Globetrotting is series is all about my adventures in travel. They include my tips, takeaways, and realizations about travel, as well as recommendations for food, culture, and nightlife.
Traveling alone for the first time was an incredible experience, and although I’ve only done it once and am by no means any expert on the subject, I still think I have enough authority on the matter to talk about my own tips and tricks that I picked up during my 6 day stay on the island…
How to… Travel Alone
Do something that scares you
So I don’t know if you know this but, I was kind of deathly afraid of the ocean. Now I know we are all the same size when matched up against the mighty ocean, but I’m 152.4cm and weigh about 44 kilos, so suffice it to say, the force of a baby wave kind of knocks me off my feet. The thought of getting pulled under and experiencing what laundry must feel like in a washing machine was also a less than attractive thought – especially because it has happened to me before and it’s safe to say I wasn’t fond of it – or getting dragged out into the ocean to die alone are less than savory thoughts. And yet, I never enjoyed being afraid of the ocean, and felt like it was holding me back from being that care-free person I have always prided myself on being. Plus, a trip alone is the perfect time to get outside of the comfort zone and do some growing because there is no one to hold your hand. Ok, well, the instructor did hold my hand the first day and helped me over the waves, but baby steps Mon Chéri.
After three days, I learned how to watch the waves and understand them a little bit better – which is honestly the fundamental key to overcoming any fear – and learned to jump the waves (or dive under if need be – luckily this wasn’t too much of an issue) that broke where I was standing and also realized that the really big waves tended to crash a good distance from where I was standing and became foam the time it reached me. Now, not all fears can be conquered in a matter of days, but just taking steps towards getting over your fears is such a freeing feeling and a huge step towards a better you. Not to mention, you will feel a huge sense of accomplishment.
…AND SOMETHING YOU ARE NOT SURE THAT YOU WILL LIKE
So I’ve kind of had this sheepish dream about becoming this amazing surfer type. Of course, being petrified of the ocean and adverse to suntans kind of puts a halt on this fantasy, but I figured, what the hell. Let go and just go for it. And let me tell you, I was not disappointed. I actually found out that I really loved surfing (even though I am basically awful at it). But even if I hadn’t have liked it, I would have learned something new about myself and could be happy to know that I left that comfort zone and tried something new.
Make sure to have reading material on hand
Your kindle will become your best friend – Or actual paper-back book, magazine, or any other engaging reading material, for that matter. The first day that I arrived to Fuerteventura, I bee-lined it over to a lovely cafe, not even thinking to take more than my wallet and camera with me. Big mistake. Wireless isn’t really a guarantee, and in any case, the whole idea behind my trip was to take a step away from social media. Needless to say, I was left to enjoy my own company. And it wasn’t so hot. Not because I am a bore of a human, but because I enjoy eating while watching a film or reading. For the rest of my trip, I made sure to have my kindle with me, and enjoyed my solo-mealtime a lot more.
..but confront yourself as well
It’s perfectly fine to bring along different forms of entertainment – after all no one said trip alone has to be the equivalent of being locked in a colorless room with yourself and nothing else for days. It’s also perfectly okay to know what you like and do that – like me and my kindle during meal times. But travelling alone is also a chance to really get to know yourself better and enjoy your own company without any other media-based distractions. I took car rides through the island and explored the town on foot with my camera and started each morning with yoga.
So I made a pretty rookie mistake. I thought that travelling alone meant that I literally had to be alone. In addition, I booked a villa, which meant there was no guest lobby or common pool where I could bump into other travellers. After the first two days, I realised that I was a bit lonely. I wanted this trip to be a trip about self growth and independence, but I realised that being independent doesn’t mean you have to be devoid of human contact. After all, as a kid I went to countless summer camps where I knew no one and it never phased me. Travelling alone means going to a destination alone. Without a boyfriend or friends or family. But it doesn’t mean you can’t meet people along the way and create new experiences with new people all on your own. I ended up signing up for a surf camp both in order to get over my fear of the ocean as well as to meet some people. And you know what? While it was only for a few hours a day, it really made my trip a lot more pleasant. Next time I travel alone, I’ll be sure to do so through a surf camp or stay in a hostel and save the fancy villas for trips with the man or fam.
Go at your own pace and do what you love
Hands down, the best part of travelling alone is that their aint a damned person telling you what to do. That’s right. You, yes YOU can be as selfish as possible without actually being selfish because you are not forcing anyone to do anything they don’t want to. In fact, dare I say, you are being considerate, as your travelling companion is yourself, and you are doing what YOU want to do. You can pace everything to your own rhythm and explore everything you want to see without having to make any compromises. You’re the kind that wants to spend the whole afternoon exploring local shops? Do it. More the museum goer? Cool do that. Endless possibilities, my friend. Endless.
Have you ever travelled alone? What are your tips and tricks for doing so?
Photography: Rae Tashman