What I Learned From Travelling Alone

Travelling Alone to London
Article by Keagi Makgoba. Posted on August 1 2016 at 7:33 am

I think every woman (and maybe man) has the dream and wish to travel the world with someone, be it a family member or a friend and sometimes lover but it doesn’t always happen that way. Firstly, planning group trips is always a hassle. You start out with 10 members and will end up with 3 or 1 on the trip, OR you just aren’t in a relationship; so chances are, at some point in life, you will need to travel alone.

Travelling Alone

I recently had a work assignment that allowed me to travel to the United Kingdom and boy what an experience that was. It was daunting enough that I was travelling to a foreign continent for the first time, never mind that I was doing it alone but it remains an experience I would not trade for anything else in the world.

I learnt a lot navigating my way around a whole new environment and more importantly, had the chance to explore a world unimagined.

Preparation is key

Like any other location, it is always advised to prepare your routes as much as possible. You will never really follow your itinerary completely but have something to work with. This way, you just ask locals to direct you or help you find what you are looking for. It can easily get daunting to walk around alone too and planning your routes just makes the experience better.

Technology has made life so much easier for us. Download transport apps that will guide you on which routes and modes of transport to are best get to where you want to get to. In England, you will most probably survive using “City Mapper” as well as “Tube Map”. These were my saving grace, I mastered their transport system in a matter of days.

The people are just as amazing. I was never shy to ask for directions or assistance from locals. If you are iffy about speaking to strangers in the street, I would suggest you ask people in safer places such as restaurants and shops.

Travelling Alone

Pack yourself a raincoat or umbrella

I have a friend that recently moved to the UK and in getting ready to leave, she made sure I packed an umbrella. The best thing I ever did. Boy does it rain a lot there. But what I love is that the rain doesn’t stop any of the fun. Europeans are used to the wet weather and for them, it’s still another day to wear flip flops and shorts. I quickly adapted.

Travelling Alone

My #MCM – The selfie stick

I have never appreciated my selfie stick as much as I did in London. I am short and most times, trying to take a picture of myself is tough with the arms that I have. When travelling alone, your selfie stick becomes your companion. If you forget to take one in your suitcase, make sure you buy one on the side.

Travelling Alone

Places to go and people to see

I had awesome colleagues who gave me a heads up about where to go and what to do but I also did the touristy thing and joined the “Hop on, Hop off” bus tours.

The benefit of taking such bus tours is the knowledge and history that comes with each building and site seeing arena. If anything, doing this in London has pushed me to want to take a Johannesburg city bus tour. Living in a city for 26 years can easily make you comfortable and not make the effort to get to know the history behind it.

Travelling Alone

Travelling for work makes it a tad bit more difficult to do a lot of site seeing but I made an effort to visit as many places and do as many fun activities as possible. Here are some of the places I think you should get up and go see while in the UK and luckily, you don’t have to buy any of the tickets in two’s, which is a single traveller blessing (LOL):

  • The Coca-Cola London Eye —> Madame Taussades (Wax crafted celebs)
  • Tower of London —– > Aquarium
  • Walk over Tower Bridge —-> Sea Life Acquarium
  • St Paul’s Cathedral —-> Buckingham Palace
  • Palace of Westminster —-> Oxford Street (wear comfy shoes)
  • Borough Market —–> Piccadilly Circus
  • London Bridge —-> Covent Garden
  • Cruise on River Thames —-> Manchester City (3 hour train)
  • Westminster

Travelling Alone

In part two, I share my experience on the food, the people, culture, shopping and a changed worldview, Brexit!

Travelled alone before? How did that go?

By Keagi

8 Comments

  1. Hi Keagi,

    I’ve traveled alone many times from the age of 19 when I first went to the USA. I’m now 26. Since then I’ve been to Malayisa, Thailand and back to USA again. All these being one man travels. I absolutely love it. There is something about traveling alone that people don’t get. It allows you to spend more time with your self, have fiun with yourself and allow yourself to grow as an individual in many aspects. There aren’t any distractions. Just you yourself and the world.

    Fun piece. I look forward to part 2.

    xxx
    Ayanda

    • OMG Ayanda! Really? You are a G hey.

      I have to admit that for the longest time, I was stuck in a comfort zone. Afraid of new experiences or seeing new things. I promised myself that I would travel more. I am keeping to that promise, WITH or WITHOUT someone else!

      Hope you can help me with some cool suggestions then *wink*

    • This reminds me of the article – The 25 Trips To Take In A Lifetime

      I am so super excited to start travelling alone and doing ME vacations.
      I am planning my European tour in 2years. For now i am learning to travel on my own with cities within SA

      RE – Europe
      Annah please send me email at keakeaMp@gmail.com

  2. I wanna go to Jamaica alone.That should be interesting.
    Never traveled alone though. All my trips have been with family or friends.

