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Pre-solo travel anxieties (2013)

JAPAN | Saturday, 31 January 2015 | Views [481]

August 2013 - trip for two booked to Japan. December 2013 - breakup. It started off with no intention to travel alone then of course things change, so I decided to pluck up the courage and go alone to Japan. At the time it was mainly to show everyone I wasn't afraid of having no travel companion, but little did I know I would soon catch the not-so-dreaded travel bug.

A couple of months of pondering later I messaged my Auntie - quite the hippie traveller - who was living in India at the time teaching yoga and relaxing by the beach. I must say, she is my inspiration for wanting to travel so much. I've considered blocking her from my newsfeed there are so many damn sunsets on there...

At first I was researching a self-guided tour. This is where the travel agent books all your flights, transfers and accommodation while you figure out the rest in between. For one month this came to $6,000 not including spending money. For all that research I thought it was quite cheap. I rang my Auntie for advice and she shut me down straight away and said I could do it cheaper (if i was living for under $10 a day I would have thought that too). She recommended hostelworld.com (great site, very informative) and suggested I stayed in hostels.

Researching began again and I think this is where the travel bug latched on to me. Next came the 'thrifty' bug. I was budgeting to the dollar and wanted the experience to be as living-local as possible. I didn't book any tours, with the exception of a kayaking experience around Miyajima Island (no english speaking guide!). Lonely Planet was my bible. I still rely quite heavily on them today for countries I've never visited before. 

Finally the day came I was to leave little old Adelaide for a month-long adventure (thank YOU annual leave). The moment I stepped out of the plane in Japan and into that super super clean airport I was I just thought "holy sh*t I'm actually here... all by myself... noone to rely on...just me." After about an hour of trying to find the train station in Osaka airport I finally cashed in my green card rail pass for my 30 days. My travel dates were during April-May so the small fee to a green class pass was the best decision I've ever made. If you've been to Japan during Golden Week you will understand.

Like a novice traveller I packed my itinerary to the brim. I think it was about 17 cities in total. All the way from Tokyo down to the very bottom of the country, and last train stop south, Ibusuki. See my Japan blog next for more details on each of the cities I visited, and photos! In total my flights, accommodation and rail pass came to around $2,500. That's a massive difference to what I was originally planning to do. 

After that first solo trip I felt like a more evolved version of myself. If there were any problems, I had to fix it myself. If I wanted to stay an extra hour in that museum, I did. If I needed to go to the bathroom, I didn't need to tell anyone! Solo travel definitely taught me what I could and couldn't do/handle, and what I needed to work on in my personal and work life too. That trip is the best thing I ever did to get to where I am now.

Well that was my first attempt at blogging so please be kind, share some pointers if you will.

Australian_Ohime xo

 

Tags: japan, japan rail pass, kayaking, novice traveller, solo travel, thrifty travel

 

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