I started travelling very young, in fact I had travelled internationally before I even turned 1. But until I was 17 I never travelled by myself. I always had my parents or siblings or friends with me. When I was 17 I left home and I moved interstate. This flight was my first one where I was fully by myself. I got dropped off at the gate by my parents, but after that I was on my own until I got picked up from the train station on the other end. This included navigating the airport at the other end of the flight and getting on the train to get to my end destination.
Since then I have travelled interstate many times and have become quite comfortable flying by myself. It actually feels strange if I am ever flying with someone else because I am so used to being on my own.
Despite being used to flying by myself, I still haven’t had much experience of travelling by myself in terms of being alone once I get to the destination. I have always had friends or family on the other side to stay with and explore with. This is something that I have been trying to grow in throughout the last year or so. I still haven’t gone as far as to take a big solo trip, but I started small by going out and exploring around where I live by myself. Even something as small as visiting a nearby dam or exploring a nearby town alone was a big step. It has taken me a while to grow the mentality of ‘I want to go to this place so I am going to do it’ instead of ‘I want to go to this place, I wonder if anyone is free or interested in coming with me’. I still love exploring with friends but I am getting better at making time for solo adventures as well.
One big step in this journey happened when I was in Perth earlier this year. I was over there for a friend’s wedding, and I did lots of exploring with people and saw so many new, fun places in my time there. But one of my favourite days was an adventure I did all by myself. I intentionally didn’t invite anyone to join me on this day as I wanted to branch out and adventure on my own. As I had been planning my trip, the top place that I wanted to visit was Rottnest Island. I had heard so much about the cute quokkas and I am a sucker for amazing scenery.
The day that I planned to visit was overcast when I woke up in the morning so I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go, but I decided to go anyway and I am so glad that I did! The weather made for some very eventful ferry rides with some of the waves feeling like I was on a rollercoaster (or something a bit jerkier on the way back). It was also raining on and off throughout the day, which meant that I did get a little bit wet, but it also meant that there were less people around and I was able to have parts of the island to myself.
I decided to do the bus tour around the island to begin with and when I first hopped on the bus there were only a few of us there, including a few lovely guides who were going to hop off at different points around the island to give tours to people. We started a conversation and it was lovely getting to know them for a little bit. By the time we got to the first stop it had stopped raining so I decided to get off and I ended up getting a personal tour from one of the ladies. It was lovely getting to ask her any questions that I had and hearing her stories about the flora and fauna of the island.
As I continued around the island on the hop on, hop off bus, there was one family in particular that I ended up seeing at a lot of the stops. I first met them when I was walking up to the lighthouse in the middle of the island, and we ended up having to wait almost half an hour for the next bus together, and then I saw them multiple times throughout the day. They were lovely and included me in their photos and invited me to join them for lunch when I ran into them at the restaurant. This particular connection was such a blessing for me as I was able to chat to them a bit and get to know them. And I was very glad that I was travelling alone, because if I had been with someone else, I wouldn’t have connected with them in the same way. This probably would have been a similar story with the tour ladies on the bus as well. But because I was by myself, I was free to engage in conversation with people.
I also enjoyed the freedom to do what I wanted to do without having to run it past another person. I was able to decide at the last minute to hop off the bus at a certain point, or to walk around part of the island instead of taking the bus the whole way.
Since this trip I have tried to continue taking solo adventures, although it has been tricky in the last little while due to the lockdown. I am very much looking forward to getting out and adventuring again when we are free to!