Going on a long backpacking trip is quite a big decision, especially if you are travelling solo. No wonder everyone around you has lots of questions and opinions. Some people will be excited for you, others less so. But I can assure you, they will all say things you will soon be sick of hearing. I have put together a list of my least favourite things you hear before you go solo travelling.
PS: If you have ever said any of these to me, I promise I’m not holding it against you 🙂
1. “You shouldn’t go alone”
Let me tell you something. If I was waiting for other people to come with me, I would never travel. From what I’ve heard, even if you set off alone, you always end up meeting new people and are rarely ever on your own. So calm down everyone, I can do this!
2. “Why don’t you find a boyfriend you can travel with?”
This is a variation of the above, only worse. Seriously, don’t even get me started on this one. We live in the 21st century; I don’t need a guy to feed me or keep me happy, let alone take me travelling. I can take myself, thank you very much.
(And if you still think women shouldn’t travel alone, watch this amazing video where women who have done it share their experiences.)
3. “Everywhere is so dangerous these days”
And I’m sure you’re saying this because you’ve been everywhere and experienced all these places yourself, right? If you think everyone is out there trying to kill you as soon as you step foot outside your own country, I have one piece of advice for you: Stop watching the news.
Just because the TV is showing you more horrible things than good doesn’t mean the world is horrible. Sure, bad things happen. You could die in an earthquake, be killed by a drunk driver or the roof of your house might collapse on you… It’s just a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. But don’t let the media trick you into thinking it’s dangerous to travel. Ironically, many places are safer (e.g. in terms of crime rate) than your home country. If I was afraid, I would never even leave the house.
4. “Ohh you’re so lucky! I wish I could do that!”
Okay, why don’t you?? Because your full-time job doesn’t allow you to travel? I quit mine. Because you don’t have enough money? Stop spending on nights out, take-away coffees and clothes and save up! I did. You can also work on the road – I’m going to. Or is it because you “just can’t leave everything behind”? Well, no one expects you to travel forever – you’d be back. Can’t do it because you have kids? I know of people who are travelling with their kids… The truth is, people will always come up with excuses not to chase their dreams. It’s our default setting to want to stay in our comfort zone and be safe, even though we could be much happier if we just dared to step out and experience something new.
I understand travelling might not be for everyone. But please don’t tell me I’m lucky – I was privileged to be born to a loving family in a peaceful and developed country, sure, but so were many people (newsflash: if you’re reading this, you are one of them). Bottom line is, if you really wanted to travel the world so badly, you’d make it happen.
5. “Travel is so expensive, you’re going to struggle”
Travel is as expensive as you make it. If your idea of travelling is staying in luxury hotels and eating in top restaurants, you’ll run out of money pretty fast. Most of us backpacking people prefer hostels, Couchsurfing and street food in order to save money and be able to travel for longer. I might not have the balls to travel completely lowcost (hitchhiking, for example) but at least I’m always looking for ways to spend less on the road. Besides, the first destination of my trip will be Southeast Asia. Southeast Asia is really popular among backpackers mainly because it’s VERY cheap.
And don’t forget, travelling does not necessarily equal holiday. Many people work or volunteer abroad while exploring different countries to minimise their expenses.
6. “So… what are you going to do when you come back?”
That’s right. You haven’t even set off on your journey and people are already eager to know what your plans are for when you come back. Where are you going to live? Are you going to get a job? Hell, you’d better have a job lined up already! Well… You know the feeling when you’re in your final year at university and every big family gathering, you get asked the same dreadful question: “So what are your plans now??”? It’s basically like that. Except now you’re a grown up and you’re supposed to have life all figured out.
Even though we might have some ideas for what we’d like to do next, there’s really no need to spoil the excitement from our travels by bringing up the future. How about we just cross that bridge when we come to it, hm? Chances are, we’ll have changed our minds and will have completely different ideas once we’ve seen the world and “found ourselves” (or whatever’s meant to happen to us out there).
7. “Aren’t you scared?”
I’m not going to lie. Of course I am. A little bit. But you know what I’ve learnt over the years? It’s really the things that scare us the most that turn out to be the best. (I promise I don’t have this from some cheesy movie 😀 ) Besides, I’m definitely more excited than scared, so all good!
Have you been told any of these? What are the things you hate to hear from other people? Tell me in the comments!