Is it a good idea to travel solo if you have severe social anxiety?
It might be a stupid question, but I just don't know what to do. I really want to do something with my life, you know, go out, explore the world, meet people. But that last part is what really terrifies me. I'm afraid that if I do end up going to some foreign country, I'll pretty much just sit inside and shitpost on 4chan all day, and in that case I don't know if there's any point in travelling in the first place, since I can sit inside much more comfortably at home.
Meeting people is completely impossible for me in my home country due to the anxiety and a general lack of social skills, and I wonder whether this would be different at all in a foreign country. At first glance it seems more difficult because of the language barrier, cultural differences, etc, but on the other hand maybe the whole culture shock and change of scenery would be beneficial in some ways. That's the thing I'd like to know, is it easier to meet people and make friends while travelling? And is there any point in travelling if you stay completely alone all the time and avoid meeting people? I'd especially like to hear about the experiences of other travellers with social anxiety.
One thing to consider is that I'd most likely avoid hostels and instead prefer to book apartments through sites like airbnb, because sharing rooms with other people would be way too stressful. I guess there are some opportunities to meet people outside of hostels, but realistically, I'd probably end up being by myself most of the time.
So yeah, am I completely retarded for even considering travel in my current situation? Should I wait until I get my shit together before doing this? I really want to travel, but I fear it might end up being disappointing because of my fucked up mind...
I wouldn't say I had severe social anxiety when I started but I did love having my comfort bubble that I never left. I worked the same job for 11 years, I never went out, never met new people then one day I decided to take a 3 week trip and throw caution to the wind. Best decision I've ever made.
I'm a big fan of just getting thrown/throwing yourself into the fire. Why pussyfoot around the situation? Just go for the gold. If you think the environment of a new place will help you with your anxiety, go for it. (Assuming you have the money/time to go ahead with this)
> When you fuck up a social situation you're sure you'll never meet those people again.
Very much this. Also, some people like to say that
>life begins at the edge of your comfort zone.
>I'd most likely avoid hostels
A lot of hostels nowadays also have private rooms. Maybe that could be an option for you. This way you can retreat into your own room, or hang out in the common room or hostel bar to meet new people. You don't have to be the coolest, most entertaining extrovert to meet people at a hostel. There's usually a few quiet guys around that mostly just tag along. Just make sure that you are approachable - if you sit in your room or stare at your phone all the time, people are less likely to talk to you.
I have slight social anxiety. My biggest issue is opening myself up to new people, it's why I don't have any friends at home. I always stay in hostels on my travels and talking to people becomes a lot easier. Everyone there is traveling so you have a good conversation starter. Eventually someone who has less anxiety will speak up to you and then it becomes easy to meet others.
Usually at the beginning of my trips I find it harder to meet folks and near the end it becomes a lot easier. If you have severe anxiety it might be a lot more difficult than it is for me to open up. I would suggest staying in hotels for the first week but making sure you spend your whole days outside (it's okay to spend your evenings in front of your computer). Even just trying to order food in a local place, no one is going to judge you for not speaking the local language. Then a week into your travels start staying in hostels. Maybe in a private room for a while and then a dorm. You can book a dorm for only 1 night and if you don't like it, or it's too much you can always go back to a private room the next day.
Hey OP, I have a diagnosis of social anxiety disorder (mild at this point).
>I'm afraid that if I do end up going to some foreign country, I'll pretty much just sit inside and shitpost on 4chan all day
The most important thing to remember is that travelling requires personal initiative, whether you have anxiety or not. So find somewhere you genuinely want to go and take it from there. You have to be able to feel okay about just exploring places and doing shit by yourself no matter what. I am almost 100% sure your excitement will take care of the anxiety-aspect, as long as you do feel excited by the place itself.
>sharing rooms with other people would be way too stressful
I would honestly highly recommend a hostel for you. It's the easiest way to meet people by far. You'll likely meet several other solo-travelers, most of which are open-minded individuals in my experience.
Finally, I'll say one thing. Even if it's no cure in itself, travelling definitely did not affect my anxiety 'negatively'. So I think there's absolutely nothing to lose here. Go for it.
Thank you for the replies, I guess I needed to be told to just do it by someone else...
I think I'd like to try staying at a hostel with a private room, since it seems like the easiest and most natural way to meet people, but even sharing the bathroom is stressful for me. And what if I end up having to stay in the same building for a few weeks with people who think I'm a total creep or weirdo...
I think currently my plan would be to start with a relatively safe trip, like a short duration stay in a private apartment, and then move on to the scarier stuff after I build up some confidence.
>Even if it's no cure in itself, travelling definitely did not affect my anxiety 'negatively'.
