When I was 16 I left home for my first big journey overseas and went to Montreal for a month to learn French. Traveling Alone. I have been overseas before, but never alone and never for so long. I remember how I sat in my seat on this big plane that was about to take off, heart pounding in happy excitement, thinking: “This is it. Here we go. Four weeks on my own.” And it was the most freeing and exhilirating experience I have had up to this point in my life. It lead way to my believe in traveling and independence, which I would like to talk to you about today.
Many people I know knit their brows in astonishment when I answer the “So who are you traveling with?”-Question with “Myself!”. The most common answer I hear is “Oh..” followed by a “Gosh, I don’t think I am the type for traveling alone.” I smile then, because I know they are. Everyone can.
Then I am given reasons like:
“I want to share my experiences”
“I don’t want to be alone all the time.”
“I’d be scared.”
But the funny thing is when you are traveling alone – you are never really alone. You are simply not with your friends and family, but you are not alone.
So this post is for those who have felt intimidated by the thought of traveling by themselves. Here I want to share my top tips how to connect with other travelers on the road, because you don’t want to miss out on the beautiful friendships that can form while you’re experiencing incredible stuff.
How to connect with other travelers
#1 Get the Couchsurfing Hangout app (even if you don’t couchsurf)
The founders of couchsurfing realized one thing after years of launching their website – it is sort of a lonely experience. Once your host is out of the flat for work, you sit there by yourself basically. Which is okay, as my following tips will help you with that too, but these guys thought of a way to connect all those lonely couchsurfing souls with their amazing new app “Hangout”, an extension of Couchsurfing. This way travelers can connect and schedule a hangout or even plan an event and invite tons other travelers. Its super handy and a lot of fun – try it!
#2 Participate in or plan an event on the Couchsurfing website
When I was sorta stuck in LA without a car and the wish to leave again and adventure, I accidentally stumbled over the “Event” section on the couchsurfing app. There I saw an annonce this girl had put up, where she shared that she’ll roadtrip through the national parks, asking if anyone would like to join. Fantastic! Just what I needed. And so I spontaneously went on a roadtrip the next day, with wonderful people I had never met before. So check out the “Event” section, join events or plan your own!
#3 Try to stay in hostels and hang out in the kitchen
This is no secret. Hostels are THE place to meet people. I just love this open and approachable way travelers in Hostels have about them. It’s so uplifting and contagious. Now you only need a little bit of courage to make the first step, start a conversation, ask them about their past traveltime or for recommendations. More than three times during my time in California the “Yum, you are having spaghetti for dinner?”-Question has blossomed into amazing roadtrips and unforgettable memories.
#4 Go out and connect – Yes, I know. But it works and you’ll be proud of yourself.
This might be a bit tough at first but it will be fun. Even without apps and without hostels you can still connect on the open road. I met two girls who’ve been traveling together for weeks and they met buying coffee at 7eleven. It’s all about taking the “hostelkitchen”-mentality out with you to every place you go. Don’t shut down, try to keep your face and thoughts open. The girls met because they shoved the “keep your eyes on the floor and just buy your coffee”-attitude out of the way. Keep your eyes and heart open and people will turn to you automatically, I promise.
#5 Join a Facebook backpacker group in the area you’re exploring
This is truly overlooked sometimes. I was backpacking Californias national parks and needed advice by people, who have been there and know their way around. So I joined a womens backpacker group on facebook and, man, they have saved me a lot of times with their advice. I know of a lot who have met up and joined travelroutes – so for advice and travelconnections I truly recommend to join specific groups like these on facebook.
Traveling alone is the most precious gift you can give to yourself
I stress it again and again. Only when you are by yourself, away from all you know, away from what shapes you everyday you can become you true self. And everyone should experience their true self once in a while. It’s a reality check who you are, what you want, how you by yourself handle situations and what exactly it is, that makes you awesome. It’s powerful. I am so happy for you that you will experience it.
I hope these tips have given you some ideas how to approach your time abroad. If you have any more questions, need help or tips, drop me an email or let me know in the comment section below <3 I got ya 😀
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