At what age did people start their solo adventures? How do you think going at the age that you did affect your travels?

When I was 21, I was on exchange in Singapore for a year. I had never gone backpacking before, but as I began to make friends with other students, I was invited along. As a kid, I had travelled plenty with my family, but only on organised tours, so seeing how easy travelling independently was was shocking. First, I followed friends on short trips, then later, I started organising the trips myself and inviting others along.

At the end of my exchange, I planned a trip to India, with hopes that a friend could join me. Her final exams ended a week after mine. Rather than wait, I decided to take the plunge and just do the first week by myself before she joined me. And yeah... I was pretty scared to do it all alone, let alone a country as overwhelming as India! I got swindled a few times, got heat exhaustion and caught E.coli in the same day, couldn't eat for 3 days and lost 15 pounds while sick (my trip was 2.5 weeks, but I was sick for 4), then later suffered altitude sickness... but I had so much fun! Chatting with friendly locals, meeting other travellers -- it was great, and I really learned there to worry less and just go with the flow. My friend joined me a week later, and I had an even better time then, so I never really considered travelling alone again. But I had realised there that travelling alone made me much more open to interacting with people, rather than just my travelling companion.

Six months later, I finished up my studies, and planned a 1 month trip to South America with another friend. Two weeks before we were set to go, she had to drop out. Not wanting to wait for another companion, I decided to go alone, and ended up travelling for roughly 8 months, hitting all 7 continents without originally planning to, meeting some new lifelong friends along the way, and visiting others that I had met on exchange the previous year.

That trip whet my appetite for travel in general in a big way, and now I mostly travel alone. It never feels that way though! I've met so many wonderful people that I still keep in touch with. Fast forward four years, I've hit about 60 countries, heard some fascinating stories (most of which I've blogged), and hope to do another long trip in the near future. Having hit many famous spots, I'm now more drawn to places less visited -- Central Asia is next on my list.

/r/solotravel Thread