already, but I was craving a connection outside of my hometown and the norm that I was used to. 

Sure, I made university friends after high school, but not many of them dreamed of traveling the way that I did. I couldn’t explain it to anyone else at the time, but I just knew that there was a whole world out there filled with interesting and fascinating people that I was dying to meet and vice versa. 

Some of the girls I have been coaching recently have repeated this to me. They want to be themselves, they want to fit in somewhere and feel like they just BELONG. 

That’s why I am here to tell you to take that leap of faith and put yourself out there. It can start with small steps. 

Start with making friends with strangers that you encounter in your day to day life. People that go to your school or University, and your gym. Say hello and smile at the person serving you coffee at your favourite coffee shop. Just begin experimenting and being your authentic self. 

It’s my favourite thing to do. Connecting with strangers knowing that you might just put a smile on their face and make a new friend.

Before I embarked on my first solo adventure to Thailand, I remember experimenting with this. I was extra friendly to the airport staff. The stewardess who was serving me on the plane ended up giving me extra snacks because I sparked a conversation with her and I didn’t just say thank you and look away. My favourite thing to do is to chat with the stranger in the seat next to me. 

Let’s break that awkward silence. You know what I am talking about.

Sitting next to someone, immediately buckling your seatbelt and staring out the window, or leaning into the aisle seat and people watching, or cocooning yourself in the middle seat and putting your headphones in immediately… because why on earth would you want to look the person next to you in the eye. 

I love to say hello and ask the person why they are going on this adventure. It was perfect practice for me before getting to my first hostel. I mean I had stayed in a hostel in Australia already when I went to Airlie Beach & the Whitsunday Islands, but I also had friends from my University program with me at the time. So I don’t count that as solo traveling. 

Getting on the flight over to Thailand, and knowing that nobody really knew who I was felt extremely liberating. Finally, I didn’t have to pretend to be someone else. I was excited to land in Phuket and see what adventure there was in store. 


The Famous Maya Bay in the Phi Phi Islands

The Famous Maya Bay in the Phi Phi Islands

If you are reading this right now and thinking to yourself… wow I would love to have that feeling, knowing that even if strangers were judging me, that it wouldn’t really matter.

Knowing that I would probably never see that lady sitting next to me on the flight over to Phuket again,  it didn’t really matter what she thought. 

I began to make this my mantra. Knowing that I would arrive at a hostel filled with strangers, I welcomed the idea that I could be myself and have no shame.

It’s a true fact that not everyone in this world is going to click with you or like you. BUT, there are people who will – and that’s the beauty of human connection.

During that month in Thailand, I met so many people who I connected with instantly and others who I didn’t. In the end, because I was traveling alone I could decide who I wanted to spend my time with.

Some days I chose to be alone, or would ultimately be alone because I hadn’t met the right people in the hostel I was staying at – but I came to peace with this. I rather spend time in my own company, then be surrounded by people I didn’t necessarily click with. This is when I realized that up until this point, I had been hanging out with people I didn’t necessarily want to be around.

It took me 22 years to realize this. Like I mentioned before, I used to be a people pleaser. 

But being alone while traveling in a foreign country in South East Asia, I had recognized this power that I had. I could now choose who I wanted to give my energy to. 

I had made amazing connections with complete strangers who were going on a waterfall adventure with me that same day. It was all new to me – and I embraced every single moment. 

I felt like it was easier to be 100% me in front of the people I had just met 5 minutes ago. It was as if I was given a clean slate, a new life that I could reinvent for myself. This was fascinating to me, and I was intrigued that I could finally accept myself.

Are you currently wondering what this could feel like?

Do you want to finally feel liberated and be able to show who you really are without holding anything back?

Then you need to travel solo. 

I can’t express enough how much my outlook on life has changed because I decided to take the leap and book a one-way ticket to Thailand all by myself. I would say without a plan, but I actually planned everything in complete detail – which I regretted later and that topic will be saved for another blog post. 

Traveling by yourself as a woman feels super daunting and scary, I know.

But doesn’t everything feel scary the first time you do it? 

Heck yes.

Trust me when I say that you WILL get over that fear after you take the leap of faith. You recognize that your mind is a very powerful tool. But you can use it as a tool to your advantage, and rewire your mindset to believing that everything will be okay if you just go for it.

Just think about how amazing it will feel to go on that first trip and be able to embrace who you really are. 

Because embracing yourself will allow you to be open, vulnerable, genuine, and authentic. People love to get to know the real you. So don’t be afraid to be yourself, because it will be appreciated.

The first thing I get told by random strangers that I meet when I travel is, “I love how open and honest you are.” 

Well why wouldn’t I be?

For most of my life, I have been anyway. But it was hard to be authentic 100% of the time. 

You know what I mean by this.

Infancy & childhood started off quite easily. You could be yourself, well because you didn’t know how to be anything else but pure and innocent. 

But then as you grew older, you tried to fit in with the cool kids. Maybe you did put yourself out there and tried out for the ___ club or team. Maybe someone made fun of you for it – because it made you look different. Or maybe you still felt out of place even when you were accepted into that group.

High school didn’t get easier. What clique did you belong to? Or were you trying to fit in with every single group? Like I mentioned before, I was far from popular, but I was friends with everyone at school. I guess I always tried to fit into every group because I wanted to be accepted. 

But trying to fit in with every single group, didn’t allow me to be myself. I started off being a tomboy, then I tried to be a girly girl. I then went through a bit of an emo/rock girl phase, where I dyed my hair black and then added some purple peekaboo’s. Remember when that was a thing?

I experimented with a bunch of different identities. I got to university and died my hair bleach blonde because I wanted to feel like one of the pretty and cool girls who fit in with the “Western” University look. 

I remember hanging out with people who I didn’t 100% resonate with, but I just wanted to be liked and accepted so badly. In fact, it killed me when people didn’t like me back.

How many of you have experienced this?

Have you had numerous friendship circles and always felt like you were still out of place?

I honestly believe that because I never really felt like I fit in with one group or one mold, that it’s the reason why I started solo traveling. 

Going to a new place and not knowing a single soul seemed daunting at first. But the fact that I could go out into the world and finally figure out who I was made all those fears go away.

So if you’re thinking about finally taking that leap of faith and going out on your own, then I am here to help you do that…

Are you ready to step into your confident self and be YOURSELF?

Are you ready to stand out from the crowd and meet new people?

Are you ready to find a place where you can be accepted for who you are? 

Then solo traveling is for you. 

I promise that when you travel solo, being yourself will be so easy.

Thanks for reading,

Karina


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May 20, 2020

  1. AnnMarie says:

    I remember eating at my very first restaurant alone in Thailand. It was so scary. Then I enjoyed it because I got to take in the surrounding. I tasted the food and savoured every bite of the chicken burger that I am sure was actually fish (haha) but none the less it was funny. I remember it perfectly. There is something so nice about being on your own.

    Take the leap and travel alone. My mantra was “you have to try it out – you can always go home”

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