My First Solo Adventure

I have always wanted to travel by myself since 2015. I always was capable of taking the trip but something held me back each time – I was shy (still am). I used to get excited, start the prep work and get down to drawing up the budget. But when it came to making the necessary payments I would freeze. I had everything in order and all that was left was clicking “Confirm Payment”.

Proceeds to click X in top right hand corner.

Being an introvert you find that a lot of paranoia kicks in at the prospect of travelling and meeting new people, carrying and maintaining a conversation with said people and worst of all, getting lost then mustering up the courage to ask, “Uuuummmm! Where the f*** am I?” It’s a real hindrance to some people and I never thought it would kill my vibe the way it did. Destinations I missed out on:

  • The Garden Route in South Africa
  • Namibia
  • Grahamstown in South Africa
  • Nyanga in Zimbabwe
  • Mozambique

I genuinely got cold feet.

January 2018 things changed. I needed to get away and I needed a destination that I knew would satisfy my hunger of travelling. My hunger was intense and I had to pick a local destination which didn’t require a lot of admin. Money wasn’t an object! I really had to satisfy the craving and holding myself back was no longer acceptable. I had been to Kariba on a house boat where I had memorable experiences, I embarked on a road trip to Troutbeck which is in the east of Zimbabwe so driving was not an option. The entire country was an option but where?

The trip was 3 years in the making (plus it was a birthday gift to myself) and I had to overcome my introverted nature to hit the road. It was difficult as this affected all my bookings, so I came up with a solution – beer. After a couple of beers the bookings flowed like the beer down my throat. I found a bargain on accommodation, an affordable bus and everything fell into place. I was embarking on my first trip as a solo traveller to Victoria Falls. No set activities, no itinerary, nothing to box me in.

So I travelled.

Many will struggle to understand the foundation of travelling by yourself. It’s difficult to understand when you are constantly surrounded by people and feeding off each other in a manner that creates an understanding. Some people need the numbers around them to enjoy the moments. They take solace in that and I wish I had their abilities. So when I looked at my friends and people I would have invited to this venture I could not find myself asking people to join me. Not to say I froze but more like I need this for me and only me will enjoy this. I enjoy my own company and I wanted the freedom to make impulsive decisions.

So I travelled.

I found that the freedom the trip gave me was therapeutic. Being able to do as I please when I pleased gave me the satisfaction I craved. I did what I wanted to do, I woke up when I wanted and I explored the city the best way I know how – by walking. I got lost multiple times. On one of my adventures I took an estranged turn looking for a tree (hear me out) and I ventured on seeing signs that were concerning – “Beware of wild animals” and “Please stay in your vehicle” (still with me?) – to name a few. I had one rule – I bump into an animal of any kind this exploration is over. A kilometre into my venture I came across a warthog and like all animals, it tried to square me up. I made eye contact with the beast as I tried to recall the minimal knowledge I had on warthogs. Fear wasn’t on the cards here, if anything I was winning this stare down. Unfortunately I had to break my stare when I realised there were more coming. How it called its crew was remarkable. I gave a strong glare across the road before I slowly backed up. Warthog 1 – 0 me.

I have a theory of all living creatures – where there is food, you’ll find its predator. For example, I met an American at a bar and he asked me if I knew this animal he had taken a picture of near his accommodation (it was a mongoose). I knew nothing of the animal which dampened the inquisitive tourist’s mood, however I provided a solution which he took with both arms. He got his answer and told me it was a mongoose that only ate poisonous snakes. I was thrilled that he found his answer. We high fived each other, proceeded to enjoy our beers and continued our conversation. Then I threw a curve ball at him, “If it’s a mongoose that only eats poisonous snakes, doesn’t that mean there are poisonous snakes where you are?” We laughed! We really had a good laugh before I saw reality flowing through him. He responded by saying, “S***” before re-joining his group. Oops! So when I came across the warthog I knew the predator wasn’t far off. Was I afraid of the warthog? Somewhat. Was the prospect of a predator being nearby scary? Oh ya!

Rolling solo was an out of this world experience. I’m not ready for the backpacker way of travelling but I’m taking lessons and working towards that level of travelling. I met a few backpackers and they seemed to enjoy their means of accommodation. Makes sense if you’re a student and the more affordable your accommodation is, the more activities you can partake in. It’s basic economics. People get caught up in the need of staying in hotels or high end lodges when you could stay in a B&B, save a lot on your accommodation which allows you to do as you please. I got to be on a helicopter and see the Falls from the view of the angels. Travel for the culture and the experiences of the destination.

I loved the entire experience and I wasn’t ready to leave. To sum it all up, the trip consisted of a lot of Oreo Krushers from KFC, bar hopping, sightseeing (normally because I was lost), and great tasting food.

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One thought on “My First Solo Adventure

  1. Loved the post, especially when you just booked the trip on impulse. Sometimes making instinctive decisions can be the most spontaneous thing to do in life.

    “So when I looked at my friends and people I would have invited to this venture I could not find myself asking people to join me. Not to say I froze but more like I need this for me and only me will enjoy this.”

    See this is my mindset when it comes to solo travelling. I can’t be depending on other people, their schedules and interests to help me achieve something I want to achieve. Whenever I book flights for a break away I’d invite them to come along, if they can then great, if they can’t then it’s not the end of the world, I’m not letting it affect me.

    Johnny | The Travel Connoisseur
    http://www.thetravelconnoisseur.wordpress.com

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