Solo travel will make you a more confident person. It will teach you how to talk to anyone and have confidence within yourself. But what about if you don’t yet have that confidence. How to travel “with confidence” before those experiences turn you into the confident diva you will soon be.
I have to firstly mention that when I say confidence, I’m not only talking about the confidence to talk to that guy or in an office. Confidence is such a broad thing. You want confidence in yourself and who you are, your abilities, your choice of destination, your choices in general. You need confidence in social situations. You need confidence in your instincts and your knowledge. Confidence isn’t just public speaking, it's so much more!
I have always been quite a confident person. Well, in fact, that is a lie. As a kid, I was terribly shy. I grew into myself and became confident but it wasn’t until the first solo trip that I really took that to another level. It didn’t happen right away, it happened with each new life lesson and realisation.
Maybe none of these tips will help but maybe just ONE will, maybe it will not help now but might spring to mind at another time in life. But confidence is such a great life skill that it's worth a read. I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Personal stories and tips are always welcome. You can also join the free female travel community platform here and chat to with other cool women.
There is no shame in not having friends around you
Confidence is all about mentality - Solo travel can be intimidating when you are in a big group of people. They already have people around them so why do they need to talk to you?
Because you are awesome that's why! Because you are the best choice of company!
Remember that solo travel isn't something to be ashamed of and just because you don't have friends around you, that isn't something to be ashamed of, its something to be proud of.
You are suddenly the brave one. The one oozing confidence who can have her pick of anyone in the room to talk to. You just need to believe this enough.
If you walk up to people smelling of desperation, they will sense it and be sceptical of why they should talk to you. Yet if you show up oozing fun, confidence and “awesomeness”... You steal (or add to) the conversation with ease. Then you will have no problems.
This brings me to the next point - Fake it till you make it!
Use the confidence you didn't know you had
How to get confidence if you don't necessarily have it? For now, you have to fake it. Don't worry, it gets easier to fake, so easy that eventually it’s no longer fake.
The only way to fake confidence is to lead your self-talk and believe it. Simply forget that you don't have it. Tell yourself you have nothing to lose. Repeat it to yourself until you believe it. Tell yourself every tip you remember about confidence and things you have been told. Give yourself amazing self talk about how dam cool and awesome you are. About how these people would obviously want to talk to you.
Force the smile, be conscious of your body language, open your eyes wide (not weirdly) and stand tall. Force your body language to appear confident and you will feel it more and more.
Lead your self-talk and believe it
A little bit of Dutch courage goes a long way
We are all adults here so let’s be honest…. A little dutch courage doesn’t hurt, relying on it does.
The environment that you are in makes all the difference. A bar or social situation makes everything easier. When the people around you are a bit looser you will feel it too.
If it's 10 am, maybe don't order a beer in the hostel common room (unless you want to, then, by all means, go for it). But if you are in a situation where a few drinks are being poured it will always help to make friends. Just try to take it easy so that you can remember those new friends the next day.
Facing your fears will only ever help
Solo travel chucks us in the deep end and makes us do things. You grow every time you do something new and face your fears. Every time you get out of your comfort zone, you build a piece of confidence in yourself and your abilities that you didn't have before.
This is something to keep in mind next time you make an excuse for not doing something, ask yourself if you are coming from a place of fear. If the first answer to this is yes, then do that thing you are scared to do.
The reason solo travel can seem so scary is simply that it's something you have never done before. It's placing yourself in the unknown. It will only make you stronger, more reassured with yourself and more capable.
What's the worst that can happen!
Sometimes, you have to talk yourself into confidence. Learn to ignore that nagging thing in your head telling you why you shouldn’t do it. There are various ways to do this.
One way I like to suggest is to ask yourself "what it is you are really afraid of. What's the worst that can happen."
Be realistic but allow your mind to reach into it's deepest fears. Then ask yourself what the likelihood of this happening is. You will soon realise that the chances of anything bad happening is very slim and won't be detrimental to your life.
This technique can really install confidence and realism in the situation. It can be used in many areas of confidence as well.
Doing *constructive* research will help with confidence in your decision
I'm all for winging it but doing your research will do two things:
1 - Help your confidence in the situation and
2 - Assist other peoples confidence in the situation.
By being able to give others the piece of mind, you generate confidence for yourself. By having direct knowledge of all the details of your decisions, you give yourself a reason to relax.
