This may seem like an odd suggestion, but hear me out!
In 2012 I had booked a month long trip to Thailand with my boyfriend. I was beside myself with excitement! In the six months leading up to August, I had read the Lonely Planet Thailand book cover to cover, booked scuba diving courses … etc.
In July the boyfriend and I broke up, and I was in a dilemma whether to go it alone (which seemed terrifying at the time), or not go at all (which was even more terrifying).
Although I was scared at the thought of being alone in a place as foreign to me as Thailand, I decided that not going to the place I had read so much about, was just not an option! As my family say, “feel the fear and do it anyway!”
A couple of weeks before departure, my friend Linda was telling her friend Emma-Louise of my travel plans! I didn’t know Emma-Lou well enough to even hold a conversation with her, but I thought this is so crazy it might just work. As it all turned out, Lou had just broken up with her boyfriend and decided an escape would be a good idea. She borrowed some money, and booked a flight.
Sorry, I made that sound easy. It was stressful, and had to be done in a short window of time. Changing the name on the flight was nearly the same price as a new flight. We were able to cancel the flight, and use the tax refund to help pay for her new (last minute) flight. Thankfully my ex agreed to this.
Now, this set up could have went either way. We could have got to Thailand and realised quite quickly, that we didn’t like each other. We would then have had to suffer each other’s company 24/7. Worst case scenario we would have had to go our separate ways.
Luckily for me, it couldn’t have worked out better.
Travelling with a stranger means you never run out of conversation. You’re getting to know a brand new person from scratch. It was a great way to kill long bus journeys.
Travelling with a stranger was so unpredictable. I didn’t know her well enough to guess what she was going to do or say, which of course made it all the more interesting.
There is no faster or better way to get to know someone than to travel with them. You sleep/eat/party/explore together. You see them at their best and at their worst. Travelling is fun, but it can also be hard work.
Before long we were throwing up on the back of sinking boats, sharing buckets, losing all sense of privacy in shared rooms. We shared moments of food poisoning, squatting toilets and long, dirty and smelly journeys together. It was definitely a quick bonding experience.
It was also really fun when people asked us how long we had known each other. “Eh… just a couple of weeks”.
Don’t miss out on a trip or adventure because you need a companion. You just never know what can happen. You may find you go solo and meet your stranger at the airport, in a hostel, dancing on the beach, or on a long train journey. We met strangers at the airport, who we ended up travelling with and bumping into along the way.
It was absolutely the best cure for our break ups, because travel makes you feel small and your problems even smaller. It’s really hard to be sad when you’re watching the sunset on an island with a load of fantastic new friends.
Being with someone new, brings out the best in you. You try things you wouldn’t normally try. It’s the, ‘if she can do it, so can I’ mentality. No two travellers are alike, and that’s okay. In fact I think it’s a good thing.
Lou was hilarious, she had me laughing every five minutes. She was up for trying anything and we met so many great people through her ability to talk to anyone. Some of my favourite travel memories were with a stranger.
So all I’m saying is, don’t knock it until you try it.
Going to Thailand with a stranger was one of my best decisions I have ever made.
It was so good in fact, that we booked another trip together the following year to Thailand, Cambodia and Laos. Lou brought her friend Jordan along, and we had an incredible time!
Travelling with a stranger doubled my friend circle when we came home, and I can’t thank her enough for making a scary solo trip, into a fun filled adventure. This trip also gave me the confidence to book a one way ticket to Australia, and travel solo to meet some new strangers!
Great things were never achieved in comfort zones!
Enjoy your adventure, and return safely,
the wandering boomerang 🙂
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