Most of you who regularly reads my blog already know my story: hit hard by the quarter-life crisis, decided to travel instead of going up the corporate ladder (because there is no corporate ladder to climb) or getting married and settling down (because there’s no interest. At the moment.) I’m sure you’re sick of my preachings about the joys about solo travel, so I’ve enlisted the help of my fellow Pinoy Travel Bloggers to share their stories.
While a lot of the group members have traveled extensively, there are still a number who haven’t traveled solo. Brenna is one of those.
That was literally the first time I’ve ever heard of solo traveling – seriously. No kidding there. Before reading her posts, I never even thought of the possibility of traveling alone – that there may actually be joy just traveling alone. I mean, how can one enjoy traveling alone – no one to take pictures with, no one who will take your pictures and well – it just seems lonely – really, really lonely.
Continue reading Brenna’s story at the Philippine Travelogue
Ivan also haven’t tried traveling solo, citing limited funds and his school schedule as primary reasons why he hasn’t gone solo yet. But there’s one other reason that stops him:
Continue reading Ivan’s interview at Batang Lakwatsero
On the other end of the spectrum, there’s Aleah who started traveling alone when she was only 11. Living more than 12 hours away from her high school meant learning how to be independent at a very young age. It must have been scary for such a young kid.
So, is solo travel scary? Yes and no. Yes, the world has its share of people whose only concern is how to put one over you, and no, because the world is also full of people who are willing to help out.
There’s also Lili, who has been traveling solo long before it became fashionable (at least in the Philippines). Studying abroad enabled her to explore Europe and even made a daring cross across the pond to the United States with only $20 in her pocket.
Solo travelling allows you to discover places, but more so to discover one’s self. It puts you in touch with your inner self and allows you to trust yourself (and others too) more and more. In a way, it boosts your self-confidence as you discover new boundaries. Once you unravel yourself in this fashion, you then find out how much you can celebrate life in a way only you can understand. Who cares if others don’t? The capacity for joy is a gift. To find joy in your heart, even in solitude, is a blessing.
Continue reading Lili’s adventures in Life is a Celebration
As I read through the entries, there were several things that struck me. One is that a lot of us were scared at the thought of traveling solo when it first crossed our minds. It’s okay to feel scared. I felt that way too, before I embarked on my first solo backpacking trip outside the country. Now, I take comfort in knowing that there are people who share the same paranoid thoughts as I do before and during a trip. Doi seemed to be reading my mind, for these are the same scenarios that run through my head:
I am also the type of traveller who would start getting anxious the moment you step on a bus while someone seats beside you. My paranoia and pessimistic side would probably eat me alive. The thought of even planning on a solo trip these days would make me think twice. Not that it’s dangerous for a female traveller to travel solo but it’s more of battling with my pyschotic mind full of uncertainties and what nots.
Continue reading about Doi’s fears and desire to travel solo at The Traveling Feet
There are some, like Jennifer, who was left with no choice but to travel by herself in Ilocos. She was scared, and seeing a funeral procession certainly did not help ease her fears.
I guess every one of us will always have the first time jitters (like the way I panicked during my first flight), and this one was no exception. I kept mumbling my prayers, I kept texting my family, but the fear was building up when I saw a funeral parade not once, but four times ’til I reached Vigan. Bad omen? I sure hope not.
Continue reading Jennifer’s first solo adventure in Where My Feet Took Me
Claire has traveled solo for business plenty of times, but when she had some free time after a conference in the United States, she decides to go exploring on her own. It was quite an experience.
After the business part of the trip, I took the opportunity of spending a few days with a friend in LA. But on my first day, she had to go to work so I had to tour the city on my own, something I wasn’t keen on doing. Worse, I had to walk so I was overly self-conscious as I braved the streets of downtown LA. I couldn’t even take out my camera for fear of attracting attention.
Continue reading about Claire’s first personal solo travel at First Time Travels.
