I successfully conquered flying alone. Now what?
When I declared I will be going away alone, on the solo weekend journey, everyone was shocked. How will I manage to travel alone, going through airports and transfers all by myself? The truth is, the transport is the easiest part of the trip. Security check-ins, boarding, all that can be overwhelming for first timers, but once you’ve done it, it’s jut a routine.
The hard part of the solo trip comes after landing. Checked in a hostel, unpacked, now it’s time to see the city. Being socially anxious, navigating through unfamiliar environment can be tricky. Eating out alone, walking around, interacting with store staff, public transport… Usually you have company and therefore support when doing all of the above, but now you’re suddenly alone, stuck speaking for yourself, finding solutions all by yourself. I admit, my anxiety took over immediately upon arriving. But after few hours to myself, I managed.
The trick is simple. There are certain things that you just have to do, like purchase tickets or ordering food. Those things can’t be skipped so you just have to make them as pleasant for yourself as you can. Pick places that you feel the most okay doing it. And some things you can avoid if you don’t feel like doing them, like visiting the most crowded museum, taking metro in the rush hour, or interact with fellow hostelers for example. Except the polite small chit-chat upon arriving, I didn’t really hang out with my roommates, simply because I didn’t feel comfortable establishing any unnecessary interactions.
What I’ve learned is that pushing out of a comfort zone is not always the best way. Yes, it can mean overcoming your fears, but sometimes it can deepen the trauma. So going out on a lim is only appropriate if you really feel confident doing it. Before anything, you have to decide what means more in certain situation – you feeling comfortable and sure of yourself, maybe skipping something in the process, or diving in and possibly failing or succeeding. But that’s something you have to decide yourself. Most importantly, don’t allow to be pushed in things you don’t feel comfortable doing.
While I was in London, I decided to listen to myself. I had a long list of things I wanted to see and do, but I skipped lots of it, just because I felt some of them will worsen my anxiety and crossing it out of the to-do list wasn’t worth it. But I have always made the decision on the spot. I had no problem walking past the restaurant door, that I was planning on eating my lunch in, if I wasn’t comfortable going in at that particular moment. Being alone and having no one for moral support sometimes means playing it safe.