Don’t get me wrong, I love traveling with friends. I love being able to spend time with them in a new place, eat and drink, and be merry with a bunch of hooligans who also like most of the things I like. The thing is, everybody just got too busy with doing their own thing that as much I would love to discover new places with them, it would take a while to plan these trips, and God knows how much I need to get-away from time to time. The perfect solution for this teeny-tiny dilemma would be just to say a prayer and leave alone. Here are a few things why I just love doing it.
I always imagine myself being on one of those traveling shows minus the cameras, because technically the host is really not on her own unlike me. I like the feeling of being free when I visit a new place. The thought will make you worry a bit, but that’s normal. Proper planning will make your life easier. I don’t really get shy to ask for directions, so being lost is never a problem…makulit ako, eh. I enjoy the feeling of anonymity and not having to talk to anyone and not hearing anyone complain about anything. It’s refreshing.
Meeting new human and animal friends
Even though my introverted side kicks in from time to time, I love meeting new people whenever I travel. The locals can tell you the best places to eat and go. I have met some nice people in my travels and some I’m still friends with. I’m also a lover of dogs and friendly sea creatures. One of the best experiences that I’ve had was swimming with a school of whale sharks in Oslob, Cebu. It was terrifying but I overcame my fear eventually. They’re massive and yet gentle. Beach dogs are also a favorite of mine to befriend. They are kind and often demand belly rubs.
Knowing yourself more
For the past years that I’ve been traveling alone, I’ve learned so much about myself. I find that I love the peace and quiet more and that I enjoy people watching. I learned that I’m always at peace whenever I’m near the beach. I can be spontaneous but must always have a backup plan. It’s not bad to be cautious and alert with your surroundings. Planning your itinerary and travelling solo are good practices to be independent. And I’ve also realized the importance of carrying a roll of tissue, wipes, and a tumbler of water inside my weekend bag all the time.
You know when you are in a huge group and you have those friends that just take all the time in the world to move and make decisions? That gets pretty annoying. I’m glad that most of my friends are not like that, but you’d never get that dilemma when you’re wandering alone. You can leave whenever you’re ready. You can go wherever you want without thinking of who you will leave behind. You’re only responsible for yourself when you travel alone.
You can eat and do what you want, when and where you want. There will be no one to make you feel guilty. Go out a bit unkempt than usual, no one would pick on you. You can be a one-woman food disposal unit and it’ll be judgment free!
Be a cheapskate or go all out
I like to pay extra because I can’t afford to sacrifice comfort when I travel, but I’m not a high maintenance woman either. Put me in a clean fan room with or without TV but with my own comfort room, I’m good. It also doesn’t hurt to treat yourself in a luxurious place from time to time especially if you can afford it. I like riding an ordinary bus for short trips especially when going up to Baguio from La Union because I like the feel of the cold, mountain air, plus it’s also cheaper compared to air-conditioned buses.
Tips for my solo wandering ladies out there:
- Make sure that you do prior research upon going to a town or different country for the first time. It’s not bad to know if there’s a nearby hospital or drugstore where you’ll be staying in case of emergencies.
- Let your family members or significant other know that you’ve arrived at your destination just so they are aware of your status. You can give them the number of the hotel or resort that you’ll be staying in so they can reach you if you can’t be reached through your phone.
- It’s okay to make friends but still be mindful of your actions. Keep your guard up and follow your intuition.
- It’s okay to allow yourself to not do anything in your vacation. It’s okay to enjoy the confines of your room for a day and not feel bad about it. Rest is still part of having time for yourself.
All photos by Denise J. Mallabo