Izah felt the same fear when she found herself alone in Bacolod. This one I can completely relate too — I don’t like going out on my own after dark!
The first day ended early as rain fell. I would have went out during the night but the ‘dark’ environment in downtown Bacolod (Quiapo-like environment) prevented me to do so. Yes, I was afraid. But the following day, fear turned into courage. It felt liberating to commute alone going to Silay City.
Continue reading how Izah found that there is always light at the end of a very dark tunnel at Trip@dora.
Prime assures us that it’s okay to feel scared. It’s important though, that we face our fears instead of making excuses.
It’s natural to be afraid. I had these fears and doubts as you. I was reluctant to quit my job in Singapore and give up my comfortable lifestyle. I was afraid to use my savings, thinking that I will end up broke after traveling for months. I was afraid to lose my career because I worked goddamn hard for it. In the end, I decided to confront and release my fears. This isn’t because I’m braver than you. It’s just that traveling as a woman alone brought me gifts that outweighs my fears and it can do the same for you.
Continue reading Prime’s advise to aspiring solo female travelers at the Gypsy Gals.
Bridge gives a great explanation for this fear of solo travel:
I realized that what makes traveling alone a scary thought for some is not because of boredom, spending too much money or being lonely. It’s because traveling alone makes you confront yourself. You discover who you are and what you are made of. Traveling alone forces you to face the truth about yourself and about life, and the truth is often hard to accept. But as always, truth always sets you free.
Continue reading about Bridge’s realizations at Wandergirl.
She also gives a great reason why she (and a lot of us) travel solo: “It is just like how dogs lick their balls, it’s because I can.”
Nicely, a fellow Sagittarian, faced the challenge head on, traveling solo all over the Philippines before she met her boyfriend and travel buddy.
I can do anything and go anywhere I want. Born under the Sagittarian zodiac, I am the adventurous, freedom-loving, and active type. I love to roam around, rediscover places, and meet people. This way, I am able to explore the wider perspective of not only my world, but the world of others. This is where my motto comes in, “Life begins when you decide to step out of your comfort zone.”
Continue reading Nicely’s reasons for traveling solo at Traveling Nicely.
While traveling solo is good, it has its downsides too. Karlo rationalizes that there is a difference between going on a trip on your own and doing certain activities around the city by yourself.
Traveling solo is different from watching movies alone, or eating at a restaurant alone. There are similarities but the psychology is different. There are moments and places that can be best experienced when you are with someone. And there are moments and places that are best experienced with love, friends, and family.
Continue reading Karlo’s pros and cons of solo travel at The 4am Chronicles.
Carla experienced one of the downsides of traveling solo. This doesn’t deter her from traveling solo though (neither does the fact that she’s married!).
There was no one to turn to when I got scammed by the taxi driver, I wanted to cry but crying meant giving up and at that time there was no way I was giving up. (My plane ticket, Cebu-Manila-Cebu, was not a promo fare!) Travelling solo was definetely a challenge especially for women but if someone would ask if i’d do it again, my answer would definetly be a big “YES”.
Continue reading Carla’s reasons for choosing to travel alone at The Excess Baggage.
Traveling solo has its disadvantages too, as Sole Sister Lois point out:
No one to convince you not to get that souvenir tattoo of the world map on your [insert body part here]. It may seem like a good idea when you’re drunk or stoned but it will just look like some nasty skin disease the morning after.
Continue reading Lois’ 10 downsides of going off on your own at We Are Sole Sisters.
Another thing that scares people about solo travel is loneliness. Yes, travel solo can be very lonely. It can even break your heart, as it did to Lloyd:
What was supposed to be me and you became just me. What we envisioned to be years and years of growing old and traveling together became me traveling alone carrying all the hurt behind my back. From the moment you left me, it’s as if every journey I took, I took alone. The next time I fall in love, I’ll make sure I won’t travel alone.
