First Trip Alone? You’re More Prepared Than You Think


Is taking your first solo trip on your mind?

Now that we can finally begin to travel again, you may be finding yourself in a unique situation: No one to travel with — and a serious wanderlust itch you’re dying to scratch! In this case, your first trip alone might be coming up sooner, rather than later.

Here’s the deal: Social distancing during Covid prepared you for your first trip alone more than you realize. Truthfully, you were more solo during the pandemic than you’ll ever be during solo travel!

How do I know? 👋 I’m Shelley, and I have been a solo traveler in Mexico since April 2018!

One of the reasons I started this blog was to help women, like you, to live your best solo travel life. I have written blogs and made podcast episodes deconstructing exactly how I became a confidant and anxiety-free solo traveler, so I could pass that info on.

Let’s explore the Top 5 ways social distancing actually helped you become the successful Solo Travel BO$$ BABE you’re about to be.

Your First Trip Alone: Solo Female Travel TIPS

How to View “Solo” Differently

The technique of visualization works because when you know what something looks like — even if it’s only in your mind’s eye — you can recreate that exact thing. This is also how vision boards and goal-setting exercises work.

One of the biggest barriers to entry for solo travel is that if you’ve never done it, you can’t visualize it. If social distancing has shown you anything, it’s what being solo looks like. You’ve seen now that being solo for an extended amount of time was not as uncomfortable or awkward as you once thought it to be.

In fact, a lot of people found they actually loved being solo for an extended period of time. (Shoutout to my fellow introverts.)

Popular opinion leads us to believe being solo is bad or wrong. It can also (wrongly) imply we have no friends and no one likes us. However, being solo simply means being by oneself. Beyond the actual definition, any social stigma you attach to it is a choice.

The good part about choices? You can un-choose your choice just as easily as you chose it. Now that you know solo is a thing and not a curse, you can visualize yourself as an empowered solo traveler — rather than a sad person alone.

Try This Exercise

INITIAL THOUGHT:
People who travel solo must have no friends. It must be so sad not to have anyone to travel with.

REVISED THOUGHT:
There seems to be a bunch of solo travelers, so I bet there’s lots of amazing things I’m not thinking of. I must be incorrect in thinking they are all sad. Solo travelers get to operate on their own time frame, they get to feel the freedom and joy of total independence, and I bet there’s other things too.

RELATED ARTICLE ✈️ 111 Solo Travel Quotes About Traveling Alone that Will Inspire You


Your First Trip Alone: Solo Female Travel TIPS

HOW TO ADAPT SUPER QUICKLY

As the ancient Yiddish proverb goes, “We Plan, God Laughs.

During social distancing and quarantine, your plans, priorities, and basically your entire life, did a complete 180°. Your sense of normalcy was redefined to fit the New Normal... and it happened from one day to the next!

Since this 180° happened a while ago now, you might not be recalling it accurately. Here’s a reminder: This whole-life-change was a HUGE deal  —  and you adapted to it immediately.

Your time in quarantine is almost certain to be worse than anything that will happen on your first trip alone, and you successfully and quickly adapted to that.

This is because we humans actually adapt super quick. In fact, these quick adaptation muscles are the same one you’re going to flex on your first trip alone. One of the biggest, albeit incorrect, reasons people have solo travel anxiety is they don’t believe they have the capacity to deal with all the unknowns that will arise.

But now you know this: You can change your entire life from one day to the next! In fact, doing so was likely easier than you ever imagined it would be.

Happy woman on a beach tree swing | Overcome Solo Travel Anxiety

RELATED ARTICLE ✈️ Solo Travel Anxiety: 5 Common Triggers & How to Overcome Them


ADAPTING DURING SOLO TRAVEL

In the case of solo travel, adaptation essentially means you’re able to flip the script in your head to turn anything into a positive, survivable situation.

Throughout my years as a solo traveler, I’ve adapted to the point that my brain no longer gets to make concrete statements of fact for me. When I travel solo, there are no bad situations I can’t overcome, and nothing stops me from having an amazing trip.

My only “travel plan” now is knowing that the only constant, is change. My only solo travel agenda item is to lean in more and keep going with the flow!

Try This Exercise

INITIAL THOUGHT:
What a nightmare. I planned to go to the Frida Kahlo Museum on Thursday and now they sold out of the tickets. All the rest of my Thursday plans are now ruined.

REVISED THOUGHT:
So, this Frida Museum thing has been a hiccup. I was planning to go Thursday, but now I’ll just walk around Roma Norte and eat tacos instead! Oh well, this will make for a funny story in the future of how I epically failed to buy the tickets in advance. I’ll just have to come back to Mexico City in the future, so this hiccup was a win for me!

MEXICO TRAVEL TIP: You really do need to buy tickets in advance if you want to go. The line gets ridiculously long 🤣


Mexico Solo Travel: 20 SAFE Destinations for Female Travelers (According to Solo Female Travelers Who Have Actually Been to Them!)


Your First Trip Alone: Solo Female Travel TIPS

HOW TO BEFRIEND UNCERTAINTY

Things weren’t just uncertain during Covid-19, they were uncertain af.

Try mentally going back to your pre-quarantine self and explaining to her that we’d be locked in our homes during a worldwide pandemic for all of 2020. Your past self probably can’t even; and honestly, how could she even!?

