I’ve seen many thought catalog-ish posts on traveling solo and how people find themselves on trips like these. I’ve always wondered how true it is, and when they talk about traveling solo as a girl, it’s almost always written by an angmoh, or it’s about their adventure to some exotic lands. This is for YOU, if you ever have the thought of doing a solo travel!
Yes, I’ve read all those posts when I decided that I was going to travel alone. BUT I somehow couldn’t seem to connect with these posts because it’s just… Different. I wondered what it would be like for a regular Asian girl to take an otherwise regular trip all by herself. Perhaps, I might just be able to help all you people out there deciding whether you should just take this leap of faith to heck it and book a single ticket overseas.
When I decided to travel alone, like any normal human being, I was apprehensive. I don’t know about you, but yes, I’m what people call humji. While I look very garang on the outside and seem very independent, I’m someone who don’t even dare to take roller coasters okay. Don’t laugh. Would I survive this trip? I mean, I would, but there were still many questions clouding my mind and I believe it might be part of your considerations as well when deciding to fly solo. AND I, NOW, HAVE THE ANSWERS.
1. The number one question I had was.. OMG. I am a girl leh, will I get raped? Robbed? Kidnapped?
While they talk about gender equality and yada yada, I feel that it’s a normal thing for the female gender to feel more apprehensive about taking a trip alone than a MAN, even for someone as manly as me. I mean, honestly, I didn’t pay attention in my self-defence classes last time, and although I lift weights, the physical disparity is TOO GREAT LAH (tested and proven, I tried arm wrestling Ben, and he knocked me out in 2s). Hence, the chances of me not being able to protect myself, as a girl, is greater, which translates to me being an easier target to be robbed okay?!
Answer: Umm… Actually it’s common sense lor.
a) Avoid going back too late, especially since my hotel was 2km from the nearest BTS (not exaggerating, it’s 2.3km to be exact). P.S. Despite the distance, that hotel was amazing though, review up soon.
b) Split up my cash, keep some back in the hotel but I brought most out, because I don’t like to be on a tight budget. *sniggers*
c) Carry your bag in front, especially you’re on the streets or night markets. I’m generally not too worried about malls, even though I also on moderate alert.
d) With regards to the rape part, feminists and all might say OH IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT YOU WEAR. WE SHOULD STOP VICTIM BLAMING. Well.. It’s true, but I mean in a foreign land, it’s best if you don’t wear until so conspicuous that everyone knows you are a tourist and want to rob you etc. Then again the weather was so hot, I think my shorts was so short, it revealed part of my butt, but it was still very hot. HAHA! I’m just thankful that I don’t have a chio face so no one wants a piece of me. But I think it’s just normal to dress down especially in places like Bangkok. SO HOT.
e) Common overseas practices aside, this is the most important revelation you will get from traveling alone is.. NOBODY REALLY GIVES A SHIT WHETHER YOU ARE ALONE OR NOT. GIRL OR NOT. Really. Nobody cares. I mean, there are so many other locals and even tourists traveling alone, what makes you so special? Also, putting yourselves into perspective, do you actually care whether people are traveling alone or not?
So.. Moral of the story is, JUST GO. Learn to be cautious, LEARN to take care of yourself, the odds of you falling prey to crime is probably as much as that when traveling with others… LEARN TO DEAL WITH CRISES.
2. “But, it’s BANGKOK…”
I know. This was the most common concern amongst my friends and even myself. It just intuitive for us to feel that traveling alone in Bangkok is more dangerous than say, Hong Kong or some where more developed, right?
Well.. I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer to this because there WILL BE black sheeps any where, even in some where as safe as our beloved Singapore. Shit happens. I’d think that the probability of being a victim of crime is rather similar for a short stay in any country. Just take the necessary precautions and you’ll be fine.
Since I’ve used Hong Kong as an example above, if you’ve visited that shopping haven, you will know what I mean when I say the people there are PRETTY impatient and rude. I’ve been there FOUR times, and that was my conclusion after every single trip. RUDE. No offense but… I don’t care lah. HAHA. I also rude.
The people in Bangkok, on the other hand, were so amicable and friendly. They are your perfect companions if you’re traveling alone. Being an extrovert, I found myself feeling deprived of social interaction at many points of time even though I was usually connected on social media. Typing and talking is different ok.
