One year ago, I took the leap of faith to live in Spain (My long term goal). From then on, I have had the opportunity to travel to numerous places sometimes with friends and most times alone. With every journey I took, I learnt a thing or two. Here are some lessons I share with you from a solo traveler.
- Take most of the fear mongering images from the media with a grain of salt. Rather, do your research (Blogs, Facebook groups, International Friends, Local Newspapers etc.) on the places you’re visiting to know what to expect.
- Most parts of the world are safer than portrayed on the media.
- Don’t judge people by their government.
- Most people are friendly and everyone wants the same things we do: Love, Food, Friendship, Happiness, and Stability.
- Plan ahead of time however don’t over-plan. Spontaneity is the root of adventure.
- Traveling alone doesn’t mean you are lonely.
- 9/10 times, when you travel alone you are bound to make a new friend along the way.
- As sad as it is for me to say this but when it comes to being a girl/woman, you have to be extra vigilant of your surroundings. Know how safe it is to be a woman in the country of your choice.
- Traveling as a Muslim is an opportunity to shatter negative stereotypes.
- Stranger doesn’t always mean danger. But trust your insticts
- Pursue your dream and don’t let anyone stop you.
When I look at this list I can’t believe how my mentality has changed. I used to be that kid in high school that was afraid of being different or being alone. It was my worst nightmare to sit by myself in the school cafeteria. Now I consider my self an intermediate solo traveler, ordering in a restaurant for one and too busy recording my daily adventures in my dairy to be bothered if I am lonely or sad.
Do I sometimes wish I moved to Spain with a friend or family member? Absolutely! There are times when I think “Aww Man, if only my sister/mother/ friend e.t.c. were with me to experience this extraordinary moment together”. But they can always visit iA.
If I had to repeat moving to Spain the way I did; I would do it in again in a heartbeat. From my move I went from knowing nobody in Spain to making, meeting and keeping in touch with numerous individuals from various backgrounds. I got to experience and see the beauty of nature. Most important of all, I gained a new perspective of life and got to know myself better.
You might be in a point in your life where you were like the old me; worried about negative external forces making you forfeit your goals. It could be traveling, falling in love, learning a new language, writing a book, starting a company, volunteering etc. My question for you is this: Can you smile within and say to yourself “I am true to myself. I am happy where I am at in life”? If you genuinely feel this way then you are on the right track.
I hope you felt inspired!