1. Don’t bother about what others think of you
You needn’t explain to anyone why you decided it was time to call it quits and take a break somewhere on your own. Be prepared that people will taunt you, question you and tell you you’re crazy. Ignore them. Life’s too short to be thinking of what they think of you.
2. Separation anxiety and shock is a real thing
Sitting an airplane on your own for the first time can be daunting, especially if you’re flying to another continent that’s more than 10 hours away. It is perfectly normal to panic when the realization sets in that you’re on your own. Breathe. Wait ten minutes before you distract yourself with the grand Budapest hotel showing on your screen. Buy airplane internet to gap the anxiety. Don’t worry. It’d be okay.
3. Be mentally prepared for adventure and a change of culture
I know people don’t smile or ask “How ya doing?” on the streets back home. Remember, reflex. Smile and remember to say you’re fine! “Oh! And Thank you!” It’s a different part of the world, don’t be afraid!
4. Day one will be the toughest
You will try very hard to reorientate yourself in the time zones. You will miss the people at home. Thankfully, skype exists.
You will also have the shocking realization of what it means to have the carpet swept from under your feet- that you had taken for granted the comfort of your home country for as long as you have lived.
5. People will disappoint you
Homeless people can follow you. Drunks can bang into you on purpose. Your belongings can be stolen. (My camera bag was cut off me on a tube on the way to the Harry Potter exhibition on my birthday) The world isn’t perfect. Embrace its differences and realities of the world. Take a step back from your usual environment.
6. Feel freedom like you’ve never felt before
No words can describe how good this felt. Activities? Budget? Location? Time? You are not bound by any one; there need not be any room for negotiation, not for anyone else other than you.
7. Expect turbulence
You will encounter changes in your schedule and itinerary, because things will not go according to plan. That’s okay. Work around it. There is always an alternative plan.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
8. Go for a local experience
Couchsurfing and air B&B make the best places to go to live like and with locals. Don’t give up an authentic experience for a hotel all the time.
Don’t take your host for granted, unless you’re staying in a hotel. Share experiences, make conversation, smile and build long lasting friendships. Discover yourself in the most difficult situations.
9. Go find yourself
And always remember, you’re one tough cookie.