Movies and television always make traveling around the world solo look so glamorous and fun.
Just take Eat, Pray, Love as an example — not only did this woman eat delicious pasta and see beautiful sites on her journey around the world, but she fell in love!
Entertainment wants you to believe that if you do hop on a plane overseas on your own, you’ll magically meet the love of your life in an obscure cafe, find your true calling, and maybe get hired to run a bed and breakfast.
Oh, and you’ll also make 10 new friends, find inner peace, and probably lose 20 pounds.
But take it from me — someone who did her own 10-week journey around the world on her own… that’s not always the case. In fact, in my experience, it was far from it.
While traveling and seeing new countries was an incredible experience, one that I’ll more than likely never have again, it came with a lot of challenges.
If you’re considering doing a solo trip, whether for just a few days or for a few months, here’s what movies and TV shows fail to tell you about the experience.
It Can Be Very Lonely
Yes, you will meet people while traveling alone, but there will be times where you’ll feel excruciatingly lonely.
Whether it’s the fact you’re in a foreign country, you don’t speak the native language, or you just haven’t talked to someone in a while, the blues will come.
If this does happen, make sure you have people in your life who you can FaceTime or call regularly to get you out of your funk.
You’ll Get Tired of Sight-Seeing
There will come a time on your trip where you won’t have the energy or willpower to step inside another museum or go see another statue, and that is more than OK.
I often felt this strange pressure to cross every single thing off my list and to make sure I didn’t miss a single sight, but the reality is you don’t have to see it all.
In fact, sometimes just strolling the streets of whatever city you’re in can be more meaningful and interesting than spending $20 to go inside a packed museum for two hours.
Lower Your Expectations
Like I said above, there is this strange expectation that traveling overseas will bring you happiness and fix all your problems, and that’s just not the case.
Do some people travel to a foreign country and fall in love? Of course! But don’t put that unnecessary expectation on yourself.
If you do decide to go on a solo trip, take it as an opportunity to explore a new city, eat great food, and enjoy a new experience. Don’t put any more pressure on yourself than that.
Money Will Stress You Out
Again, people in movies and shows often have like $30 to their name while traveling but somehow manage to do everything they want to do and not panic.
However, in my experience, I spent one too many nights crying over the fact that I was running out of money.
While it’s fun to live happy and carefree, the reality is we all have to get back to our lives after a big trip and need money to do so.
Before planning your trip, make sure you’ve saved up enough to feel comfortable, but also know you’ll probably need more than you think you’ll need.
Take It For What It Is
Despite all the ups and downs mentioned above, traveling solo is a wonderful opportunity.
It teaches you things about yourself, it forces you to grow, and it allows you to see life from a different perspective.
You probably won’t have the same experience as Emily from Emily in Paris, but that’s OK, you’re on your own journey.