An Extroverts Guide To Solo Travel
An extrovert, a social butterfly – whatever you want to call it, that is me. I love being surrounded by people and I thoroughly enjoy the company of others. Quite honestly, it is hard for me to get tired of people’s company and I rarely feel the urge to be alone (even though it occasionally happens). Actually, if I spend a lot of time alone, I find I need to recharge by being surrounded by people in a social event.
This characteristic, I realized recently, has made me not want to be alone. In fact, until recently, I do not think I have ever done anything alone. There was a time when I would refuse to go shopping alone. And I do not think I ever just went around the village alone.
This all changed when I went to live abroad. I have still yet to complete the challenge of going on a trip abroad, so that is still on the bucket list. (I’m waiting to have enough courage to do it – baby steps.)
So, with zero experience of doing things alone, I prepared myself, packed my bags and went to live abroad (by myself!) in the Netherlands and now in Sweden. I did it in the Netherlands and I loved it, and now I am doing it again.
From the little experience that I have, I will give you some guidelines on how extroverts (like me!) are able to survive living in a new country where you do not know anyone and have to learn to enjoy time alone. I think that is the most important thing, being content with your own company.
Destination, Destination, Destination
Yes, when you are going to move countries, sometimes it is hard to choose where you want to go. Sometimes work or your university chooses it for you, as with the case for me. Sweden chose me because it was a Masters offered there that triggered my move. However, despite this, try to choose a place where the language is one of the least of your problems. I’m fluent in English, and thankfully English is a very global language, but I would have been so upset as an extrovert if I wasn’t able to communicate with anyone because no one understood me.
Living and travelling alone will give you the opportunity to focus on things you have never had the time or opportunity to do. Since moving abroad alone, I have improved my photography, learnt how to cook and experimented in blogging field, were I re-found my love of writing. Being by yourself and being able to organize your time around your own schedule will enable you to try and fit in these little things that back at home you wouldn’t even dream of doing.
Make new friends
As an extrovert, this should not be too tough. If you are like me, you will go to a social event and start chatting to the first person that comes up to you. You will realize that you are able to speak to people on multiple subjects and be the real you with them, because they do not know how you act at home. It is a great way to learn more about people and, consequently, learn more about yourself, because you will recognize some characteristics in other that are in you, too. You will open your mind to new cultures and allow yourself to hear other people’s stories, and hopefully learn from them.
It’s OKAY to be alone
You will get times where you really want to go have a coffee at this café that just opened down the street from your place, but you find no one to go with. So, what I would tell you is just grab your purse, put on some shoes and that cute outfit you just bought when you went on your last shopping spree alone and go grab a coffee and a nice delicious pastry. They say it is awkward dining at a table alone, but I think it is courageous. Also, remove your phone and enjoy your own thoughts. Think its 1990 all over again.
My favourite part of travelling is the voyage to my destination. The flights from Malta to Sweden where one of the nicest flights I had ever had. After hectic weeks of preparations for my time abroad I had a chance to sit in silence, without any internet and just be able to be alone and think clearly. I got to read, catch up on my favourite series and spent the rest of time just observing the people around me. It calmed me down and it is one of my fondest memories.
In the Netherlands, I remember cycling around the neighbourhood and finding new spots I had never seen before. Through my spontaneous solo exploring, I found horse stables which I eventually used to go to whenever I felt upset. This place has left such a mark on my heart that I have it engraved into a bracelet.
Hadn’t I not taken the chance to travel alone and spent some time with myself, I would have never matured nor made the memories which I now hold so dear to my heart. Also, I would not have figured out what I want from my future and have learnt so much about myself. When you are ready to reconnect with your old or new friends, the world is still waiting for you. But this time alone, zoned out from everything, will be the most rewarding thing you could have ever given yourself. You do not have to feel lonely; just be present in the moment and see the beautiful things around you because you do not need other people to be happy, even though by having other people around you, you are at your happiest.