That's definitely good to know, I was a bit scared of the possibility of things going really bad socially and my anxiety getting worse as a result.
Where are you from and where are you planning to go?
Pretty much in the same boat as OP.
Don't know if my social anxiety could be classified as severe, but I struggle when I'm in new situations where I need to make decisions on my own behalf (dependent personality disorder). Social skills are also very narrow. Never traveled alone before and soon to hit my 30's.
Looking forward to saying 'fuck it' and travel to Thailand in about 10 months. I'm positive that traveling solo will make me a better person in many ways, though I expect to feel like shit the first few weeks.
Yes, alcohol certainly helps. Sometimes it feels like I actually need to get a bit drunk to feel and act like a normal person.
From Poland. I haven't settled on a specific destination yet, but the main concern is that it has to be relatively cheap. Eastern Europe is obviously the first choice, because it's close and cheap. I'm also drawn to Southeast Asia, but that's probably not a good first-time solo travel destination, especially with my anxiety.
My ideal destination would be Japan, but it's a bit too expensive at the moment. Though I heard Okinawa isn't as expensive as the rest of Japan, so that might be a possibility too.
>but I struggle when I'm in new situations where I need to make decisions on my own behalf (dependent personality disorder)
I know that feel all too well...
Good luck with your travels! And by the way, 10 months from now, Thailand... if you meet a Polish guy there, ask him about this thread! Thailand is definitely one of my top destinations, so who knows...
>Your English is very good.
Thanks. Feels a bit weird to be complimented for my English, it's like a native language for me at this point, thanks to all that time spent playing video games and surfing the net in English. You know, like, I sure hope my English is good, it would be rather embarrassing if it wasn't!
>There are some great spots around Eastern Europe
Any recommendations? I haven't done any research myself yet, so I could use some. Especially quieter, less touristy places.
Tricity. I have a little passive income from selling assets on the Unity asset store. It's not much, but should be enough to sustain me in the cheaper countries (including Poland). I also have some savings that could sustain me for a while.
>That's the thing I'd like to know, is it easier to meet people and make friends while travelling?
Depends on many factors but generally YES, and I say that as a very shy guy.
As other people have said though, I recommend you stay in hostels as it's by far the easiest way to meet people
>with people who think I'm a total creep or weirdo
You don't have to worry about that. The fluctuation at hostels is extremely high, since most people stay for just a few days. Being a quiet/shy/awkward guy is generally not a problem.
I wish you best of luck and hope that you'll enjoy your travels, OP!
OP, you will be fine. I have a 100% disability rating for PTSD from the US Department of Veterans Affairs. While my psychiatrist doesn't like me to travel, I've had some great trips. No problems crossing borders with my meds, either.
>I even managed to get laid abroad once.
Hey OP, I'm in a pretty similar boat, although my social anxiety is probably a little milder. I'm usually totally comfortable around strangers, and do ok when people take the lead by engaging *me*, but when I'm in situations where *I* need to take the lead and initiate with other people, I really struggle. I don't have many friends or flashy hobbies, so I'm always afraid of telling people myself because I think they'll think I'm lame and weird, but of course this habit reinforces the central problem.
I really hope that it's not too late for me to break free from this cycle and get on a better path.
Anyway, >>944790 has a point about finding pleasure in solo activities so that your happiness isn't contingent on social success. That said, doing so isn't necessarily going to help you make friends (it hasn't for me). But I think it would help your confidence. My strategy now that I've graduated college is to just focus on moving forward and trying stuff and moving forward again. Hopefully I'll keep getting stronger as a person, and maybe that will help me socially.
I don't have any concrete advice for you because I'm dealing with similar issues, but I do think that being positive and *doing* things, rather than getting lost in doubt, is a good way to live. Easier said than done, but doable nonetheless (I think). Good luck.
Step1: blame your parents and the modern way of living for your anxiety
Step2: if you insist to travel go to a place where people are more relaxed and sociable in general
To ease off your learned fears, i can give you the following hints. You are not a stranger in a hostile world. Relate to every new person you meet like you know him forever. He is not that different from you. Nobody expects you to pull a performance. Every person has a very basic need to overcome his loneliness through meaningful communication. This can only happen if you relate to others genuinely through your human qualities
Have fun anywhere you choose to go!
Foreigner living in Poland here. I'd recommend for you not to dive straight to the deep end but instead start going to neighboring countries. Czech, Slovakia and Hungary. Well affordable and lovely places to see. Maybe avoid capitals if you don't like touristy places.
