Traveling Solo. Safe & Sound

I can’t even remember the last time I wrote and updated this blog. There were lots of trips during 2011 and I can say that I had an awesome year back in 2011!

Some trips that I’ve done in 2011 were Bali, Jogjakarta, Sulawesi, Padang, and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

I promise to try and write down details on each trip. But first, let me write down my biggest achievement during 2011: SOLO TRIP

Finally! I’ve got the guts to do a solo trip to Sulawesi for 1,5 weeks in November 2011. Previously, I was assigned by my office to Kuala Lumpur alone for 2 days. It turned out, I could survive. So I thought, if I can survive in another country, alone, why can’t I survive in my own country?😀

An unplanned resignation from my previous employer led me to have a 1-month break before I joined my current company.

I made the itinerary only 1 day before I went there. A little bit crazy, but it turns out that although without a plan, I still had an amazing journey.

Here are some tips for solo travelers and especially for those who are women.

Do not worry too much and think positive.

A very good thing in having a sudden and unplanned journey is that you do not have time to worry that you are doing the trip alone. Your head will be filled with excitement. Just imagine the place that you are going to. I guarantee, you won’t have time to worry. At that time, my head was occupied only to build an itinerary. Just think that everything will be okay and you can do this!!

Build an itinerary or not, it doesn’t matter.

Sometimes I can be a freak when I make an itinerary. I reassure how to get from point A to point B and how much it would cost, and where to stay when I arrive. Reading lots of blogs related to the place you are visiting is very useful. At least you can imagine the kinds of places you will visit.  The most important thing for me is how you can reach your hotel from the airport, bus station, etc. After that, you can ask your hostel receptionist on how and where to get to the most visited places. You can call the hostel before you arrive if you need more info on how you can reach the hostel. Usually they are very helpful and sometimes they offer/provide service to pick you up.

When I did my trip, I didn’t have much time to plan on what I was going to do at the places I’ll be visiting. Usually, I know what I’m going to do in each city, but I made an exception for this trip. Totally unplanned!!  The only thought I had was that I needed to be at those places from xx date to yy date. But hey, even without an itinerary, I could still enjoy and visit great places. The key is, do not be afraid to ask other people. When you stay at hostels, people there usually know more great places and how to reach it than those receptionists in fancy hotels.

Smile and be nice to every person you meet.  You never know what kind of kindness you will receive in return.

Even though you are alone and always need to be aware, it does not mean that you should not be nice to every person you meet. Be open minded, confident, and show the person you talk to that you are a pro in travelling solo (or at least, pretend).  Never be afraid to ask anything, they can refer you to places or offer you help.

There were lots of kindness I enjoyed during the trip. New friends became my tour guide when I was in Toraja and Selayar island, a cousin of the hostel owner where I stayed & the owner of a boat accompanied me to a great snorkeling trip,  and many more. The one that I could never forget was, when I was alone enjoying the sunset at Pulau Selayar, there were these 3 junior high school girls who were also enjoying the sunset. I said hi to them and asked if they wanted to be my models for my pictures. It turned into a nice conversation and they offered to take me around the city with their bikes J . In the middle of the trip, they introduced me to their other friends. In the end, there were in total 10 people including me touring the city on bikes. Sooo happy :) Just say hi and you will see what kind of kindness you will get in return.

Always be aware.

You are a woman, alone on a trip. It’s a very important thing to be aware. Usually, I never start or just avoid having conversations with other people during traveling. Because, when you start a conversation to the person next to you but then you realize that you’re not quite comfortable with this man/woman, you have very limited options to protect you. Usually, to save me from a conversation by a person next to me,  I put on my head phone or read a book. But if the person next to you is a handsome man, it’s compulsory to say hi to him😀

If you’re not comfortable with the place you’re visiting or staying, don’t hesitate to leave. You are alone, so do whatever you can do to make you comfortable. There was this one time when I was very uncomfortable with the hostel I was staying in, but I’ve already checked in. The hostel looked creepy and there was only a couple staying next to my bungalow. On the same night, I moved to another hostel which looked safer for me.

Btw, I have never learned any self-defense arts such as karate, kempo, etc.  But, I don’t care as long as I know what kind of places I need to avoid.

Well, I guess these are the only important things for me when becoming a solo traveler (besides money, emergency numbers, etc). Just go and don’t worry too much!

Next challenge? Well, I might want to go to another country, alone😀

edited by: Utiek Narotomo

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