I spent a year traveling the world solo, and I've returned with more lessons than I can count. I never set off to "find myself" or escape reality; I simply wanted to see more of the world. I wanted to experience all that life has to offer, because there's so much out there just waiting to be discovered. So, I quit my job, sold my belongings, and set off on a solo journey around the world. I visited countries in Central America, South America, Europe, and Africa, and completely fell in love every step of the way. I returned with a bunch of irreplaceable memories, and some of the best travel tips I have after traveling the world will stick with me forever.
I knew that I was likely to enjoy myself, but I had no idea what I was exactly in for. I had no concrete plans or itinerary, and I couldn't predict what would happen. I didn't know who I would meet or what mishaps would occur along the way. I wasn't looking for anything in particular, but I found so much more than I could have ever imagined on this journey. This was an unforgettable experience that will stick with me for the rest of my life. I was able to pick up plenty of helpful travel tips along the way if you're considering an adventure like this for yourself.
1. Say "Yes"
You only live once. It's so easy to get caught up in life's daily stresses and miss out on the simple joys surrounding you. I learned that saying "yes" to new opportunities can introduce you to incredible people and places. Try that new food, visit that funky museum, and take that detour.
I've gone to lunch with likeminded travelers in Peru, checked out waterfalls in Mexico, and embarked on spontaneous road trips in Italy. I was always reluctant, yet I always found myself having a blast whenever I said "yes." You never know, so why not go?
2. Don't Be Afraid To Explore
Exploring the unknown can seem overwhelming at first, but this is when you're able to discover true hidden gems. As someone who struggles with directions, I was afraid to get lost and end up in the wrong place. It's a reality you'll inevitably face as a traveler, so why not embrace it? Use your intuition to guide you and learn to ask questions if you have no clue where you're going.
As I wandered the souks of Morocco, shop owners invited me for tea and I found myself having hour-long conversations about life with locals. You might uncover cool spaces that most tourists miss.
3. Travel Light
Leave your baggage at home. Pack only what you need and make an effort to be present in the moment. You'll enjoy the adventure much more when you travel with an open mind and a light backpack. I made the mistake of overpacking during my first backpacking trip, and it's something I truly regret. It was a struggle to move around, and I ended up giving clothes away. Instead, save space for meaningful souvenirs.
4. Take Notice Of Your Surroundings
It's easy to bypass the beauty around you when you're caught in a routine. As soon as you step outside of your environment, you begin to notice the small things that make a place so beautiful. I was overwhelmed by the sights, smells, and sounds that I came across during my travels. Take note of everything you feel, experience, and see. Analyze what it means to you, and carry that feeling with you always.
5. Talk To The Locals
I set off on this journey solo, but I was surprised to discover that I was never truly alone. I've clicked with likeminded travelers and locals in an instant, and they were there to support me in ways than I would have expected. I quickly learned that I was only alone if I chose to be.
6. Enjoy The Ride
Helen Keller once said, "Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all," and I couldn't agree more. Travel often mimics the highs and lows that occur throughout life. It teaches you to enjoy the highs and deal with the lows. Instead of letting the lows keep you down, you learn to take them as lessons, and move on. In fact, you learn that these challenges help you to grow and appreciate the highs.