Continue reading Lloyd’s soul-baring love story at The Lostboy.
James counters that while certain experiences are best shared, there are some that you might not have experienced if you were with somebody.
I know the feeling of having someone to hug you or hold your hand while on a butt-numbing trip and sometimes I miss that. But hey, meeting locals and befriending them is a different kind of experience. You also don’t have to mind your group as you don’t have one. You are forced to discover things for yourself, ask others for directions, be brave in your decisions, make your own plans and most of all have your own experience. No one can claim he/she did that too.
Continue reading about why James prefer to journey solo at Journeying James.
Mica agrees with James. While she also enjoys exploring a new destination with her friends, going places on her own is an experience that she also cherish.
I go to a place not necessarily to be ‘touristy’, but to eat, walk and think. When you are in a large group, you sometimes feel this pressure to be happy even if you’re not. At times, you are also forced to go out and visit destinations even if you simply want to relax and take it slow.
Continue reading about Mica’s path to solo travel at Senyorita.
Even the best of travel buddies need time apart from each other, as Ron and Monette of Flip’n Travels find. Forced to separate (temporarily) due to Ron’s relocation to the land of merlions, the dynamic duo found themselves going on trips independent of each other.
The rare moments that we just want to wander aimlessly without the presence of Monette whining about the spicy breakfast we had two days ago, and Ron complaining non-stop about the long waiting time for the bus to arrive.
Continue reading Ron and Monette’s stories about their first time at Flip’n Travels.
For some of us, traveling solo became an option when friends who initially expressed interest to join flakes as the departure date looms closer. If you’re traveling solo, you wouldn’t have to deal with these kinds of people, as Josiah said.
Continue reading about Josiah’s pet peeves about organizing group trips at Lakas ng Trip.
But as Angel found out, when you travel solo, you don’t stay alone for long. You met and make new friends along the way.
Continue reading Angel’s stories on making friends on the road at Lakwatsero.
It was the same for Sole Sister Chichi. She’s the kind of traveler I’ve always read about and secretly wished to be. With her bubbly personality, she easily makes friends where ever she goes. She meets so many people that the only time she found herself alone was at 4am, when she flopped down to sleep.
When you’re on the Banana Pancake trail (the Lonely Planet trail that every Southeast Asian backpacker is following), when you always meet a fellow traveller on every hostel/bar/restaurant you go to, when all roads lead to the backpacker district of that city…it makes me wonder: Does anyone ever travel solo anymore?
Continue reading about Chichi’s exciting solo-traveling lifestyle at We are Sole Sisters.
As Chinchan Lakwatsero said, alone is a state of mind:
Continue reading Chinchan’s thoughts at Juanderful Pinoy.
Truly, there are unforgettable experiences that you get when you travel. Like Dong Ho‘s experience of being branded as a suspicious person in a very small town:
i remembered him. he was one of the man who was at the kagawad’s party. her mother introduced me saying i was looking for a house to stay over the night. after i introduced myself, he then started talking “alam mo ba kung ano nangyari pagkalabas mo dun sa bahay ni kagawad?” this time i was the one who was surprised. “pinaalis kaagad kami para umuwi at sabihan na may dumating na estranghero. baka daw may dalang grupo.”
Continue reading about Dong Ho’s amazing adventure at Eskapo.
Even more unforgettable are the lessons we learn from traveling solo. Edcel, after being thrust into traveling solo learned some valuable lessons:
I learned that things happen only when you make them happen. Lonely Planet books are what they are – just guides and not travel bibles. You can’t blame anyone but yourself when mishaps occur; which is not such a bad thing because of taking responsibility for your actions.
Continue reading about Ed’s solo journey to enlightenment at Solo Flight Ed.
Chyng also learned some lessons from her solo trip to Sagada.
