Solo Travels are the best travels. Thailand here I come!



 

My pursuit of this next adventure - Backpacking Thailand...solo.. is well beyond anything I have ever done. It has been a learning curve already, but I am beyond excited! People have asked me LOTS of questions, some have provoked further research and others have just come to me along the way.
FAQ:

How will you know where to go and where to NOT go?
 I've been planning this informally in my dream world for the last 7 years - and far more in depth in recent months. I've researched everything from safety, travel methods,  health needs,  health risks, places to avoid, what to avoid, when to go, what to see and do, what's backpacker friendly, and specifically solo female friendly and safe. I've researched the Thai culture and nuances related to culture. I have been studying the language to ensure that I can at least get the basics once there ('where is the bathroom' help' "Where is..."  'How much'... 'do you speak English')...


Won't it be hard to leave for that long?
I know there will be some challenges along the way both mentally and physically. I have thought of a million things that 'I will miss out on' or that I want to be attending at the same time I am given this opportunity of a lifetime. Throw in the fact that I'll miss Christmas and New Years and I am sure that will add to it at some point. My family is incredibly supportive and I am very thankful for that. Reality is, there will never be 'the perfect' time to go on this trip of a lifetime. Things have kind of fallen into place just right to allow me the chance to chase my dreams.. the biggest concern right now is that I hope to have a job to come back to - I have pled my case and now I wait to hear if a LOA is approved or not. (If not, I am still going, it will just make for a stressful return!)


How can you keep in touch while abroad?
I'm gonna miss family. And friends.  As for missing people, I plan to keep in touch- whether it be phone calls, texts, email, GPS based location updates, social media, or What's App. I plan on checking in often via the satellite GPS tracker which w will share my coordinates. It also allows me to  preprogram messages like 'staying here for the night' ...or "Check out this place!"  and there's an SOS button which also notifies the contacts I enter prior to leaving. There is also a button for real emergencies- which when pushed, goes straight to nearest "911 response team" and also alerts persons on my list.


What if something happens and you need to leave the country sooner than planned?
As for health - there's travel insurance which I have purchased already. It  has $50k coverage plus another $1mil for search and rescue and medical evacuation via helicopter/plane back to MN. Plus trip interruption funding. That's all on top of what my Heath insurance already covers.


What is there are regional issues or disasters?
I've registered with STEP traveler - where I enter my destination (country) and my ER contacts as well as my passport info for tracking. That program will alert me of anything of potential danger while there- weather, pandemics, war, etc. The travel insurance I got also covers those reasons for trip interruption- I'll get reimbursed some travel costs if I need to leave due to those alerts.



Aren't you afraid to go alone?
No. Not at all. I have learned so much by going places on my own, I guess i don't think twice about it (as far as 'fear'). Thailand is the safest country in the world for solo female travel. I plan to stay in hostels - where everyone is there to learn and see and do. The best part about hostels is that you have instant friends and travel companions if you want to have them. Hostels also offer group outings to see the sights and find the hidden local treasure spots. And I learn from other travelers. As hostel people, we all share our stories about what we have seen, what we have done, and what we thought of it all. This leads to putting more fun things on the agenda and maybe even tagging along with others as they check out the sights.


What about your safety as a solo female traveler?
As for traveling solo-  I'm "good" at traveling alone- but I'm not naive to not think ahead about the 'worst case scenarios' and try to plan ahead in some ways.  I am always aware of my surroundings, by nature. I know there's serious health threats there- hence the optional vaccinations and meetings with the travel specialist at the hospital. I also know there's potential for major safety threats- I have researched where not to go- both as an American, as a female, and as a tourist. I've researched safe methods of travel, scams, muggings, and crimes in general. I have an idea of where not to go, though I must say they are few and far between and nothing compared to large areas in the USA.  I have the contacts and numbers already programmed for the US embassy in N and S Thailand, the local "911" numbers, and know how to say "I need help" in Thai. I've looked up how to use my phone in Thailand (its unlocked which is a bonus)!



THANK YOU!
  I appreciate that people care enough to be concerned and while I am certain I haven't thought of every thing, I feel like I have covered a lot of bases!  It's a huge trip, it's going to be a huge compromise to give up life as I know it at home - but I AM doing it, I am excited for it, and I greatly appreciate everyone's support!! And again,  A HUGE thank you to my parents (for backing me/supporting me 10000%) and to all my friends that support me as I chase my bucket list dream!!


What's next?   Learning/figuring out how to pack for 2 months of travel.. and how to do so lightly so I can carry it all!!




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