Your First Trip Alone: How Social Distancing Prepared You

Your First Trip Alone!

Travel post-quarantine 2020

Is your first trip alone on your mind? Now that we can finally travel again, you’re likely finding yourself in a unique situation…

No one to travel with 😳🤯and a serious wanderlust itch you’re dying to scratch!

Here’s the deal:

Quarantine & social distancing prepared you for your first trip alone more than you realize. Truthfully, you were more solo during quarantine than you’ll ever be during solo travel!

Let’s explore the Top 5 ways quarantine & social distancing is going to help you become the successful solo travel BO$$ you’ve always wanted to be!

✈️Read my story of how I got started with solo travel.

Afraid to Travel Alone? Here are 5 Tips!

Afraid to Travel Alone? Breakthrough With These 5 Powerful Tips

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Breakthrough your fear(s) with these 6 powerful tips!

Travel can be overwhelming! Solo travel can be very overwhelming, and sometimes scary. If you’re planning or about to take your first solo trip, your emotions are likely in full on panic mode! After 2+ years of solo travel, I have 6 proven tips & trips to share with you that you’re going to love.

Afraid to Travel Alone? Breakthrough With These 5 Powerful Tips

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How to View "Solo" Differently

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Your First Trip Alone — Tip #1

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 & 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 “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! Where my fellow introverts at?!?

Popular opinion leads us to believe being solo is bad or wrong. It can also (wrongly) imply we have no friends & 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 & not a curse, you can visualize yourself as an empowered solo traveler — rather than a sad person alone.

READ ON 🍽 Eating Alone While Traveling: How to Overcome Your Fear

Use 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 & joy of total independence, and I bet there’s other thing too.

Afraid to Travel Alone? Breakthrough With These 5 Powerful Tips

How to Adapt Super Quickly

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 Your First Trip Alone — Tip #2

How to Adapt Super Quickly

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

During social distancing & 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 & 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.

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 constantly is change! My only solo travel agenda item is to lean in more & keep going with the flow!

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Use 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 & eat tacos instead! Oh well, this will make for 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 to see the museum, so this hiccup was a win-win for me!

Pro Tip:

You really do need to buy tickets in advance if you want to go. The line gets ridiculously long.

 

Afraid to Travel Alone? Breakthrough With These 5 Powerful Tips

How to Befriend Uncertainty

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Your First Trip Alone — Tip #3

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 & explaining to her that we’d be locked in our homes during a worldwide pandemic for the first half of 2020. You know, a “pandemic” pandemic, like the ones in the movies.

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.

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 cave(wo)man 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 & imminent danger. Since we didn’t yet build four-walled shelters, we were never actually physically safe.

Meaning: We always had to be thinking about, and hyper focused on, the worst case scenario. In this case, that meant being killed. Hence: The brain’s top priority is keeping us alive.

Nowadays, your brain still utilizes this thought mechanism to keep you alive — which you should thank it for! However, you can’t turn this process on & off. This means your brain is always thinking in these catastrophizing terms, at least on some level.

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 & 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.

READ ON 🇲🇽 Mexico Solo Travel: How To Be Safe & Crush It

Use 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.

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How to Go With the Flow

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Your First Trip Alone — Tip #4

How to Go With the Flow

I use 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 & over-planner is actually to be able to go with the flow! 

One of the undeniable quarantine & 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!

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 into the out of your comfort zone & 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.

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Afraid to Travel Alone? Breakthrough With These 5 Powerful Tips

How to Activate Intuition

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Your First Trip Alone — Tip #5

How to Activate Intuition

In day-to-day life, we often bounce our thoughts & ideas off other people to get their feedback & 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.

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 & 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).

Unfortunately, the sad reality is that the world has led you to believe that you only maybe-kinda-sorta know what’s best for you.

The good news is this:

During social distancing, you started to learn to hear that voice again. She got to speak loudly & clearly and tell you This is what you need to do to cope & survive this stressful situation!

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

The thing about your intuition is that She loves telling you how best to care for yourself & cope. Long before Covid-19, She was dying for you to listen to Her with that level of trust!

