You’ve had dreams since you were a child of travelling the world and visiting those places in your history books, your fairy tale stories, and the tales of others who have walked the travel path before you.
Your body aches for travel, and you know it’s your destiny, except there is one problem, no one wants to travel with you.
You are terrified of travelling alone.
All you see are monsters hiding down alleyways and long evenings staring into space with only your thoughts and perhaps a good book for company.
These fears overpower the dreams, you comatose yourself and remain stuck in that life that doesn’t float your boat so much.
These are valid fears.
No one wants to be alone when they travel. No one wants to experience the time of their life without somebody to share it with.
But, those who allow these fears to prevent them from travelling, don’t understand the truth.
You’ll never be alone as a solo traveller.
In fact, I think solo travel is one of the friendliest and easiest way to make friends - friendships that have a lasting and meaningful impact upon your life.
Most people are just like you. They are also nervous and afraid to step outside comfort zones, to be alone, to reach out to strangers.
All you have to do is understand this when you meet someone new. Understand they are feeling the same way and be the one to reach out a hand and a smile to make them feel more at ease and to know friends can be made anywhere.
It’s tough at first, but as with everything it gets easier and soon you’ll find yourself stopping to share your life story with every new person you meet and asking them to do the same.
When you are travelling there are very few cliques and comfort zones.
A clique is just a comfort zone. Cliques aren’t all bad. Sometimes that word is thrown negatively upon a group of people who hang out together because they enjoy each other’s company and get along.
That is okay.
Often these circles don’t open up because of fear of what the unknown might come in and bring to the security. This is when the circle of friends does become a clique.
When you are travelling the circle widens to bring many different people in. Travel is transient and so with that comes acceptance and a welcoming in of the new and the ability to easily let go of the old.
On the travel road you have so many stories and tips to share, it becomes so much easier to connect with others because of this. You don’t see yourself as someone who is intruding on other person’s time or space, rather someone who can share something valuable.
I also think that when you are travelling, no one knows or really cares about who you are, where you are from, what you do for a living, how many cats you have.
They really just want to know who are you right now. It’s easy to not have defensive walls in place because you can be whoever you choose.
Tips to help you make friends when you travel
1. Take small steps every day to meet new people. Start with small conversations with strangers that doesn’t demand much.
2. Attend any parties or get togethers that your accommodation is offering. It’s a perfect opportunity to take advantage of the atmosphere of fun and freedom to meet new people
3. Go out on your own to restaurants and bars. Obviously be careful when doing this and keep your wits about you. When I first moved to Dublin I did not know a soul and I hated being on my own and feeling lonely. I forced myself to go out at night to the popular Temple Bar District.
I’d go to open-mic sessions and live music and talk to people. I knew that this was an area of tourists so there’d be happy people wanting to chat. I ended up forming friendships with some of the bar staff and my circles grew and I wasn’t so lonely any more.
4. If you are a member of a “clique” or friendship group that has already formed over travel fun, be open to welcoming new people in. What you give out will always return to you. Remember how it feels to be on your own.
5. My last piece of advice is for anyone travelling or not, Don’t be a dick! Be nice, use your manners, show respect, be open and friendly to hearing other people’s stories and memories as well as sharing your own.
Remember the most powerful words on the planet
Thank you for asking me to sit with you and chat.
Thank you for inviting me out to dinner with y’all.
Thank you for helping me when I was lost.
Thank you for being so kind. Thank you for sharing a memorable moment with me.
Thank you for sharing your story.
Thank you for listening to mine.
It was travel that actually helped pull me out of my shy, anxious shell.
I used to be insecure and frightened of my own shadow. I am now never afraid to talk to anyone. I actually love meeting new people, having a laugh, and hearing their stories.
Follow these tips above and you will never be lonely when you travel alone. (Click for more Female solo travel tips)