For the longest time I’ve had this fear of exploring solo or asking for a table for one at a restaurant. Being 22 years old, I have always thought being seen doing things alone would make me seem lonely or friendless and I should avoid it at all costs. When taking a bus shuttle alone, I’d throw in my headphones and scroll through my friends Instagram posts hoping to blend into my surroundings and avoid all stranger contact and judgement.
Then about a month ago, I looked up and realized that’s what everyone else has been doing too. Not one person on the bus was just sitting, enjoying the ride, looking around. All eyes were buried in their phones. I always complained about how society was so dependent on technology, they were losing the ability to socialise and just enjoy life, and here I was trapped in the same situation!
It was this moment that I realized how ridiculous my fear of traveling solo was. I was holding myself back from being myself and doing (and eating) what I really wanted to, all because I was worried that someone would judge me or see me alone.
I reflected back to how I personally view a woman or man sitting alone: I always admired them and their fearlessness to just enjoy the day solo. I saw them as these confident, fearless, and spontaneous rare gems, so different than the rest of society, and suddenly decided I wanted to break free of my constricting mind-set and join them.
And so with that, I stopped waiting around for my friends to get off work to join me on my adventures, and set off to explore the world solo. Since I have started this journey a month ago, I can tell you 1000% that my stress levels and social anxiety have plummeted significantly and I am finding that I really have stopped caring what people think about me. I wake up excited for the day and look forward to meeting new people and exploring new places alone. I find that I am much more creative and open-minded than I used to be, and I have become an incredibly confident person because of it. (I cannot stress the confidence boost enough!!!) Along with the confidence, came my desire for get fit and read and learn everything I could.
[ If you want to follow me on my ongoing journey, feel free to check out my Instagram page at: mo_smu ]
By no means was this an overnight occurrence though, I didn’t just open my eyes the next day I was a new shiny person. The first week was riddled with fear. My heart turned into the energizer bunny and I literally thought everyone was watching me. After a few times of putting myself into that same situation, I actually realized no one cared, and I was the only one analyzing myself. Occasionally, I will still get into situations where I get nervous (it’s inevitable!), but I know I’m still learning and adjusting to this new lifestyle change, and I’m superrr A-Okay with it.
If you struggle with the fear of sitting alone, eating alone, talking to people, or literally anything along those lines, I really recommend just going out, saying f**k it, and just doing whatever the hell you want. It will be awkward the first few times, but do it 5 times, compare it to the first time, and give yourself a pat on the back because you will realise how much easier it was than you thought. And who knows, maybe you’ll even meet new a few new friends along the way like I have!
Here are some things I started to do alone:
- Go to a movie
- Walk around the city
- Go to a museum
- Eat at a restaurant
- Go hiking
- Take a roadtrip (AirBnB are awesome for this)
- Go get a beer at a bar
Obviously there’s more too, but try these out first. If you feel too nervous at first, bring a book like I did. It gives you something to look at without looking antisocial, and the book cover can even spark a great conversation from a fellow stranger 😉