CATASTROPHIZING… AND WHY WE NEED TO THANK OUR BRAINS FOR DOING IT

When we have no mental picture of how things will likely look/turn out, we tend to assume the worst. This is called catastrophizing, and there’s actually a great reason for it.

catastrophizing: to view or talk about (an event or situation) as worse than it actually is, or as if it were a catastrophe

The human brain engages in catastrophizing as a means of our survival; and as a survival mechanism, it works perfectly. You see, back in our cavewoman days, when the brain was developing into the marvel it is today, life was quite different.

Our ancestors had to think in worst case scenario terms because their physical body was under constant and imminent danger. Since we didn’t have four-walled shelters, we were never physically safe. We always had to be hyper focused on the worst case scenario. In this case, that meant being killed by a saber-toothed tiger 🐅

Nowadays, your brain still utilizes this same thought mechanism to keep you alive — which you should thank it for! However, the catch is that you can’t turn this process on and off unless you do it consciously. This means your brain is always thinking in these catastrophizing terms, at least on some level, and you have to make it stop!

Woman sitting on a bench under purple and white flowers | solo female travel

RELATED ARTICLE ✈️ How to Travel Alone for the First Time: 10 Useful Tips


WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOUR FIRST SOLO TRIP?

It means that since you’ve never traveled solo, your brain is catastrophizing solo travel to keep you from doing it, which will ultimately keep you safe and alive. Consciously, however, you can flip the script.

You can tell your brain that, actually, the uncertainty of what’s to come on your first trip alone is the main reason you want to take said trip. Start rewiring your conscious thinking so that uncertainty is exciting, rather than life-threatening.

Try This Exercise

INITIAL THOUGHT:
I really want to be one of those cool solo travelers, but I know so many things can go wrong. Even the thought of traveling alone is super scary, so I’m clearly not the type of person who can pull it off. I guess I’ll just stay home.

REVISED THOUGHT:
Girl, walking into the unknown is the only way we grow. Stepping out of our comfort zone is the fastest way to personal growth. Yeah, there will be things that come up which will make us feel uncertain of ourselves, but let’s just have fun with them… let’s call those moments hiccups instead of catastrophes.

Woman happy pulling her yellow suitcase through town

RELATED ARTICLE ✈️ Scared to Travel Alone? 10 Tips on How to Embrace Solo Travel


Your First Trip Alone: Solo Female Travel TIPS

HOW TO GO WITH THE FLOW

I used to be a total planner. Although I no longer identify that way, I do believe that planning has its value. I will say though, that I think the ultimate goal of every planner and over-planner is actually to be able to go with the flow.

One of the undeniable quarantine and self-isolation lessons was that If you don’t go with the flow, you’ll be forced to “go with the crazy.” 🙃🤪😬

As you now know, unforeseen things will come up on your first trip alone. You also now know, you can treat the unknown as a friend.


Woman with prayer hands and mala beads on a yoga mat

🧘‍♀️📿 EVER CONSIDERED A 10-DAY SILENT MEDITATION RETREAT? Read all about my experience, Hridaya Yoga Mexico Retreat Review: Read This Before You Go.


If this all sounds crazy, just open up your ig and search the #InspirationalQuotes hashtag! You’ll see a whole lot of “The magic happens when you step out of your comfort zone and into the unknown” options to choose from.

Now, go back to that convo with your past self when you tell her about Quarantine 2020. How much uncertainty would she have in her ability to cope with the very quarantine you coped with? She probably couldn’t imagine how you lived through it, but you did.

In day-to-day life, we often bounce our thoughts and ideas off other people to get their feedback and see if what we’re thinking is cool or cray. When you’re a solo traveler, that other person to bounce ideas off, is You.

Woman eating alone at a restaurant and drinking an orange beverage

RELATED ARTICLE 🍷🍽 Eating Alone While Traveling: How to Overcome Your Fear


Your First Trip Alone: Solo Female Travel TIPS

HOW TO ACTIVATE YOUR INTUITION

While that may sound scary at first thought, it is also the single most empowering thing you can do in life!

Without the constraints of social customs, we’d all be 100% listening to our intuition and letting our inner voice guide us all. the. time. Since we often have to quiet that voice to socially fit in, we’re less accustomed to hearing Her out.

The reality is You (your intuition) always knows what’s best for You (the person)

The sad reality is that the world has led you to believe that you only maybe kinda sorta know what’s best for you. However, during social distancing and spending a lot of time alone, you started to learn to hear that voice again.

She got to speak loudly and clearly for the first time in a long time to tell you: This is what you need to do to cope and survive this stressful situation.

For some people, that was making a sourdough bread starter; while for others, it was the most epic Netflix binge of all time. For me, it was starting this blog and podcast!

The thing about your intuition is that She loves telling you how best to care for yourself and cope. Long before Covid-19, She was dying for you to listen to Her with that level of trust. While everything in life will always be uncertain, your intuition will never steer you wrong, not in a global pandemic and not on your first trip alone!

RELATED ARTICLE ✈️ Mexico Solo Travel: 20 SAFE Destinations for Female Travelers

Have questions about your first trip alone?

If there was anything I didn’t cover, please join the conversation and ask away in the comments down below! I’d be thrilled to chat with you about this subject that’s near and dear to my heart 💗