I have no idea how many times I’ve heard: “you are so brave to go to all these places alone.” It is not a matter of courage, it is a matter of doing what I love and not let anyone or anything stop me. It is about not letting fear to stop me from doing what I want to do.
Travel alone is one of the best feelings in the world, and I strongly believe everyone should do it, at least once in their life.
If you like to travel, do it. Don’t wait for a friend, a partner, the money for a special tour. Just pick a destination, and go. How many times have you planned a trip with a friend, and it never happened? How many times did you talk about going places but “I don’t want to go alone”? How many times you and your friends wondered about trips and never made an actual plan? There is nothing wrong or bad in traveling alone. Stop waiting for people, and make your own decisions. If travel is what you want, if going to Paris is your dream, don’t wait for that friend, or that special occasion. Friends have their own lives, and special occasions might never happen…
Travel alone has many many many good sides, and I can talk about it for hours… but I will make it short (promise!!). But the feeling of total freedom when traveling alone is absolutely the best…
Freedom! You will do what you want, when you want, if you want. You will visit the sites you want, and spend as much time as you want in any of them. You will eat when you feel like it, you will walk as many miles as you can handle, or just spend all day staring at a beautiful beach. No explanations needed. No need to please anyone. No need to reach agreements, or compromise. No need to be nice. No need to plan. The feeling of freedom, liberty at its best, will make a solo trip worth every single moment.
There are moments of solo trips that you will never forget. Once I was backpacking in Austria and spent all day in a castle. All day. I read every single sign, and I’ve learned everything I could about the royal family, I even bought a book to guide me trough the castle. Why? I don’t know, just because I felt like doing it (and I am not a historian of any sort, it was just interesting). In another occasion I woke up at 4am to see a beautiful sunrise by a volcano in Indonesia, after climbing up with a group of people I had just met (I needed a guide to climb up, so I found a guide and a group), I sit there on my own and saw the world come to light in front of me – alone, not really thinking about anything, not talking to anyone, just enjoying every single moment of it and being grateful.
These moments are not always possible when you have people around you. There are amazing things on traveling with friends, but don’t hesitate to go solo when you want to.
Another thing of going solo… you will make tons of friends if you want to. If you don’t want to stay alone, you will not stay alone. Everyone who writes about traveling solo talks about the people they’ve met on the way. It is not a cliché, it is true. I’ve met some of the most interesting people I know met while traveling, and funnily enough, I keep in touch with some of them. Some people I spent one day with, and still talk every now and then just because of the amazing bond we had! You will meet people from all backgrounds, countries, nationalities… You might make a strong connection with some, or just grab a beer with others. You might just split a rental to reach a certain area because you can’t spend all that money on your own, or you might spend an hour venting about a problem and never see this person again. It is part of traveling alone. If you are tired of your own company, it is always easy to meet people in hostels, free walking tours, or bars. So don’t be afraid of being “lonely,” trust me, you will not. But, if you want to use this time to know yourself better, you can avoid meeting people and be “anti-social.” And then you will have the opportunity to be on your own the entire time… it is all a matter of what you want.
When you are traveling alone you will discover a lot about yourself. You will push yourself to the edge and you will realize what your limit is, you will discover what you are passionate about, you will think and rethink about life, you will have the chance to uncover who you are. This is the biggest beauty of spending time on your own. When you wake up and have no place to go, or nobody to go with, and you feel that excitement of being in a new place, new culture, all alone, with no plans… believe me, everything will be worth it.
And then the main thing… “You are a woman, isn’t it dangerous? Are you sure is it safe?” Every time I hear that question I want to punch the person asking it – or maybe just give up on that friendship, but you know, I am lady, so I smile instead… (!!!)
Travel solo as a woman: never ever question your decision to go solo. If you want to travel solo, DO IT. There is no place you can’t go, or anything you can’t do for being a woman. Stop believing you can’t do things because you are a woman for Christ sake! If you want to travel solo, that’s what you have to do. Surely some destinations are trickier than others, so just be more careful. It is simple! Be aware of your surroundings, ask information if there is “a no-go area” of the city, don’t go out at night in your first day if you don’t feel comfortable. If you are too scared (which you shouldn’t), buy a local phone, get pepper spray, download the local taxi app. Do what you have to do to not be scared, and allow yourself to have the experience you want to have. I’ve traveled alone in my life so many times, to so many places considered “bad for women”, and not even once I regret it. I’ve been in some difficult situations (and I might write a post about it soon), but because of my poor decisions!!! Not because I was traveling alone, so stop being ‘afraid’!
There is no down side, nothing to be afraid of. Stop waiting, and go do to that trip you want. I am sure you will not regret it. And once you start owning the world and enjoying your company, there is no turning back…