Around 3-5 times a year, I take myself away for a short break. It has been known for the ‘short break’ to turn into a month or two….and if Take That are touring – I use this as an even bigger excuse to explore a new city.
As mentioned before, my love for Take That were definitely at the heart of where these mini adventures progressed. I would step on a train to London, Manchester and Newcastle for the night to see my favourite band perform, while taking some time from work and recharging. It helped me find peace with myself again.
My most recent trip to see them was April this year. I took a trip to Manchester for the first time in around 4 years. I love Manchester and I’ll use any excuse to visit there.
I’ve been taking trips alone now since I was 18 – that’s 6 years. From day one I’ve not been afraid to do it. I’ve taken trains, planes and drove myself.
So I wanted to write about mini adventures alone, and why I think they’re important. I know so many people in my day to day life that wouldn’t dream about stepping on a bus alone let alone a plane. But what is this fear that some of us hold?
I know for most the main fear is loneliness. But I think its so important to take time away by yourself. To get to know yourself and to feel comfortable in your own skin. Here are my tips to have a successful mini adventure…
Plan an adventure in your own country first
If you’re not comfortable with solo travel, don’t step too far out your comfort zone. Plan somewhere close to home first. Even an hour or two away from home on the train is a good starting point. Maybe even visit somewhere you’ve been before with others. Somewhere you’re already familiar with.
Plan what you’re going to do/find out what there is to do in that area
Go with a small plan, not too much but enough. For me it was a Take That concert on the night time, knowing that I had the day time to explore the city and shop. This for me prevented me from feeling lonely, as I knew on the time time I would be meeting and talking to others – and of course in the company of Gary Barlow.
Document and take photographs
Write down your experiences, how you feel, what you see, who you meet. Get to know yourself better. Take photographs of where you are, share them with others. Be ready to tell the story of your mini adventure when you get back home to family and friends.
Don’t forget a book
A book can always save you from a long journey and it’s better than constantly being on your phone. When you’re solo travelling it can be hard not to constantly be on your phone contacting others, or looking at what other people who are not with you are doing right now.
Use regular check-ins
Let others know where you are, or where you’re heading. I always used to check-in on Facebook and still do when I go somewhere alone. Contact a friend and a family member to tell them how you are.
Book a hotel or hostel
I love hostels for the pure reason that it’s so easy to meet others. In hotels it’s a lot harder to meet other solo travellers, and you kind of feel like you’re stepping on their toes when you do try and make conversation. I booked a hostel in Bournemouth recently, just because I was looking for some super cheap, least minute accommodation, but I ended up meeting new people from Australia and Germany. We ended up all going for coffee together the next morning which was lovely! I usually only book a hotel if I’m on one of my recharge weekends, where I just want to be private and chill out.
Go outside for walks
Don’t spend all your time scrolling on your phone. Go outside for walks and exercise. Maybe visit somewhere you can hike? Or hire a bike? One of my favourite solo experiences was when I hired a bike for a day in Washington D.C. I only had two days to explore and hiring a bike was the most perfect idea! And it was super cheap!
Go on, treat yourself
Let your hair down and treat yourself to something new. Buy that outfit you’ve been imagining for a long time. Think about you. This is your time, nobody else’s.
Dine out if you want to
I know it can feel a little daunting eating out when you’re a solo traveller, but just remember that nobody else is focusing on you. They’re over there doing their own thing. If you wanna eat out somewhere, you go do that. If you don’t feel comfortable eating in a restaurant on your own, why not grab a take-away.
Most importantly, if you’re going on a solo trip – make sure you’re having that moment with yourself. Be present but also reflect. The more you do it the more rewarding solo travel will be.
A 24 year old from the Midlands, always looking to escape her hometown for an adventure.