My First Solo Trip, My Story

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Editor's Note: Sole Sister Rica has been an expat in Singapore for almost 2 years. She has always struggled to balance her passion for travel and her dedication for career. Next week, she will be starting a new chapter in her life by leaving the corporate world and realizing one of her dreams to travel all over Southeast Asia on her first solo trip. What's going on in her mind right now? Read her story:

I will always cherish my first time.

No matter how many stories I’ve read about backpacking solo through South East Asia, excitement fills my heart at the promise of my own untold story.

Previously I've traveled to Korea by myself. But traveling for work includes the pressure of unread emails and deliverables that takes away from being fully present to the experience. There’s a safety net that comes from knowing that I can claim my expenses to having local colleagues who can translate the menu or catch me a cab.

Your First Solo Trip, Your Story1

But when I backpack to Vietnam and Cambodia next week, I’ll be truly alone. The trip marks the transition period between leaving my corporate job and chasing my dreams.

Call it whatever you want --- soul searching, crossing an item off my bucket list, #YOLO, or simply just living, but traveling alone imparts an important lesson about life and the fear of pursuing one’s passion.

I don’t know how brave I can be until I try.

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It’s scary because independence means being fully accountable to the direction of my life; the future mistakes, the wrong turns, the people who might rip me off along the way and the ‘what if’s’ never taken. But traveling is my favorite reminder that whatever happens next, faith is the compass for life --- both on and off the road. There’s a path even if I don’t immediately see it in front of me.

So I never want to forget my first time, even if it means arriving at the foreign airport with no one to check Google Maps with me. Or not having someone to borrow cash from when I’m low on funds. Traveling is not a careless and carefree pursuit. 

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Traveling alone means being 100% responsible for what I choose to do.

At first it might be scary to arrive at my destination with no premise for judgment or backup. I will be the minority. No one is culturally entitled to have a similar point-of-view as me. But it gives me the space to discern my own opinion without the influence of family and friends.

I know that I’ll never forget my first time. Because a solo trip not only signifies a physical journey of exploration, but the mental mindset and the spiritual resilience I need to get where I need to go. 

Have you ever gone on a solo trip? What was your experience like? Please share in the comments below:

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Rica is a 'foreign filipina,' born in Indonesia and raised in the Philippines. She writes beyond the border, for people who want to travel or work abroad. Recently she left her corporate job, and is now travelling around SEA before starting her next chapter in chasing her dreams. Moving abroad starts her journey to experience the world. Follow her adventure on Foreign Filipina.

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2 sole trails

  1. Very well said.. I am a solo traveler too, a solo woman traveler to be exact and I can fully relate to everything that you've said above. I started traveling alone when I was 18 in the Philippines, from island to island, north to south. I moved here in Beijing when I was 21, and despite of the language barrier and the fact that I am just a little girl in this giant of a country, I just can't stop myself from exploring it, so I started traveling around China a year after I moved here. In every trip that I took and will take, the feeling would always be very exhilarating, indescribable, it's better experienced than said. There's this different kind of freedom being in a foreign place, meeting strangers who will later become your friends and just going here and there, doing your own thing in your own pace. It's very nice to know that their are a lot of people out there who share the same feeling, the same passion. When you actually look at it, you are never alone, 'coz in those solo trips that you take, the strangers that you meet might also be doing the same thing. Enjoy and never be afraid to get lost! =))

  2. Thank you for sharing all your experiences and advice Wanderlust! You're very lucky you got to start early. This is so inspiring!


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