Inspirational

8 M’sians Share Why Everyone Must Travel Solo At Least Once In Their Life

You see an airline having a flash sale, flight tickets are finally affordable for you to visit a country you’ve always wanted to visit.

You check your savings and with enough discipline and a few less cups of flat whites each week, you will be able to enjoy a week off to this magical land of street food and magnificent scenery with your friends!

And your friends?

They’ve just finished their leave, they’ve already planned a family holiday, they’re tight on budget for the month, they’ve already been there, done that. And the ones who are available? Well, let’s just say they’re not the best travel buddies.

So you tell yourself, maybe next time.

What if I told you, that you can go on that trip to the magical land of street food and scenery by yourself and still have the time of your life?

We get 8 millennials who’ve been there and done that to tell you how, and why you should travel solo at least once in your lifetime.

1. Wan nurulhanani

Taken in Iran.

The best part about travelling alone? The peace. The flexibility to change my itinerary at a whim. And no drama hahaha!

My solo traveling adventures have taken me to Morocco, Peru, Iran, New Zealand, Turkey, Spain, France and Japan.

I do it to step outside of my own comfort zone.

Iran definitely left a mark in me. The hospitality of the people, the architecture, the food and the amazing kaluts. Also, it was during Ramadhan when I hiked in one of the hottest and driest places on Earth. Couldn’t be more proud of myself (angkat bakul sikit 😜)!

Once, I almost got conned by a taxi driver in Istanbul. He tore my USD note discreetly and complained that the note is not acceptable so I will give him a bigger note and he could pretend that he does not have enough change in Lira (Turkish currency). It escalated into a shouting match! People started to gather around.

An elderly woman told him off and insisted he gave me the right change, but not before I lectured him with some Hadith and Quran on being honest in financial dealings!

Protip:

Research the place you want to go a lot. And learn the language if you can!

Have a growth mindset. Whatever happens, take it in your stride. But don’t be so naive! For girls, exercise caution.

2. Nicholas Ng

The best part of travelling solo is you get to follow and make up your own itinerary.

I do most of my trips solo.

So far I’ve been to the USA, parts of Europe, Scandinavia, Laos, Hong Kong and Cambodia solo.

Planning a trip with others takes too long and most trips are spontaneous for me.

My most memorable would have to be my 3 months trip to Northern Europe and the Mediterranean region. I made an impromptu trip to Lofoten Island in Norway. I remember talking to some travelers in the hostel and the next day, I changed my itinerary and headed off to the most extraordinary place on Earth.

The only gripe is that you can’t try all of the local foods because you can’t order too much. Also, you’d have to carry your stuff everywhere, including to the loo!

Protip:

Don’t be afraid! Have an open mind and be willing to take chances. Sometimes, the best trips are unplanned.

If you’re tight on budget, stick to what you can afford. You might be missing out on certain things, but the experience of just being present in a foreign place is priceless.

3. Augustine Tan

Taken in Japan!

The best part about traveling solo is that you get to plan and do everything you want!

I solo traveled to Singapore once to attend an orchestra.

Solo traveling can get lonely. And little inconveniences may crop up. For example, when you need to go to the toilet but you have too many things on hand and no one to look out for you.

Protip:

Know what you want and where can you get it. If you can get that item in your home country, then don’t splurge out on it in an expensive country. Also, capsule hotels are so freaking worth it.

Be humble when you are in someone else’s land. Don’t ever think that you’re entitled to something just because you’re a paying traveler. You’ll be surprised by the peaceful experience and serene memories you’d make in experiencing a foreign place with humility.

Help people out and don’t cause inconvenience to others. You will earn yourself a good reputation as a tourist (very important for Airbnb) and your home country.

4. Lee Seng Kiat

Which country(s) have you been to on your own?

England, Netherlands, Italy.

Why did you decided to travel solo?

Didn’t want to bother with the hassle of coordination.

Describe your most memorable solo-trip!

Bumping into Arsene Wenger during my Emirates Stadium tour is my jaws on the floor moment. Wouldn’t have happened if I wasn’t late and then graciously put in a later time slot, so I was extremely lucky.

What’s the best part about travelling alone?

The spontaneity. It’s so liberating to allow yourself to be distracted by anything you want.

What’s the single best advise you could give to someone planning to travel solo for the first time?

Keep it between you, your imaginations, and your surroundings. Don’t bring Anxiety with you. 9.

