This article gives an unique insight into how I travel as a solo backpacker. I outline a few aspects which can turn your next monotonous holiday into an exciting adventure.
The first solo travel I did during 2014 in Asia. It was an overwhelming experience and expanded my horizon deeply. I constantly improve myself during more adventure trips and force myself to develop new skills. I outline a few aspects of why and how I do it.
You Are Never Alone
The biggest lie for me about solo travels is that you are alone. From the point I leave for a trip during the whole experience, I am never alone and constantly meet new individuals. There are situations where I am overwhelmed and need a break. Then I am happy to be alone, atleast for a while. Some people might experience that more often and others less. It is normal. That’s one reason why I travel.
If I do solo travel, I have to communicate on my own. Most people I know are good at communication if the environment keeps the same. For example, I like to join a community in China where nobody talks Western languages. Contact with them is what makes an adventure fascinating.
In the society I live in, many people use technology to communicate. It is a great thing I also use it. It was the only way to learn English when I grew up. I played video games like Lineage 2 and World of Warcraft and wrote/spoke English daily. But using hands and feet to find a way to express yourself is a different level. I am doing this on my own, which speeds up the learning process tremendously.
On a solo backpacking trip, it is all about being flexible. I choose a destination where I want to go but I do not plan to get there in detail. Doing it on my own gives me maximum spontaneity, and I can move on whenever I want.
For me, hitchhiking is a preferred way to contact locals. Most of the cars driving on the street have at least one seat free. I do it early in the morning and have a short chat with the driver. I use my ordinary senses before I step into the car. Some people say using a sign written with the following location helps find somebody to pick you up quicker. I use my thumb. I only share where I am going with drivers who stop. I prefer natives over other travelers. I am on solo travel and want to hear local stories.
I have never spent a few hours on a local market and did bargaining. Where I grew up, you pay what is written on the label. Usually, others did the bargaining for me. So I learn it by myself on a solo journey, and it is fun. It differentiates me from a tourist.
The expenses for me as a solo travels are meager. I write every cost into my diary and set a limit for each day. In the beginning, I overdraw the limit a lot. Now I can handle it well and I know what I need to buy. However, as I mentioned at the beginning of the article, If I do not feel safe, This is when I spend more money on a room in a hotel and step back for a day. An adventure is not secure.
Accommodation is easy to get as a solo traveler because you need only a bed for yourself. I use apps like Couchsurfing and Worldpackers or ask people on the road.
In Africa and Asia, I have had lots of positive encounters with locals who invited me to stay at their house for a night after a short chat. The more I travel, the more I can feel where it is safe and where I should better stifle the discussion and move on.
This can be a bit more difficult in some countries, like China. The authorities don’t like it when foreigners live in local homes, especially in urban cities. The more countryside or rural the area is, the easier and safer it is to do so for myself.
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