Wednesday, 24 June 2015

My experience of travelling solo

#Fiji, #Pacific, #Tropical, #Island, #sea, #beach, #travel

It was two years ago that I went on a 'proper' travelling trip. I've been on holidays and visited many places since, but it seems so long ago that I left everything to go and to see the world. When I was 21 I went on my first solo trip – I had just graduated from university and didn't really know what I was doing. I'd been working part-time in a shop and couldn't see myself getting a full-time job anytime soon. I decided that it was the right time to leave the country.

#travel, #selfie, #airplane
I was lucky enough to get accepted on a journalism internship abroad. I always thought journalism was something I would do and the chance to work at a national newspaper abroad (especially somewhere as exotic and faraway as Fiji) was something I couldn't resist. I applied for the position, had a telephone interview and was given a place. It was a spur of the moment thing, having seen online about a journalism placement and deciding straight away that I would give it a go. Fiji had always been on my bucketlist so it seemed like the perfect opportunity. As I wanted to explore Fiji's islands (you can find out more about it here) I booked a two week backpacker's tour, as well as a weeklong stopover in California, and soon I had my first big adventure planned.

It was soon all booked and I think people were worried that I had chosen to travel to one of the furthest possible places from here on my own, but it felt like something I had to do and I was so excited. 

Compared to a lot of people I met, I was on a relatively short travel experience, but having never travelled alone before I wasn't sure that I wanted to be away more than six weeks. 

It's true when people say you learn so much from travelling – you meet so many people and experience new things, that you can't really help but change and uncover more about yourself. I can be relatively shy so I had to to overcome this and I was able to get to know so many new people. I've also always been self-conscious, but I felt that the experience helped me with this as well. I know I shouldn't care what people think but I had never been someone to leave the house without makeup and living without straighteners was something I didn't want to think about… So obviously I packed my makeup bag – but I went the entire time without it. 

There's something about the travelling lifestyle and laidback way of life that everyone needs to experience for themselves. I spent two weeks in the middle of the ocean on isolated islands and had the most amazing time, and I got to really experience a world I knew nothing about when I worked at the Fiji Sun. Being cut off from my life in the UK really helped put things into perspective and made me realise what I really love and it was so refreshing to be away from the pressures of life at home. It was also a great opportunity to do things I never would have done before like abseiling and swimming with sharks. I loved being able to try new things and experience it all with so many amazing people.

I found being alone tricky at times and while I probably wouldn't travel alone again (I'll post my reasons soon!), I wouldn't have changed this trip.

Since this adventure I've managed to get a full-time job – a job I never thought I would have. It had always been my dream to work for a successful national magazine and I feel so lucky that I now actually work for one, but part of me is itching to get out and explore the world again. I suppose balancing working life with a lust for travel is something I'm always going to have to work around.

Have you travelled alone before? How did you find it?


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