Solo Travel. Sure, I’ve travelled. Not so much that I’ve been to everywhere, but more than the usual person, I reckon. But all my travels, local and international, have been with friends, family, or my special someone. I have travelled with strangers, (then we turned into friends after) but we still went as a group. On April, I’ll be going off ALL BY MYSELF (*cue song*) in a faraway land. Okay, not so far, but in a country where English isn’t the primary language.
Ah, Taiwan. Street food culture, temples, museums, art.
Since Taiwan is predominantly a Chinese speaking country, and it’s unlikely that I have enough mastery of Chinese in a month, I have to say that the language barrier might be a problem. Granted, a lot of the stores, public transport, and other things have their English translation (or so I heard) with them. There will be difficulties. My foremost thought is how to order food from a street vendor. Pointing and sign language will have to be enough.
I’ve been researching heavily on how I can go to everywhere I want to go in such a short amount of time. I’ve made several iterations of my probable itineraries. From shifting tourists sites from one day to the next, to scratching out a place I want to go to because it’s simply not possible with the amount of time I have on my hands, it’s definitely a challenge. But making my own itineraries have a certain joy in them. I like doing it. It’s like a puzzle I need to solve to get the most of my time and money. if you’re interested on knowing how I make my own itinerary, I wrote about it here.
Then there’s the issue of me being a “helpless” female. Hell, I sometimes get paranoid walking alone at night. Although, we have to consider that MNL’s crime rates are definitely a lot higher than some of our neighboring countries. Doesn’t help that there have been news of EJKs on the street. So long as I don’t act blindly and stupid, I think I’ll be alright. Taiwan’s crime rate is even lower than Singapore’s! Solo travel there should be relatively safe.
My minor concern is whether or not all my stuff (camera, tripod, skin care, clothes, etc) would fit AND keep at less than 7kg. I kind of don’t want to check in my luggage, but if I must, I will. After all, I only need to buy my additional luggage at the least 4 hours before my actual flight. And I pack a few nights or at least the night before, so I can prepare for the “worst”. They said that Taiwan is very strict with the check in/carry on luggage. Unlike the PH, you can get away with a heavier load or a bigger bag, or even multiple bags as a carry on USUALLY on flights. However, Taiwan follows strictly the ONE carry on and BELOW 7 kgs. If I bring my long tripod, I’d need to check it in. Sad, but those are them shots at international travel.
It may seem like I’m complaining, but I’m actually just really nervous excited for my trip. I’m trying to be as practical and prepared as I can be. Fumbling around and getting lost, one sure way to get me annoyed. Wasting my time and wasting money, another thing. But those are part of the experience, yes? Solo travel can be hard. you have no one to rely on by yourself. But there’s something you can get from it which you can’t with other people. Complete freedom.
Solo Travel means freedom of having your time on your hands, going where you want to go, eating where you want to eat, whenever you want. That’s part of being alone. But I think it’s one of the best parts!
Watch out for Part 2 of this Personal Travel post, where I talk mostly about my research in my itinerary. For Part 3, I plan on talking about packing and getting physically ready for solo travel.