While life post-quarantine will remain uncertain, know this:

Your intuition is never going to steer you wrong, not in a global pandemic & not on your first trip alone.

READ ON ✈️ Afraid to Travel Alone? These 5 Powerful Tips Will Help

Afraid to Travel Alone? Breakthrough With These 5 Powerful Tips

What tips would you add?

Comment down below about a strategy you developed while social distancing that will help someone going on their first trip alone. Also, what’s your favorite tip from this list?!

¡Hola Chicas!

👋I’m Shelley, a former Miami travel magazine editor, who ditched the office for the world! I have been a solo female traveler in Mexico for 2 years now, and want to pass my experience + expertise on to you.

Let’s Turn Your Dream Into Your Destination ✈️🌎

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I’d L❤️VE to hear your thoughts…

52 Comments

  1. Kelli

    These are great tips for anyone whether they are solo or not. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • Shelley

      Thank you! & yes, I guess these do apply to all travelers.

      Reply
  2. Emma

    You’re so right. I never actually thought about how social distancing and solo travel are related. I’m itching to get moving again, and I’m generally comfortable with solo travel but always looking for ways to boost the confidence with the parts I don’t like as much

    Reply
    • Shelley

      That’s such an important point… solo travel success & confidence is a work in progress.

      Reply
  3. Loise

    its nice that you can travel already. These are great tips! I always admire those who have the courage to travel solo 🙂

    Reply
    • Shelley

      Well thank you…. but I do believe everyone has the courage to travel solo!!

      Reply
  4. Jiayi Wang

    This is such an uplifting and inspiring guide! I completely agree with all your points, especially going with the flow and embracing the unknown 🙂 I guess we’re also eager to connect with other people after all this quarantining, and traveling alone makes making new friends easier too! 🙂

    Reply
    • Shelley

      You are so right about this: “traveling alone makes making new friends easier too!”

      Reply
  5. roshni

    totally agree with this, I have done so many solo trips and it is about being comfortable with your own company

    Reply
    • Shelley

      I believe this is one of the keys to having a good & thriving life overall: “being comfortable with your own company”

      Reply
  6. Cosette

    Great tips also for people traveling with a partner or kids.

    Reply
    • Shelley

      Never thought about it, but yeah… they do work for *all* travel.

      Reply
  7. Krista

    This is a really interesting perspective, and I loved some of your tips!

    Reply
    • Shelley

      Thanks you & I’m so glad you loved them.

      Reply
  8. EvBeing

    Travelling Solo you are never alone and a life changing experience

    Reply
    • Shelley

      I LOVE this so much: “Travelling Solo you are never alone”

      Reply
  9. Shay

    LOVE this post. Such a great perspective on the current situation and things moving forward. Solo travel here I come!

    Reply
    • Shelley

      That’s AMAZING!!! It is super empowering & I hope you love it. I am rooting for you all the way.

      Reply
  10. The Spicy Travel Girl

    Awesome post! You’re absolutely right: it’s all about the mindset. Like with most things, solo travel might sound scary if you only associate it with negative things. However, as soon as you change your way of thinking, most of the fear just fades away!

    Reply
  11. Demi

    Great advice – it’s always a little nerve wracking to travel solo but as soon as you do it, it’s liberating and you are so free to do what you like and meet new people!

    Reply
    • Shelley

      I have always found it so much easier to meet people when I travel solo.

      Reply
  12. Elena Pappalardo

    What a well-written post! I especially loved the section on visualization. As a huge fan of solo travel, I can agree with your points!

    Reply
    • Shelley

      Awwww, thank you so much! There is a saying I believe in so much… “If you can hold it in your mind, you can hold it in your hands.” I very much believe in visualization.

      Reply
  13. Courtney Delfino

    this is so helpful! thanks for sharing these tips. I’ve always been hesitant to travel solo but think I can definitely do it now!

    Reply
    • Shelley

      That’s AMAZING!!! Everything is scary when you first do it, then we get comfortable & it becomes second nature.

