After years of a chronic fear of flying, I’ve always envied people who had the ability to travel the world, care-free – hopping onto planes and jumping from hostel to hostel without the constant fear of ‘oh god I will die on this plane and if I don’t, I’ll definitely get murdered or Bridget-Jones-style imprisoned somehow despite not committing any crimes!’…
When L moved to Oz, I decided it was high-time to pay my brother a visit on the way, and tick off one major travel destination on my list: Bali!
I wrote all about the amazing experience I had in Singapore, Bali and Australia respectively, and that trip without doubt marked the beginning of my love affair with travel; I knew from there on in that the scary flights and the anxiety beforehand were nothing in comparison to the experiences that travelling would bring me.
The biggest tip I can offer you for a big trip where you have to fly solo, is getting organised. I did my research across various forums and checked what Visas I needed, as well as any other important documentation – for example in Singapore I needed to show the address of where I was set to stay, and the details of my flight out of Singapore to prove that I was leaving.
I ran print outs of everything, created a separate email folder with all my confirmation of via purchases, hotel stays, and so forth, so that if by some disaster I lost the folder with my print outs, in-order of when I’d need them for the travels, I’d have my back-up ready to hand.
So, last year covered the fear of flying; there’s nothing like a series of long-haul flights, and an absolute shit-show of a 2 hour flight with the delightful Air Asia to help you find that actually, a couple of hours into Europe is actually nothing to be too scared of.
This year, I wanted to push myself a little further. I’d been arbitrarily looking at adventure holidays. I kayaked years ago and always liked the idea of getting back into it. I stumbled up on Much Better Adventures, which seemed considerably more reasonable than some of its competitors and saw an advert for kayaking in Sardinia. I remembered Sardinia from a holiday there as a child – it was beautiful; crystal clear water and sandy white beaches.
On a whim, I booked it.
I’m so glad I did. The tours by Much Better Adventures are really well run, I was picked up from the airport by our group leader, and two other people were also collected. We then headed into Alghero for a quick bite to eat, and were shortly dropped off at where we were staying. Unfortunately there was a bit of a mix-up with my room, so I ended up staying in a different farmhouse to the rest of the group. This was OK in theory, but probably could have been handled better.
The trip itself was amazing! The first day was pure relaxation, and getting to know the other members of the trip around the pool and over a drink or two. Then, dinner was served up in true Italian style – all seated around one big table with various wine decanters dotted around. Staying on what’s known as an ‘agriturismo’ – i.e., somewhere agricultural that takes visitors was amazing; especially as the home cooked food all came from the farm. You haven’t had pasta until you’ve had home-made Italian pasta!
The first day was a pretty chilled affair when it came to the kayaking – we headed to a beach not so far away and stopped to swim, eat lunch and grab an ice cream. The beautiful thing about Sardinia? It’s seemingly unspoiled by tourists. Considering this was July – the beaches were near enough empty.
Then, the next day we upped the ante and undertook a more challenging route. I really struggled in all honesty – my upper body strength is awful! We kayaked for a good hour plus, coming to a stop at this beautifully remote spot for snorkelling and lunch – it was B-E-A-Utiful! Both underwater and on the land, this spot was incredible.
The way back was tough – we hit quite a hard headwind, luckily the guys were super helpful and I got a tow at one point which helped matters considerably for me! We also got taken to the local beach bar, which was an amazingly authentic taste of Sardinian life; live music, cheap beer, and stunning scenery!
I’d head back to beautiful Sardinia in a heartbeat, and I’d definitely do another solo trip. Although it seems scary, just remember that everyone else there is in the same boat (no pun intended) – and you all have this one huge thing in common – that you’re coming on a solo trip together, which gives you tonnes to talk about!
I’d really recommend Much Better Adventures, they have some UK-based trips as well which would be perfect if you’re anxious about travelling abroad. Everyone at Much Better Adventures was super helpful with all my questions and queries.
Believe me when I say, if I can overcome the anxiety that flying alone, and that subsequently travelling alone brings with it, so can YOU!
Stay organised, stay safe, and think about how proud of yourself you’ll be when you complete adventures you will think about for years and years to come!