Its been nearly a week since I came back from my first ever solo backpacking trip abroad. At first, I was dead scared: what if I become really lonely, or what if I run out of money or I bore myself? Then comes the dread: who will take my photos??? Then: will I ever get to meet new friends?
Fortunately for me, on my first day to Korea, I met a great set of friends who I ended up travelling a few days around Korea with. I checked into the hostel at around 8AM after a long red eye flight (I didn't get much sleep so I must have looked horrible then) and was not really dressed properly (I was dressed in just a t-shirt and jeans when I left the tropical land of the Philippines), it was freezing (I had a screenshot of the weather/temperature at the time and the lows were at -11 degrees celcius), and I was alone.
I decided to stay at a hostel during these alone times. I was reading some RTW (Round The World, for those of you who don't know) blogs and most of them recommended hostels to meet new friends and well, to save on the cost of a bed per night. And so, little did I know that I would meet a few people out at the hostel on my first day!
Sometimes it just takes a little "Hello" and a smile to make new friends - most of these new friends of mine are staying in Korea for a longer period of time. I was just there on holiday for a week: others are going to be teaching English for a year, another is studying as an exchange student.
We get to exchange insights and previous travel experiences, and chat about anything under the sun. We get to play little games and experience new things!
The original itinerary gets thrown out the window because you either go with the flow (ie where the new friends will head off to) or just end up staying at the hostel and hanging out with them.
Sure, you won't get along with every one of these new friends but in the end, you get to meet some classic ones that you'll want to stay in touch with: easier now with the advent of email, Twitter and Facebook.
Who says it's sad and lonely to travel alone?
The point is: some of these people do travel alone, and some of them are looking for friends, just like you :)