Travelling alone for leisure is a HORRIBLE idea unless you have an outgoing personality (which you don't) whenever you meet a group of girls going to have that beta moment where you have to explain why you're alone (which will kill your confidence) + meeting women is always easier when your with a few buddies.
make some good friends that are willing to travel abroad with you before you think about crossing the pond. otherwise you'll just be sitting in your rental room staring at a computer screen like you are now.
Well, OP, you can't plan out an itinerary to accommodate your reclusive lifestyle and then expect you'll magically find yourself and break out of your shell. When I went on my first long trip overseas in 2013, I was still a virgin and shy about approaching strangers. Five days into my scheduled four months, I slept with a girl for the first time. I went to Athens, had a dull time, and looped back around to Istanbul, where the Gezi Park protests kicked off a week or two after my return. Being in the middle of all that brought out my adventurous side. I made a couple of friends who I still talk to and make travel plans with; I went all the way from London to Germany this past summer to stay with one for a week and a half because I didn't feel like being lonely in Spain.
I wound up in a lot of strange, small towns and cities where nobody seemed to speak English. Having to approach strangers and ask for directions in Turkish - or order food in Arabic or Kurdish - did wonders for my confidence. So did bargaining in the Middle-East and South Asia. I can still remember the first time I got a guy outside of a tourist site to give me a fair price on a can of Coca-Cola, lol.
All in all, traveling has definitely made me a more confident, interesting, adventurous, and well-rounded person.
Why am I telling you all this? Because, in a situation like yours, you can't expect to see any change if you bring your laptop and smartphone along and book an apartment. You're just going to wind up shutting yourself in all day, because you won't have to do anything or interact with other people. Put yourself into places and situations that you KNOW will be challenging and you KNOW that you won't be able to back away from. It might be scary and fuck with you, but once you see yourself succeeding, you'll be a lot happier.
Just ignore this idiot. Do you know what people tell me when I say that I'm traveling alone? "Wow, man, that's really cool, I wish I was brave enough to do that!" I've seriously never had a person, male or female, react negatively. I've made a lot of friends abroad by going solo, slept with quite a few women, and had an all-around better time than I think I would have if I went with a pack of lads from back home.
>I've made a lot of friends abroad by going solo, slept with quite a few women, and had an all-around better time than I think I would have if I went with a pack of lads from back home.
How to be outgoing and comfortable and sleep with a lot of women:
1. Be outgoing
2. Be comfortable
3. Sleep with a lot of women
It's so easy! I don't know why all these creepy awkward spergs don't just be less spergy and unattractive, and just learn to be themselves.
Travelling solo helped me to get over my social anxiety to a large extent. Sure, it gets lonely and nerve-racking at times, especially at first, but my circumstances sort of forced me to adjust and I found myself accruing social experience at an exponential rate compared to back at home. However, I should add that I've always enjoyed meeting people, it's just that for a long time my social urges were stifled by crippling inhibitions. I guess I could be described as an "introverted extrovert".
There are lots of lone travellers everywhere, you don't have to explain it in any way, the whole thing is just inside your head. You just seem to think that everyone automatically assumes the worst out of you and everything you do is wrong. You sound very bitter (and afraid of women).
No, step one is: Don't be a defeatist. Step two is: Give other people the benefit of the doubt wherever possible. Step three: Don't be a coward. These three simple attitude adjustments will transform your social life, guaranteed.
I made this post: >>945792 and was by no means an Alpha Male Pussy Warrior before going on my first trip. In fact, I was awkward as fuck. I distinctly remember wondering, on the fifth day of my trip, what woman would ever want to sleep with a guy as awkward as me. Wound up losing my virginity the same night because I decided to go out to a bar with a few people from my hostel. I got a little drunk, met a Kurdish girl who spoke practically no English, chased her out of the bar when I saw her leaving by herself, and wound up having an unforgettable evening. I'd never even seen a girl naked before that, let alone had sex. I've done pretty well for myself since then, lol.
For what it's worth, I'm not a great-looking guy. I seem to appeal way more to minority girls (Asians, Indians, whatever) than standard white American chicks, for whatever reason. I get basically no attention at parties if I just stand around, but traveling by myself for months at a time (on more than one occasion now) gave me a ton of confidence. Guess what? I haven't been single for more than a couple of months at a time ever since I went on my first trip. I've gotten some pretty girls, had a good time, and learned how to interact with people. I'm not what /r9k/ would call a "Chad" and never have been.
I just keep a positive, grounded attitude. I do what I want to do, even if I know I'm going to face some challenges along the way. If I can climb up a mountain in the Himalayas by myself, descend it, and then climb back up again while spewing vomit and diarrhea, fall down said mountain, and then walk back to town all alone, I can ask a girl for her number, lol.
