How to battle solo travel nerves and start making friends

Solo travel is all hit recently. Travelers are talking about it and encouraging others to do the same. But for the unconventional ones it’s a major step not to be taken any time soon. “It would be scary to get lost on my own”, “It’s embarrassing to eat alone” blah blah blah. If we look at it closely though we can see the root of this nervous feeling.

Remember the first time you entered your new school? I’m guessing it felt really awkward. Awkward in the sense that you didn’t know where to sit or with who are you going to eat your lunch. You’re in the edge, you have to approach someone and make friends. He or she will be your entry point to your new world.

If getting acquainted with strangers were easy for everybody then maybe being on a foreign land on our own won’t be bad at all too. But do we really have to be nervous about it? No. From what I learned about traveling alone, local people are actually friendly to travelers. They have this excited-enthusiastic sound that they want to hear the stories of this traveler in front of them and in turn brag about their home town too. It’s a nice exchange that could very well take any travelers whole afternoon.

There is no formula to it just like there is no formula to meeting your future best friend. It just takes a small talk. I remember being in Taiwan on my own and didn’t know how to get out of the town. I went inside 7eleven and asked a crew for bus directions. The query took long because of the language barrier but good thing somebody overheard us and helped. I was just excited to be talking to someone in English so we talked for some time and ended with him taking me to the train station in the next town.

Hostels are great way for conversations too. Since there are different types of travelers in there you are bound to meet someone who’s probably on his own too! Starters like “Where are you from?” or “Til when are you in town?” are a good way too start. You can even go further and ask to go eat dinner out together.

They say if you travel in big numbers it will be much harder to meet someone. So maybe we have better footing when we travel solo. But bear in mind also that being a traveler doesn’t always mean you will be the one in help. Sometimes you have to be the one showing concern. It’s raining and you are waiting for a ride, you see someone beside you struggling a bit because she doesn’t have umbrella. Share yours and you just might have the greatest conversation for the day.

People are just people just like you are so don’t be afraid to approach and make conversations. Of course being careful is still important. Never give too much information cause the person is after all still a stranger to you. Different people, different personalities, so if someone didn’t respond the way you would expect just move on.

Happy conversations everyone!

A fellow Indonesian traveler (middle) we met while going around Borobudur

A fellow Indonesian traveler (middle) we met while going around Borobudur

How do you decide your travel?

How do you decide where or when to travel? Are you the kind who base it on capability? Or are you more like the “I will just go” kind of guy? If your answer is the second then I really envy you. It may sound careless or unpractical but there is that sense of freedom when I look at it. A freedom that you are not bound on conformity but leave you bearing sense and a little extra to your life.

If you ask me that question though I don’t really know what answer I’ll give but more often it boils down to capability. I think most of us do too. In one way or another money matters, availability matters, our present commitment matters. We cannot leap out of everything and chase the world’s offerings. Or can we?

Some people did. We’ve read about their stepping out and how they braved the worries they once had. But can everyone really follow suit? Maybe. Maybe not. Everybody has got their own circumstance. Each one is on a situation different from the others. And more fitting, everyone’s skill and personality is different. So while the fairytale ending we dream may be the same, thinking it through is still important.

Recently though my way of deciding about travel has changed. Maybe not entirely but it changed somehow. I think I’ve become more of a spontaneous decider in terms of pinning my travels. I book flights thinking of only two things: (1) I want to go to that place and (2) it will fall on at least one non working holiday. I am still bounded by work situation (thus the need to be on a holiday) but the other thing that I usually consider when planning my travel seems to move in the background – budget. Of course it will still matter but I guess I just decided that it will not be my travel stimulus and it felt good. Whatever the need for it I will just deal with it later. I decide on my dreamy destination now then face the budgetting later.

How about you, how do you guys decide your travels? 🙂

We are your favorite band!

Music is an art of life. Everybody loves their own cult genres. We sing out songs, hum to tunes, bob our heads, and dance to party. But what’s more exciting is having the creator of it sing right in front of you.

Remember that twitter account @concertweirdos? Ackk it’s like everything he says speaks to me! I cringe when my favorite bands are playing nearby. Although I’m not super crazy groupie or something like that, I always find myself screaming in excitement with my friends or cry in agony when they disband.

Up Dharma Down

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To take a photo, or not?

When it comes to the world of photography, spontaneity is one of the most beautiful art. The scene is authentic, drama is captured, and it gets people to think of the story behind. I have my fair share of contribution to this –  a couple holding hands while walking down the paths of Angkor complex, a vendor shouting her hearts out to passers by, children playing in sandy beaches of Krabi. Continue reading