Moving to a new country is a daunting task. It can be overwhelming, terrifying, and exciting all at one time. Do you have everything you need? Are you mentally prepared for the culture shock? Have you said your goodbyes to everyone? Did you remember to pack those absolutely must-have new pair of socks that you just cannot live without? You did? Cool. Awesome. Great. That means you’re one step closer to starting your new and amazing life abroad. You didn’t? That’s still not a problem because you’re still about to start your new and amazing life abroad. Did you catch that? No? Okay, I’ll say it once more.
You’re still about to start your new and amazing life abroad.
Whether it be for one week or extend into years this is still an amazing feat. Not just anyone makes that scary decision to jump into going to another country. People dream of it. They fantasize about it and some even make full on plans only to later go back on those plans.
“It’s too expensive.”
“I don’t have enough time.”
“I don’t have anyone to go with.”
Well, I’m here to tell you that there’s always going to be an excuse. There’s never going to be enough money. Something is always going to be going on. There may never be another person who can just go along with you. That doesn’t matter!
1.) Traveling doesn’t have to be expensive.
2.) You can make time.
3.) Don’t let someone else’s schedule determine your own.
Right now, at this very moment while I type each of these words I’m sitting in a small cafe located in Tokyo, Japan drinking a small Ice Coffee. I’m a broke University student who had to work two jobs for a year prior to entering school just to be able to afford the educational expenses. At 3 in the morning I’d wake up and leave for work only to return home to a dark and quiet apartment at 10 in the evening. So then, how did I end up in Japan two years later living my dream of studying in another country?
I said to hell with the excuses and concerns.
I looked into every possible travel blog and video on cheap travel and studied the countless stories and recounts of others journeys abroad whether it be to Japan or some other place. It wasn’t as if I were the first ever person looking to travel on a tight budget. There are countless people out in the world who have been or currently were in the same position in which I’d found myself so I learned from their own experiences.
Fun fact: I managed to book my flight from LAX to Tokyo for under $500!
I made my own time. Of course, I set aside time for studying and working on my class assignments, but I also never let a week go by where I didn’t carve out a chunk of time just for me. The same can be said with anything. There’s always going to be something happening and it needs to be known. There will never be enough time unless you make it yourself because no one’s going to make it for you and time doesn’t just wait around for a slot in your schedule to suddenly become available.
Through all of this, while I did have friends and family, I never let their own schedules dictate my own. All of my family were located in another state than that of my University. There were countless events that happened that I couldn’t be a part of and, while it was upsetting I realized that I have my own life with events happening everyday. Their life is theirs and mine is mine and the same could be said about my friends. Just because there’s some amazing party going on that you want to go to but your friend is doing something else during that time doesn’t mean you should change your schedule and not go to the party. Schedules are a fickle thing and it can be hard to always line up with another persons. Don’t be fearful if you have to go at something alone. In fact, sometimes it’s better to go at things alone! It can be easier to meet other people, make connections, and experience a scene completely different than it may have been had you traveled with another person!
I’m by no means an expert in solo travel and I’ve only just started my life in Japan. I’m a University student struggling on a tight budget who has rather large ambitions of traveling the entirety of the world. That cafe I mentioned at the beginning of this post? It’s a small cafe for students that offers free coffee and wifi. That’s right, it doesn’t cost me a cent to be sitting where I’m currently at writing this post and drinking coffee. My time is managed in such a way that I don’t spend all of it within a classroom studying away for hours on end. I make time in my schedule to explore and see knew things and that schedule isn’t changed whether I’m traveling on my own or spending time with a friend. I’m proud to say that I’m a University student who isn’t letting something like money and time dictate my life and hopefully this blog can be an inspiration or help to you who is currently reading it for future travel tips.