Scared to Take your First Solo Trip? The Trick…Just Do It!

Scared to Take your First Solo Trip? The Trick…Just Do It!

I just came back from a 5 weeks trip to Koh Samui, Thailand and Bali, Indonesia. My skin is still sun-kissed 🙂 This was my first solo trip and the only thing I can think of right now is ‘why the hell didn’t I start travelling alone sooner?’.

Taking the step to travel to these two countries wasn’t easy. I postponed it too many times. I was scared to the bone! How would I survive alone? What if something happened to me? Who will I hang out with? So many questions ran through my mind.

But I really wanted to do this trip and I got tired of waiting for someone to travel with so I decided to just go.

You’re probably sailing in the same boat. Too scared to travel alone but the desire to travel just won’t leave you. You’ve planned a million trips with your friends but they end up disappointing you every single time.

Fear holds a lot of people back from doing what truly makes them happy. So why don’t we go through a few fears that are holding you back and see how to deal with them?

5 First Solo Trip Questions We All Have

Will I be safe travelling alone?

The answer is resounding Yes! Safety is the biggest fear that all solo travellers face.

It’s absolutely important that you think about your safety as you travel around the world. To overcome this fear, prepare well, be aware of your surroundings and always act smart. Just like being home, there are precautions that you take to stay safe. This should be the case even when you’re travelling.

Research your destination before you leave home. Read up on the culture, how to behave as a foreigner, where to go and where to keep off, how to dress appropriately, and much more. Don’t call attention to yourself by wearing flashy outfits and jewellery. Don’t get drunk and disorderly.

I also ensure that I share my travel plans with a friend. I give her details about all the flights that I will be taking and names of hotels I will be staying at. I also keep her updated often during my trip. This helps me know someone knows where I am at all time should anything happen.

How about the loneliness?

When I first arrived in Koh Samui I spent 2 of my 4 nights in the hotel room watching TV. Quite a waste of a trip right? I just couldn’t bring myself to go anywhere alone. I kept thinking I’ll feel lonely and out of place sitting in a bar alone. Then I figured I had to suck it up and make the best out of my trip otherwise it would all be a waste.

So I got out and had lunch at a gorgeous cafe’ overlooking the ocean, went out for drinks by myself and went shopping at a night market.

Portuguese Piri Piri Chicken The Cliff Bar Samui

The experience in Thailand made me think that I need a strategy to deal with the loneliness so I came up with a to-do list with things I could occupy myself with while in Bali to ensure I didn’t spend my entire trip indoors. This was quite helpful.

To ensure you don’t have a dull moment, plan ahead on what you want to spend your time doing in the city you’re visiting. You could go as far as to have a daily itinerary.

Another awesome trick is to join Facebook groups where other digital nomads hang out. You will always find people looking for other nomads around the world to hang out with. I met a lovely lady (high five Petra!) on one of the groups I’m a member of and we hanged out twice in Bali and we had a very lovely time. Glad to have met her.

A few of my favourite groups are:

I was sharing a villa in Bali with three other nomads and I found this to be an awesome way to travel instead of staying in a hotel room alone. My roommates were quite friendly and helped me forget that I was indeed alone in a foreign country. So if you get a chance to share accommodation with other nomads, consider it.

Don’t be anxious about loneliness because you will meet lots of great people on the road all the time.

But I’m too shy how will I cope?

One of the things that I found out during my trip is that I’m extremely shy. I’ve always known that I’m the shy type I just didn’t realize how bad my shyness is. But funny enough the trip also helped me learn how to cope with my shyness.

I learnt that people are more willing to help you than you think. All you have to do is ask. Talk to the locals, ask for directions, recommendations for hotels and tourist sites etc.

Work up the courage to start a conversation with a stranger. If this is too much, simply learn how to walk with your head held high, make eye contact and smile often. This makes you inviting and will make people want to talk to you.

https://giphy.com/gifs/shy-nzvG8k9lwSCmA

Won’t I get homesick?

Missing family and friends will be inevitable. You love them and you’ll, therefore, miss them and there’s nothing wrong with this. The remedy is to stay in touch with them when you’re on the road. With so many communication tools at our disposal, this shouldn’t be difficult.

What if my friends and family don’t approve?

Your family will always worry about you and some will be entirely opposed to the idea. I planned my entire trip without telling anyone and only let my family and friends know a few days before I left when it was too late to talk me out of it.

Sometimes you have to put your needs ahead of others’ and do what you believe is best for you. When the people you love see how dedicated you are to making it happen they will eventually support you.

As you can see all these fears can be overcome so let it go and just do it!

Is there any other fear holding you back from travelling alone that we didn’t address? Let us know in the comments and together we’ll overcome it!

First Solo Trip | The African Nomad | Stella Mwangi

My Journey as a Digital Nomad: How and Why I got Started

My Journey as a Digital Nomad: How and Why I got Started

Living a life of travel is something that most of us view as a far away dream. We keep convincing ourselves that one more year and I’ll get started. One more promotion and I’ll have enough money to travel. I have too much going on right now, maybe next year.

The truth is that all these are excuses.

