Having mild OCD (although I really prefer perfectionist), I’d rehearsed my answer a couple hundred times. “Why would you want to travel alone? Why don’t you take your brother along? Or your friends?” she said bent over, peering at her chopping board.
Ma, travelling alone is an experience. It’s a journey of self-discovery. – Check one.
Besides, you meet more people alone than when you’re travelling with people. – Check two.
Also, Ma, if you really want to travel that should be reason enough to go. You don’t always have to bring someone along. – Check three.
There. Strong words. Supportive words. But it sounded more like a reassurance mantra to me than a convincing argument put forward to my mother.
Everyone’s always yakking about traveling solo with such romanticism and wistfulness, armed with their Tumblr quotes and their bucket lists, but when you’ve kick-started that bike and taken the plunge, it’s a different story altogether. At least for me.
I’ve had too many nightmares about what ifs and maybes than I care to admit. My fears endless and my dread constant, I picture myself in an alien place and have no clue what-so-ever about what to do.
It overwhelmed me to think about having to navigate a network of streets from scratch. It alarmed me to think about being misunderstood and pitied by utter strangers. It embarrassed me to think about fumbling for words in a language I didn’t even know, to begin with. It crushed me to think about my insignificance in the grand scheme of things.
How will I make friends? How will I ensure my safety? I’m all for strong women breaking stereotypes but there is a considerable amount of safety concerns that come along with a girl travelling by herself. I doubt if I’m mentally powerful enough to handle tough situations.
What if I miss out? Starring into a little guidebook, what if I miss out on the actual essence and experience of the destination and end up wasting time, energy and money?
What if I feel lonely?
And let’s face it, we aren’t going to magically be happy in a different place. There’s no magic button that will make you more adventurous and more daring. There’s no mandate that everything is better off on the road. You’ll still be you, wherever you are in this big, beautiful world. Bad hair days and everything