Bali is not a newbie in the list of Asian hotspots – thanks to their white sands, pristine waters and beautiful temples. This Indonesian paradise is also quite popular among solo travellers despite being labelled as the perfect ‘honeymoon’ destination. Due to unavoidable circumstances, I travelled around Bali on my own and I’m not going to give you BS – it is an ideal place to take a stroll by the beach while holding someone’s hand. BUT it is ALSO a wonderland for self-discovery and to learn to love your own company.
I’d been to places on my own before Bali but I’ve also had someone I ‘knew’ wherever I went whether it was a friend, a family, a distant relative, etc. This was my first time to travel to a place not knowing a single soul and it scared me. The moment the captain announced our arrival, my heart literally skipped a beat like a 16 year old falling in love for the first time. I’m assuming the reason why you stumbled upon my post is because you’re planning/booked a solo trip to Bali and you’re having cold feet. Well, read on about how my solo trip to Bali changed my life and hopefully it changes yours too!
1) We are stronger than we think we are.
I realised that we do not need anyone to do things for us. I used to depend a lot on people whether it was a friend doing me a favour or the porter carrying my luggage. During my solo trip to Bali, I had to do everything on my own from carrying my bags to haggling with a taxi driver trying to rip me off! I got the driver to give me half the price of what he quoted and that itself felt like an achievement.
Stronger doesn’t just mean being able to lift 2x 20kg bags on sand but also being emotionally and mentally prepared. I remember how I first refused to go to local warungs (shacks) at the fear of being ‘judged’/mistreated so I hid behind the comfort of 5* restaurants. I figured I’d burn through my budget if I kept at it so I gave the warungs a try and I LOVED IT.
The problem with us is that we live on what the ‘society’ might think of us. Once we overcome that fear, there’s nothing to stop you from doing everything you love.
2) Making NEW friends isn’t that difficult.
I know a lot of people who are introverts but trust me, even if you are the quietest person in the room, you will make a new friend. Even though I went alone, I came back with lots of new memories with new people. I made friends from the hostel, from the short boat ride to Gili T, from the snorkelling group, the rafting group and so on!
Sharing a room or a meal with a stranger isn’t all that bad, there’s a different world when you travel and it’s far from the world we’re used to. (Obv you still need to be street smart)
Shoutout to Katleen, Carolina, Alejandro, Sarah, Sara and her sister, the girls from Scotland, the Australian gentleman, the French girls who gave me valuable advices, Ika, Joan from Papua and the list goes on…
3) Beautiful things happen when you push yourself out of your comfort zone.
If I was travelling with my friends/family, I would have never had the chance to be spontaneous. I had no set destination, I did whatever I felt at the moment and booked random tickets to the next island/activities. On my last day in Ubud, I decided to extend my trip last minute so I could go with a group of strangers-turned-friends to see some temples and I’m so glad I did!
I also randomly decided to tag along Katleen for an early rafting trip just because I had nothing else to do. Bali was also the first time I did snorkelling at a friend’s advice (Alejandro, I don’t think you’ll remember but I will never forget what you said: “There is a different world underneath”) and indeed he was right! Ever since then I’ve gone snorkelling more than I can count. Like they say “If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try!“.
4) Gaining confidence!
Suddenly, being on my own I began to notice everything around me. I realised that we are all the same regardless of size, colour, race, etc. We are all human beings who ate human food and did human things. So why all the division?
When I took a flight to Bali, it was because I needed a break. I was stressed out and I put on a lot of weight, in short I was not my best self. Bali allows you to be yourself. I wore a swimsuit despite my obvious weight gain and still felt confident in my skin because why the hell not. I met a 60-year-old lady who invited me to a beach rave because who cares about age! I spoke to people, exchanged stories over breakfast and Balinese coffee (Hi, Joan) in my pyjamas and a bun. Taking care of yourself is paramount but you don’t have to be on top of your game to be appreciated. There are people who will accept (and love) you even at your worst.
5) Coming back a better person.
I am a slow traveller, I like to linger around as much as my visa/pocket would allow me to before moving on. Every time I travelled, I gained something and developed as a person. I understood more about other people’s culture and learnt to respect differences.
Bali brought out the fun, adventure seeking version of me who didn’t have to behave like a 21 year old young lady. I never even knew that side of me still existed after ‘adulating’ happened to me. I also learnt that being alone DOES NOT mean being lonely. You can very much take a stroll at the beach holding a bottle of Smirnoff instead of someones hand or go bar hopping with fellow travellers you just met! Every time you visit a new place, think of it as a stepping stone towards a better you.
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