Traveling solo sounds scary, daunting, and full of uncertainties. But the truth is, it is also exhilarating, fun, and most of all, liberating. 

The one person who can attest to this is Process Engineer-turned-travel blogger Johanes Godoy of Wanderera, who has been traveling solo for many years already. 

At 23, she left her 9 to 5 job to explore the world and learn what life has to offer. Because of her passion for discovering the world’s beauty and desire to help aspiring travelers, her blog Wanderera was born. 

We spoke to her and she shares all about her most unforgettable adventures and misadventures, tips on how to travel solo safely, and more! 

If you want to learn more about solo traveling and be inspired to finally go on a trip alone, read her interview with us.

How did it feel to travel solo for the first time?

johanes godoy of wanderera blog

It felt liberating and exciting at the same time! I mostly travel with my friends and ex-boyfriend (now husband haha) but the first time I gave myself the permission to travel solo was exhilarating! 

I could eat whatever I want, take my time in choosing souvenirs, visit all the destinations I want to see, and just enjoy traveling at my own pace.

Why do you think people should travel solo at least once in their lifetime?

Well, why not? Traveling solo helps you think about life, reflect on things, and see life from a different perspective. It opens up your horizons. You’ll find a lot of things about yourself that will surprise you!

In a nutshell, traveling solo changes something within you and helps you learn a little bit more about yourself.

What was the bravest thing you’ve ever done as a solo traveler?

johanes godoy in apo island

Photo credits to Johanes Godoy

If I were to pick from my travels, I’d say that time when I didn’t wear a life vest while snorkeling in Apo Island. Growing up in the mountains, I’ve had a hard time learning how to swim and swimming in deep waters. 

I can swim a few meters from the beach without a life vest as long as I have my handy dandy snorkeling mask but snorkeling in Apo Island was the first time I didn’t wear any life vest while swimming in the middle of the sea.

The feeling of floating and getting to places without walking just feels so amazing. It helped me understand a little bit more about why people love swimming. 

But despite all that, I still can’t swim without my snorkeling mask. I’m working on that though. I already have freediving and diving lessons listed in my travel plans for the next year or two.

What was your most unforgettable solo trip experience and why?

johanes godoy

Photo credits to Johanes Godoy

My most unforgettable solo trip experience would be my trip to La Veryol’s in Tagaytay.

I was super lucky when I arrived on a weekday and had the whole place all to myself! I camped for the night and soaked in the kawa (large cauldron) for nearly two hours. Since I was the only customer left, the owners let me enjoy the kawa hot bath for as long as I wanted.

I felt invincible the next day and ready to take on any challenge life throws my way. You could say, traveling solo (and camping alone) made me feel like a superwoman.

What’s the good and bad thing about traveling solo?

Good thing? You’re free to do anything you want! 

Want to change your itinerary? Sure! Go ahead! 

Want to wake up later? That’s fine.

Traveling solo allows you to travel the way you want without having to consider everybody else or inconveniencing someone. You can just take your time and if things don’t go according to plan, you wouldn’t have to worry about the people you’re traveling with because you’re all by yourself.

The only thing that sucks with traveling solo is that it can be expensive at times! You have no one to share the expenses with and no one to help you pay for that tricycle trip. And most of all, you don’t have someone to share food with. 

Have you ever experienced unfortunate events while on a solo trip? If so, how did you manage it?

There was one time I rode the wrong train at the Doroteo Jose station in Manila. I was in a hurry since my check out time was in 25 minutes and I didn’t check which train I got on. I was supposed to go to the LRT1 EDSA station but instead rode the train going the opposite direction. I only noticed when I saw SM North EDSA from the window.

I had to ride the train back until I reached the LRT1 EDSA station. I was around 30 minutes late from the check out time. Good thing the hotel I was staying in let me check out without any additional payment.

All the while during the train ride, I had to calm down so I wouldn’t make the same mistake again. 

What are some of your strategies for diverting unwanted attention as a female on the road alone?

I try not to dress to impress. By this, I mean dressing strategically so you don’t stand out too much. Dress however you want to but you have to be mindful of attracting attention in different kinds of situations. If you know that you’ll be traveling on the road alone, avoid flashy clothes and go with neutral attire. This won’t garner as much attention as wearing neon clothes with all the glitter.

What do you know now about traveling that you wish you’d known before?

johanes godoy enjoying the giant swing

Photo credits to Johanes Godoy

That traveling isn’t as expensive as people think it is. There are a lot of travel budget hacks you can use. If you really want to, there are ways you can travel without having to spend as much.

Plus, no matter how detailed you plan your itinerary to be, things won’t always go according to plan so be flexible and adjust accordingly or you’ll risk ruining your trip.

As a female traveler, what’s the greatest lesson that traveling has taught you?

That there’s so much more to the world than what the movies show. Traveling will open up your horizon and will fill you up with stories. You’ll meet tons of people and learn life lessons that aren’t even in textbooks!

What would you say to any girl who is out there who would like to travel the world, but is afraid to do it because she’s been told she’s just a “girl”? What tips can you give them especially to those who are first-timers?

johanes godoy enjoying the sunset

Photo credits to Johanes Godoy

Just go. Start traveling around your municipality first. Camp on that nearby mountain. Travel to that beach in the neighboring province. If you’re afraid, you can start by visiting nearby destinations and go from there. Soon, you’ll find yourself wanting more, wanting to explore more and that’s when you know nothing can stop you from traveling where you want to go—not even your gender.

