Thinking about solo traveling this summer? It might be the best idea that you have ever gotten. But are you aware of the 7 stages of solotraveling? Probably not because I just came up with the idea to write about it. Haha.
I am writing this from my own experience – but after talking with a lot of solo travelers that I have met on the road, I can say that this is probably how you will feel too at some point of your travels.
Stage 1: Excitement
When you first have the idea of solotraveling everything is still new and exciting. You probably go online, buy heaps of travel books, Lonely Planets and you do your research. Where do I want to go? What do I want to see? – This stage is super exciting. You discover many many many things and you can not wait to go out there and to explore. At some point you book your tickets and you start counting the days. 100 days left. 50 days left. 30 days left- and well, what do you know- at some point you will wake up and it will be the day your solo journey starts- and than it kicks in.
Stage 2: Fear
FEAR! Fear for the unknown. Fear of leaving your comfortzone- out in to the big big world. Alone for the first time. Many things go through your head. Am I well prepared? Do I have my passport? Wait, is my passport still valid (you probably checked this a gazillion times already) Do I have enough money for my journey? Will I miss my family and friends? You can feel a bit panicky and somehow the thing you were so excited about feels so scary-
Stage 3: Super duper happy
Even though you are scared, you still take the leap and you go on your journey. And the first few weeks are amazing. Like seriously, freaking amazing. You meet so many cool people from all over the world, you make new friends for life. You see things that look like they come straight out of a Travel magazine and you realize that those pictures in the magazines actually are not photoshopped. It is really THAT beautiful. You are having the time of your life. You go partying with your new friends, you hang out at the beach with them, you go shopping, sporting, hiking- everything that your heart desires, you are doing it. You have never felt so free. You find yourself crying sometimes. For no reason. Just because you are so happy – you have a new appreciation for life. Everything is going so well. A bit too well perhaps?
Stage 4: Loneliness & homesick
And there it is. Those happy tears turn in to sad tears. You start crying again, but this time because you are sad. The people that you have met along the way, they all continue their journey and you find yourself to be alone again. You start missing your parents, your friends, your close ones back at home. You see pictures of them on Facebook, birthdays, weddings, graduationparties- all different things that you are missing. You start to wonder if you made the right choice – should I go back home? What am I doing here? At some point you might even drive yourself crazy a bit and you can feel a bit lost.
Stage 5: Stronger
Trust me, stage 4 is something every traveler will go trough at some point in their travels. Especially if they are on the road for a longer period of time. And it is good. That stage is so essential to you, my dear traveler. It will help you to become stronger. To realize what is important in life and what is less important in life. You might have a new found respect and love for your loved ones back at home but you also realize that traveling is something that just makes you so happy that you would like to continue. You have this new found confidence because with the breakdowns at stage 4, you have learned so much about yourself. You have learned how to comfort yourself and how to be alone without feeling lonely. Congratulations my fellow solotraveler, you have become stronger (perhaps without even knowing it).
Stage 6: Balanced and happy
Yeah, you are back to being happy. You feel more balanced now that you have gone through stage 4+5 and it really helped you to gain a lot of new insights. You realize that while traveling people will come and go, you will learn how to love and to let to easily. While it will still be hard, you realize that goodbyes are not forever. You will enjoy other peoples company and you will make new friends. You will continue to explore and discover the globe piece by piece and you will make memories for life. At this point you will have grown so much that when you look back at the person who started this journey you can barely recognize this person. You are a better version of your self. You feel balanced and happy.
Stage 7: #bossasstraveller
Congrationlations! You have become a #bossasstraveler. You will have graced all the stages of solotraveling by yourself in a beautiful way. You are strong, independent, a survivor. You have learned that nothing in life is easy but that you are able to cope with everything. You have learned so much about yourself, about your lovedones and what distance can do to your relationships. You will have learned so much from your ‘new’ friends too and you realize that when you are out traveling you can fall in all of the stages above in a random order and that that will be okay too. There will be days where you are lonely and you will miss your friends and family back home- but you also do realize that that feeling of loneliness won’t last forever. You will have ups and downs but you will know how to become the happy traveler you know you are!
Traveling is definitely the best gift you can give your self. Don’t let anything stop you. Don’t fear the unknown, just go for it!
For more information about (solo) traveling follow my Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dobeglobe/