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A lot of people get scared when they hear that I travelled alone in Africa, South America, Europe and Asia for a year. Honestly, it was the best thing I did in my life! I learnt so much about others and about myself.
Every day during my trip around the world, I changed a bit more. Before leaving to Africa in January 2014, I wasn’t afraid, I was excited to discover so many new places. My only fear was just to get robbed in some unsafe places. This quickly changed as well!
Let me share with you what I learned from it.
1. Losing my need of material possessions
Now, even being robbed is not making me afraid anymore.
Do you know why I am not afraid of it? It’s simple: getting robbed is just losing money, losing something material but getting robbed could never take away those things:
– the state of happiness I felt almost every day while travelling
– my joy every time I was in front of an amazing place and would sit down for some time just to enjoy the purity of the place
– the nice memories I created every day
– the contact I could get with local people
The other reason why I am not afraid anymore is that I found peace and happiness and this serenity is stronger than the bad things, which could happen to me.
In Bolivia, I forgot my mobile phone charging in an hostal. Losing it showed me that I had disconnected from such material things. I didn’t care much of losing it, because I didn’t want to spend time in front of a screen anymore. There are so many amazing things to do outside: chatting with local people, trying local food, seeing amazing scenery or walking hours through the mountains.
Are those things not better than staying in front of an electronic device?
2. Going out of my confort zone
Being alone is for sure pushing you to your limits, you will do things you never thought about doing before, you will see things that you considered weird before. And that’s adventure! That’s how you can grow as a person, opening yourself to the unknown!
Thanks to this trip:
- I can hitchhike without fear
- I am able to camp anywhere
- I am cooking in such places as on a street pavement next to a market while it’s raining without any problem
- I don’t need to have a “stable” job in an office to pay my bills
- I am not afraid of the future, because I know that I can adapt to anything
3. Being happy inside
I also know that I don’t need anyone to feel happy anymore.
Happiness has to come from inside me, from my appreciation of a gesture, of a place, of a food I am eating, of a person I’m going to be meeting.
It won’t depend from someone else anymore.In the past, I could feel sad because of guys for instance, I got to know how to get totally detached from this feeling.
I learnt to appreciate the little things in life and to be thankful for those things. Once, you start being grateful for the good things happening in your life, you will be happy.
Believe me, we all have bad days, but in each day, you can find at least one positive thing around you, just stick to it and it will make you feel better!
Do you like travelling, check out our videos traveling with our baby in Europe and in Asia for 3 months!
4. Live in the present
I also learnt one important thing: to live in the present, to enjoy the scenery in front of me and to stop planning too much ahead.
I am still young and I want to enjoy the present as much as possible. I don’t want to plan where I will be in a week, in a month. All those things will depend from where I am now and how I am feeling in that place.
For the 1st part of my trip, I had a fixed return date, which was making me plan too much ahead but for my next trip I will definitely not do that. I will just have my departure ticket and then I will feel free to stay as long as I want in each place to enjoy it the fullest, to feel free to volunteer in some places without feeling the rush of moving on and even stopped in a country to work, if I feel the need of money.
The only date, which will stay forever important for me to come back home will be Christmas as it’s the moment, I love the most to spend time with my family.
5. Simple things matters
I have also been learning to enjoy the little things: I can now spend nights camping without problems and when I am camping surrounded by nature, I am happier than ever. I am 100 times happier sleeping in my tent in such a place than in an hostal in the middle of a city.
The most important for me is the place surrounding me not the bed, the hot shower or the access to toilets. The next time I will get access to toilets will be an exceptional moment for me and even better if I have access to a shower –not even talking about a hot shower-.
Cooking every day for myself with the little kitchen I have with me –thank you so much Ignacio!!- was an amazing moment for me. It was a moment, when I can get a real meal with vegetables.
It was also a moment, which sometimes brings me even more: it enables me to meet new local people, who are curious about the small kitchen.
6. Being open to meeting people
I can meet people on the road and I can meet fellow travellers to share a part of my trip with.
For instance, I travelled with Ignacio in Chile, Argentina and Bolivia. We met while hitchhiking from the same place and I learnt a lot from him.
Everything about cooking everywhere without problem thanks to his portable kitchen, preparing tea at the most unprobable places and eating mainly from markets (cheap cooked meal or vegetables that we will cook), I learnt it from him.
It’s funny because while meeting each other, we both thought that the other one was the most adventurous and we in the end both learnt a lot from each other.
So don’t be afraid of meeting new people, don’t judge them at their appearance, make the first step. We all have something to learn from others.
7. Control less, be more flexible
While travelling the best things are not always what you had planned before. Before, I would just stick to my initial plan and not take a detour from it. I was on a fixed schedule and I had to do everything that was planned on that day, on that moment.
However, often in my trips, I got to see that while walking or hitchhiking, you will see a nice scenery that you didn’t know of, you will arrive in the middle of a village festival or you will meet someone who will offer you to do something different now.
Those are moments to appreciate. They were not planned but they are making your trip better, they are making your travel stories amazing. Appreciate them and grab those opportunities!
I would advise anyone to go travel and first to go travel alone: it will be a life changing experience for you and coming back, you will see lot of things from a different way!!
Have you ever travelled alone? Do you think it’s crazy or great?
I’m Natacha, a French vegan Airbnb host who has been working online for the past 4 years. I help hosts stand out and make more money online so they can have a good work-life balance!