    • “How Stella Got Her Groove Back”

  3. This is so awesome, i travel a lot, but have never done it alone. Am inspired, let me check where to go.

  4. I’m happy I am not weird . I travelled alone for 3 years before I met my new buddies at business school who saved me from myself. I started off in Egypt,Turkey,Greece and frequented backpacking to Mozambique. With the group I travel beginning of the year, September’s are dedicated to a trip with my son (we are off to Mauritius this weekend) and alone trip every Nov or early Dec. This upsets my friends as they don’t get why sometimes I want to take all these new things in,alone,my way and according to my schedule or none. Nondumiso and I went to varsity together and share the same love for travel….even though she’s overtook me as I haven’t been to Morocco :(….
    I document all the experiences for a future travel blog and travel handbook I aspire to write in a few years. It is so comforting meeting new people ( I have made friend all around the world and have been hosted by some in ireland, Scotland and Turkey on return trips). Technology has made it easy as well as you can access pictures that were taken donkey years ago on Picasa,Dropbox etc.
    This however has affected how I relate to men as for me,travelling is non negotiable and I do expect a relationship “visa” away from a man at least twice a year. So I remain single and always watching Travel Channel (House Hunters International) as I also would love to stay abroad for a year or two studying or volunteering…..

    So, thank you Lelo for articles like these. You may not know the impact,but there is, on some lives.

    I would love to join a group to roadtrip from CT to the north,via Namibia,Zim,Zambia etc…..

    #AsSheShopsOnIGBotiquesForBikinis# 🙂

    • Wow, i’m so inspired. How old is your son? Mine has been refusing to travel with him but he’s finally set a date for next year March/April school holidays so we’ve made progress for the first time in years.

      You should totally share one of your experiences with us man Ziyanda, sounds like you’ve had a lot of those. Nondumiso’s post was awesome, maybe share about your next ? *wink*


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Travelling Alone to London

I think every woman (and maybe man) has the dream and wish to travel the world with someone, be it a family member or a friend and sometimes lover but it doesn’t always happen that way. Firstly, planning group trips is always a hassle. You start out with 10 members and will end up with 3 or 1 on the trip, OR you just aren’t in a relationship; so chances are, at some point in life, you will need to travel alone.

Travelling Alone

I recently had a work assignment that allowed me to travel to the United Kingdom and boy what an experience that was. It was daunting enough that I was travelling to a foreign continent for the first time, never mind that I was doing it alone but it remains an experience I would not trade for anything else in the world.

I learnt a lot navigating my way around a whole new environment and more importantly, had the chance to explore a world unimagined.

Preparation is key

Like any other location, it is always advised to prepare your routes as much as possible. You will never really follow your itinerary completely but have something to work with. This way, you just ask locals to direct you or help you find what you are looking for. It can easily get daunting to walk around alone too and planning your routes just makes the experience better.

Technology has made life so much easier for us. Download transport apps that will guide you on which routes and modes of transport to are best get to where you want to get to. In England, you will most probably survive using “City Mapper” as well as “Tube Map”. These were my saving grace, I mastered their transport system in a matter of days.

The people are just as amazing. I was never shy to ask for directions or assistance from locals. If you are iffy about speaking to strangers in the street, I would suggest you ask people in safer places such as restaurants and shops.

Travelling Alone

Pack yourself a raincoat or umbrella

I have a friend that recently moved to the UK and in getting ready to leave, she made sure I packed an umbrella. The best thing I ever did. Boy does it rain a lot there. But what I love is that the rain doesn’t stop any of the fun. Europeans are used to the wet weather and for them, it’s still another day to wear flip flops and shorts. I quickly adapted.

Travelling Alone

My #MCM – The selfie stick

I have never appreciated my selfie stick as much as I did in London. I am short and most times, trying to take a picture of myself is tough with the arms that I have. When travelling alone, your selfie stick becomes your companion. If you forget to take one in your suitcase, make sure you buy one on the side.

Travelling Alone

Places to go and people to see

I had awesome colleagues who gave me a heads up about where to go and what to do but I also did the touristy thing and joined the “Hop on, Hop off” bus tours.

The benefit of taking such bus tours is the knowledge and history that comes with each building and site seeing arena. If anything, doing this in London has pushed me to want to take a Johannesburg city bus tour. Living in a city for 26 years can easily make you comfortable and not make the effort to get to know the history behind it.

Travelling Alone

Travelling for work makes it a tad bit more difficult to do a lot of site seeing but I made an effort to visit as many places and do as many fun activities as possible. Here are some of the places I think you should get up and go see while in the UK and luckily, you don’t have to buy any of the tickets in two’s, which is a single traveller blessing (LOL):

  • The Coca-Cola London Eye —> Madame Taussades (Wax crafted celebs)
  • Tower of London —– > Aquarium
  • Walk over Tower Bridge —-> Sea Life Acquarium
  • St Paul’s Cathedral —-> Buckingham Palace
  • Palace of Westminster —-> Oxford Street (wear comfy shoes)
  • Borough Market —–> Piccadilly Circus
  • London Bridge —-> Covent Garden
  • Cruise on River Thames —-> Manchester City (3 hour train)
  • Westminster

Travelling Alone

In part two, I share my experience on the food, the people, culture, shopping and a changed worldview, Brexit!

Travelled alone before? How did that go?

By Keagi

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