Over the course of this trip, being a relatively sociable chap I’ve spoken to a lot of people. Quite a few expressed major concerns over doing a trip by themselves. Some because of safety concerns but for a lot of people they thought they would get a bit lonely. This post addresses those people.
If I was to give one piece of advice to someone embarking on a solo trip for the first time it would be SMILE. Very simple but very easy to forget, especially when things aren’t going your way. Regular smiling will make your trip so much better. Gain eye contact, smile, get a smile back and go from there. People will talk to you.
Going on the principle of you reap what you sow. Be friendly and approachable with people and they will probably treat you the same way. A smile goes an awful long way, whether asking for directions, dealing with cranky immigration official or you just want to have a chat with someone. Your chances of getting what you want are also vastly improved if you start with a friendly look on your face.
Don’t take this too far, if you’re sitting on a 6 hour bus ride with a massive shit eating grin on your face people will think you’re mad. Quite rightly, no one should be happy on a bus.
The other advice if you want a sociable time while travelling by yourself. Be approachable, lose the big sunglasses, headphones and smart phone permanently 6 inches in front of your nose. No one is going to speak to you if you sit in the corner of the bar, train or hostel like that. I met a couple of people who complained of loneliness but they nearly permanently spent their time int hat state.
Finally, if you do find yourself in need of a chat stay in a hostel, there so much easier to meet people than hotels. Get a private room if you don’t fancy a dormitory, but you will be able to meet people in a similar situation there.
One last tip, take a good book, you’re never alone with a good book.