Traveling alone has its own merits. Everyone should do it once in their life. I did, and it was fantastic!
Whenever I see articles about solo travel, I couldn’t help but be curious about it. As a woman, and this is just my personal opinion, it is hard to travel alone. You always have to consider your safety as your top priority. The countries you can go to are also limited. But I didn’t want to pass up the chance to try it, so I chose Hong Kong as a testing ground for my very first solo travel.
On my way to Ping Shan Heritage Trail, inside the train, I couldn’t help but be alone in my thoughts. It was 40 minutes away by train from where I was staying. The train was not even packed, I even missed my stop! It was a good thing that my stop was only two stations away from the terminus, so it was easy to go back.
Check out my travel itinerary in Hong Kong:
- My first day in Hong Kong
- Getting the hang of being alone in Hong Kong
- The last day of my solo trip in Hong Kong
Here’s a list of my “Solo Travel Realizations”
On Capturing the Moment
- You master the “Art of the Selfie”. There are time when you just have to take proof of the moment quickly. You get your phone out and snap a photo. When you’re alone, you will learn what your best angle is.
- Humanpods are essential. I am talking about the importance of having a companion. Sometimes you will miss having someone with you to take that money shot. While roaming around Hong Kong, I missed having my sister with me, or my friend, who takes the best photos.
- You don’t have to capture every moment. You just soak everything in. The reason why I missed my stop was because I was busy looking at the view outside. When you’re always looking behind the camera, or is always on your phone, you miss a lot of things.
On Relating to Other People
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. A lot of people are kind and won’t hurt you. There was a time when I was a little lost, and fellow Filipino helped me find my way.
- Smile at strangers. You know that feeling when you see someone and you think they need a pick-me-up? When you see someone like that, smile at them. You may just be the person that could brighten up their day.
On Being a Smart Traveler
- Just bring the essentials when you’re out and about. When you are alone, no one else will carry the load with you. Make sure that your backpack is lightweight and it should only hold the essentials – i.e. travel camera, your passport, basic toiletries (like wet wipes), an extra shirt. Just choose what you need the most to lighten up the load.
- The best things in life are FREE. That is very true. There are so many places in Hong Kong that you can get in for free. Take advantage of those.
- Own a comfortable pair of shoes. I invested on an Asics Gel Quantum 360. When I wore it for the first time, my feet just fell in love with it. I tried to look for other alternatives because it was quite expensive, but I still went for Asics because of how my feet felt when I first wore it.
On A Personal Level
- It’s okay to have a meal alone. After having two meals alone in a restaurant, it didn’t feel awkward anymore. You just do it, you just eat and finish your meal, get up and pay. Easy-peasy!
- You can discover new places while going to and from your intended destination. I was on my way to the Ping Shan Heritage Trail, but I got distracted by the beautiful Lai Chi Kok Park outside the Mei Foo station.
- Always get in touch with your loved ones. They worry about you. A lot. I made it a point that I do video calls when I arrive at my destinations. I love how mobile data is fast in Hong Kong. There’s little to no lag during my video calls to my family.
- I love the quiet. Even though I was alone, I wasn’t lonely. I liked having my thoughts to myself; I loved having no one to wait around for; and I loved how I can change my itinerary without pissing anybody off.
- Pushing the boundaries of your comfort zone is a great thing. I am most comfortable living inside my head. But when you are traveling, it can get very quiet and it can drive you crazy sometimes. Stepping over that imaginary line away from your comfort zone, and being able to do something that you’ve never done before will amaze you!
Another thing worth mentioning is the fact that most of my family, relatives, friends found me so brave to travel on my own to a foreign country, even though it was just in Hong Kong. I never thought I’d have to confidence nor the bravery to do it, but I did it and it feels amazing!
Overall, my first solo adventure will definitely not be the last. I loved having the freedom to do everything I wanted. But one thing is for sure, it is better to have a companion with you; someone who will listen to you get excited about your new discoveries. I can’t wait to plan my backpacking adventure in Asia!
Have you ever traveled alone? How was it?!