Travelling solo can be a daunting prospect. You may ask yourself will solo travel be safe? Will I spend all my time alone? What if something goes wrong? The truth is you never really know what’s around the corner, but you never will unless you push yourself out of that comfort zone and go for it!
All I can say is every single time I have thrown myself into another country, usually woefully unprepared, I have met the most amazing people. I’ve lost count of how many times a complete stranger, often another traveller, has helped me out when I’ve been in a bit of a pickle in some random place. From a helpful nurse during a serious bout of food poisoning in South East Asia to borrowing mosquito repellent in Central America, I’ve always found kind and generous people everywhere I go.
My favourite travel story
One time I remember in particular was after travelling solo around Australia, NZ and a spur of the moment trip to Fiji back in 2014. On a sunset tube cruise on a small island off the coast of Fiji on one of my last nights of the trip I’d had a few too many cocktails and managed to drop my waterproof camera into the ocean in a remote bay in the middle of nowhere. This wasn’t just a camera, in the days before cloud back up this was the main source of photos for my entire trip. My encounter with a pod of 400 wild Dolphins in Kaikoura New Zealand, snorkelling for the first time in tropical waters on the Great Barrier reef and my first ever dive in Fiji including a snap of a sleeping shark and friendly green turtle. I was most upset that I wouldn’t be able to share these moments with my family when I go back home.
The next morning I decided I had to go and have a look to see if I could find it, a guy called Rob and a Californian couple I’d been diving with the day before heard my plight and insisted on joining me- thank heavens! I wasn’t the strongest swimmer and certainly couldn’t dive down to the bottom even if I had of miraculously spotted it.
So we hiked through the Jungle, leaving the safety of the hotel grounds, to the spot I had been the night before. We were met by a jagged coral beach and rough waters. We persevered in the vague hope of finding a tiny yellow camera, that had been in the tidal sea currents overnight amidst a massive coral reef. No chance! But lo and behold around 30 mins in, long after I had given up and was just looking at the pretty fish, one of my new best friends (a pretty good free-diver as it happened) appeared with the camera!
To this day I can’t believe we found it AND it still works now! Photos and memories saved I couldn’t thank those relative strangers enough and will keep the kindness they showed with me forever. I hope one day they read this and know how much it meant to me. It taught me that even if you are travelling solo, you are never really alone with other people around.
This is just one of many stories I could tell about the kindness of strangers. Go with an open mind and plenty of time for others and you can’t go wrong!