Dear readers and adventurers from all over the world. First of all, a huge thank you for your feedback on my article “Travelling alone when you are a girl”. Your comments and emails were generous and your stories touched me. What a joy to share and receive in return, it is a magical feeling that I could not describe with words powerful enough.
Many of you have rightly noted that, in order to travel alone, preparation and mind are essential. That is why, through this article – which is finally intended to be a continuation of the previous one – I will guide and help you in order to leave your uncertainties behind you definitively. I am not here to advise you on a particular style of travel, everyone does as they please. I’m just here to answer your questions and tell you, me, what my way of travelling is.
Age, a real barrier?
In your writings, I noticed that the question of age came up very often. Apparently, this criterion would mostly block you from going on an adventure. I do not think that age is a real barrier, except for countries where the majority is later. I am only 21 years old and, if I take into account the testimony of the people I have met on the road, I am barely given 17! Again, age does not matter. What must be taken into account first and foremost is the preparation and the mind. Indeed, the idea of facing a country and its language alone may sometimes seem frightening at first sight, but the anxiety quickly gives way to the confidence and habit you will develop as you travel. I really insist on the point of preparation because a botched trip can be a daredevil.
Before each departure, I invite you to buy a guide, not of the country, but of its customs! We can sometimes be surprised by the habits of the locals and it is not on the spot, in front of them, that we will have to tell you about it. The most well-known example is obviously the wearing of the veil in Muslim countries. Don’t you dare go out in skirts and tank tops, you would be very disrespectful to them, but again, this is just one example to illustrate my point. If it seemed obvious to you, go with the idea that in countries that are not Western, you are totally breaking your lifestyle to adopt that of the host country! But after all, that’s part of the reason we travel.
Travelling costs money!
Be careful, an annoying subject: let’s talk about budget! Your writings have sometimes made me smile because a lot of you obviously think I’m an annuitant wherever I am the lucky jackpot winner! I reassure you, I am neither one nor the other. I’m just a modest student who eats pasta every lunchtime to survive in university hell. In short, I don’t have a dime! I only earn a modest student salary, but when you want, you can do so much more! This salary is not enough for me to go to the other side of the world, so I manage to accumulate other small jobs! I’m not saying it’s easy, but that’s the only way I can save money and when I find myself contemplating a landscape at the other end of the world, I can assure you that it’s worth all the overtime on Earth!
Impossible, you might say? It’s that you haven’t looked hard enough!
As for the accommodation on site, no secrets. It takes me a long time to select the inns. You have no idea how many hours I can spend analyzing everything! It’s simple: I want the best for the lowest price. Impossible, you might say? It’s that you haven’t looked hard enough! Don’t rely on absolute comfort, a delicious breakfast, nothing beats a room that smells like terracotta and an orange juice squeezed yourself. There is no mystery, if you are too demanding, you will never be satisfied, neither with the price nor with the comfort. When travelling alone, it is the location of the hostel that should be favoured, as well as its clientele! It is often there that we meet the most unforgettable people!
How to cross a country?
I don’t know why, but that’s what intrigued you the most. I’m not sure what to tell you exactly because I think I’m travelling like most of you, mainly by bus and plane if the journey is too long and dangerous. The bus is the best way to get around. Not only do you see the landscape, but I believe it is the cheapest and most user-friendly way to get around. It’s amazing how you can have improbable conversations on a bus! However, if I can give you some advice for those of you who travel alone, avoid night travel.