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Travelling Alone

doug1So you decide to travel around the world on your own, how do you prepare for it? In my case I did not have much preparation time as leaving the job, selling the car and moving out of my house took up all my time and I ended up packing my rucksack at 3 am before leaving the next day!

I was lucky, however, as I staggered my world trip with a month back at home in between travelling in Europe and going on to South East Asia, Australia and New Zealand. This cleverly allowed me to re-assess my packing skills for the second half of my trip and I certainly became more ruthless. 

Gone are the days where you need to pack enough clothes to last your entire trip and if you are going to warmer climates then a couple of t shirts and shorts are likely to suffice. Buy anything else en route if required. Space in your rucksack is vital. You do not want to be trawling the streets of an unknown city in the 35 degree heat and humidity, looking for your accommodation, with your massive rucksack on your back.

Don't take 3 books to read to keep you going. Take one in your hand luggage and then either buy or swap books in hotels, hostels or second hand books shops or stalls along the way. You will find them everywhere - from Madrid to Chiang Mai. If you are going to multiple destinations then also buy your travel books en route - its very easy to pick up cheaper used ones on the way, or of course use online travel guides - although it feels good to have a paper copy in my hand! Or another option is a Kindle.

rucksack1Travelling on your own can be lonely at times so, before you set off, make sure you are happy with your own company. Yes, it can be easy to strike up conversation with friendly travellers at the next table to you in a bar, or on a train or bus. While this could lead to a really good night out with them, swapping tales of travelling, recommending places to each other and the exchanging emails/Facebook details for the sharing of those all important drunken photos to document your travels, be aware that this may be all it will be. They will not always be travelling in the same direction or indeed want a travel companion for a few days. However if it works, even better.

Also good to note is that there is no one to argue with as to what direction is best or how to find that famous landmark. It's all down to you, no one else to blame. However, there is also no one to put the sun cream your back, no one to take your photo (lots of arm length shots), no one to leave your bag with at the bar when you need to go to the toilet or when one of you does a quick recce on where to stay. And probably more importantly, no one to make sure you get safely home to your hotel or hostel after that drunken night out. It's all down to you, which may be scary or may be exactly what you are looking for.

Don't let me put you off though, these are just some of the things to be aware of. Travelling on your own is, I believe, one of the most amazing and potentially life changing things to do ever. Very empowering. There is no one to stop you doing what you want. You get to choose where, when, how and why.