• Ayesha Ashfaq

Overcoming my fears to solo travel

Ayesha recounts how she overcame her fear of the unknown, and eventually traveled solo and rediscovered herself.


“Outrageous, I could never bring myself to do that."

“I’m not cut out for it."

“I’m not competent enough for this.”


These were the first thoughts that came to my mind when the opportunity to travel solo was presented to me, served on a silver platter. I had my fair share of fears, but the idea of solo traveling absolutely scared me out of my wits.


"If I were to describe my experience in one word, it would be turbulent."

I grew up in a conservative society and a rather small town. For 20 years of my life, the only places known to me were my house, school, and the college I go to. I also frequently visited nearby stores with my brother or father chaperoning me. To be honest, if I were to take a taxi or a bus to my school and it took a route unfamiliar to me, I’d panic on the spot.

Consequently, I almost chose to give up a chance to move abroad to study. But, with a little bit of push from my family and friends, I somehow managed to travel and settle in Budapest, Hungary. If I were to describe my experience in one word, it would be turbulent. As if the culture shock of a foreign language and surroundings weren't enough, having the responsibility of settling in, undergoing legal procedures, and managing many tasks at once was overwhelming, since everything was usually taken care of for me.

Now that I look back, my words won’t be able to express the gratitude I have for all the people who supported me through this challenging decision. Because the experience I wish I had gained in the 20 years of my life I spent tucked away, I obtained it within a span of 2 years.


I'm not trying to toot my own horn. I want to convince you that if you’re looking for a sign to go on a solo travel trip, look no further. I cannot stress this enough: once you overcome that initial hesitance and take that leap of faith, you’ll unlock parts of your personality you never knew existed and discover how much more capable you are when you’re plucked from your comfort zone and dropped off onto a foreign land. You will manage to find your way around and enjoy yourself, even if you don’t speak the language of this foreign land.

Here’s to hoping that the pandemic dies down and you conquer your fears, pack your bags (pro-tip: always travel light or else it’ll be a hassle), and headfirst face any adventures that await you. You’ll be surprised to know that your best teacher will be your experience.