This week’s blog was written by International Fellow, Jessica Walton, who had the chance to spend a couple weeks traveling in Thailand this August. It was her first time in Asia and her first solo trip.
Travel has become a huge passion of mine over the last couple years. As a kid growing up in upstate New York, I had some opportunities to visit different places in the U.S. but I never had the chance to go abroad until I was much older. I used to imagine all of the different places I would go and picture a passport filled with stamps. I’ve been lucky enough over the past couple years to start making those daydreams a reality and last month crossed an even bigger goal off my list when I boarded a plane to Bangkok, Thailand completely solo.
I spent the summer debating back and forth if I could ever take a major trip like this on my own; reading tons of blogs and articles about solo travel and listening to varying opinions from family and friends. I finally booked the trip sometime in June thanks to a gentle push from my good friend Ryan Hage and I have to say it was the BEST decision I have ever made!
The moment I boarded the plane I was immediately overwhelmed with feelings of anxiety, nerves and excitement as I wondered what I had gotten myself into. Would I meet people? Would it be scary? Where will I stay? Am I going to get lost? Just a million and one different things ran through my mind. Eventually I settled in, pulled out a book and tried to relax.
Then, before I knew it, I had arrived! My first adventure was Bangkok. I checked into a hostel and immediately made friends. The craziest part about my “solo” trip was that I never really spent much time alone. I made friends in Bangkok and explored the crazy beautiful and chaotic city with them. Next was Chiang Mai up north. I flew there alone but made friends at the hostel once again, not to mention authentic Thai cooking classes, Muay Thai fights and the amazing night bazaars.
Every single day I ate amazingly delicious and SPICY street food (which I may or may not have gotten sick from…but still well worth it), got lost, met new travelers, visited beautiful temples and got more Thai massages than I’m willing to admit!
I ended my trip by exploring some of Thailand’s incredible Islands! I was lucky enough to have some very sunny days in the midst of rainy season. It was a trip of a lifetime. When I look back on it I think about how there really is no “sure fire” way to prepare for solo travel. The best advice I can give would be to just pick a destination, book your flight and go! I learned that there are so many people who are genuinely kind, friendly and hope to see as much of the world as they can just like me. This was one of the best summers I’ve had in a long time and I ended it with an unforgettable journey. I’m sure it won’t be my last solo adventure!