Afterthoughts… Solo Traveling And Making New Friends.

By (sharon loh)

Even while I’m penning this down, just a day after returning from my first rendezvous as a solo traveler, I’m still very much stuck in a daze. It felt as though time flew pass way too quickly.

This was easily one of the most memorable trip I’ve taken, simply because there were plenty of first-times for me in this trip, most of which were bucket-list items.

It was my first time traveling alone; first time visiting Beijing China (the last time I visited China was close to 15 years ago); first time climbing The Great Wall; first time bunking in with 5 other females in a hostel.

In that event, the main thing that got my excitement pumping the most, was probably the experience of traveling solo. The thrill of independently relying on my own plans, guts and intuition. To be honest, the excitement of exploring definitely surpassed the fear of being alone.

The biggest hurdle for me however, was not the fact that I was in a foreign land per se, but rather, having to dine alone. I have always associated food with the camaraderie around me, so having to eat alone in a bustling restaurant surrounded by noise and chatter, was quite an interesting experience.

Nevertheless, one of my key takeaways from this experience would be – never be afraid to ask for help.

Throughout the trip, I spoke to a handful of locals (a good 50 maybe), mostly on reaffirming directions, as well as getting extra hands to have my picture taken (can’t just rely wholly on selfie mode). Well… I’m thick skin like that.

Perhaps it was my presence of being alone, or maybe because I was a lone female, bluntly put like that. The willingness to help clearly superseded my expectations – none rejected my quest and some even went to the extend of walking me to my next destination. Thank you!

The entire experience eventually changed my perception of how I used to stereotype the Chinese – rude, rowdy and loud. Plus, Beijing was definitely safer than what I initially presumed and everyone was rather civilized all in all. On that account, I apologize for my previously unverified opinions.

The other part of my trip that was truly memorable was being able to make new friends, especially my temporary-roomies. We not only shared past traveling experiences but also a whole lot on cultural exchanges. It was really quite fascinating to hear how things are at the other side of the world.

A special shout-out to two really down to earth Isreali girls that I met. We spend hours and hours talking about our life, the Jewish culture, alongside some of the best travel experiences that we have had. Straying off topic – the one country …read more


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