I’m not entirely sure when it happened to me. I’d never had an issue doing things alone, whether that was building forts as a kid, joining after school clubs or walking into the university bar in my first week. I’ve always been fairly confident, but as I’ve got older I’ve shied away from solo activity.
When I’ve had to stay somewhere for work alone I’ve grabbed an M&S meal deal and eaten it from my bed. When I’ve been attending a party I’ve always followed after my friends instead of striding in first. I deplore networking events. And I hate being the first to arrive at a meeting in a cafe. The one public solo activity I’ve indulged in happily has been trips to the cinema where it is dark and I’m not expected to make small talk with strangers.
I never did the travel thing in my teens or early twenties. The confidence you get from backpacking your way round the world and constantly meeting new people was never mine to experience. I met my husband at 23 and have been one half of something ever since. Don’t get me wrong we have a pretty independent relationship but it doesn’t naturally lead to solo activity.
At age 20 I developed a sudden, irrational fear of flying which although has dissipated, gives me pause for thought and makes me afraid to travel alone. Worst of all, when discussing the idea of solo travel with those closest to me, the puzzled look on their faces gives me even more reason to jack the whole idea in, their questioning voices in my head.
My name is Sam, I’m 33 and I’m afraid to travel alone.
But this cannot continue. I have a thirst for travel that isn’t matched by my husband, family and friends. I want to visit weird capital cities that no one wants to bother with. I’m stubborn and forthright and I want to see these places my way, on my terms. The only way I get to see all of the world I want to, is to go it alone.
Emboldened by my recent city breaks around Europe, where I’ve been fully in the driving seat and have booked, planned and executed the whole trip, I’ve started to consider a solo trip in Europe.
But I’m plagued with fear.
- Will everyone stare if I eat alone?
- Will I be safe as a solo female traveller?
- Will I get bored or lonely?
- What if no one can understand me?
- What if I hate it?
These questions and more swirl round in my head on the regular. But in 2017 I’m silencing the fear and going it alone anyway. I’m planning a trip in April 2017 for a weekend alone seeing somewhere new. I might afraid to travel alone, but I’m determined not to let it hold me back.
If you have any tips for me, then please do share them in the comments! (And if you are looking for solo travel advice then check out the brilliant Pack Your Passport).