I was never the adventurous type. But my being alone taught me not to complain and throw tantrums at all (who would care anyway if I do? Im alone!). I was never fond of talking to locals too. But in this case, I was forced to. That made me understand that traveling is more than just seeing the beautiful spots. It’s actually allowing yourself to learn and be part of the place.
Continue reading Chyng’s realizations at No Spam, No Virus, No Kiddin’!
If anything, solo traveling is empowering. The sense of fulfillment and independence after completing each trip gives you a high that makes you think that you can tackle any obstacle the universe throws your way. Though Upper wrote it with the solo female traveler in mind, I’m sure the guys can relate as well.
You are a solo woman traveler and you know you’re conquering the world of fear, glamour, adventure, a vast ocean of culture, language and a whole lot of differences. But not a thing stops this worldwide travel hobo–because you know what you want; you are positive about this.
Continue reading Upper’s discourse on why solo travel equals freedom at Offbeat Wanders.
Upper then identifies traits that solo travelers must have:
Persistence. No matter how many times you get lost, or sadly how many times you get cheated with the bus fare because you can’t understand their language, or probably have gotten numerous weird stares from strangers seeing you eat a hearty meal solo. In doing worldwide travels, something will always go wrong and all you need is just to stay in track and be persistent. Dream it, want it, own it.
Continue reading Upper’s list of qualities every solo travelers have at Offbeat Wanders.
Traveling solo also gives you the chance to get a better perspective, as it did for Christine.
When I finally got home that evening, I felt reclaimed. I left the city a little dazed from the events that’s occurring around me. I needed the time to get away from everything, not because I am running away from it nor am I scared to face it. I just needed a breather, to be able to see things more objectively so I can create solutions instead of staying where I am whining about it. It was a great decision and though I was sunburned, I felt recharged and ready to take on the challenges that lay ahead.
Continue reading about Christine’s journey to find peace at Adventures of a Jovial Wanderer.
So are you ready to head off on your own yet? Jerik comforts us with his answer to the age old question “is it safe to travel solo in the Philippines?”
The truth about solo travelling in the Philippines is that it’s relatively safe and sound to be roaming around Visayas. These places i’ve been to proved to be friendly provinces for solo travellers because the people you will meet will truly make you feel at home.
Continue reading Jerik’s stories at Pinoy Boy Journals
There you go. No need to be afraid anymore! Mhe-anne even gives us suggestions where you can go for your first solo trip:
Surely it is not fun going white river rafting solo but there are still many things to do while wandering alone in Cagayan de Oro. A visit to the Potol Beach, Malagasag Garden, Divisoria Night Café and Market to have barbecue and seafoods and also the great bargains from the nearby Night Market, Dear Manok for my favorite Buko Halo – Halo and Limketkai shopping center are just some of the reasons why it is fun to roam around this “City of Golden Friendship”.
Continue reading Mhe-anne’s list of best places for solo travelers in the Philippines at My Comings and Goings.
Of course, traveling solo in the Philippines means you have to be prepared to answer questions that riles up Gael (specially if you’re a girl).
In the context of Philippine society, female solo travel is not well-known, or should I say, considered against the norms. So it doesn’t really surprise me that people usually ask me, “why are you traveling alone?” In our country they find it weird or crazy! I tell you, it can get a bit annoying to answer the same question overtime.
Continue reading Gael’s solo travel guide for first timers at The Pinay Solo Backpacker.
However, she gives a short guide for Filipinas who want to try their hand at traveling solo. So does Grace, but hers is much more concise:
Continue reading Grace’s guide to traveling solo at Pinay on the Move.
Are you convinced yet? Do you think you’re ready to head out and discover the wonders the world has to offer? Before you step out that door, Estan reminds you that this is one of the most important trip you’ll ever make.
Continue reading Estan’s reasons for traveling alone at Langyaw.
This is the sixth of the monthly Blog Carnival. Every month, members of the Pinoy Travel Bloggers publish posts on an agreed upon theme. To view the previous carnivals, visit the Carnival archive.