Should you go Travelling Alone? Absolutely
Travelling Alone can sound scarier than it really is. People say it is dangerous. But crossing the street can be dangerous if you don’t look where you are going. To give you peace of mind there are many companies who will provide gap year and short term trips. Although you will be leaving on your own, you get the chance to meet up with many different people from around the world. You will take part in activities that will be a once in a lifetime experience. I have even added a few trips to my own Bucket List. These companies will arrange all your flights, insurance, trips out and airport transport. They are always on hand for any further queries you have.
Below are some companies that specialise in this kind of travel:
Volunteering in Africa
After my short taster of travelling alone to Amsterdam I knew I wanted more.
As I was sat booking my place to volunteer in Africa, thousands of miles away from home, I was filled with a sense of independence and excitement. I had ummed and ahhed about it far too long and was ready to take the plunge. I had 6 months to wait and prepare myself for two weeks working in South Africa at a lion sanctuary. Plenty of time to get myself sorted.
Well, the six months flew by and I had two weeks to go. The cold feet started to kick in:
- Should I really be travelling alone?
- Will I find my way around the airports?
- What if I lose my luggage?
- Am I sure I want to do this?
- Should I really be travelling alone?
All sorts of questions and doubts filled my mind. My biggest concern was that I was going to be in Johannesburg waiting for my rep (a stranger) to come and pick me up. We are always told not to go off with strangers, right? I even seriously considered getting a refund. Luckily for me none of my bookings were refundable and that is one thing I am truly grateful for.
What an amazing experience I had. The airports turned out to be a breeze. Again, for someone as uncoordinated as me, this was a big achievement. Although I believe it is polite to learn a little of the country’s lingo, English is such a universal language, you will usually find someone who speaks English.
There is always someone close by that will help you if you need it. Just ask. There are no stupid questions. At worst you feel a little silly for 2 minutes. Rather that, than feeling stupid for 20 hours after you have just missed your flight.
“Don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself. Life is not as serious as we make it out to be”
Sitting alone on the plane is quite refreshing. You can get chatting to people around you or just get in some good films. Two 8-hour flights gave me lots of time to kill. Try and ask for an aisle seat when travelling alone. It makes life a lot easier than always having to scooch past strangers for toilet breaks.
Would I recommend travelling alone without using a specialised company? At first, no. I think it gives you the chance to experience solo travel while still being backed up by a reliable company. Once you feel comfortable you can get trips much cheaper by planning the whole thing yourself. It completely depends on the individual and how much you want to take control of your trip. Check out my Top Travel Tips.
Be careful what you book
There are hundreds of various trips you can take with multiple different companies. Please make sure you thoroughly read the reviews and confirm the trip covers all aspects of what you want to gain from the experience. I have had close friends spend their hard-earned money on volunteering experiences only to be left extremely disappointed by the outcome.
I knew I wanted to work with animals and I researched the lodge I was due to visit. After much research I was happy with their ethics and the fact they were a research centre looking at the treatment of feline TB and Aids.
When wanting to work with animals please do your research. Avoid all places that use animals for tourism and money, where they can drug and abuse them to perform. In hindsight I wouldn’t work hands on with wild animals at all. The sanctuary I went to did not drug or beat the animals for pictures, they didn’t breed excessively and did not interact with the older/mature animals. However, I didn’t know much about the effects humanising these animals had and I had no idea about the canned hunting farms in Africa. If this is your trip of choice just be wary.
Try everything once. Really immerse yourself in your adventure. Don’t be afraid to try something new. Yes I did have to get my hands dirty and there were jobs that weren’t so pleasant. If I hadn’t already been vegetarian at the time, I certainly wouldn’t have eaten chicken ever again. However the benefits you will get from trying these new things will be immeasurable.
My highlights were:
- Meeting people from various countries.
- Getting up close and personal with cheetahs, hyenas, lions and tigers.
- Seeing elephants that were free to roam and never had to perform ‘rides’.
- Visiting a sanctuary for rescued and neglected monkeys who would not be able to survive in the wild.
- Feeding the wild animals that roamed around the sanctuary.
- Enjoying the beautiful African weather.
- Haggling (very poorly) in the markets.
While out in Africa, I got to work with some of the most interesting people I have ever met, experience things I would never get the opportunity to back home and gain some incredible memories I will never forget. All because I decided to go Travelling Alone.
Some of my links are affiliates and they may or may not pay me a small fee for any sales made. However, I will only ever recommend those that I have tried/tested or thoroughly researched. There will be no extra charge for you. Any amount I make, however small, will help my blog to continue to spread the veggie way. Friends not Food!