Being a solo female traveler is empowering AF. Fact. Challenging yourself to hop on a plane into an unknown land, navigate it, experience it and embrace it, and realizing you can actually enjoy that experience, is incredible. I’ve been taking solo trips since I was nineteen and I cannot tell you how many times people have asked me “do you not get lonely?” or “will you be okay on your own?”
I don’t worry too much about those questions now, the people whose opinions matter most to me (hey, Mum!), stopped asking long ago, as they too got used to my behaviour. What most people don’t understand however, is why I enjoy travelling alone. Usually, they assume that I travel without companions because I don’t have anyone to go with. In fact, I could totally ask friends to come along on every trip, or plan things to specifically coincide with others, but I kinda like doing it my own way sometimes.
I don’t always travel alone, it’s not like a hard and fast rule. It’s more that if I want to go somewhere, and I have the time and the funds, I don’t look for someone to take with me. I just book a ticket for one and get on with it. If my friend messages me and says, “hey let’s take a trip to Turkey in September” (this happened last week and I cannot wait!), I don’t say, “oh sorry I can’t travel with you because I like being independent.”
Travelling with friends is different. You have to consider their opinions, plan things a little more to make sure you both tick off your must sees. It’s the small things that I notice, like having to ask what someone wants for dinner. I mean, I’m pretty easy going, and I’ll eat most anything that wasn’t previously breathing, so I don’t mind making dinner plans with someone else. It’s just that when I am on my own I don’t need to consider it, I just walk into somewhere order a beer and relax. Travelling alone is quite straightforward, you rely on yourself, you make the decisions, if you get it wrong, you only have yourself to blame.
Travelling alone also pushes me to meet new people. Exactly one year ago I was completing a three day trek through the Hilltribes of Myanmar with a group of 11 other females, all aged 19 to 35, all from different countries and backgrounds. They were incredible. I got to know them and I shared a wonderful experience with them. Had I been with a friend, I doubt I would have opened up so much or spent so much time getting acquainted with such an epic #gurlsquad.
So with all of that in mind, I just wanted to debunk a few myths about solo travel. I’m a female, but I expect these mostly apply to males as well…
Aren’t you scared? Yes, of course, but that dissipates about ten minutes after I leave the airport, having a companion makes it easier, but it’s by no means an insurmountable fear.
Don’t you get lonely? I meet WAY more people when I travel alone, so not usually, I’m generally hanging with people who I mightn’t have otherwise have ever known, and that’s super cool.
Will you be okay on your own? Is it not dangerous? Yes, and no. No more dangerous that being with someone else. The risks are the same. Simple.
So there we go — solo travel, in a nutshell. If you haven’t tried it, seriously, give it a whirl, it’s a blast and you might find it opens up a few doors. I’m oh so grateful that I embraced it when I was young. It has allowed me to experience much more than I would have had I limited my travels to those with friends. Maybe it isn’t for everyone, but skeptics, stand back, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it, and even then, if it’s not for you, let everyone else make their own choice too! Buen viaje!