What’s the mindset one should adopt before going on that jetplane alone?

“I’m ready! I’m ready! I’m ready! I’m ready!”

Best budgeting tips for the solo traveler?

Don’t feel obligated to pay entrance fees for major attractions. Go cheap on accommodation, use it only to sleep and freshen up, but location is important. Don’t skimp on food, trust the locals to know value for money.

 

5. Tay Chiet Chun

Taken with a local jazz bar owner in the dodgy part of Osaka.

“Plans are useless, but planning is essential” – Dwight Eisenhower

I planned a trip to Japan alone once.

There were cheap flight tickets, and I felt like stepping outside of my comfort zone

I got to meet new people, take time to navigate various alleyways and sample all the food I want.

By traveling solo, I got to do things my way. No fussing about what time to get up, where to go, what to eat, what to do. I got to know myself better too.

You might encounter some minor challenges like the language barrier, but it’s still manageable. (Sign languages are generally universal, but be culturally aware!)

Protip:

It’s okay to feel uncomfortable, that’s why you’re alone in the first place. Go with the flow and try to enjoy it as much as you can. Staying in hostels would be an easy start, and don’t be afraid to mingle around.

6. Kit Ying

The best part about traveling solo? Freedom.

I traveled by myself to Thailand because I needed a self-reflection journey.

I was chilling at the top of Khao Ok Thalu where I met a couple from Denmark. We found shelter together under a hut as it poured.

I was having uncertainties in my life at the time. They told me that without uncertainty, we will always be comfortable with life and having difficulty to move forward. That night, my perspective changed.

You’ll never know who you might meet, and the inspiration that you might get by traveling solo.

Protip:

Don’t plan too much. You travel to experience life and you do that by not executing a plan.

Adopt this mindset: If you don’t get lost, you can’t go home. Getting lost is a part of the experience.

Take a train if you need to travel to a further place. It takes a longer time, but it’s always cheaper and you’ll see different people’s behaviour along the journey.

7. Chin Char Lie

Travelling solo, I appreciate every connection I am able to make.

I participated in the U.S Work and Travel programme for 3 months in Yellowstone National Park and backpacked around Bozeman, Seattle, Grand Canyon, San Francisco, Hawaii for about a month by myself. I then used the hard-earned money to backpack around SEA for 3 months the following summer break.

I was fortunate enough to be put in the same room with this lady (probably in her 60s) in the hostel that I was staying. I just got harassed by a homeless woman and was still quite shaken about it. I told my roommate about it and she got very angry for me. She made me feel at ease because she was like a protective mother.

It made me realize how genuine human connections can be and I am truly grateful to her for showing me this.

People are more likely to strike a conversation with you and offer to host you and take you around when you’re by yourself as compared to when you’re travelling in a group.

Protip:

I definitely recommend couch surfing! I saved on accommodation, food and transportation for a whole week which is great for when you’re on a tight budget. Not only can you save money but you can experience how the locals live as well.

Don’t think and just do it.

Most people often don’t travel solo because they think and worry too much.

What if this happens? What If that happens?

You’ve just got to be smart and know how to utilise information and reviews online. Travelling solo has never been more convenient.

You will never know when you’d have the opportunity to do something like this again.

Even after you backpack alone and realise that this is not your thing, good for you. At least you’ve done it and you know now.

8. Heong Kian Kee

You have all the flexibility to absorb the moment and experience in any way you want. Nobody is there to bug you or hush you. For instance, you are by this beautiful beach and you just want to roam around and chill to watch the scenery, catch some fresh air and take photos as long as you want.

I went to Bali and Bangkok to travel on my own.

My most memorable solo-trip is none other than roaming around Nusa Penida island in Bali. Best part, I was introduced to this person who runs a restaurant (Warung Oka) with an amazing view by the beach and their family hosted me. Great hospitality and warmth shown by the family! I will definitely go back to pay a visit to them.

The language barrier can be funny, interesting yet confusing as what you tried to convey people may misunderstood what you’re trying to say sometimes.

Protip:

A goal without a plan is just a wish. Often times, people kept finding excuses, no budget or finding for the ‘perfect time’ to travel together with someone. Don’t wait. Life goes faster than you think. Rather than waiting for the right time from people around you might as well just save up, set the destination, pack up and go!

Do your homework on the costings you may required to spend and only spend on experience rather than materials that you really don’t need. Most of the times, people tend to shop and spend on unnecessary things/souvenirs.

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