Don’t sacrifice your dreams
It seems the most common reason that people sacrifice their dream of travelling overseas is that they don’t want to go alone. It may be scary and yes, you may sometimes feel uneasy, especially when you’re dining in a restaurant alone, and yes, you will probably feel vulnerable, but don’t let these concerns put you off. In fact, I have found travelling with someone else a hindrance. This is because when I travel with other people I tend to stay with them, but when I’m on my own I make a more concerted effort to meet other people. Still, be selective and wary of strangers. If you are worried about travelling alone, here are some tips:
- Look approachable. How? Smile at other travellers, let them know you don’t mind being distracted from staring out that window or reading that book.
- Don’t feel self-conscious about speaking to the person sitting next to you on the plane, train or bus, because you might just make a friend. If you make an idiot of yourself, who cares? You will probably never see them again.
- Throughout your travels stay at hostels as these are full of travellers/students, many of them on their own and looking for friends.
- Ask that room-mate what they are doing for their next meal. Maybe you could have a cheap bite together, or say you want to see a particular sight: Have you seen it? Do you want to come?
- Join in activities at the hostels, like the weekly barbecue or even watching TV–someone just might be watching their favourite show which could be yours as well. Discuss what’s happening during any commercial breaks.
- Book an organised tour or Jo-Jo.
- When you’re travelling follow the popular backpacker routes.
- If you don’t have transport, consider car pools.
- Sometimes employment agencies have get-togethers for their temps; go along and meet other temps.
- If you are asked to join in a social activity on work assignments, join in.
- If someone has given you the phone number of a friend of a friend of a friend, give them a call. You have nothing to lose.
- Do you know of someone at home who hasn’t seen their relatives in years? Offer to pay their family a visit to pass on the latest news. They in turn might pass on tips about finding accommodation or job opportunities. They could even offer to put you up, or give you a free meal.
- Join a sporting team or club.
- Take up an outdoor activity: learn to ski, sail or kayak.
- Register for an evening course.
- If you don’t want to eat in restaurants alone, choose restaurants and cafes that cater for people to eat alone, or go to a food hall in a shopping centre.
So get up and go, even if it is by yourself, because you won’t be by yourself for long. And you will regret it if you don’t do it.
About the author: Sharyn McCullum travelled the world for 4 years using London as her base. She is currently calling Melbourne, Australia home.