I know that for many people, taking on a trek like Everest Base Camp or the tough climbing trip to Kilimanjaro can be a daunting prospect and there are so many things to consider - fitness, training, equipment and even which company to use! ?
I have lost count of the number of hours I’ve spent reading equipment reviews on which wash bag is best for high altitude trekking! Now before you even start to get these particular ducks in order, the first question often is, “who will come with me?”
This is because travelling alone for the first time is scary. It just is. It's good to acknowledge that and get comfortable with it right at the beginning so we can talk about how you can manage the fear and look through it to see all the amazing things it was hiding from you.
When it comes to adventure travel, particularly to remote areas of the world like Everest Base Camp or Kilimanjaro, I believe that the reasons we choose to go are inherently selfish and that’s a good
thing. It's great to have shared interests but ultimately, we go there to enrich ourselves, to broaden our minds and to experience other cultures and ways of life.
Plus it gives you a great pub story!
I've noted some common questions we get asked below as well as some fears that may creep in to stop a budding solo traveller and why you should wave them goodbye as you step out the door onto your next adventure
Is solo travelling safe?
Yes, it is. If you are familiar with the Mountain Malarkey Podcast you will have heard me and our Head Yeti Andy talk about taking an intelligent approach to your adventure.
I always believe in being prepared, and that starts with the research you do at home; try to understand the country and culture you are heading to and then just act accordingly. Most places like Nepal and Tanzania are pretty relaxed so you can be a free spirit left to enjoy yourself. If you are heading to or even passing through a part of the world with a more conservative culture your research will help you avoid any embarrassing faux pas and unnecessary confrontation.
Will I be bored?
Not a chance. When heading to Everest Base Camp or Kilimanjaro there is so much to see and do that an overload of the senses is far more likely than boredom. Every day you will be going to new places, eating new food and meeting new people. On our EverTrek trips, we always have a good mix of solo travellers in almost every group so it's guaranteed you will make some lifelong friends, or not, it's up to you - that’s the perk of travelling solo. For many of us, like you, it’s the first time you are truly in total control of YOUR life.
Will I be left stranded at the airport when I arrive?
No way. We care a great deal about our EverTrekkers, so that you don’t have to worry about the small things. We sent out your arrival information before you leave your home with our emergency contact details for the UK office and for the office of the country you’re travelling to. We will monitor your flight, so if it is delayed, we will know and update our guys on the ground. You can relax knowing that when you arrive there will be someone with a big smile holding an EverTrek sign waiting for you.
Will I be required to share a room?
Usually, yes, but never with a member of the opposite sex unless you really want to. When you are heading to Everest Base Camp there are limited spaces in the lodges and tea houses so the trek is based on a sharing twin room. If you're heading to Kilimanjaro, this is also on a twin sharing basis in 1 tent. We can arrange a solo tent if needed. We want you to feel as comfortable as possible, so if something is on your mind, let us know.
Will I be alone in a group of friends?
This rarely happens, in fact it is so rare I cannot recall a time when it has ever happened. We always have a pretty even mix of groups and solo travellers and a lot of solo travellers in our groups are female, I guess when it comes down to it, girls are braver than boys!
Will there be a language barrier to overcome?
All of our staff and guides speak English very well so you will always be kept in the loop. Even when you are meandering through Kathmandu, Moshi or Marrakech you will encounter good English, however
this is also a great opportunity to try out your newly learnt Nepali, Swahili or Arabic!
Let's sum it all up
Ultimately, jumping onto a trek on your own is an amazing experience. We are all very lucky that given the chance, we can head out the door, board a plane and wake up in a new and wonderful place (Except for during COVID19 lockdown) but one of the most exciting things about travelling on your own is the new beginnings that await you when you get home. It's a bit of a cliche but you WILL be different with a new outlook on things, a new perspective. Also a little more independence. It's all part of growing as an individual.
One little known fact is that EverTrek was started from one man's solo travelling adventure to Everest Base Camp. Our MD & Head Yeti Andy had a dream to stand at the foot of Everest. Whilst trekking in freezing conditions during January, and whilst there with plenty of thinking time, he had an idea that has changed the lives of thousands of people around the world, myself included.
What could it do for you?
If you're keen to jump onto a trek with us, or have any questions at all, then just drop us a message on the website messenger in the corner or email us at [email protected]
All the best & Keep EverTrekking
Head of Ops & Painted Yeti