Five Tips from a Solo-Traveler

Week one of my first road trip by myself through the Midwest:

We are all just stories in the end. So make it a good one, eh?
(The Eleventh Doctor)

Hi there!

Everyone has a small voice in his head. That adventurous, and curious voice that strives to understand the unknown. Sadly, most people have another voice in their head, as well. The voice that keeps you in your comfort zone. The voice that prevents you from once in a lifetime trips and opportunities. 
 I finally overcame this voice and am on one of those once in lifetime trips. Currently, I am one week into my three-week solo-traveling Midwest tour. Hopping from National park to National park, sleeping in my car and exploring new stories each day. Here are five things that I learned on my first week traveling by myself.

  1. It is okay to be afraid:
     I mean it takes something to travel through a country all by yourself. I left my home a whole day later because I was too scared to start my journey. And this is totally fine. If it was easy, everybody would do it. Safe space is a fine neat thing but at one point you just have to leave to explore the unknown. Don’t rush through this scared-phase. Better yet, enjoy it! I myself, screamed several times in my car because I could not believe that I finally left my apartment. Knowing that I will never come back. 
     Extra tip: At one point, there is too much planning. Just go for it.

2) Have the basics checked:
 If you travel by yourself, you might run into some problems on your journey. Prepare for them and they will just be small road blocks, pun intended. Have a safety contact that you can contact at any point. Text him your locations and goals daily. So, somebody knows exactly where you are. Do not forget some basics that can fix a lot of problems for you: Sharp knife, a lighter, a flashlight, duct tape, some snacks, and a first aid kit should be in your carry on at any time. I, already, fixed my car with duct tape on my trip. It seaved me a good amount of money and gave me a funny story to tell people.

If duct tape cannot fix it then nothing can fix it. More details in my next Blog.

3) Communicate:
 Speak with all the random strangers around you. Odds are pretty good that they know a place that is worth to visit. My routine is to ask the cashier at the gas station for his favorite place towards my goal destination for the day. What do I have to see around me to understand the city? What is the average tourist missing out when he travels through the country? What is your favorite place to eat over here? All these are great questions that will improve your overall experience.

Found this beauty because I asked the cashier at a gasstation about her happy place in town.

4) Explore:
 Off course, you should have a general plan when you start your road trip. But don’t be afraid to change it up a little while you discover a new place. I planned out six main places to go for a 25-day trip. Whenever I see something special, I just stop my car and explore a new place. Using these methods, I discovered a marvelous city right next to I-90 with small beach and a river to swim in. So, stay flexible and enjoy the moment. It sounds silly but the journey itself should be your goal, not the finish line.

The lake I found next to I-90

5) Connect:

Enjoy the time by yourselves it is an unbelievable experience. Do what YOU want to do. You will learn so much more about yourself then you could ever imagine. But, also, don’t be afraid to make new friendships or some small talk. What is the worst thing that can happen with some awkward small talk? Worst, you will have an awkward conversation and never see each other again. But the best thing that can happen is that you make a lifelong friendship with another traveler or local from your trip. What do you have to lose?

Made a travel buddy. Traveled three days together through the Badlands and to Mount Rushmore.

I hope that these 5 tips will help you to leave your comfort zone, too! It is an amazing experience that you do not want to miss out.

Next time I will write a little bit more about my driving experience and how I had to fix my car three days into my trip. Even better, I will show you guys some amazing Spotify playlists that will motivate you to start your next adventure! Maybe, I might even change up my advices for you guys as well after I traveled for a few more days. So, you do not have to make the same mistakes that I did.
 If you want to learn a little bit more about myself and how I see the world then read my first blog entry about the communication habits of an introvert:

Also, like my Facebook page to find out about an easy way to communicate with all the local people around you. Our app will hit the App-store this Fall.

Feel free to give me some feedback and enjoy your journey.
Enjoy traveling and be curious!

Marius Ulrich