Traveling alone is one of the most rewarding adventures a person can experience, but going to a new place without familiar faces for comfort can be daunting. I am from the United States and recently moved to Australia on my own for a study abroad program. For me, this is an experience I’ve been dreaming of since I was sixteen. Although, in my dreams, I always imagine myself traveling with one or two of my best friends to the land below.
Coming from a larger group of friends, I’m sure at least one or two of my friends will want to join this adventure with me. I eagerly tried to get a group locked out of the country with me as the due date drew closer. Of course, everyone cares, who doesn’t want to go to Australia? The fact is that some of my friends can’t afford their schedules or finances, or aren’t motivated enough to do all the paperwork to get there, or simply want to travel somewhere else. other places. I started to worry about the idea of doing this risky project on my own. I’ve never been away from my family for more than two months, have always had close friends around and a great community that has supported me.
I worry about traveling the world without anyone knowing me well but have to accept the fact that it is the only way for me to fulfill my dream. At first I felt really scary but as I started to swallow the truth, it became less scary and more powerful. I feel independent and unique being one of the only people in my circle to go abroad “alone”. Everyone else has a friend or group of friends joining them on their show and I’ll go blind.
Before departing, I was both nervous and excited. Leaving friends and family at the airport is emotional but makes me incredibly grateful to the people who care about me so deeply. Taking off from the states and watching my town get smaller and smaller then disappear into the clouds was eerie to know that this was the last time I’d seen it in about half a year. Despite the emotional feelings, I was pumped! I am finally on my way to my dream, which I have been saving and working hard for for the past 4 years.
When I arrived in Australia, I met the group I was going with and the people were very friendly from the start. Again, everyone is in the same position as you and everyone just wants to make friends. I’ve been in Sydney for a month now and feel as though I’ve found a group of friends that will last forever. I’ve been going through about a week where I’ve been struggling with adjusting to having no one around in Australia. While feeling frustrated or uncomfortable, I feel it’s best to talk and be vulnerable with the people you’ve met here. This is the only way for you to make genuine friendships that will leave you homesick. Traveling alone forces you to meet people you wouldn’t if you had a comfortable group of friends around.
I recommend trying new things with your new acquaintances and sticking with the experience. Talk and laugh about your experiences and connect with all the emotions you may be feeling. In addition to the people on your program, I recommend talking to and getting to know as many locals as possible. Whether it’s your new co-worker, the bartender at your favorite coffee shop, or anyone you meet along the way. Australians are friendly people and often open to new friendships, you may have to step out of your comfort zone to find them.
I’ve only been here a month and traveling alone here has taught me a lot. Putting yourself out of your comfort zone can only be effective in your growth as an individual. Your sense of independence will grow as you travel alone, navigate a new city, and meet new people. In the end, I’m grateful that I made this journey on my own. My adventure is entirely my own. I forced myself out of my comfort zone. It was a bit annoying at first, but I just found it beneficial in other ways.
It’s completely normal and understandable to feel fear or anxiety while traveling alone, but allow yourself to nurture those feelings into courage and inspiration. You are about to embark on one of the greatest journeys of your life. How impressive are you going about it yourself? I promise, the stress is real but worth it, you will become a more independent, strong and confident person and will be so proud of things you never thought you could achieve!