I have been travelling for three years now and I recently decided to start travelling alone.

So why did I start travelling?

I’ve always been a curious soul. I get bored pretty fast and I’m always itching for an adventure. I’ve always worked unconventional jobs that are thrilling so travel has been something I knew I was meant to do but like everyone else I had excuse after excuse.

https://giphy.com/gifs/landscape-paisagens-eye-glasses-vBMzK6KN6M6zK

Eventually, I got tired of drooling over other people’s travel photos and decided to pursue my own adventures. At the time of my first international trip, I had a partner who loves to travel so it was pretty easy for them to convince me to do it.

Our first trip was to Dubai for Rugby Sevens (not much of a fan but hey…). That was when the travel bug bit me and I’ve not stopped since.

When the opportunity to travel comes up, whether it’s work related, a plan with your friends etc., don’t overthink it, just go. It could be the kick you need to get you on the road full time.

How do I manage to travel every now and then?

The question that most of my friends ask me is how do I manage to pay for all my trips? While the truth is that travel is expensive, what most people don’t realize is that it’s actually not as expensive as you imagine it to be.

I plan all my trips, I don’t use a travel agent. This of course has it’s own pros and cons but the one thing that makes me do it myself is because I get to do all the research especially where money is involved. By planning my trips I get to research for cheap flights, weigh out varying accommodation options, move my dates around and so on. In the end, I save up quite a chunk.

Don’t be scared to plan your own trips, you just need to put in time researching about where you’re going. Read reviews and ask other travellers (me 😉 ) for assistance. Eventually, you’ll learn the ropes and you’ll realize you don’t need to pay a commission to an agent.

https://giphy.com/gifs/season-10-the-simpsons-10×12-xT5LMMhKszTKOfi9UI

The other method that I use to save up for my trips is to reduce my expenses while at home. For instance, when I decided that I wanted to travel for longer periods, I moved to a cheaper house that saw me save $100 every month.

I also try not to live an extravagant life and instead put that money in my travel account. What motivates me is knowing that I can be as extravagant during my trip as my savings will allow me. I no longer focus on material stuff but instead I focus on buying experiences.

My desire to travel more also motivates me to work harder. I focus all my energy on my online business and do everything that I can to find clients and from my earnings, I’m able to save enough to stay on the road.

What has been my greatest motivation?

The one thing that has helped me manage to keep this life going is my attitude. It’s totally true that you are your first hindrance to living the kind of life you want.

My mantra has always been ‘If you can see it in your mind, if you can imagine it, then it’s possible.’ This is the attitude I carry around. I know it’s possible to live as a full time digital nomad so I chase that possibility with everything I’ve got.

So start by seeing yourself doing it, believe that it’s possible, surround yourself with people who are doing it and let them rub the ‘I can do it’ attitude on you.

https://giphy.com/gifs/beach-gear-bag-3oKIPDf1E4qKYRJ6oM

My word of advice…

Let go of the fear, the doubts, the excuses and simply do it. It’s better to try and fail than to never try at all and live wondering what if!

The African Nomad | Stella Mwangi

Creating a Winning Content Marketing Strategy

Creating a Winning Content Marketing Strategy

Do I really need a content marketing strategy? What for?

As an online business, you cannot escape selling your content. Unlike a brick and mortar business that can pin up ads on street corners or on the local daily, your online business depends on how well you can use content to grab your target audience’s attention.

Content is definitely still king. But what’s good content if you can’t get your audience to see and make use of it?

The trick to making content work for your online business is to market your content right.

So how do you do this?

(more…)

Social Media Marketing: How Does it Improve Google Search Ranking?

Social Media Marketing: How Does it Improve Google Search Ranking?

The SEO field has evolved over the past few years as companies try to keep up with Google’s ever-changing algorithm updates. One thing has become clear with the changes, social media marketing goes hand in hand with SEO.

According to the State of Search Marketing Report 2013, 74% of companies and 82% of agencies have either somewhat or highly integrated social media marketing into their SEO strategy.

(more…)

Content Marketing Like a Pro: 5 Easy Ways to Get Started

Content Marketing Like a Pro: 5 Easy Ways to Get Started

Many companies realize the importance of content marketing and the benefits they get from it.

Content is the heart of marketing. With it, you communicate with your customers, both existing and potential, regardless of the form your content takes. Quality and relevant content are key for every business that wants to reach a wider audience.

Unfortunately, a plain website with product/service descriptions and contact information will not cut it in the current digital marketing era.

You have to consistently provide your audience with information that builds trust and authority. With constant content, you’ll succeed in building relationships and loyalty to you and your brand.

(more…)

SEO: What NOT to Do If You Want to Get it Right

SEO: What NOT to Do If You Want to Get it Right

SEO mistakes are very common and unfortunately they can really affect your Google rankings. We all want our content to be found by our audience right? Because what good is content if no one ever reads it?

You actually may not be aware that you’re making some of these SEO mistakes. If you’ve been wondering why your content marketing efforts haven’t been paying off, maybe you need to re-evaluate your SEO strategies.

But how can SEO be bad? Isn’t it just about having content that has the right keywords?

(more…)