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

The Round-the-World Ticket

Round-the-world (aka RTW) is a term that has been around the travel space. In essence it means going around the world. When I hear about something like this I can’t help but think how expensive it must be. First I spend on accommodation then I need budget for food. And since I’ll want to look around I have to set aside also money for fees and transportation. Good thing though that there are ways to keep these expenses at a low or better zero. But there is that one vital expense that is inevitable. Airline tickets.

Even with the surge of budget airlines, tickets are still sold high especially in long haul flights. Seat sales have been rampant to attract passengers to take that trip and I think it did. But if it’s a round-the-world trip I don’t think it’ll even make a difference considering the fare rules they put in on that.

So if I have a 6-country-4-continent trip does that leave me no choice but take that US$6,000-7,000++ ticket? Before I would say yes or maybe encourage you to scout for trains, buses, or ships whenever possible. But I just read something great.

Round-the-world ticket

Did you know that some airlines (if not all) sell one-way tickets more expensive than round-trip ones? With this we can say that a round-the-world trip will cost us more since we have several differing flight segments. Okay so what’s a round-the-world ticket? I found out that we can purchase a single ticket that we can use on several flight plans spread to a maximum of one year. It’s not a cheap ticket but some say that their total is much cheaper rather than opting for one-way tickets. This single ticket is called a round-the-world ticket. As of the moment I only know airline alliances offer them namely: SkyTeam, Star Alliance, and Oneworld. An airline alliance is like an agreement between several airlines which makes sense they can offer round-the-world tickets.

Your round-the-world ticket doesn’t automatically make it cheaper for you. You have to carefully plan your routes such that you can maximize the use of your ticket. There are downsides and upsides so be sure to research first to know underlying conditions.

Here are some great links to get you started:

Checklist 101: The Virtual Assistant

Whether you’re gearing up for a long term trip or a short stint, finding extra income to finance a plan is on every travelers to-do. Let’s admit it not everybody has enough funds right on the get-go. Of course there are plenty of ways that will give you what you are looking for and maybe some that are yet to be discovered. But the bottom line is you just have to be creative, patient, and willing to make it work.

Assistant of the world

One of the new trends you will find these days is a job as a Virtual Assistant (VA). What’s a Virtual Assistant you say? Well on the literal sense it is an assistant who is that – virtual. We all know an assistant’s job is subjective, doing almost anything the boss asks them to. For VA’s it’s no different. You can be tasked to do any type of job, only that they can only be done over the web or electronically. Work schedules can be flexible or it can be fixed depending on the type of job, or even cooler there’s no schedule at all for as long as you can present a good result! It’s a growing market now that outsourcing is becoming popular. Even individual employers are in the loop! Continue reading

Checklist 101: The Travel Fund

Every trip calls for a little preparation. Every dream comes with some preparation. Although preparation is probably one of those things that massively tests our patience, good things come out of it. It also shouts how important and focused we are on something by the kind of preparation we do. Of course there’s a difference between over thinking it and working to achieve it. So what exactly is my point here… let’s carry on.

I’m gonna focus on the subject I’m mostly fond of – TRAVEL. Everybody I know who loves to travel has established their DREAM destination. And most of them (including me of course), thinks of it as so outrageously big that it’s close to impossible to happen… any time soon. But I also believe in the saying that if there’s a will there’s a way, after all there’s God so definitely I’ve got a way. And while I strategically plan in my head how to pursue it, reality is far from a single daydream. That is true but what I did realize also is that I can slowly work on something so as to make the dream closer and closer. Continue reading