Over the past year I have been experienced a couple of important life lessons that would benefit any novice traveler. I had a rough start to my journeys abroad, but perseverance paid off and I learned. Let me share some musings. Check your potential travel mate’s bank account, make sure he/she has got the numbers and the spirit to be your best friend for however many months you plan to be away because if he/she doesn’t cut it than neither do you. Moving forward, I also know that it is not reasonable for your 60 year old parents to be your back up plan, mine was. While they didn’t do my planned trip, they did take me on a G Adventure tour a couple of months later which eventually led to me finding an awesome travel partner, needless to say I never travelled back home with them. Onwards from there, it is also advisable for anyone considering traveling abroad to not get hit by a car the week before you leave. In case you wondered, you cannot fly with that many broken bones and no one wants to insure you. This happened to my older brother who was to accompany me and my parents on the tour. He unfortunately missed a great adventure.
How my personal story unfolded was that my friend who had been planning a 5 month backpacking trip with me for about a year decided to let me and everyone else know the night before the flight out, that he in fact, had $0 dollars saved. Unfortunately, this resulted in immediate cancellations of 2 pre-booked G adventures tours, flights, and a couple hotels in an effort to recover some money that was deposited with these companies in good faith. Many tears were shed from the desperate situation I had been placed in. So as far as advice for ‘Getting Started’, I would suggest that you really make sure you are working with your partner in the planning process. I was always given the ‘you plan where you want and I will go with you’ response, but in reality, if your partner is not involved enough in the planning process, then he/she may not be mentally prepared for the travellers life. Talk budget, talk comfort, talk reality, and move forward from there.
There are options to consider if you are interested in travelling somewhere abroad to enjoy specific sites, mountains, art, etc. and are uncomfortable being a solo traveller; which I understand being a solo female traveller. A good way of getting started is book a tour with a company similar to G adventures to get you started, meet some people and relax knowing that all your travel decisions are in the hands of seasoned professionals. This way you will have an organized way to get used to your new surroundings, learn the bus/plane system and become accustomed to the process of travel. Once you are feeling more comfortable you should have an eased mind for further travel, and maybe gain a new buddy or two.
Travelling alone in my opinion is perfectly acceptable. I find myself to be comfortable and secure in venturing forth without prearranged company. I always say to people when they ask about travelling alone as a female, that, you end up in compromising situations if you put yourself in compromising situations. It is all about common sense and using your head. If you are advised to stay out of an area because it is dangerous, and yes these areas exist in every country, even in Canada, then you should probably not go into those areas. It is also important to note that often when you travel alone, but you are not really alone. Once you settle in to your first hostel you will likely find an individual or a group of people heading in your direction, willing to take you on as a new travel associate. In the last 4 months of travel, I was probably only exclusively alone for a week. The rest of the time I was accompanied by the many like minded people I met in hostels, on planes, in buses and in restaurants. No matter the method of travel, who you start with, or who you end with, you will have a great time. Remember common sense and flexibility is the key to travel success and safety.