“Why don’t you just go by yourself?” Rachel asked. I let the thought sink in – my mind was swirling in confusion. My gut reaction was to provide all kinds of reasons to not go alone – who would I talk to, what’s the point, I would be lonely, what would I do by myself, it’s weird, people will think that I’m a loser. But all of these thoughts were stuck in my throat – my mind was not letting them come out verbally. Instead, my mind listened to all of the excuses that a young un-confident girl might make, it analyzed them with my 28 year old brain, and was confused. Why couldn’t I go by myself? Why shouldn’t I go alone? What’s the worst that could happen? At that moment my brain pushed away all of the excuses and what verbalized out of my mouth in a questioning tone was “I don’t know, I guess I could.”
This was it – one of the big life moments where my life took a massive change – a new road – a road to independence.
I had just broken up with a boyfriend who I had planned to go to the Bahamas with for New Years. We both had our tickets, but I decided to call it quits before the New Year – which left me with a ticket to the Bahamas. I had planned to just give the ticket up and write it off as a ‘breakup cost’. However, my girlfriend Rachel was someone I looked up to, she was strong, smart, independent, and slightly feminist – her simple question and then further support was what made solo travel and going it alone a part of my vocabulary.
I did what I didn’t think I could do – I went alone.
Going it Alone
Since that first solo trip to the Bahamas (which turned out amazing by the way thanks to all of the cool people I met as a solo traveler), I have never stopped. I have traveled around the world solo to places like Jordan, Lebanon, Mongolia, Nepal, India, Morocco, South Africa, Patagonia, Turkey, New Zealand, and Oman. However, that first trip alone was the key to opening up the whole world for me. No longer would I need to – or want to – wait for others to join me to do what I wanted. The amazing sense of freedom and choice that swept over my life at that point was life changing.
Solo travel and living life boldly has now become a strain of my DNA – it’s inside of me, it changed me, it saved me. For me the strength I get from traveling solo doesn’t just stop at travel. I actually live my life solo the majority of the time. I eat out alone, I go to movies alone, and I go enjoy a nice glass of wine on my own – it’s a way I live life. I don’t let being solo stop me – and neither should you.
I know that many of you may be planning a solo trip and if it is your first, then I say “BRAVO!” You are doing the right thing. One of my many goals with this website is to help you do what you think you can’t do – and for some of you that means going it alone. I hope you are getting the support from friends and family like I received from Rachel.
We Go Solo
However if you aren’t getting that support or if you are feeling concerned – know that there is a whole community of traveling women out there who support you at #WeGoSolo . The idea of #WeGoSolo is to promote and encourage women to travel safely.
This was the brainchild of Mariellen Ward – an avid solo traveler who started this online movement to support women and discrimination against female travelers that was evident in the media this year. Check out all of the great articles of women who have gone solo before you and are better off because of it.
The team at HostelBookers, #WeGoSolo, and myself are passionate about helping you fulfill your dreams of seeing the world. Hostelbookers even has special hostels that cater to the female solo traveler with female only dormitories and excellent safety ratings. And if you aren’t a dorm person, it’s still worth it to stay in a hostel as a female traveler – just get a private room and enjoy the supportive community and friends you’ll make at the hostel!
“We know many of our customers are very happy choosing to travel solo. We’ve been encouraged by Mariellen’ Wards #WeGoSolo project from the start and we hope that by teaming up on this project we can inspire women to have the confidence to travel solo if they want to.” –Via HostelBookers
What’s your dream solo destination?
Meet the other #WeGoSolo Ambassadors!