In saying that, it doesn't mean you have to stick to the plans. Feel free to change plans if you want. Go with the wind. That's what travelling solo is all about!
I would always advise practising the above technique ("what's the worst that can happen") with your decision too.
Preempt the fears others try to give you with your knowledge of the real dangers, risk or lack of.
Don't listen to others
Don't listen to other peoples fears and anxieties. Countless times I have gone into something with no fear at all. I had no worries in my mind. Then someone will start telling me all the things that can go wrong and suddenly I’m not so confident in my abilities.
You want to climb the mountain, just climb the dam mountain. You want to go to Brazil! Get your g-string and go!
People who have no first-hand knowledge will ALWAYS put down your trip or your desires. Because THEY don't want to do it or are too afraid. You do want to do it and you are not afraid, so before they get to you - do it!
Don't let peoples negative assumptions and their fears come into your mind.
Remember nobody knows you here: Nobody that really matters anyway
This is a core foundation for gaining confidence. Nobody knows you. Therefore, nobodies opinion really matters. This is your chance to show the real you. The people who will matter will love the real you.
Don’t assume what people will think. You are travelling and surrounded by different cultures and ways of thinking. People come from all walks of life and have different stories. You don’t know them just as much as they don’t know you. You will never really know what people think of you. So what’s the point of wondering.
Confidence comes with time
You may be lucky and perhaps a ticket to the other side of the world, alone, is all you need. Maybe not, maybe it pushes you more and more within your comfort zone and its harder to break out. That is okay. Time heels all wounds and helps up grow!
Maybe just reading this article will help (well, that is what I hope anyway).
In time, that shy, unsureness will become fine-tuned, confidence and unapologetically you!
Baby steps! Start by challenging yourself with small things. Once you realise you can achieve that small thing, you will start to slowly have more and more confidence in your ability. Once you realise and truly believe you can do anything you want, your confidence will sore.
You WILL say silly things and do things people don’t like. People won’t always approve of what you say or do. They will look at you critically.
But that is life. And who cares. As long as you are being you, you have nothing to be ashamed of. Those who are meant to be in your life will be.
Society will judge and bad mouth you. People will talk behind your back. They will form opinions on you and never let you see it directly. Nothing will ever change that. The quicker you realise you shouldn’t care, the better. The moment you realise that anything you do is a spark of your awesomeness and it is other peoples problems, the more your confidence will grow and sore.
Pick the people around you
Now, this goes for pre-trip and on your trip. (long term particularly). It is an age-old rule. Pick those who lift you up, not bring you down.
Hang around people with confidence, watch how they deal with certain situations and pick their brains. If you feel comfortable, let them know you want to be more confident, talk to them. They can help.
Stop doubting yourself
If you are going to doubt yourself with no intentions of proving that doubt wrong - Don't leave home. Don't bother. Doubting yourself happens more often than not. Changing that doubt is what matters.
Don't doubt what you say in a group of people right after or during saying it. People can see right through this.
Don't doubt the destination you are choosing. Why bother going there unless you are sure? It comes down to research, do your research to make sure you are happy with it and the safety etc.
As a general rule when you are doubting yourself: "Is this something I really wanted to say. Really believed in. Somewhere I really wanted to go." This don't question it.
If someone is giving you "bad vibes" - Well, are you the problem are you they? We are so quick to doubt ourselves and shun our confidence that we never really question who the problem is. When my flatmates heard I was going to Romania, I was greeted with "why the hell are you doing that!" I started to wonder if there was something I was missing, if I shouldn't go. Romania was one of my favourite trips. The problem wasn't with me; It was with them. Being so close minded.
When in a social situation the times you will have doubt is when you don't click with someone. My old work collegues were nice but when it was social drinks I always felt the outsider. I wondered if they just didn't like me. Why did I always feel ignored. Turns out, they were all sleeping with each other. I was the newbie and what did they need me for, they had their clicky group. But in honesty, this left me more time to meet new people and not feel ashamed the next day at work.
Sometimes you will get bad vibes or bad looks from someone you are talking to. This might just be a product of their social skills, shyness or lack of decent "human beingness" don't doubt yourself. Don't be taken aback - move on. Find who makes you feel good to be around.
Are you doubting yourself or is instincts coming into play? I'm sure you can see where I am going with this. If you can't fake the confidence in your own ability.... it won't arrive. If you don’t believe in yourself and don’t try then the confidence wont arrive either.
Most importantly! ALWAYS be unappologetically you!