Travelling alone outside the comfort zone

After finishing her master’s degree in Portugal, Emily from Denmark decided to treat herself to the best graduation present she could think of – a solo ticket to Bali. She shares how the trip reinforced her love of travelling alone, and why every woman with a taste for adventure should do the same.

Emilie’s decision to learn to surf wasn´t just going to be about the sport itself, but about taking on the challenge to pursue everything such a dream involves. “I had been to Bali a few years earlier, but this time I was going all in – and I was doing it alone.”

Initially, the thought of booking that ticket can be petrifying. It´s quite normal to be nervous in that situation, and for Emilie, those nerves were an indication that she was doing something that really mattered to her. But she still had all these thoughts going through her head; “Am I gonna meet anyone to surf with?”, “Will I make new friends?”, “Will I manage to travel around alone?” “Can I even drive a scooter?”.
What you realize in the end is that booking that ticket is actually the scariest part, everything that comes afterwards is just an adventure. Solo travel blesses you with heaps of opportunities; the freedom of making your own schedule, pursuing those friendships you can´t plan for and get carried away to magical places you didn’t even know existed.

Emilie describes how she was picked up by one of the drivers from Lapoint and taken to the camp. “Even though this was just after the Mount Agung eruption, the place was hiving and the vibe was amazing! As a female traveller you tend to be cautious about your destinations being safe, but within the first hour, I knew I was going to be fine. Actually, I was going to be awesome!”

Bali has a certain spellbinding power and is one of those places that needs to be felt – pictures could never give it justice. The Balinese people are remarkably friendly and everyone greets you with a smile as though you were their granddaughter returning home after years abroad. They have a crazy way of making you feel more home than in your actual country.

“I had barely spent five minutes at the camp before I was in my bikini, covered in sunblock and heading out for my first tropical surf with one of the boys from the camp”, she explains enthusiastically. Just as Bali makes you feel at home, surfing makes you feel like you belong. It´s like being part of a family where having a good time is the only house rule. Those who have already been to a surf camp know the feeling – you are going to make friends who you feel closer to after a week than people you´ve known for years.

Surfing attracts a special kind of people who live passionately and celebrate all the best that life has to offer. Emilie’s week at the Canggu camp was filled with exactly this, and heaps of other good stuff such as smoothie bowls, mojitos, stargazing, and bonfires on the beach. This paradise is for those who go all in life, who dance till their feet hurt and never stop trying to catch those waves no matter how hard it seems at first.

“Even though I would have loved to stay longer, I had a bucket list to tick off.” By the time Emilie’s stay was coming to an end she had made loads of new friends, and six of them decided to join her next adventure. The crew headed to the east side of Bali and Lapoint´s other camp near the famous surf spot Keramas. This experience turned into one of those moments where you realize that you can so quickly miss out on the world and that the easy option is always to stay at home. This tends to be even truer if you´re a female traveller, and especially a solo one. Guys tend to get a supportive response; “You´re so brave going off travelling the world” whereas girls would commonly be faced with a more concerned tone; “This could be dangerous, are you sure you want to go?”
In reality, what is more dangerous is just sticking to your day-to-day routine and never trying anything new.

It’s invigorating to keep learning and pushing your boundaries, from developing as a surfer to learning to ride a scooter, and Emilie´s experience emphasizes this: “I tried to ride a scooter for the first time in Canggu, and it was a bit challenging, but I felt quite safe on the smaller roads. In Gianyar it was different and I had to ride between trucks and buses. But with support from the guys at the camp I got comfortable and had fun with it. Soon I was racing around to different surf spots in the area by myself. That sense of freedom was priceless!”
The next step was taking on the waves of Keramas. “At first I found the waves intimidating and also realized there were not many girls in the lineup. But after a few days, I started getting really comfortable and catching lots of waves. I LOVED the rush it gave me!” Emilie ended up extending her stay by two weeks before she headed to Uluwatu with one of the girls she met at the camp in Canggu.

Uluwatu is one of those dreamy destinations with turquoise water and small temples on the cliffs along the coastline. Our favourite hang-out in Uluwatu is Single Fin, a bar & restaurant located on the cliff overlooking the surf spot, guaranteed to deliver goosebump-worthy sunsets and unforgettable parties.

Photo by @coralietourneau
The beaches and surf spots on this side of the island, the Bukit peninsula, are some of the best in the world, and Emilie was blown away by the scenery. “I spent one week exploring the area and surfing waves such as Geger, Greenbowl, Pandawa and Padang.”
From there, hungry to explore more of Indonesia, Emilie let her new confidence lead the way and booked a flight to Sumatra and the Mentawai Islands as well. Travelling alone will change your outlook on the world and the way you see yourself, and you´re quite likely to find out that you have more guts and ability to manage things on your own than you thought. As Emilie puts it; “Sometimes the things we are most afraid of, end up being the most memorable experiences of our lives.”