I am a 27 year old female planning a round the world trip. When i planned it initially i was going with my friend but she is now desperate to leave for her trip and because i cannot finish my Msc until March next year i have to wait. so the first part of my trip may be solo! at least this affords me more time to plan and save!!
My plan so far (with room for improvement!) is to start in Japan and travel around for 3-4 weeks, fly to Shanghai and spend a few days seeing cities nearby e.g. suzhou, as i don't think shanghai will appeal after being in Tokyo! i am then planning to move onto hong kong, uncertain how long for. After this i will fly to bangkok and plan to spend about a month in thailand then onto singapore (1-2 nights?) and bali (1 week?), after which i plan to meet my friend in australia, travelling around for about 6 weeks then onto fiji (1-2 weeks), new zealand (approx 1 month) and then south america (approx 3 months) - specifically chile, peru, ecuador, argentina and fly out of Rio back home. Mainly, I am budgeting for 12 months so timescales in each place are flexible.
I really want to be in Japan for cherry blossom season so want to be there for beginning of April...
My mum is concerned about me travelling on my own so has suggested coming with me until i meet my friend in australia. i have some other friends that will possibly be in thailand at the same time as me so i will meet up with them for a short time. I am wary of travelling on my own, especially starting off in Japan and China (not massive backpacker destinations i gather) though i think it would be great to travel following my own desires. i think the main thing that concerns me is not having someone to share things with along the way, and spend evenings with, and of course safety concerns. i wonder if anyone has any advice about this? i have been checking out the WWOOF programme and looking at couchsurfing etc but not sure whether to travel with my mum in japan and china and go on from there on my own, hopefully meeting friends in thailand and of course meeting up with another friend in australia for the rest of the trip. i just don't want to limit my experiences by having my mum in tow, as much as i love her!!
any ideas, advice on my itinary and travelling alone in these places would be really appreciated!
If you stay at hostels you'll have an built-in way to meet new people. Even if you dont stay at hostels I would go visit a few, check out the lobby area for information on cheap tours and events. You're bound to make a few friends.
As for your mother, she is going to be concerned. But at some point you have to put her feelings out of the way and do this trip the way you want to. Don't bring her along to appease her. I'm not sure where you are from, but you can get into just as much trouble in your home country as you can on the road. She will learn to deal with it.
Don't let guilt trips get in the way of one of the best experiences of your life!
I went on my own and although I am male I never had any problems meeting people! Infact you would have to go pretty far out of your way to avoid meeting people, especially if you are staying in hostels.
I finished in Japan and was only going to stay for 10 days but loved it so much i was there for nearly a month in the end. I just stayed until I had no money left!
I stayed here
and made quite a few friends there that I went out on day trips/nights out. They have their own small bar where everyone goes too so its very social. The great thing about going on you're own and staying in hostels is that you can easily do thing on your own if you want to go off for a bit but there are always groups of people wanting to see the same things if you didnt want to go on your own you can just tag along with them. They quite often organise trips too. Everyone is generally in the same frame of mind.
Sounds like a great trip, I pretty much went most of the places you are going, apart from South America, so if you want any ideas/advice I am more than happy to help. Kind of make me feel like I am going again!
Thanks for your replies. I think i was more concerned about Japan and China with having the impression that these are not so big on the hostel/traveller vibe! Everyone has said that it is ridiculously easy to meet people in Thailand, Oz and NZ!
It sounds like its probably not necessary to join organised group tours from STA or wherever, or join WWOOF unless for the reason of experiencing way of living just for the sake of being around people?
I have decided to break it to my mum that I want to travel solo, and just as my brother said the more I am planning the more I am getting into the idea, its just taking some time to get my head around, especially as it now looks as though i won't be meeting my friend in Oz afterall as she is going to be too far ahead me; so a whole year solo, apart from those i meet along the way!!
as far as tips go, ian do you think there is more i should try and see in china? where are your top spots for Japan? Did you get the ferry from tokyo to shanghai? should i add in laos, cambodia and vietnam while in south east asia? now thinking of cutting out bali and just flying straight from singapore to cairns or sydney...
I'm in the same boat as you are, just that my mom is used to me going off on my own. But it has been no more than a month in one country so far on my own.
So for the coming world trip I suggested to her to meet up somewhere in between the trip.
As for meeting people along the road, I'm not a very social person but found it easy to get contact with other travellers or locals, especially if you're staying in hostels. It's nice to know that you can spend the day with others but you don't have to.
U can contact me if you are on your way stopping by Singapore on your 2 nights stopover in Singapore
I have free privileges to enter the limited places of interest here in Singapore for free such as the Singapore Zoo, Night Safari, Science Centre, Jurong Bird Park, Singapore Flyer etc. There's also lots of cheap backpackers hotel which i am able to recommend in Singapore, as well as the variety of food which i can drive u and ur family around to savour.
Hats off to you for having such goals and dreams to travel alone around the world. I myself is a bit hesitant even though i am a male.
Nevertheless, it is always a warming welcome to listen to a fellow RTW traveller sharing his/her experiences of globetrotting.
I'm so excited to read about your planned trip!!
Just my quick 2 cents regarding my own travelling experience:
I planned a 4 month solo backpacking trip around South and Southeast Asia this past summer. I had it all worked out, tickets purchases, itinerary planned (albeit loosely, as it should be when planning a trip!), and had worked up the nerve to go at it alone (I was 19 at the time). So, then, at the last second, my mom had a nervous fit about me going to India on my own, and she decided to come with me. I love her and we're great friends and get along great, but the fact is, when you are on a trip with your mother, as much fun as you may have, it still ends up being like the trips you took as a kid. Mom ends up being in charge, and makes it harder to go out and party with travel friends you make (and even in China, you WILL make travel friends. Stay in dorms, and you'll have no problem at all finding people just like you )
In all, I would have actually made alot more friends in India if my mom hadn't been there, and the parts of India I went to weren't even backpacker destinations. Besides that, I was alone all through Nepal, Vietnam, etc, and the only times I felt lonely were when I chose not to go out and find friends, and the only time I ever felt a safety concern was when I went into a bad part of town at night alone (don't do that!) In addition, you'll learn SO much about yourself, and open yourself up to so many new experiences... when you travel with friends, you're much less likely to meet other travellers, talk to locals, go outside your comfort zone, etc. Asia especially is incredibly safe, as long as you're level-headed and smart about things (not being flashy, being respectful of local culture, etc.) you should have absolutely no problem.
I travelled alone for 7 months, and I travelled with one of my best friends for a month.
I've noticed that when friends travel together they tend to stay in their own little bubble and view things from the outside. But when someone is travelling alone, they tend to throw themselves in headfirst.
In those 7 months "alone" I met more people than I had previously met in my entire life. When I was alone in australia and new zealand , I threw myself in 100%. I LIVED there. but when I met my friend in NZ for a month, I felt like I was visiting, I felt like an outsider. we would constantly talk about things back home, and how things were different. To be honest, it was kind of crappy compared to the rest of the trip.
I say go alone, it will change your life.