I have confession to make. Here it goes. I’m in love The UK and traveled there several times. However, I’ve always traveled with a friend or family member. In August 2007, as a graduation (graduated with a Master of Science, Management degree) and birthday gift, I solo traveled to Edinburgh, Scotland to experience the Edinburgh International Fringe Festival. Was I nervous? Yes, I was. And it surprised me. Why? Because it wasn’t my first trip to Scotland, but it was my first time traveling alone.
Rather than book a hotel room, I chose to stay in a hostel. I was supposed to stay in a 6 bed mixed dorm room. However, due to an influx of guests, I was bumped to an 8 bed mixed dorm room.
Before I left for my trip, some of my co-workers teased me about staying in a hostel because of a horror film about a group of people who were terrorized while staying in a hostel.
I also don’t think they believed me when I told them I would travel by myself. Their doubts gave me more courage to travel alone.
Getting to Edinburgh via Heathrow was a trip in and of itself. Why? Because I missed my flight to Edinburgh and had to get another ticket. The ticket agent at Heathrow wasn’t too thrilled he had to issue me another airline ticket. Oh well…
I was grateful to meet people who helped me navigate the ginormous airport.
Once I arrived in Edinburgh I was taken aback by the number of people who attend the Edinburgh International Fringe Festival. Furthermore, I was surprised at the number of expats living in Edinburgh. Some of the people who worked at the hostel were from the U.S., Canada, and other countries.
Why Solo Travel Will Make You Want to Become an Expat
During my solo travel, I learned how we may become codependent in our lives without even knowing it.
Traveling alone strengthened my communication skills as I couldn’t rely on another person.
Most importantly, I learned why people become expats. Here are a few reasons:
- You get to experience a new culture.
- You get to learn more about yourself.
- You get to learn another language and have conversations with people in their native language.
- You get to make new friends.
- You get to start a new chapter in your life.
- You gain a better understanding of a country and its people.
- You gain patience.
- You gain confidence and self-esteem.
- You gain more respect for yourself and others.
- You learn to accept help.
- You become more forgiving.
- You become more flexible.
- You experience the kindness of strangers.
To become an expat, it helps if you’re open-minded.
Don’t be afraid to try new foods or customs.
You may find that you enjoy them. Also, you can’t allow others to talk you out of it.
Let’s face it; family and friends mean well. However, if they’re not open to new experiences, they may try to convince you not to leave.
If you feel moving abroad is the right option for you, do it.
Solo Travel Gets You Out of Your Comfort Zone
My trip to Edinburgh, Scotland was fabulous!
I met many people from around the world, like China and Australia.
I blended in so well that a retail service rep from a fashion store asked me if I wanted to open a credit card. I said, “Thank you, but I’m from The States.” As I walked out of the store, I thought, I could live here. I’m familiar with the country and its history. I also feel at home. Maybe I could move abroad.
Don’t be afraid to become an expat!
You have an opportunity to learn about others and yourself.
You may even release any prejudices and preconceived notions you learned throughout the years. You may become a better version of yourself.
Over to you. Did you solo travel? Did your experience make you become an expat? Let me know in the comments below.