Four months ago, I decided to quit my job, leave Paris and go for a one-year trip around Latin America, alone. While I'm definitely not the only one to have taken the leap, I've met quite a few people telling me: "Wow, that's my dream, but I could never do it".
Oh, yes you can. Everybody can! How? Go travel alone for one week.
Why? I'm glad you asked.
1. Overcome the first hurdle.
Don't quit your job already, take a smaller step! It's the most effective way to overcome the first hurdle. You know, that first hurdle, when you want to start the habit of running, wake up to a frozen morning of winter and... *Snooze*. To overcome that, an effective tip is to prepare the running outfit the night before, to put it in a chair next to your the bed. It becomes the first thing you see in the morning, inspiring you to take action.
Zero friction, zero excuse.
I've found that for most of the people, the "alone" part is the very first hurdle, the very first excuse. "What if traveling alone is not for me?"
Maybe it won't be, but give it a try. For a week. Then you'll know!
2. Get a sense of the experience.
That's 99 percent of the point. I can go for hours on how traveling alone is for everyone, that it can profoundly transform a human-being, its relationships with the world, with the others, with himself. I could do it. That would be fun, but useless!
This is something that one needs to experience for himself, and I've found out that 80 percent of the solo-traveling experience is trialled in just a week, alone, in a new country. Beware, a long weekend is not enough; the loneliness and freedom just starting to kick-in around two or three days, mixed altogether in a baffling and unearthing feeling. ("I'll have whatever he's having!")
Get a sense of the experience and you'll see by yourself how easy and natural traveling alone is. Just like you would test-drive a Tesla before buying it, test-travel a solo trip!
3. Expand your comfort zone.
Don't get out of your comfort zone this time, expand it. Get comfortable with new things, like eating alone in a restaurant, or randomly talking to some people around and following them wherever that conversation will lead to. And most of all, get comfortable with not knowing.
When traveling alone for just a week, the amount of planning required is zero (okay, zero point five). There's always going to be an extra ticket for that bus, an extra bed on that hostel, and extra sit in that cool-people-you-just-met's car.
Pick a close-by and convenient country. If you live in Europe, Portugal, Spain or Italy are perfect. Still in the comfort zone, right? It's still comfortable: Physically (food, security and amenities), emotionally (culture, time-difference) and financially (it's okay to spend more if needed.)
Really, there aren't a lot of excuses left, are there?
4. Don't change your holiday plans.
Ah yes, holiday plans. The convenient advantage of the solo-travel-week (yeah, it's a thing now) is that you still can go on holidays with your family, with your loved one or your friends. Only just a little less.
If you're lucky, you're French and get five weeks of paid holidays -- three weeks in the summer, two for Christmas. Book the last week of the holidays, pack a small backpack, and just GO!
Tip: Spend New Year's Eve alone and abroad, you'll remember it forever!
Once you'll get the taste of solo-traveling, and likely experience all the amazing benefits of it, chances are you'll also realize that solo-traveling is easy. That it's for you too, and that having taken that very first step makes the possibility of a bigger one more likely!
Travel for a week alone, and tell me how it was!
I hope you enjoyed the story, feel free to share/recommend it and ping anyone who might be up for trying that out!