I lived with Tom for four years and let me tell you, this guy has travelled! He’s also an incredible travel photographer (@tomarcherphoto on Insta) and I’ve always loved seeing his images and hearing his tales. Tom went really big for his first adventure alone, and he hasn’t stopped travelling solo since.
What age were you on your first solo trip?
The first time I properly travelled alone I was 23.
Where did you go?
I was with friends at the beginning of the trip but then spent several months in Australia, the South Pacific and Latin America.
How long did you travel for?
Two years altogether, I probably spent around 6 months travelling alone.
Why did you decide to travel alone?
Partly because I didn’t have friends that wanted to spend that long away. But I found I loved the freedom and the ease of meeting new people that came with it.
How did you feel before you set off on your solo trip?
Pretty scared! It’s a daunting thing, especially in third world countries, but you start to realise if you are sensible then you have nothing to worry about.
What did you love most about travelling alone?
It has to be the freedom, being able to do what I want, when I want, and only having to worry about myself. It’s very liberating.
Did you dislike anything about solo travel?
I am a sociable person, and I found I was mostly travelling with others I met along the way anyway. But sometimes you do spend big chunks of time by yourself, and I did find that pretty boring as I like to be around people all the time!
What tip would you give to fellow first time solo travellers?
Just go for it, if you don’t like it you can always come home. But life’s too short not to try these things. Confidence is important: go up and speak to groups of people. You’ll find almost everyone very friendly when you are backpacking and if you speak to lots of people you’ll get some great friends and experiences out of it.
What learnings have you taken away from travelling alone?
The two biggest ones are confidence (especially self confidence) and social skills, and they both can do a lot for you when you come home and back to reality.
Where would you like to travel solo to next?
I want to travel pretty much everywhere! But if I had to pick a place, I would say Greenland is high on my list.