Travel, USA

Reflection: My First Solo Trip Experience

When people hear the words “solo travel”, they sometimes assume it’s something that’s a huge undertaking. That solo traveling is way too much to do for anyone. Or, people may think that it’s something they could never bring themselves to do. How they could never travel anywhere without someone else.

To be fair, these are all valid thoughts people may have about solo traveling. I know I had some of these thoughts, believe it or not. And while solo traveling is quite an undertaking, one shouldn’t be quick to push it aside.

I Wasn’t Too Sure I’d Do It

It took me a while to think about solo traveling myself. For the most part, I’ve always traveled with friends, family, or my boyfriend. Even when I studied abroad in England 6 years ago, I made friends quickly and we traveled to other countries together. And when the opportunity for a solo trip emerged, someone at the last minute usually asked if they could join me on my trip. Needless to say, I’ve never solo traveled before and never really thought to do so. That is, until this year.

I came to the decision to travel solo from all of my wonderful followers on Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. The travel communities on these social media platforms are amazing. Because of their solo travel trips and experience, the seed for solo travel was planted in my head.

I figured, if they can go on tons of solo trips, domestically and internationally, then I can too! With that, I started planning my first ever solo trip in December of 2020 for Utah in April of 2021. At first, I couldn’t decide where I wanted to travel to but I knew I wanted to try solo traveling domestically first. Of course, my lovely Twitter community helped me to reach a decision and before I knew it, I was planning my trip to Utah!

Taking My First Solo Trip

When the time came in April of 2021, I was very excited and somewhat nervous about solo traveling for the first time to a new state. I honestly felt more excited but calm rather than anxious. This was new to me because usually when I travel with others, I tend to be very anxious. But I’ll explain that later on.

Once I landed in Salt Lake City, I felt so happy and free. There was no one with me to cloud my judgement, no one to override my opinion, no one to tell me what to do. It was the greatest feeling in the world! I did what I wanted, when I wanted, at my own pace. There’s nothing like it!

Driving all over the state of Utah and exploring the national parks was stunning as well! If I would’ve went with family, friends, or my boyfriend, I’m not sure if they would’ve been up for the drives everyday of the trip. It is very tiring but it was so worth it! The scenery and landscape throughout Utah is so beautiful and different, you wouldn’t think mountains, sand dunes, cliffs, deserts would all be in one state!

Well, I really enjoyed the solitude of being in the car, driving hours away to national parks and exploring what they had to offer.  I feel like if I went with someone else, I wouldn’t have had the same experience.

I enjoyed every minute of my solo trip. From walking around downtown SLC, driving through Utah, exploring national parks, and vlogging of course, it was such an experience. Especially when you’re in public vlogging, it’s not easy getting out there in front of the camera. When I vlog with certain friends, I just feel embarrassed even though I shouldn’t be but I can’t help it. However, I was on my own and no one could lessen my confidence with vlogging. Never in my life would I think I’d be capable of doing something like that on my own.

If you haven’t checked out my other blog post on my 3 Day Solo Trip Itinerary in Utah, then click on the link and check that out. I outline what I did in Utah on each day of my trip. It’ll give you a better picture of what I did while solo traveling.

My Thoughts On Solo Traveling

Now that my first solo trip is said and done, I can now reflect on my overall experience. Overall, it was an amazing but tiring experience. I mean, driving to and from Zion NP took about 9 hours, not to mention all the driving I did within the park. Plus walking through Arches and SLC, I was physically exhausted by the end of the trip.

Needless to say, I’d do it again if I had the chance. Although it was physically tiring, mentally it was amazing and freeing. Having all that freedom was something I was craving for, something I didn’t know I really wanted until I went out on my own.

Do I still like traveling with others? Of course I do! If my friends, family or boyfriend want to travel somewhere, I’d be more than happy to travel with them. Yet, solo traveling gives you a different kind of satisfaction and happiness that traveling with others can’t produce.

I mentioned earlier that when I travel with others I have a lot of anxiety. I get very anxious and this is something that’s always happened with me when I’m traveling with others. However, when I solo traveled, I didn’t really get as anxious as I normally get. There was some anxiety, I just get anxious when I think about the worst case scenario or things not going according to plan (like when I couldn’t find parking in Zion National Park).

Solo Traveling Helped My Travel Anxiety

After taking this solo trip, I’ve realized that the primary reason why I get anxious is because of my inability to control other people’s behaviors or actions. I’m not necessarily a control freak but if we’re trying to travel and follow an itinerary, I like having things in place and done ahead of time to ensure we can account for unexpected things. But when you’re with others, you can’t control their actions or thoughts. There’s more room for error, arguments, and other problems.

An example of this was when I traveled with my friends Steph, Dayana and her fiancé to Orlando. I didn’t mention this experience in my blog post though. When there was about 10 minutes left for the flight to boarding, Dayana and her fiancé left the gate area to go walk around. Steph and I were angry. By the time they had called our group, and subsequent groups after that, they were still nowhere to be found. My anxiety went through the roof and I literally walked onto the plane without them. Don’t worry, they caught the flight just in time.

Things like that, where I have no control over it, trigger my anxiety. It effects everyone in the group and it prevents us from doing things while traveling. However, when I solo traveled, I relied on myself and no one else. This decreased my travel anxiety and gave me confidence in my abilities as a traveler.

Final Thoughts On Solo Traveling

At the end of the day, I’d solo travel again. I have plans for more solo trips throughout this year. I think solo traveling is great and everyone should give it a try at some point. On the other hand, it’s not for everyone and that’s ok. But it’s something you wouldn’t know if its right for you unless you try it.

I loved solo traveling. I can foresee myself taking more solo trips in the future. An experience like this is so eye opening and that’s a good thing. That’s how you grow as an individual. Like with my travel anxiety, that’s something I didn’t think about until I got out of my comfort zone. Had I not solo traveled, I wouldn’t have learned something new about myself.

In addition, it was amazing getting out of my comfort zone and trying something new. I doubted myself and my abilities because I didn’t think I had what it took to plan out a whole trip. I’m never underestimating myself again. I’m looking forward to my future solo trips here in the USA and eventually, abroad as well.

Overall, I had a great time, I grew as a person, saw different things and created new experiences and memories.