      Reply
  14. Patri

    Very insightful post. I have only travelled solo once. Soon after I had started my trip I made friends and then I wasn’t solo anymore. >D My two cents for this topic is that if you are a bit insecure about your trip, make sure you have planned your days and have a plan B in case you decide travelling solo is not for you.

    Reply
    • Shelley

      I totally agree with having an exit strategy.

      Reply
  15. Delphine Mignon

    Thank you for some great tips. Travelling alone is such an important part of learning about one’s self and the world around. It’s scary at first and then you get comfortable with it. Go girl!

    Reply
    • Shelley

      Completely agree with this: “It’s scary at first and then you get comfortable with it.”

      Reply
  16. Nina Out and About

    As a permanent solo traveller I totally back your tips. I think it’s a really smart way to reframe covid as a preparatory tool for travel rather than something holding us back, too.

    Reply
    • Shelley

      L💖VE everything about this comment! Thank you for saying everything that you did.

      Reply
  17. Juleen Meets World

    I love the positive thinking in this post!

    Reply
    • Shelley

      Appreciate you saying that so much!!!

      Reply
  18. Portia Jones

    totally agree that your intuition can be really useful in these types of situations. I’m actually really curious as to what travel will be like over the next few months? It’s going to be strange going back to being on the road.

    Reply
    • Shelley

      I am soooo curious about that as well. I live in Mexico & will likely do a domestic trip in Dec. for my b/f’s b-day, but that might be it for 2020 for me! (Better safe than sorry!!)

      Reply
  19. Ellie Green

    This is great! Thanks so much for sharing! I’ve travelled solo a couple of times before but not in over 10 years! I’m planning on doing a few solo trips over the next year though 🙂

    Reply
    • Shelley

      How cool!! I wonder if it will be a totally different experience for you all these years later.

      Reply
  20. Galatia

    Im glad i went ahead and did my first solo trip last year! Im still happier traveling with company but i feel so much more empowered knowing i can be happy in my own company!

    Reply
    • Shelley

      I’m so glad you were able to travel solo once… but honestly, traveling with others is amazing too. Travel is like pizza! It can’t really be bad.

      Reply
  21. Linn

    I love your angle on this post! And I think it will help a lot first time solo travelers to get out there and explore. Personally, I’ve become more passionate about solo travel than anything else because of the freedom it gives to be flexible and to travel slow enough to really feel the places I go to. Go with the flow is my motto! 🙂

    Reply
    • Shelley

      Glad you love this post!! That means a lot coming from another solo traveler.

      Reply
  22. Nat

    Really interesting post. I’ve never thought about linking quarantine to solo travel, but it makes perfect sense! Whether you travel alone or not, just going with the flow is so important! You never know what will happen to change your plans, could be good or bad, but as long as you just roll with it everything will be fine.

    Reply
    • Shelley

      Oh, for sure! Go With The Flow should be a way of life, more so than a travel tip.

      Reply
  23. Marjut | The Smooth Escape

    A lot of interesting thoughts in this post! I’ve never really travelled solo (only a couple of days) but I’d love to try it out one day. 🙂

    Reply
    • Shelley

      Please please please do! I say it’s the fastest way to learn the most about yourself.

      Reply
  24. Aurelia Teslaru

    I never tried solo traveling but I will love to give it a try sometime. Btw, I always listen to my intuition and it save me from many ugly situations. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • Shelley

      re: “I always listen to my intuition and it save me from many ugly situations.” YESS!!! I can’t encourage this practice enough to literally every person I know… for solo travel & everyday life.

      Reply
  25. Zsuzsanna

    Lots of great tips! I have not traveled solo, only did like two solo trips, but I would love to try it again 🙂

    Reply
  26. Heather Raulerson

    Great post! I have been traveling solo for many years and I wholeheartedly agree that these tips work. Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
    • Shelley

      Thank you so much for saying that! I appreciated it so much.

      Reply
  27. Lisanne

    Such a good perspective on this and great tips! I might try solo travelling again!

    Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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