The locals I’ve met talked to me like I’m an old friend, and I was really glad that I took this trip alone whenever that happens because we don’t usually get to learn about a stranger’s life on foreign lands when we are traveling with our partners!
3. IMPORTANT QUESTION: To keep passport in hotel or bring it along with you.
I had this dilemma days before my departure. SO torn between these 2 options I actually had a sleepless night because of it. HAHA! My advice? It depends on what kind of accommodation you’re staying in. If you’re staying in a shared apartment or a low end hostel, I’d suggest you might want to bring your passport along with you and keep it in a safe compartment in your bag, so that even if your bag gets slit, your passport wouldn’t drop out.
If you’re staying in a more reputable accommodation, for me, I feel like it’s safe enough to leave it in my room! If you are still scared, then don’t get them to make up your room lor! Haha! Also, try to carry along a photocopy of your passport in case of any checks or if you happen to lose your passport! It will be a lot easier at the embassy if you have the photocopy. I read this on tripadvisor!
Okay okay, what are the perks of traveling alone?
4. Why travel alone when you can do it with someone else?
No hor, I got no friends, nobody travel with me one. Also..
You get to do whatever you want, whenever you want and however you want. What did I do?
When I’m out traveling with others, I am usually the one planning the itinerary and trying to get the full experience of the travel. However when I was alone, I felt more chill and at peace. I did things at my own pace, walked around aimlessly (because not everyone can understand why you want to anyhow walk OR it’s just really weird to walk around aimlessly with someone around), and really explored every single nook and cranny of the street. I even found one cafe by accident.
So pretty right.
I also wandered into many street stalls, and people watch. I felt like I was more observant and more at ease with being alone with just myself.
Like how it suddenly struck me when I was observing this guy eat that it’s really cute how people, even though from way different cultures, background and all, have similar habits of picking out veggies from their food. It’s really cute.
Being alone means you really get to do whatever you want, eat at whatever timing, eat a lot, eat little, look at birds, sit on the streets, and just .. be weird. That was the best part for me. I did so many random stuff, I don’t even do them in Singapore.
For example, I took a stroll at the park..
I sat at a random pub to eat peanuts and drank $3 beer.
I obviously had a lot of fun by myself, but I am someone who enjoys being alone and feel really at ease doing so!
Yes there will definitely be hesitation, apprehension and fear when you decide to take that leap of faith AND that’s when you decide that YES, you are finally going to step out of your comfort zone. There’s really nothing to lose in traveling on your own, yet with a lot of new perspectives and experiences to be gained.
As much as most of us think that we are leading independent lives, being truly alone in a foreign land is an exhilarating sensation. It feels like you’re free, nobody knows you here, you are free to express yourself in any way you want and empowers you to explore and to open up to meet new people!
To me, the entire experience allowed me to feel even more comfortable being alone with myself. I trust myself more now, instead of being the super dependent person when I’m out every time, especially overseas. I never thought I could learn any more about myself, but through this trip I saw how I could actually force myself to be more resilient yet more spontaneous at the same time. I didn’t think I could ever be like that actually. Spoiling my phone while on a trip because want to take sexy picture in the pool then phone drop into water, would usually see me being a super whiny child, sulking for the entire 3 days. Being alone, being at a place where you are really alone with yourself lets you learn to not simply REACT to situations because you can no longer place blame on anyone else, instead you learn to respond to them. I learned to respond to everything that came in my way during the trip because there was nobody I could rely on, nobody I could blame, or sulk at. This is just one of the gains I thought was worth sharing making that solo trip.
If you’re just really tired of the usual mundane things that you’re going through in life, perhaps, just perhaps, it’s time for you to book your tickets and fly. On your own. You will enjoy the entire experience in a different way. You learn to be more mindful and be more aware of your present. You’ll learn to be more observant and feel more free than you’ve ever felt.
In fact, I’m just babbling on about my experiences alone, and I don’t know where this post is heading towards to. All I want to say is that traveling alone is another option you may want to explore when you’re looking for something new to do and to challenge yourself! I wouldn’t say it’s a better option than traveling with someone else but it’s something different I really did enjoy and would do it without any hesitation from now. And I hope this post has put some of your worries at ease if you ever wanted to do, but humji.
Life’s too short to be humji, man. (Explodingbelly, 2016)