Last year I did my first ever solo trip to Tokyo. I did not plan to go by myself, however unforeseen incident happened, and I got to go alone. When I came back from the trip, I planned to write a post about it, but again, many things took place in life that I did not have the time to sort out my thoughts about the experience. So here I will try to recollect as much as possible, not of the details of the trip, but of the lessons and experiences I had during the trip.
1. It makes you focus at the present
I think many would feel the same as I do – I am not comfortable being alone outside. It really takes courage for you to be comfortable by yourself outside, and don’t care about how people look at you and judge you. On the third day of my trip, I went to Disneyland alone, when I saw mother holding the hands of young children who shrieked in excitement to see the parade, couples holding hands and kissing in front of the Cinderella Castle during the fireworks, groups of friends taking wefies and laughing together, it was impossible to ignore the fact that I was very alone. I went to the rides alone, I ate alone, I asked strangers to take pictures for me. But in a while, I remembered that I got used to it – to the extend that I forgot about myself. I took the time to breathe the Japanese air, I took the time to listen to the noises around, I took the time to really experience everything my senses could experience. The moment when I focused at the present, I forgot about my presence.
2. It makes you responsible for your own choices
Of course, the downside of being on a solo trip is that, you cannot share your joy and burden with another person. I got to finish everything I ordered. I got to drag my 25 kgs of luggage by myself, and God knows that some train stations are so old, they only have staircase! That can be frustrating. So before making any decision, I got to be fully accountable, because it will affect me, and nobody else can or will help me. It is a very different experience to be so self-reliant.
But of course, when I did not have confidence in myself to accomplish something – for instance to look for a famous restaurant mentioned in the travel guide but could not find it after walking for a long time that my feet had blisters, I prayed. Because I have always needed someone to talk to, I spoke to God a lot during the trip.
3. There is always something good
This is not some positive thinking cliche, but it is a truth that I experience. There is always something good comes out of every situation. Just like the trip, I did not plan to go by myself. In fact, I did not want to go alone. I had a lot of fear and anxiety before the trip. I was fearful of me dying in the plane and I would die alone. I was fearful of panic attacks of not knowing how to handle too much me-time. I was fearful of the unknown. However, after the trip, I realised that it was not that scary after all – in fact, it was one the best trips I have ever gone to.
If someone asks me, is solo trip a must once in a lifetime? Honestly, I would not advocate it like some seasoned travelers do – I believe that every person has their own priorities, if solo trip is not a must in your list, you should not do it just because everyone else is doing it. However if that is what you have been thinking for a long time, and you have the financial and physical ability to do it, I encourage you to try it, because the experience will definitely worth your energy and effort.