Traveling solo with anxiety can feel like training with the SAS (the British version of the US Delta Force) for the mind, and when you’re single and an avid traveler, like me, who goes to see the world solo rather than wait at home for a man, or friends, to take with me that training can flare up anxiety attacks more than anything else.
My travel style is SAS: solo, anxious and single.
However, I never dreamed of traveling alone until I became a writer for Gay Star News and was afforded opportunities to go on press trips around the world.
Although a lot of those trips involved a group of journalists and an itinerary, my confidence in traveling solo and meeting new people to spend five or six days with thousands of miles from my comfort zone grew into an impassioned love.
I met brilliant and beautiful people from a diverse background who I will remember forever.
However, my anxiety disorder still holds me back from going truly solo.
I was stuck between my passion for travel and seeing the world and my mind considering everything that could go wrong – and a lot could – and making me too scared to go.
I was at a loss when my desire to see Vietnam, which I’ve wanted since I was young, grew to bursting. I had to go. But, no one I knew was up for the adventure at the time.
I was damned if I was going to let my mental health issues stand in the way of my passion.
My tour in Vietnam was unforgettable, and one of the best memories I’ve made in life so far – and within six months of coming home to the UK I’d joined another G Adventures tour through Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. I’ve just returned from my third GA tour in Japan.
I felt I had found the way to marry my anxiety disorder with my love of travel in a way I never thought possible. The world finally opened up for me and I haven’t looked back.
Guided tours with G Adventures are very versatile and suit so many other personal needs and preferences.
Here’s a few things a guided tour can offer that you might and might not have expected:
Use the structure to navigate your way from place to place
If you’re happy to spend your time alone at each destination, or even prefer it, but are worried about navigating public transport to travel across a foreign country then G Adventures tours are a great option.
Every tour has a guide and all the travel arrangements have been made and booked ahead of time – So just follow your leader to the next destination and fly the nest when you arrive!
Get fast insider knowledge of the best places to go and when
A G Adventures CEO, that’s Chief Experience Officer, who guides the group usually does the same tour cycle – so more than likely they would of been to the same places hundreds of times. That means they know their stuff – the best places to eat for traditional cuisine, best beauty spots with less tourists and how to get discounts on day trips.
I found this invaluable on each of my tours and felt like I was truly getting a locals insight – all while meeting the friends our CEO has made along the way.
Build your confidence to travel solo and meet new people
I can say first hand, my anxiety around traveling solo, and everything that comes with it, has improved dramatically since going on guided tours. My confidence to navigate and be comfortable traveling solo in foreign countries has grown to a point where I’m excited to take on my own short solo trips.
For longer, long haul trips I still feel guided tours take the stress out of everything and allows you more time to be mindful of enjoying your surroundings.
But, surprisingly I have found my social skills have sharpened and i’m more comfortable to bring myself to the table and being received positively. Everyone I’ve met have been lovely and truly remarkable – and I found a lot of LGBTI travelers use G Adventures.
Book last minute and take the stress out of everything
I didn’t book my Vietnam trip until two weeks before. G Adventures offer an amazing amount of trips that can be booked virtually up until the last minute.
So if you planned to go with friends or a partner and they dropped out or you broke up, a guided tour could save tour travel plans and make new independent memories.
Do as much or as little of the itinerary as you please
A lot of people believe that with guided tours your time isn’t your own and you’re never alone, and to an extent this can be true – you have to follow the itinerary as it travels from place to place. But, once there the amount of freedom you have is yours to control.
The CEO will offer you many optional tours, emphasis on optional. Join the group and make new friends with like-minded travelers, which is half of the fun, or pick and choose what you do and how involved you get.
But, it’s always great to work on your social skills right?
Grow your independence back home
They say that you find yourself when you travel. Well, while I believe this is true, to some extent I believe that strong, independent person was always there at home inside yourself wherever you are.
If it takes traveling and seeing the world to unlock it, then I’m good with that. Just remember to take that newly found independence home and apply it.
Bring who you are to the world and those who live in it
You’re about to spend some intense, intimate and long times with a group of diverse people from a range of backgrounds.
As a LGBTI person, it is important to bring yourself to the group, as much as it is for other members, so you can learn from one another about the array of lives being lead out there.
G Adventures works to make all feel comfortable to express themselves and share who they are with the world.
Realise being single offers so much space for self-love
Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to travel with a partner. But never again will I let being single hold me back from doing the things I want to do.
Waiting for a boyfriend to go there, waiting to be in love to go here. Go to those places and be in love with yourself first, then love with someone else will come when it’s supposed to and you will hold hands on a ridge at sunset knowing you learned what you needed to on your own to get here and will be fine when or if things come to an end or change.
In the end, the world is yours for taking…
I learned so much about myself by going on guided tours in Asia, and I plan to do many more throughout my life as I challenge myself to reach as many countries as possible. My relationship to travel has changed dramatically and I couldn’t be more thankful that my anxiety no longer holds me back from seeing the world.
There is an option to travel out there for everyone, even if you feel like there isn’t for you.
G Adventures operates under the belief that travel is an exchange, not a commodity. Social and environmental welfare is fundamental.
To find out more about how G Adventures supports local communities, animal welfare, disaster relief and more, click here.
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