Travelling Solo

Saturday, April 12, 2014

I've always wanted to travel solo, but the thought of it has always come and go. Whenever I hear stories of solo backpackers, females especially, I can't help but to turn green with envy. I want to do that too, but the items on my list of "what if" and "but" is never ending.

Two months ago, I was reading an article shared by a friend on Facebook, something about 20 things you should do when you're twenty and one of them is, you've probably guessed it by now, yes travelling alone. Suddenly, there's this voice at the back of my head, telling me to just go for it. Next thing I know, I was randomly thinking of a place to go, set a date and few seconds later, I got my accommodation booked from AirBnb.


A year back, one of my male friend went backpacking around Europe alone for a few months and I vividly remember the type of comments he received on his Facebook wall. Everyone admired him for his adventurous personality and how they salute his bravery. Sadly (yet as expected), I received a totally different kind of reaction.

"Are you crazy!? What if something bad happens to you?" "No way, please change your mind before it's too late!""You're out of your mind, who is going to take care of you if anything happens?" "Nanti kene rogol baru tau!"

These are among the many voices of dissent that I heard when I told friends and family about my plan. I'm not saying that I disagree with them, in fact they have absolutely valid points. Their main concern isn't about me travelling in general, but it comes down to the fact that I am a lady. A lady who is travelling alone. Which is deemed as scary and dangerous. But I'd say, anything can happen anywhere, even if I'm in one of the safest country in the world aka home, right? Just because I have a vajayjay attached to me doesn't mean I am incapable of taking care of myself. & if you want to feel sorry about myself, at least do it somewhere cool.

Oh and not forgetting, YOLO!


Exactly one month after booking my flights, I found myself sitting alone in the airport waiting lounge, with my passport in my hand, eagerly waiting to board the plane. I asked myself, "Am I actually ready for this?"

Me, this big time scaredy-cat who is too scared to even sleep with the lights off. Heck, I can't even sleep without having anyone in the same room. Me, the wallflower, who hates being around people I am not comfortable with, because striking a conversation with anyone seems like the hardest thing ever. & now I am about to throw myself into a foreign place, where I am expected to speak up to random strangers? *gulps*

However, as soon as I walked through the aerobridge, the strong desire to embark on this journey of a lifetime surpassess every bit of insecurities I have deep within me that's trying to hold me back. Two hours later as I set my foot on that foreign land, I swear I felt this powerful sense of control combined with freedom that I've yet to find elsewhere.

"This is it." I told myself.


My three days two nights stay in Yogyakarta turned out to be the best time of my life ever. I love everything about that place, the friendly folk especially. Most of all, I love how I get to know who I truly, really am.

I've learned that I can actually do all the things I thought I can't all these while. Yes, I am an introvert, I'm a socially awkward person, but when I'm out there with no one but myself to depend on, I'm surprised at how capable I actually am to interact with others in any kind of situations. I mingled with the locals, who embraced my bravery to transverse the Earth on my own. 

Two nights of sleeping alone was no hassle. I didn't have any of those "there's-something-watching-me-when-I-close-my-eyes" thoughts like I always have back in my own comfy room.

Solo travelling made me go against my own fears and negativity, and that has helped me to become a better version of myself :)


A lot of my friends asked, "Aren't you scared of being lonely?"

My answer is a straight no. In fact, I love it. Every single moment of it.

I love how I don't have to come up with an itinerary that requires everyone's approval. I love how I can just go with the flow, how I don't have to compromise with anybody and how I can just do the things I really want to. I can choose to wake up at five and go back to my home stay ten hours later. I am nobody's schedule but my own.  Every decision made were entirely up to me, and I only have myself to blame for every mistakes I made.

Most of all, I love how I am living in the moment. It almost feels like I am disconnected from everyone I know and their expectations of me, and I never felt more honest with my own self. Without any distractions, I tend to be more aware of where I am at, what I am doing, and why I am there in the first place.


Plus, I wasn't exactly alone most of the time. I hired a personal driver, one that I was extremely grateful for. He took care of me like his own daughter and make sure I was comfortable and safe all the time. I am also blessed to have an awesome host family who treated me like their own and provided me breakfast as early as six a.m.  every single day. I got to know many great people everyday, the friendly trishaw guy at Malioboro St and the really humble batik painter who lives near where I stayed, just to name a few.

& not forgetting the super handsome ang-moh from Netherlands I had dinner with on my first night ^^


Bottom line, travelling alone is truly a journey to self-discovery. Yes it's a cliche, you've probably seen that in every article you've ever came across about travelling alone. All I can say is, if you want to travel alone so badly, go after it. Chase it and get it. If you're a female, don't let others' opinions over gender roles dictate what you should do with your life. There's absolutely nothing wrong in taking risks, yes we all know it brings uncertainty and at times, discomfort, but just because there is a safer route doesn't mean it should be the road more traveled, right?


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