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Thread: Backpacking

  1. #1


    This is my first post. I'm a 24-year-old woman, and suffering from social anxiety pretty much my whole life. I have a hard time interacting with new people, and I am frightened by new situations and uncertainty. I also love hiking and traveling abroad, a passion that doesn't really go well with my social problems. So far I have dared to do a one week backpacking trip on a popular track in Scotland, where I kept to myself and befriended no one. I always slept in my tent instead of hostels, and ate alone. This lonely existence is manageable for a week, but now I'm planning a 4-week backpacking trip to New Zealand where I want to stay in hostels and travel by public transport, and my complete lack of social skills concerns me. I really want to be able to talk to people (English is not my first language and my anxiety can make me really tongue tied…) and make friends, but I just don’t know how, or to be honest, if I even can. People always talk about meeting new people when traveling like it's the easiest and most natural thing in the world, like it just… happens. But I don't know how to do it.
    I wonder if there are any other people here who can relate to my poblem, and if so I would love to hear your stories and get some advice on how to travel and interact with other people while suffering from social anxiety.

    Thank you

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007

    Re: Backpacking

    Hi Neta.
    Its a long time since I've been backpacking but years ago I spent about 6 weeks in Australia, most of it staying in hostels. I imagine that NZ is similar, in that it's very well set up for backpackers. I think if you go for it and stay in hostels, you'll meet people automatically, as you'll find others travelling alone who will just chat to you. This is especially true if you stay somewhere longer than a couple of days. Stay in dormitories rather than single rooms (you quickly get used to it, don't worry). Some hostels put on events, like local music or dancing, or activities or tours where you could be with others.
    Good luck, and have a great time.
    'If you're going through hell, keep going' (Winston Churchill)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2017

    Re: Backpacking

    Hi Neta,
    May I ask which route you took in Scotland? I plan to go for a hiking holiday this year, and I still need to choose my route.

    I can understand how difficult it is to meet new people and talk to strangers. Whenever I'd stay in hostel alone I could never make contact with other people. Looking at it now, majority of those people I wouldn't really like to interact with. I'm not good at superficial interactions, and I now see it as a quality, not a fault. In my opinion it helps me to find my "tribe" pretty quickly. With the friends that I do have the connection was usually instantaneous. We smiled at each other or said hi, and I immediately felt at ease. From there things just rolled. So I would recommend you to do that, just say hi and smile. Nice people without social anxiety will usually try to put you at ease, and they will stay friendly.

    To help you out, maybe you could make a mental note of the questions you might ask to start up a conversation, such a questions about their travel, previous travel experiences, the pleasure of hiking, theur recommendations for routes and sights, etc.

    Sent from my SM-G960F using Tapatalk

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010

    Re: Backpacking

    I have anxiety and went backpacking to Oz few years ago. I like being alone...but i got a bit lonely, but im a bit older so struggled a little bit in hostels. But, i did make some friends on a tour and i had an absolute blast! We were kind of thrown together on a back seat of a bus and ended up chatting and stayed friends after the tour!
    Once i relaxed and started enjoying myself my anxiety disappeared! Get into a comfort zone, chill out, take in the sights and just chat to the person next to you..if you can.
    Sarah x

  5. #5

    Re: Backpacking

    I done 2 weeks in Bangkok at the start of the year and I hate socialising, it was my first trip alone! anywhere. 2 connecting flights 14 hours and long wait times on the way back sitting in an airport.

    during the trip I took another flight down to the islands and spent a few days there. I done kayaking and some other things, I never thought I'd be able to do this as my social anxiety just destroys me, I never really went out drinking at night just to markets.

    I'm the kind of person that usually would sleep in a tent rather than go to a hostel just to avoid people. What you've done is awesome, Just leaving your comfort zone is an inspiration to me I struggle on a daily basis with this.

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