Backpacking is a good form of exercise. It does not only bring healthy benefits to your body but your mind and soul as well. It is the ultimate opportunity to stretch your limits, strengthen your weak spots, and explore other opportunities. Although some backpackers prefer to travel with a company, there are also some who are comfortable with their own shadow. These are the types of people who want to use traveling as a means of self-discovery.
From a perspective of a solo backpacker, traveling alone does not always mean that you are shutting doors for new relationships. In fact, by traveling alone, some people have found the peace that they are looking for which have led them to open more windows for new people. Just like every battle fought alone, there are also some challenges that are commonly faced by those who are backpacking alone.
1. People’s reaction
Many backpackers have left their entire world behind them to travel alone. Usually, this backpacking escapade does not only last for a few weeks. Some are brave enough to stretch it to months or even years. Families, friends, and loved ones are left behind, and it is difficult to ignore their reactions because after all, they are a big part of your life
There are nights that you will remember all the happy memories that you had with the people you left way back home. There will be meals that you wish you have your family members around— sharing the same meal that you have while talking about your plans for the day. Backpacking alone is not always about pleasure. There will be better days, but most importantly, there will be bitter nights to knock you off. During these times, you’ll want to be accompanied by familiar faces.
Beat loneliness while on the road by bringing the classic ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ with you.
3. Personal safety
They say that every superhero has a sidekick. This is something that you don’t have when solo backpacking. Personal safety is a critical issue when you are backpacking alone. When you are seen without a company, you are most likely thought of as an easy target since the chances of overpowering you are very high, especially if you are a woman.
4. Safety of your stuff
Unlike when traveling with a partner or a group, you can’t have an extra pair of eyes to look after your belongings in solo backpacking. With a partner, you can keep turns looking after each other’s stuff while the other is attending to some matters. You definitely won’t entrust your gadgets to strangers, right?
5. Planning all alone
Sometimes, it is better to plan all by yourself, but it is always better if you can get a second opinion on your decisions. Two heads are better than one as they say. When solo backpacking, you don’t have that second person to tackle your plans with.
6. Handling emergency situations
You cannot expect when an emergency will arise. That is why it is imperative that you have someone who can immediately respond to your needs at times like these. When backpacking alone, you are mostly all by yourself so when emergency cases like falling over a staircase or bleeding yourself, you have to treat your wounds all by yourself.
One of the best way to deal with emergency situations is to remember the emergency number of the country you are traveling to ahead of time.
7. Getting concerns from family members
Your family is the first person to worry about your safety. If you come from a family-oriented family, then the challenge is doubled. It is your responsibility to assure them that you are safe and to keep them updated on your activities to minimize their worries.
8. Dealing with unexpected situations
When you are traveling, you will surely be dealing with unexpected situations. However, dealing with it alone could be challenging. You will have to think about what you should do to get through a specific situation and not rely on anyone else for judgment. A lot of people could not handle the pressure of this scenario.
9. Talking with strangers
Talking with strangers may be a challenge, especially if you will be backpacking to a different country where locals speak a different language that you do not understand. It could be hard for you to communicate with the townsfolk. Although it would be fun meeting new people, it could also be a challenge since you might feel uncomfortable and cautious when dealing with them.
10. Lack of physical and emotional support
If you travel alone, you do not have anyone who can give you physical support in case you are already tired from all the walking and activities that you are doing. No one might hold you or carry you in case your legs are about to give way. Emotional support may also be lacking so, in this case, you’ll have no one to rely on but yourself.
11. Getting lost
Getting lost is something that is a great challenge, even for experienced travelers. However, if you are traveling by yourself, you will need to have a good sense of direction and possess great navigation skills. Otherwise, you may find yourself getting lost and stuck alone in a place that you do not know.
12. Dealing with dorms
In most cases, those people traveling alone would prefer staying in dorms than in hotels. This way, they can save money. For your situation, it will be challenging to deal with the travelers who are also staying in the same dorm room as you. It will also be a challenge to use the toilet, most especially since it is a commonly shared area. The room itself may be untidy, and the presence of mosquitoes could be possible, too.
These are only some of the challenges you may be facing when you will travel alone. However, you can surely overcome such challenges. Preparation is the key!