Confessions of a First Time Solo Female Traveler

Jun 22, 2020


Confessions of a First Time Solo Female Traveler

I've been wanting to solo travel since I was in my early 20's but for some "random" work or personal reasons, I couldn't go. Fast forward in my late 20’s - it still did not happen. I've been traveling across the Philippines and outside the country but it's always been with family or friends. I just couldn’t brush the idea off my mind all these years and even kept on telling my self that I should at least do it once before I bid my 20’s goodbye.


5 weeks before I turned 30, I packed my bags and went on my first solo trip. I was freakin’ nervous! Going on this trip means going out of my comfort zone 100%. I had a lot of questions - Will I be okay? What if something bad happens to me? Will I be able to make friends? Will I be able to talk to people? Will I make it back home alive? and the list goes on. If you know me personally, you’d ask me if I’m sure about what I’m gonna do LOL I’m always so shy and timid around new people. I don’t talk unless the other person starts talking to me first and gee! I am so bad with directions. It was super scary but I know It was something that I need to do.


I can still remember how I felt while checking-in and lining up at the immigration in Mactan Airport - my hands were uncontrollably shaking I could barely write anything on my departure card. My knees are as soft as spaghetti noodles, my heart felt like it will jump out of my chest anytime. Can you imagine how anxious I was?


Confessions of a First Time Solo Female Traveler

A quick backstory..


My last travel abroad before going solo was with a friend who also happened to be my manager. We were heading to China for a quarterly work meeting. It was her first time traveling outside the country so we decided to go to Hong Kong first for a few days before going to Beijing. We got stopped at the immigration, they took us to a room and got questioned by some immigration officers. To cut the story short, we got it sorted and we were allowed to board. Whew! We were so close to getting offloaded.


Confessions of a First Time Solo Female Traveler


I booked my tickets just two months before D-day and trust me, I researched like crazy! I will be doing things on my own so I wanted to make sure I have everything that I need. First, all the possible things that will be asked from me before departure I got them all printed and filed neatly in a plastic envelope - outward and inward plane tickets, accommodation booking confirmation, travel itinerary, and proof that I am employed (and will not go TNT when I’m already out of the country haha) like your company ID and Certificate of employment.


I created my itinerary as detailed as possible though I know I won't be following it. I still work full time while traveling thus my time to go out and explore will always depend on how busy I get that day. Would you believe the officer asked me where I'm going while scanning my itinerary from top to bottom like I'm having an oral exam? haha, Of course, I know it by heart since I planned it carefully but still, I was not expecting that part at all. I'll probably write another post about some tips based on the first-hand experience to avoid getting offloaded at the Philippine Immigration since I get a lot of questions related to this.


Confessions of a First Time Solo Female Traveler
Fresh from a 13-hour bus ride 💀


The plan was to move places on a weekend since I’ll be more flexible and don’t need to be in front of my computer all the time. I looked into other possible modes of transportation I can take aside from taking a plane ride or whether or not I can take a bus or train to move to another area. So, do you think I was ready after all the research and planning? Nope. There are a lot of things that nobody will tell you about.


Confessions of a First Time Solo Female Traveler


Southeast Asia is on top of the list as an incredibly safe place to backpack and travel even as a solo female traveler. I started in Thailand and stayed for 22 days then headed to Cambodia and Vietnam before heading back to the Philippines. I had long layovers so I still had the chance to explore Macau a bit on my way to Thailand and an almost 24-hour layover in Singapore on my way back home.


I stayed at hostels ‘cos numero uno, it’s cheaper than staying at hotels or Airbnb’s. As long as it’s comfortable, clean, and safe I’m all good. Another reason is that I wanted to see if I could actually survive and meet new people there. Honestly, it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I’ve met a lot of new people that are also traveling by themselves. I don’t even remember how many times I said “Hi, where are you from?” or “It’s nice to meet you!” On my first day, I was eating meals alone but the next day I’m already out exploring and partying with my new found friends. Hearing other people’s experiences and talking about things and common interests is truly amazing.


Confessions of a First Time Solo Female Traveler


I’d book an all-girls room as much as possible but as I said, I don’t always follow my itinerary so I’d end up canceling the hostel bookings I made prior due to some schedule adjustments. Some other times I stayed in a mixed dorm that I paid the entire stay for (never pay for the entire stay lol lesson learned). Since people at hostels come and go, there were nights that I have the entire dorm room to myself, sometimes I’ll be the only girl left in the room along with 4 or 5 guys. It was rather slightly uncomfortable than scary and a little bit annoying when they all start snoring. Thank God for earplugs 💤


Confessions of a First Time Solo Female Traveler

Some days you’ll be by yourself and I’m telling you, it can get lonely. I’ve read about this a lot while I was still planning my trip. Who would have thought that shit gets real? I only traveled for 6 weeks but l felt that especially during meal times and I'm always like “I wish my friends were here” LOL


At some point, I found myself downloading dating apps like Bumble and Tinder. I mean why not? Char. I am all by myself and it wouldn’t hurt to meet other people that are also traveling or meet locals or whatever as long as you’re careful. Tinder doesn’t always mean hooking-up. I know it has that reputation but it will entirely depend on what your intention is haha! Come on, I’m being honest here. (Mom, I hope you’re not reading this 😂)


I started using those halfway through my trip and it took me three attempts to meet up with someone haha! It’s just not my thing. While I was in Phnom Pehn, I was chatting with this guy I forgot where he’s from LOL he wanted to go to a local bar but I wasn’t sure if I want to meet him so I told him I bought a ticket for The Avengers midnight screening and used it as an excuse and guess what he said? "I’ll go watch the movie with you." Unfortunately, he could no longer get a ticket so we ended up not meeting at all. Well, that went well for me 😏


Confessions of a First Time Solo Female Traveler


The only person that I met up with was so into trying local foods so we met up at a night market in Cambodia. It so happens he’s also heading to my next destination. I'm glad I didn’t spend my 30th birthday alone otherwise I’d cry haha but I still ended up crying because I got my phone stolen. Yes, on my freaking birthday and still got a week left before I'm heading home. Imagine being in a foreign country without a phone where you do everything - work, mobile banking, book a grab, and whatnot? Thanks to that person wherever he is right now for taking care of me till we went on our separate ways.


Confessions of a First Time Solo Female Traveler

That 6-week trip was "life-changing". I did so many things for the first time. I met a lot of new people. I broke out of my shell. I learned a lot of lessons. It was liberating. Things may not always go as planned and the possibility of something bad to happen is always there but I'm so glad I took that trip. Out of all those people I've met, not a single one has said they regretted traveling solo. I think the only thing I regretted is not doing it sooner so if you've been thinking about traveling solo, plan that trip now and book that ticket after this pandemic ☺




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Confessions of a First Time Solo Female Traveler

Confessions of a First Time Solo Female Traveler

4 comments

  1. Replies
    1. Thumbs up na. Haha Ako gibasa, nindot man diay ka musuwat. Nasuya kos imo travel. Hehe

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    2. Hahaha wala jud ni appear ang emoji. Thank you oi! Pag travel na nya puhon mo layas c Rona 😂

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