If you’ve ever set off of on a solo adventure you’ll be no stranger to the hoards of advice, warnings and cautionary tales that get thrown at you. In Amy Baker’s debut book Miss Adventures: A Tale of Ignoring Life Advice While Backpacking Around South America she shares her often hilarious experiences of solo travel and sifts through what advice is actually worth listening to. We managed to pin her down long enough to tell us what advice you should ignore to ensure you get the most from your trip.
5 types of advice to ignore when you travel solo by Amy Baker
1 – Advice about…talking to strangers
“Trust no-one” – My Mum
Spoiler alert – if you spend your whole time following advice telling you not to talk to strangers, you’re going to be lonely, bored, and incredibly hungry. Plus, human interaction is what makes travel so incredible. Sure, you might not want to start telling your life story to everyone you meet, or asking prying questions of whoever happens to sit next to you, but not talking to people just because you don’t know them is an absurd notion. Be aware, open and friendly and chances are your interactions will be lovely.
2 – Advice about…watching what you eat
“Don’t go eating any rat now will you!” – Diane, Family Friend.
I don’t know about you but I gauge the success of each day based entirely on what food and drink passes my lips. Discovering the cuisine of different cultures is a complete joy and an activity that should be taken on with gleeful abandon. Don’t listen to people telling you to ‘stick to what you know’ – you can eat pizza anytime. Try everything you can get your hands on. You’ll be back in the lentil aisle of Sainsbury’s before you know it, so make the most of it while you can.
3 – Advice about…what you are and aren’t capable of
“Climb a mountain! You can barely run round the park!” – Sam, Friend.
There’s a whole beautiful world out there waiting to be discovered, but if you choose to listen to everyone’s opinions on what to do and how to do it, chances are you’ll never do anything. People will make assumptions about how tough you are, whether you’ve got it in you to travel solo, or to claw your way up that mountain – let them assume. You know what you’re capable of and that’s all that matters.
4 – Advice about…romantic suitors
“Watch out for men with too much wooden jewellery” – Carol, Receptionist
While Carol may have a slight point, don’t let anyone else tell you who you should and shouldn’t be interested in. You’re going to meet a lot of attractive, interesting (and very tanned), likeminded people as you travel – your head is undoubtedly going to be turned. Enjoy these encounters and allow them to teach you about yourself, but don’t let them distract you from your main task – your solo journey.
5 – Advice about…where to find your fun
“If you’re not here to hike, you may as well go home.” Fellow backpacker
Solo travel is the best opportunity you will ever have to get to know yourself. When you’re alone you no longer have to capitulate to the whims of others – what you see, do, eat, read, and visit is all up to you. Should you want to forego that trek in favour of reading your book in the sunshine – you do you, love. Just because someone you’re chatting to thinks the local caterpillar sanctuary is a ‘real eye opener’ doesn’t mean you’ll agree. Relish the unique chance to listen to yourself, what you want and what piques your interest – you might just learn a thing or two.
Want to hear more from Amy? She will be talking about her experiences and offering advice on Tuesday 16th May here at Stanfords on Long Acre. For tickets see here.