The Vermont Cynic

Taking on Thailand solo


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Traveling alone can seem scary and intimidating, but after spending a week solo in Thailand, I’ve come to prefer it.

My adventure began while studying in Wellington, New Zealand. I set my mind to traveling alone to a place I’d always dreamed of visiting: Thailand.

I was nervous before my solo trip. My first night in Bangkok I met other solo travellers who reassured me that my hesitation was silly.

In the span of one week, I visited Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pai and Krabi, where the culture and language was unfamiliar to me.

The only preparations I made ahead of time were hostel, flight and bus reservations.

Everything else I took as it came and planned by asking locals what to do in the area.

I gave my itinerary to my study abroad program leader and my parents, so they would know where I was in the event that anything happened. This is a good precaution to take, even if you aren’t traveling alone.

Because I’m a woman, I took extra precautions by staying in a women-only hostel dorm and walking with groups at night.

Most hostels have common rooms for socializing, so it’s impossible not to make new friends.

Though it was scary at first, spending time with people from around the world was something I reveled in after traveling with other American students.

I was forced out of my comfort zone and soon found myself sitting in a circle with people from Holland, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands and Scotland. We marveled at our differences and similarities.

Aside from forming strong bonds with people from diverse countries, I gained confidence when traveling alone.

My most triumphant moment was when I drove a moped on the highway and found all the places I wanted to go that day, navigating only using road signs.

I realized I was capable of so many things on my own, and carried this self-reliance back to UVM.

“To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the most pleasant sensations in the world. You are surrounded by adventure,” said Freya Stark, British travel writer.

Traveling solo for a week was the greatest thing I think I’ve done for myself.

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Taking on Thailand solo