My Top 8 Travel Memories Of 2011: #1 Traveling Alone

SOLO TRAVEL: AN ADVENTURE WORTH TRYING

This is a year late but still the most important travel goal I achieved last year. Among my circle of friends and family, traveling alone was not a normal occurrence.Β This was also one of my goals before turning 30 last April. I opted to go to Ho Chi Minh city in Vietnam. I chose Vietnam because it was a place I had not been to.

Vietnam Traveling Alone

The hardest thing about traveling is wanting to go home and be with family yet still having the urge to continue moving forward and discovering new things. I know if it weren’t for my husband and son, I would probably just keep traveling until that thirst is fully quenched- which I know might never happen. I always get this wave of sadness as a trip comes to an end. It is something that I truly love and long to do everyday of my life. It is something that I know some people will never fully understand.

Vietnam tunnels

Traveling alone put certain things in perspective. It gave me the silence that I never thought I needed. It gave me peacefulness like I never knew existed within me. Like it said in Kent Nerburn’s book “You should spend time alone. I don’t just mean minutes and hours, but days and, if the opportunity presents itself, weeks. Time spent alone returns to you a hundredfold, because it is the proving ground of the spirit”.

I went to Vietnam not knowing anyone at all. But then realized that I was actually lucky to not have had friends there because it gave me that push to open up and talk to people. It was fulfilling. The good thing about this experience was it made me want to travel more on my own. It was not easy and it was very stressful at the beginning but at least I was able to do it and know that I’ll be able to do it again.

Vietnam

Vietnam 2

I also realized that other Filipinos are not used to seeing Filipinas traveling alone for pleasure (or maybe I just looked like a lost puppy). The ones that I talked to were quite shocked that I was on my own and immediately assumed I needed help and wanted to take me under their wing. This was also the case prior to my trip. Friends that I talked to about it wanted to know why I wanted to travel on my own and were quite bewildered that it was my own choice. It was sort of funny. But I’m truly grateful for all the kind people I met and got to spend time with.

The scary part of it all was being away from home when the big earthquake/tsunami hit Japan. My hotel room did not have a window and I could not help but think of the things that could happen. But like any other trip, despite the stress and frustrations I encountered (and the fact that there isn’t that much to do in Ho Chi Minh), I really had a good time. And though I don’t think I’ll have a lot of time to travel on my own again anytime soon, I would gladly do it again in a heartbeat.

Traveling Alone. An End to My 30 Before 30.

As I ended my trip for the 28th country I’ve visited, I also ended my quest to travel to 30 countries before I turn 30 (which is 22 days from now). Unfortunately due to unavoidable circumstances, I have to put my trips on hold. I am party disappointed that I will not be able to finish what I planned but still ecstatic that I was able to do achieve one very important goal I’ve set for myself when I turned 29 — to travel alone for the first time.

traveling alone to vietnam

What I discovered about traveling alone:

THE PERKS

1. I could make my own schedule without having to consult or think about anyone else. I am actually very obsessive about time and schedules. The problem with traveling with my husband or anyone else, this is usually not followed. So I was pretty proud that I was able to do the things that I wanted on time all the time.

2. It was very easy to keep track of expenses. No one to remind to tell me what they spent for the day πŸ˜›

3. The one thing that I loved the most about traveling alone was meeting a lot of people. I was apprehensive about talking to people that I really didn’t know but I knew I had to or else I would’ve ended up not talking to anyone the whole trip. But I made friends and that made me really happy.

4. I truly enjoyed the freedom I had when it came to taking pictures = no husband to nag me about having to take pictures, no waiting for the husband to take pictures of every single thing that he sees. It was the freedom that I’ve been waiting for all these years.

5. I had a lot of time to reflect about my life.

THE DISADVANTAGES

1. I realized how lonely it was to eat on my own. I would eat on my own here in Manila but I suppose it’s different when the place you’re in isn’t home.

2. I hated riding taxis on my own. Not really happy with the Vietnamese taxi drivers.

3. No one to tell my stories to at the end of the day.

4. I realized how easily I get bored. I mean really really bored.

5. Had no one to take my picture! πŸ˜› I enjoyed not having to take pictures too much that I actually forgot to ask people to take my picture. I only have pictures of myself at the airport.

So I’m pretty proud and happy that I did it. At least now I know it is something that I can do and it is something that I would definitely do again πŸ™‚