Why You Should Travel Alone

Before I left for the Big Blog X trip (to Italy) and what we now fondly call the Big Blog Xtension (the Paris, Iceland + Amsterdam leg), I met up with most of my friends as if I was going to be away for a couple of years. Hahaha.  One of the people I had coffee with was Pat, my good friend and officemate from my corporate days. He was actually the one who encouraged me to blog with drawings 5 years ago when he would see me spew out  entries in Filipino at least once to three times a day on Multiply.

He knew me well. If there’s anyone who was able to watch my transition from that girl who’s not allowed to go out at all to that person whom you’ll see posting travel photos on social networking sites, that was him.

I almost forgot why traveling alone was such a huge milestone for people who were with me since college & early post-college years until my friend Liv told me, “Oh my gosh!  You’re back!  You’ve been to all these places and before, you weren’t even allowed to cross Katipunan Avenue to get to National Bookstore!” Then we laughed.

Yup folks, I realized I never really talked about it here and I almost forgot how my life was before.  I was that one kid who wasn’t allowed to join school-initiated rallies, out-of-town trips and by the time I got to college, I wasn’t even allowed to cross the major road in front of our university without permission.  My parents feared that I might end up getting kidnapped, becoming a victim of hold up and other dark things that tend to play with parents’ minds thanks to the media.  You can say that I had the COOLest college life–so cool…as cool as the A/C in the library where I stayed mostly to finish solving math problems. /*Sarcastic*/

Then, when my friends and I watched movies and it was the last full show, I will be fetched at an awkward time of 11pm just because it was already “late”. During my entire corporate stint, everyone knew Cinderella somehow had a better curfew because I’m already asked to be home by 11.  So you can conclude that I probably gathered enough curiosity and thirst for adventure to last me a lifetime!

Well, you could say I didn’t really end up becoming some wild child going home at 4 in the morning, threatening to leave home for good and messing up school or something because I’m still a grade-conscious nerd-geek like that. Haha. Except that maybe, you’d find me going berserk and overly dramatic when I wasn’t allowed to go out.  Hmm…that plus my nickname eventually earned a nickname which is now the name of the pink character (do you still follow?) for that one night (and one night only) when I had way too much liquid more than my body can handle. *Now you know!* 😉

Fast forward to married life, I always threatened Ponggo that if he didn’t want to travel with me to the place where I wanted to go, I will travel alone.  Of course I always said it half-heartedly.  Then, I finally got my chance.  He can’t leave for Italy because he still had work to do so I was alone for the first 9 days of the Big Blog Exchange.  People started worrying about this naïve lady who was off to see the world not because I was going where I was going but just because it’s me.  I must admit, I also had my doubts.  I mean, if no one believes you’ll be okay, it was a bit challenging to be positive. Haha.

But, I’m back…in one piece with so much story to tell  (not that I’m not talkative to start with) and memories to visit and revisit for the rest of my life.  Anyway, here’s a list of why you should travel alone :

Why You Should Travel Alone (pm)

 

1. Get out of your comfort zone. – Sure, you’re bound to get lost and it will be inevitable that you’ll feel scared and paranoid at times.  But, there will come a point that you will be comfortable in the fact that it’s okay to make mistakes along the way and you will eventually learn to forgive yourself. 🙂

2. Learn to be independent. – If there’s one thing I noticed after my Big Blog Exchange trip, I’m finally more comfortable in deciding for myself.  I used to ask Ponggo what I should do next and he hated it when I blamed him for the consequences of his decisions which are supposed to be his suggestions only. Har har.

Sure, this trip has helped me become more independent but I’ve also learned to be humble enough to ask for help.  I can’t just be clicking on navigation apps all the time when the person right next to me might actually have the answer! #21stCenturyProblems

3. Immerse yourself in a new environment. – As I’ve mentioned in my Big Blog Exchange epilogue, it’s easier to learn a new language when you’re alone because you don’t actually have the chance to speak in your own native tongue. I didn’t really realize this until my cousin called me 5 days into the trip and I had to speak in pure Filipino over the phone for twenty minutes!

If you can only hear me interpret Italian words in my mind, I sound like a quiz bee contestant.  An Italian was telling me how to get tickets for the train.  He gestured that I should go down and get tickets from a certain place.  He said “giornale”.  In my mind, I was going,

“Giornale…”
“Journal…”
“Daily…”
“Newspaper…”
“Oh my gosh! Newspaper stand!”

*Ding, 1 point for Tipsy and she gets the train tickets as a prize! She can finally go home to her hostel!  Woohoo!*

Of course he didn’t hear me say any of those, I just gave him an oh-my-gosh-you’re-heaven-sent-thank-you-for-your-help smile and said “Grazie” in my awkward Italian accent.  I was telling my friend Mansy that I love listening to the Italians speak.  It sounds like music and this is consistent with my initial impressions about Italy from my last trip.

4. Learn to trust your instincts. – I usually rely on Ponggo when I meet new people.  I ask him to evaluate and read their personalities for me because he’s better at those things.  #WhatIsMegaDependent Haha.  But, when I was alone, I realized, I can just rely on my instincts and learn whom to trust and whom not to trust.  I’m happy I made a lot of new friends from allover the world during this trip.  I’m usually deathly afraid of talking to people whom I’ve met for the first time to the point that when I was assigned to the sales department during my training years in the corporate world, I was in agony and I’d literally get butterflies in my tummy before meeting my buyers.  Fast forward to 2014 and I actually find myself in a random city talking to a group like we’ve been friends for a long time.  Of course it wasn’t all perfect and I’ve also had my fair share of lessons to be learned but I was luckily able to press pause and hide inside my shell and run away just in the nick of time (or walk ever so slowly while running away sooper dooper fast and screaming in my mind).  Haha.

So, there.  If this girl has survived travelling alone, so could you!

Thank you Big Blog Exchange for literally pushing me out of my comfort zone and sending me away to a 10-day trip to Italy!

‘Til the next travel post,

XOXO,

Tipsy 🙂

P.S. So, here are some things that can help you get out of your comfort zone.
1/ Want to blog your way to an adventure just like I did? Click here & sign up for Big Blog Exchange 2015, follow Hostelling International on Twitter for announcements or check out the latest #BigBlogX post on Instagram.

2/ Are you an illustrator or artist & would you like to see your work published? Graphika Manila is now accepting artworks for their GM 2015 book!  Submit yours today!

3/ Want to get published internationally?  Uppercase Magazine is looking for entries for  their Compendium of Craft & Creativity.  Click here for the mechanics.

4/ Want to learn something new? Be the first one to know about our new Watercolor & Lettering Workshop schedules by filling up this form.

So, there.

Good luck and enjoy your new life out of the comfort zone! 🙂

Related Reads:
Iceland: Blue Lagoon & Glacier Walk
Italy: Colorful Houses of Burano in Venice
Italy: The Clumsy Girl in Venice
Italy: My Italian Bucket List