> that beta moment where you have to explain why you're alone
What? When I travel and stay in hostels I'd say a solid 50% of people there are solo travelers. It's no big deal at all, nobody thinks it's weird to travel alone.
But true... you should try and be outgoing to make the most of your trip. Make some effort you assburgers. After a few months of traveling and staying in hostels you should have improved your social skills at least. I know my trips have definitely made me a more outgoing and social person.
I have mixed feelings about this.
I have spent over $15,000 on trips to Japan by myself.
Did I miss out on a lot of opportunities by not being social? Sure. Only knowing the bare minimum of Japanese was also an obstacle.
Do I regret making the trip? Not at all. But if I could go back in time, I would have spent less money and gone at a more relaxed pace so I wasn't so stressed out from traveling and checking into hostels every day or two.
So while the experience could have been a lot better, my advice would be to plan carefully to ensure a good experience. Stay comfy, and you will be more relaxed and open to socializing.
>Young attractive girls aren't going to fall for some random solo foreigner who is just staying in town for a week.
lol virgin detected. It happens all the time if you're attractive and have a bit of game
I've just started a solo trip. I don't have particular social anxiety, but traveling can be stressful and draining for anyone. Since you've never tried it, I'd recommend staying in a quieter hostel. I don't really like those "party" hostels myself--they're all kind of the same wherever you go. But it can be nice to have a beer or snack and play cards/games with someone for a couple hours before you get to bed.
That said, I'm a fan of private rooms. Mostly because im older now (30) and don't sleep as well as I used to.
It can also help to plan your days ahead of time, so you force yourself to do things. Also, I used to think they're cheesy, but doing a day tour can be a lot of fun and informative.
Actually, travelling might help you a lot with overcoming social issues.
You visit a country with language you don't know and culture you never experienced. Exotic one, that means.
There's little understanding between you and anyone else. Nobody speaks Polish, not many ppl know English and conversations are made by waving hands or making funny sounds mostly.
I don't mean conversations about philosophy, but attempts to buy food or book a place to sleep.
Even if you are awkward in some way, it is lost in the conversation. Even if you behave in a strange way, the other party will attribute it to cultural differences.
And do use shared rooms in hostels. It's also a nice experience. Usually you'll have something in common with people there — you travel and ended up in the same place.
Nie daj się wymówkom, bierz i jedź!
You also need to consider that you'll probably be eating out every meal. Even if your social fears prevent you from entering a restaurant, you'll still have to go to a store to buy food which means local interaction. However, there's something about playing a game of charades with a local that relaxes social tension.
>hello travelers, am I going to meet more people if I booked a hotel or a hostel?
>lol @ this permavirgin, y u got no gaem???! just put on teh gucci belt and drakkar noir and the bitches be getting mad wet! stay on the virgin board u virgin
/trv/ has been /b/ with a travel theme for a couple of years now thanks to you and your kind
What are you so upset about? OP asked whether or not he'd be able to enjoy traveling despite having social anxiety. In addition to that, he seemed to have also expressed a desire to come out of his shell. You can hardly say that posters such as myself are contributing to the degradation of /trv/ when we're posting is constructive feedback, versus criticizing everybody who suggests that OP uses travel as an avenue by which to alter his personality in the way he would like.
He was just refuting the claim that the only women a solo traveller will meet will be desperate and unattractive. I also know from experience that that is not true and I certainly don't have much 'game' in the normal sense.
Hey, did you know that more than one person can post in a thread? I didn't write that. If you had half a brain, you'd have been able to deduce that given the other poster's relatively poor sentence structure.
I have sever anxiety and i love traveling.
Of course i almost get a heart attack the first time i did it as i wanted the less human contact with anyone.
Well, i did the opposite, booked airbnb and met all this awesome people, in the places i was, people was particularly friendly and everyday someone tried to small talk me. I lost my anxiety probably the second day on a 50 days international trip.
When i got back home, i shut in again, is depressing not meeting more amazing people.
BTW, i dont drink, smoke, drugs, parties, nothing. Im like the opposite of seth rogen and still had lots of fun. I have 3 more trips booked this year.
>Im like the opposite of seth rogen
Not criticizing or trolling, but why are you using him as a point of reference? I might just be too autistic to understand, but it seemed like an obscure non sequitur
It depends on the tourist destination. If it's a more party or popular where the locals are bombarded by tourists, they are less likely to hook unless they are a slut/groupie because they see it all the time. But in these types of places there are usually other travellers around to hook up with. If it's a cultural tourism destination, dependong on culture, hook ups are much easier. Especially these days with social media.