SOLO JOURNEY: The Daily Examiner journalist Jarrard Potter at the Grand Canyon in the United States.
SOLO JOURNEY: The Daily Examiner journalist Jarrard Potter at the Grand Canyon in the United States. Jarrard Potter

Take the leap and go your own way solo

THIS time two weeks ago, I was on the other side of the world in New York City, taking in the sights of the Big Apple before catching a flight from Newark, New Jersey, back to Los Angeles, via Las Vegas, to end a whirlwind six-week solo adventure of a lifetime through the United States of America.

The first time I went to the US I was only 12 years old on a family holiday which had taken my mum and dad months of planning and preparation.

My solo holiday was organised in a few nights on my laptop in my bedroom. Well, technically about three-quarters of it was organised when I first got on the plane to fly out of Brisbane, I figured out how to get back to LA while on my phone in my friend's lounge room in Hartford, Connecticut. My point is, with the proliferation of comparison websites from airlines and accommodation, it's never been easier or cheaper to jump on a plane and head across the globe, and when you're young the time is right.

As the price of smashed avo on toast decimates Gen Y's ability to save money for anything Baby Boomers consider to have tangible value, such as a house or gold bars, Millennials such as myself are opting to collect memories and experiences rather than an expanding property portfolio.

My holiday included a two-week Contiki tour, meeting friends in Memphis ahead of the wedding of one of my best buddies in Arkansas, visiting my cousin in Tucson, friends in Hartford then NYC and making my way back to LA.

If you're thinking about travelling solo but slightly hesistant, here are some of tips and observations they may help you make your decision:

Help is there for you

Travelling by yourself can be daunting as everything falls upon you. There's no friends to lean on to help the burden, it's all up to you. The best way to overcome the fear is to ask someone! Chances are in many places you go, there'll be staff or friendly people who will help you if you've got any problems. Just ask. Besides, with Google and technology it's not hard to phone home if needed.

Freedom!

The best part about travelling solo is you only have to look after one person: you. If you want to stay out until 4am and party, by all means, and if you want to go to bed early and visit museums and art galleries all day, that's cool too. You do you! No need to please anyone else or worry if they're having a good time or finding a middle ground.

Double and triple check

Remember how I said you've only got yourself to rely on when doing it alone? That means you've got to thoroughly check everything, from accommodation dates and travel times to where you're going and staying. I almost made the mistake of flying out of the wrong airport when leaving San Francisco until I doublechecked the airport, so read everything carefully.

Tours, tours, tours

Whether it's a Contiki tour or a walking tour around a city, there's no better way to explore an area than with someone who knows what they're talking about. Not only will you see and learn more from a guide, it's also a chance to meet other people. The people on my Contiki went from total strangers to unforgettable friends, and it took me to places I never would have thought about going to, which was the same with the walking tours.

Embrace the unknown

What I enjoyed the most about my travels was experiencing things I never would have if I stayed at home.

Be adventurous and try new things, don't just do the safe and easy things you know you like back home, because if you do you may as well not have left in the first place.



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