“Where are you going for your holidays this year?” “To Vietnam.”
“Oh, amazing! Who are you going with?” “No one.”
“Are you going by yourself?” “Yes.”
“Hmm, but how do you do that?” “Well, most probably I get on the plane an go. By myself.”
So, you decided to travel alone. Last week before first solo trip may be tough, let’s admit it. The whole thing is becoming real and you may be asking yourself – what am I doing? Doesn’t matter whether you want to visit a near country or if you’re going to the other end of the world. Regardless the distance, all of a sudden, one may feel certain doubts especially after having been lectured on how “safe it is for a girl to travel alone to Asia”. That’s okay. Feeling a bit nervous while boarding. That’s okay too. It’s more than okay to feel respect, actually that will most probably keep you on the safe side. The good news is the only person you depend on is yourself and honestly, who else in your life is possibly more reliable? Everything may be hard on the first day particularly if you seem to be experience all the possible troubles. But how could you grow if you are unwilling to face challenges? I’ve been asked many times since I came back from my solo travel, how did I manage the whole journey and what did I do for making it possibly smooth. Well, I don’t feel like giving advice, but girls! Safety first! No one needs to be lectured on how important it is to be careful, to have copies of passport, not to leave your drink out of sight, to avoid drawing attention to yourself by wearing flashy jewelry and clothes..and so on. Is it hard to estimate the situation? No. Not at all, seriously. When you’re on your own, your instincts are even more sensitive. Listen to them. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. A little preparation and common sense will do as well.
Once you decided to set your foot in a remote land alone, make sure that you enjoy every single minute. This trip is you, from A to Z. It’s your journey, your freedom. You will cherish this unforgettable experience forever. Also, you will remind yourself what really matters and what rubbish should be thrown away. Be prepared for the “Are you traveling alone” question. You will be asked that question many, many times. Expect the level of your responsibility and confidence to grow. If you want to be alone, you will. But don’t expect to be alone often. People (locals included) will talk to you, so talk to them too. They would never approach you if you weren’t alone. You will experience things that would never be possible if not traveling alone. Still curious what wouldn’t have been possible?
To meet Frank, a German security guy protecting embassy staff all around the world who not only made my flight so much fun, but also gave me his Vietnamese number and was most probably prepared to wake up the German embassy in Hanoi if I would find myself in trouble.
To meet Le Anh, my airbnb host in Hanoi, who made me amazing Vietnamese breakfast and drove me to the bus station on her motorbike.
To meet an amazing French couple I had so much fun with at the Cat Ba island.
To meet Xuan Lai, an amazing Vietnamese singer who sang me a song by the waterfront and surprised me with the most sweet New Year wishes three months later.
To meet Yanaika. My favorite girl that I met in Sapa. I miss you girl, don’t think being pregnant is an excuse for not visiting me 🙂 Our Sapa talks will not be forgotten.
To meet Blake and Max, my Australian neighbours in Sapa. How could I foget their honest laugh!
To meet a bia hoi seller in Hanoi. Her hearty eyes are my favorite memory. One of my most precious memories and one of the reasons I still believe in people’s capacity for goodness.
To meet a Vietnamese assistant and a British guy at a bookstore in Hanoi where I showed up being drenched by rain after the heaviest storm I’ve ever experienced. I will never forget our discussion about life. My soaking wet sneakers either.
To meet a motorbike taxi driver who took me for that amazing night ride around shiny, vibrant and vivid Hanoi.
To meet Gregory from France. Having beers, the most random dinner, going for a walk, eating fruits on temple stairs making up life stories of the people who were passing by. Talking about life.
And many more.. Just to be fair, there will most certainly be a few moments of trouble. Be prepared for that. But don’t doubt that with you being your own best friend, you will sort everything out real quick and you will be having a time of your life. Being brave is a good thing, but NEVER forget to be grateful for making if back home safe.
Thanks for stopping by!