How will this current pandemic affect the way you travel?

I’ve always been a fan of slow travel. This current pandemic got me thinking more about traveling slowly and not jumping from one destination to another. My husband and I are currently planning several travels for next year and will most likely stay in one place for several weeks, exploring the local culture, eating local dishes, and truly experiencing what it’s like to live like a local before traveling to our next destination.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from Johanes, it’s to take risks and go where your heart is. Sure, there are things that scare us but the only way to get out of the dark is to walk through it. 

Being scared is totally normal but knowing that you are smart and strong, we’re sure that you will survive and you will most definitely have fun traveling solo! Just go for it 🙂

Disclaimer: ZEN Rooms claims no credit for images featured on our blog site unless otherwise noted. All visual content is copyrighted to its respectful owners. We try to link back to original sources whenever possible. If you own the rights to any of the images, and do not wish them to appear on ZEN Rooms, please contact us and they will be promptly removed. We believe in providing proper attribution to the original author, artist or photographer.

Be it a long delay, airport layover, or you’re simply early, it’s not exactly a fun thing to be stuck at the airport and play a game of waiting.

But when you’re creative enough, it turns out that the airport experience doesn’t have to be bad at all. If you just know the fun and exciting things to do, you may just wish that you’ll have more airport time instead.

1. Roam and explore hidden gems

the manmade waterfalls in changi airport

These giant-sized airports that basically never sleep must have more than a few hidden gems that you can use to your advantage. For example, Changi International Airport in Singapore offers free movies at its Changi Movie Theatre with 24/7 non-stop movies, as does Jakarta’s own Soekarno Hatta Airport with its Airport Digital Cinema.

A lot of international airports also have their own outdoor gardens, such as the Tropical Butterfly Garden in Terminal 3 of Changi airport or the Sky Garden of Seoul’s Incheon International Airport located just inside the passenger terminal.

2. Take a day trip

tourists at taoyuan internation airport

The superstar airport of Changi invites passengers who have around six (6) hours to spare for a FREE City Sights Tour. These layover tours are also common experiences that you can find at Tokyo Narita Airport, Taiwan’s Taoyuan International Airport, and Incheon International Aiport.

Naturally, there are different sets of rules for each of these hosts. So be sure to check all the requirements and conditions before you sign in. Double check on your visa, passport and where to put your belongings before embarking on this fun adventure.

3. Lounge in style and have a relaxing time

empty airport lounge in thailand

Nowadays, airport lounges are no longer just for first-class passengers. With a small fee or certain credit card membership, everyone can enjoy the comfort of deluxe airport lounges. Some of the amenities include comfortable seating, magazines and newspapers, a sumptuous buffet and free-flowing beverages, access to clean toilet and free WiFi.

Some higher-end ones, such as the Plaza Premium Lounge in Kuala Lumpur International Airport, feature showers, free draught beer, and movies too!

4. People Watching

tourists in the airport

They say some of the most sincere goodbyes and most exciting hellos take place in the airport. Indeed, airports are filled with emotion, excitement and even a little drama of your own imagination. This is why airports are so charming, and  one of the best places for people watching.

Find a good spot amidst the passengers rushing by to their flights where you can take in all the fun of spotting people out and drafting their stories in your head. It could be a small family getting ready for their first holiday together, a pair of lovers saying goodbye or reuniting after being apart, an elderly couple exchanging kisses—whatever it is, you’ll soon be lost in the joy of life’s little sweet reality. The best thing about this is it’s completely free!

5. Organize Your Thoughts and More

girl in the airport looking for her flight

Whether you’re delayed on a flight home or to your destination, the free time can be put into good use by organizing your thoughts. Pull out your journal or your smartphone and start making plans, go through your budget, or finalize whatever it is you might have missed.

Speaking of smartphone, make good use of the airport free WiFi and post a picture of your holiday. Write down the moments and share your experience to all your social media friends. Now is also a good time to rearrange those holiday pictures and delete those blurry ones too.

Got those junks sitting in your purse or wallet? Clear out your stacks of travel coupons, fast-food vouchers or purchase receipts. The delay can be more than a welcoming break where you can sort, throw and reorganize your belongings for a peace of mind.

6. Eat, play and rest

tourists sleeping at the changi airport

There’s plenty of fun in discovering the next mouth-watering dish from the rows of delicacies, signature cuisine, to delicious food-stalls of any kind that are scattered at most international airports.

Don’t miss out on interactive games that are always a thing at Changi International Airport or access the internet-connected computers, also available at most international airports. Lastly, take some down time by resting your legs up and catch some snooze. It may not be everyone’s idea of fun, but sleep is always the remedy everyone needs especially in anticipation or completion of long travel.

Disclaimer: ZEN Rooms claims no credit for images featured on our blog site unless otherwise noted. All visual content is copyrighted to its respectful owners. We try to link back to original sources whenever possible. If you own the rights to any of the images, and do not wish them to appear on ZEN Rooms, please contact us and they will be promptly removed. We believe in providing proper attribution to the original author, artist or photographer.