“Alone, but not lonely.”
Heard of that? A supporter of that phrase? A warm welcome to the squad. And please, educate those who think that traveling alone is pathetic.
According to the Visa Global Travel Intentions Study 2015, traveling solo is facing an upward trend. At least one in 5 persons have traveled on their own on their most recent leisure trip.
Back in Singapore, more Singaporean women are taking solo trips abroad, with the number of Singaporean female solo travelers doubling since 2016. If you do not know where to start, we’ve written a guide to help you get started, even if you’re kiasi (afraid of death).
But right now, regardless of gender, we’re focusing on the 10 things any solo traveler can do. If not, it’s better for you to laze in bed all day during your staycation in Singapore.
Get rid of your phone
“Siao ah! Ask me to throw away my precious phone. I’ll get anxiety attacks one leh.”
That’s the point. Deal with your anxiety attacks for the first time and I promise you, it will get better as time goes by.
“But aren’t you contradicting yourself? I thought you say we must use Google maps for solo trips?”
Yes, I did mention in the guide to help you get started. It is a guide to FREAKING GET YOU STARTED. It’s for those who have zero ideas on how to begin.
If you’re a seasoned solo traveler or just gung-ho enough to ditch your phone altogether, by all means, do it! Disconnect to connect with where you’re at presently. If not, you should just lie in your bed with your eyes glued to the phone and have a home-cation instead.
Join an activity unique to the country you’re visiting
This can be subjective because countries are copycats of each other. So, really, it could be anything that you enjoy doing!
Let’s say if you’re heading to Seoul, then you could rent a traditional Korean hanbok and stroll the streets of Seoul. Or go for a Korean Temple Stay to live among Buddhist monks and learn how to slow down your current pace of life.
Call for room service another time
I challenge you to dine out alone. “Huh… How?”
I’m no superwoman so when I first started, my head was literally in a bowing position and I couldn’t look up for maybe the first 15 minutes? It can be awkward so I’m not going to paint you a flowery picture.
But again, all things come with practice. Before trying, you might be thinking of giving up. Doing it for the first time and you can’t wait to bury your head in the sand. After a few tries, you probably think you can conquer the world.
When people in the restaurants stare at me, I just look back at them in the eye. Most of the time, they will just look away. If they don’t, you can have a staring competition. How thrilling!
Join a tour group
Who says you should only join a tour group when you’re traveling with the family? Nonsense. You can, and you should join a tour group to meet other international travelers while touring the destinations.
But I must say not all tour companies can accommodate single travelers so… search and choose those who are inclusive. Let’s hope that more online tour agencies will start catering to solo travelers.
Attend a performance
Even if you don’t understand the language.
I’m serious, friends. There’s so much to take away from a live performance. It’s YOUR takeaways after all, so if you’re a fan of the arts, then what’s stopping you?
Personally, I haven’t had the opportunity to catch a live performance (in another language) overseas but I’ve caught a play in French without looking at the subtitles at the Esplanade before.
While I may not understand the play in full (or just read the synopsis after), I thoroughly enjoyed myself and got the gist of what the actors were trying to portray. I’m sure it would be a wonderful look-back when you walk down memory lane in the future.
If you’re not pressed for time, then as you stroll the streets or sip on coffee at a local cafe, lift up your head and observe the details around you. It could be people, children, stray animals or even shadows on a building.
Leave rushing from home to work and back behind. Don’t be trapped in the hustle and bustle of the city life back at home. Instead, take time to appreciate your surroundings. Your heart and soul will thank you for that.
In addition to that, for me, I like to pen down whatever that comes to mind or reminds me of. You could do that too!
Get your adrenaline pumping
After giving your heart and mind a break, it’s time to get moving. Partake in an activity that challenges you to your limits.
This is not just for the adrenaline junkies because you’re what you think you are. Tell yourself you’re a scaredy-cat and your brain will process it as it is. Remind yourself you’re fearless, strong, and powerful and the information will sink in no time.
Heading to Macau but think you can’t handle the Macau Tower Bungy Jump? That’s fine. Challenge yourself to a climb instead. You will stand victorious at the top after conquering Macau’s highest summit at 338 meters.
Too scared? Then at least go for a Skywalk?
Plan a day without any plans
“Oh, hold up. What do you mean by planning a day without plans?”
Simply put, have a day aside without making any real plans. That’s the beauty of traveling solo, isn’t it? You don’t have to make compromises with anyone at all so it’s your rules, your time, and your day.
See something you like? Walk into that shop.
Craving for ice cream during the winter season? Go grab that cone and enjoy your sweet treat. I once bought an ice cream from the mart and walked out into the cold winter night in my PJs (with no long-johns). It’s dumb, I know, but hey, you only live once to do ‘stupid’ things!
Wander, do not ponder over things too much. You can enjoy this freedom for just a day, can’t you?
Meet the locals
Honestly, I’ve never tried Couchsurfing before but I’m following closely and may actually try it in due time. There are success stories and slightly creepy ones, as usual, in all circumstances. But that’s a really nice way to meet up locals in the area.
I’ve also read up stories on people using Tinder during their solo trips so if you’re up for it, why not? That’s an alternative way to meet people too.
Keep an open heart & mind
This quote by Ronald Reagan perfectly sums up our final point:
“There are no constraints on the human mind, no walls around the human spirit, no barriers to our progress except those we ourselves erect.”
I can go on to list another 10 more things you shouldn’t miss out doing as a solo traveler. Or, you could move on to read more well-written articles on insane things to do while traveling alone… but know this, it’s all in the mind.
There’s no limit to what YOU can do, except those barriers YOU yourself have created. So I urge you to tear down those walls and challenge yourself to greater heights.
The world’s a book…
… and those who do not travel (have) read only a page. — Saint Augustine
May you be a better version of yourself in the days, months, and years to come as you travel to become an intern of the world. Toodles!
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