I used to be afraid of traveling alone. There were so many reasons that held me back: I didn’t know if I would make friends or not, I couldn’t find good places to stay, and worst of all—it scared me that something would happen to me while I was away. It wasn’t just because of these things either; it was also because my parents didn’t want me to go somewhere without them. But over the years they eventually came around (thanks mom and dad!) and now when they ask where I want to go next on this trip or what kind of food we should cook tonight there is always an answer ready in my head… “I don’t know yet! Let’s just see what happens! That way we can learn something new together! Join me on my adventure as we talk about my solo trip to Vietnam.
Before I left, I promised myself that I would only be homesick for 48 hours.
Before I left, I promised myself that I would only be homesick for 48 hours.
I thought about all the people who had traveled to foreign countries alone before me and how they could win over new cultures with grace and ease. There was a few negative thoughts about my solo trip to Vietnam. I remembered how much fun I had in places like Spain and Italy, where there were other American students studying abroad and plenty of other English speakers around. How would Vietnam compare? What if everyone here hated Americans? Also, what if they could tell just by looking at me that I was an outsider? How about they didn’t have McDonald’s?
It took a few days before these fears faded away and gave way to excitement—not only because it meant that my fears weren’t justified, but also because this trip taught me more than anything else has: don’t worry about what other people think; don’t worry about what you are doing; don’t worry about how you look; don’t worry about what you are eating; don’t worry about what you are drinking—just do it!
If you need it done, do it yourself.
You can do it. If you need something done, do it yourself.
Vietnam is a country of hardworking people and it was very rare that someone would offer help without being asked first. If I needed something done (such as laundry or food delivered), the response was usually “I am busy right now but I can help you later” or “how much should I charge?” or “you can do it yourself; this is your vacation!” But if I offered them money up front they would almost always accept the job and then come back with excuses why things are taking longer than expected. It got frustrating after a while and I decided not to bother asking anymore since most of these tasks could be easily accomplished by myself within an hour or two at most.
Getting lost is an inevitable part of traveling.
- You’re going to get lost.
- The best part is that you might meet some really great people along the way, who will help you find your way. I met a guy in Saigon who had lived in New York City for years and was back in Vietnam for a visit. He was so kind and happy that he wanted to show me around his city, even though we didn’t speak the same language at all. He took me through places where tourists never go, showed me all of his favourite spots, and then took time out of his day just because he wanted to do something nice for someone else. That was one of my favourite moments from my trip!
- I loved getting lost because it allowed me to learn more about local culture than if I had just followed a map or schedule tightly throughout my trip. Whenever something would go wrong (like missing a bus), or when someone would tell me how much they loved their country or city (which happened quite often), I felt like they were sharing a bit of themselves with me – which made our interactions feel deeper than just small talk between two strangers passing each other on the street.*I learned so much about myself while traveling solo because whenever something went wrong (like missing a bus), or when someone would tell me how much they loved their country or city (which happened quite often), I felt like they were sharing a bit of themselves with me – which made our interactions feel deeper than just small talk between two strangers passing each other on the street.*
There’s no need to feel guilty about not wanting to socialize.
It’s okay to want to be alone.
It’s okay to want to stay in your room and read a book, or go out by yourself for dinner and drinks.
There is no need to feel bad about not wanting to socialize all the time. You don’t owe anyone anything, including making friends with people who are not interesting enough (in your opinion) or doing things you don’t like just because other people are doing it too.
Not knowing what the day will bring is a good thing.
Not knowing what the day will bring is a good thing. While planning my trip to Vietnam, I found that it was very difficult to find information about how many days we could spend in each city, or even how long it would take us to get from one place to another. This meant that every day turned out different than expected and we were able to experience lots of new things along the way!
I also learned how important it is not to plan too much because then you won’t be able to enjoy the journey as well as the destination itself. When visiting Vietnam for only 12 days, there are so many things you want see and do (and eat!). But if you try too hard at planning everything out before hand, then there may not be enough time for spontaneous travel experiences such as taking boat rides through floating villages or hiking through rice paddies at sunset
It’s okay to go against the grain and do things your own way.
You can’t please everyone, and nor can you do everything. You have to make choices about what you want to do and what you don’t want to do, as well as what you can and cannot do with your time.
It’s okay if the schedule of your trip doesn’t line up with other people’s itineraries; it doesn’t mean that they won’t enjoy themselves, or that they’re having a better time than you are (unless they’re on one of those ultra-exclusive VIP tours). It also doesn’t mean that by going against the grain, doing things your own way, and deciding in the moment according to what feels right for YOU is somehow wrong or bad – because it isn’t!
You learn more about yourself when there’s no one else around to distract you.
What I learned about myself:
- They forced you to be alone with your thoughts. When you venture into the world on your own, there’s no one else around to distract you. You have time, space, and freedom all to yourself in a way that you can never achieve if someone else is with you at all times.
- You have time to reflect on your life and make changes. Part of the reason why people travel solo is so they can explore new places and cultures while also reflecting upon their lives back home. This often leads them back home feeling refreshed by what they experienced abroad; however, it also gives them insight into how they want their lives back home to look like moving forward as well – whether this involves accepting certain realities or making changes based on new knowledge gained through travel experiences!
The best things happen when you least expect them.
You can’t predict how you will react to new things.
One of the most important things I learned was that being open-minded and willing to meet others makes all the difference. With a smile and an open mind, you can find common ground with people you would never expect. It’s easy to find common ground when you are open-minded.
I met so many interesting people in Vietnam who did not speak English but we managed to bond over music or food. I learned about herbal medicine from a local woman who showed me where she collected leaves for her treatments, we talked about our favorite foods, and eventually she invited me into her home for tea! Another person I stayed with helped me navigate my way through town by sharing what his friends thought were good restaurants nearby (and they were!) In both cases I didn’t talk much but being able to communicate enough via body language made them feel more comfortable opening up to me which in turn allowed for us both getting new experiences out of each interaction!
Traveling alone can be a scary concept, but it is important to try new things on your solo trip to Vietnam.
When you take a solo trip to Vietnam, you will learn a lot about yourself. You will meet new people and learn about their culture, which will allow you to appreciate your own culture more.
You will also learn how to appreciate your own friends and family more because if you were traveling with them right now, they could not provide the same level of interaction as someone who was living in that country for an extended period or permanently as they do every day.
The lesson here is you really can do anything you want if you put your mind to it. Taking a solo trip to Vietnam can be one of them. The world is there for us to explore and experience new things, so why not start now?