Travelling Abroad Alone? You're NOT Alone.
Travelling solo is one of the most rewarding adventures a person can experience, but heading somewhere new with no familiar faces for comfort can be daunting. I’m from the US and recently moved to Australia all on my own for a study abroad program. For me, this was an experience I'd dreamt of ever since I was sixteen. Although, in my dream I always imagined myself traveling with one or two of my best friends to the land down under.
Coming from a larger friendship group, I was sure at least one or two of my friends would want to take on this adventure with me. I eagerly tried to get a group locked into going abroad with me as the due dates got closer. Of course, everyone was interested, who doesn’t want to go to Australia? The reality was that some of my friends couldn’t afford it either in their schedule or financially, or weren’t motivated enough to do all the paperwork to get there, or simply wanted to travel somewhere else. I began to get worried about the idea of going on this venture alone. I had never been apart from my family for more than two months, had always had close friends around, and a great community that supported me.
I was anxious about being across the world without anyone who knew me well but had to accept the fact that it was the only way I would satisfy my dream. It felt really scary at first but as I began to swallow the truth, it became less scary and more empowering. I felt independent and original being one of the only people in my circle who was going abroad “alone”. Everyone else had a buddy or group of friends joining them on their program and I was going in blind.
Leading up to departure I was a mixture of anxious and excited. Leaving my friends and family at the airport was emotional but made me so grateful for the people who cared for me deeply. Taking off from the states and watching my town get smaller and smaller and then disappear in the clouds was surreal knowing it was the last time I would see it for about half a year. Despite the sentimental emotions, I was pumped! I was finally on the way to my dream, which I had saved and worked hard for, for the past 4 years.
Once I arrived in Australia, I met up with the group I'd be travelling with and everyone was so friendly right off the bat. Again, everyone is in the same position as you and everyone just wants to make friends. I have now been in Sydney for a month and feel as if I’ve found a group of friends that will last forever. I did go through a week or so where I struggled with adjusting to not having anyone close to me in Australia. While feeling down or uncomfortable, I feel like its best to talk and be vulnerable with the people you have met here. This is the only way you will make those genuine friendships that you’ll miss from home. Traveling alone forces you to meet people you otherwise wouldn’t have met if you had the comfort of a friend group to stand by.
I recommend trying new things with your new acquaintances and bonding over the experience. Talking and laughing about your experiences and connecting over all the emotions you might be feeling. Besides the people in your program, I suggest talking to and getting to know as many locals as possible. Whether that’s your new coworkers, the barista at your favourite coffee shop, or anyone you meet along the way. Aussies are friendly people and are often open to new friendships, you might just have to step out of your comfort zone to seek them out.
I’ve only been here a month and traveling here alone has already taught me so much. Placing yourself out of your comfort zone can only be productive toward your growth as an individual. Your sense of independence will grow from traveling alone, navigating a new city and meeting new people. In the end, I am so grateful that I took this journey by myself. My adventure is completely my own. I forced myself out of my comfort zone. It was a little uncomfortable at first but I only found it beneficial on the other side.
Feeling scared or nervous to travel alone is completely normal and understandable, but allow yourself to foster those emotions into courage and inspiration. You are about to embark on one of the greatest journeys of your life. How impressive is it that you are going about it yourself? I promise, the nerves are real but are worth it, you will come out a more independent, empowered and confident individual and will be so proud of the things you never thought you could achieve!
Joining a Group Tour like Oz Intro means you get all the benefits of stepping out of your comfort zone and meeting new people, but without the loneliness of arriving in a new country with no one to share your adventure with. With all your accommodation, transport, activities and a bunch of meals included, plus an instant new crew of mates to travel with and the help of an experienced group leader, adventuring abroad has never been more stress-free!