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My first solo female travel experience was at the ripe age of 51 and astonishingly, I really enjoyed it. I guarantee that you can too.
In the first moment of this first solo trip, the mere instant I set foot at the departure airport, it freakingly dawned on me that everything would be new, different and hopefully also exciting and joyful.
Because independently that you’ve travelled near or far, or as in my case to over 50 countries, going solo for the first time requires everyone to put on a new mindset, one that if you dare adopt it, can uncover great rewards and loads of satisfaction.
Taking this solo trip made me more confident in my abilities because when push came to shove, the only one I had to rely on to manage situations, plan transportation or book accommodations was my sweet old self.
Let me share with you 10 reasons why you can and should try a solo trip…
Here’s what you will get from this post
Table of contents
Thinking of a first solo female travel experience…
Imagine you’ve been travelling around the globe as a fearless duo for nearly 10 years. Imagine you’re part of a team who’s got this travelling the world thing down to a tee, each having your own travel responsibilities and expertise.
Now imagine the team no longer exists, dissembled. If you wish to carry on travelling the globe, you now have to rewire your travel ways and habits, you’ll need to do all of the travel tasks alone. This implies singlehandedly plan the itinerary (always did that part in my case), transit from point A to B, eat, sleep and entertain yourself…alone.
This is my story, and it doesn’t matter if yours involves losing a team member also or not, the desire to explore a destination that your mate doesn’t, or flying solo for a while and haven’t mustered the courage to take your first solo trip. No matter what the situation is, going on a first solo female trip requires a different mindset.
Because no matter how well travelled you are, it’s absolutely normal to have concerns about loneliness, security and others issues such as getting on that first flight alone. You might be a strong, determined, self-confident and gutsy woman but you are also human. Fears and preoccupations are usual and should be expected. Before despair sets in, let’s begin with small and manageable goals.
Ready for those 10 remarkable reasons why I loved my first solo female travel?
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1) First solo trip? You Decide Where to Go!
I recently saw again the most fitting movie, What About Bob? which covers and pokes fun at the clever baby-step method. In the case of Bob, a severe agoraphobic, he gets a prescription of taking baby steps in order to venture further into the world, a technique that proves a little too successful in this hilarious scenario.
While I’m a great advocate of stepping out of one’s comfort zone to live life to its fullest, there’s no rule saying you’ve got to start your first solo trip with giant leaps from the get-go. With that said, a smart idea is to plan your first solo female travel to a manageable and familiar destination, helping you to take baby steps toward this new travel style.
• Are you more familiar with first world countries? A European destination or a different city in North America, places that speak your language and feel familiar are good places for solo trip beginnings.
• Already at ease with off-the-beaten-path destinations but don’t quite feel comfortable getting there alone? If this is your situation, a brilliant consideration is joining a small tour group such as Intrepid Travel, Tour Radar or G Adventures.
These reputable organizations offer a wide range of tour styles from adventure to cultural immersion, with many targeted group trips for a mature clientele. A small tour group enables you to venture to this unique and far away place you’ve been dreaming about while being solo within a group, chances are you will meet other female solo travellers as well.
This particular Food Adventure in India Tour from Intrepid Travel as certainly caught my attention. Did you say Indian food?
And this tour from G Adventure 12 days train journey through the West Coast of India and the Rajasthan looks epic.
Imagine planning such a trip during the Holi colour festival? It would be a fantastic way to build up solo travel confidence in India, finishing by the seaside city of Goa to continue the adventure on your own.
2) Build your Own Itinerary around Your Interests
Travelling with a partner involves making compromises about what to see and do at a destination and that’s totally fine. The objective of solo travel is not to become a self-centred narcissist, on the contrary. Even if you have great synergy with your travel mate – which is wonderful – we women have a tendency to put our interests in the second row in order to please and not create any disturbance ripples.
Don’t get me wrong, I was pretty outspoken about what I wanted to see and do during my couple travels but this aspect revealed itself while on my Paris solo trip. As I was walking throughout the city for hours, at my own pace, a great sense of peace and relief came over me. I didn’t have to ask anyone if they were tired of walking, hungry, minded entering this shop or that one or waiting 20 minutes solely to catch a glimpse of a potential sunset. I could do as I please, I did and I loved it.
You’ve been dreaming of taking a cooking class, doing a yoga retreat or visiting a special site that doesn’t interest anyone but yourself? A solo trip enables you to design your dream trip with solely your interests at heart.
How does that sound?
3) Build Self Confidence by Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone
Getting on this narrow ferry pushed me out of my comfort zone
When you’re travelling alone, you’ll be faced with situations you’ve never encountered before. Start with lodging. When splitting the cost of accommodation is no longer an option, female solo travellers such as myself, may in order to keep on a budget, choose a lodging style outside of our comfort zone. Such as selecting private Airbnb rooms instead of the entire apartment or a bed in a hostel female dormitory. Yikes right!
While at first the thought of sharing a dorm or staying in someone’s house might be your tipping point in cancelling all of your whole travel plans, I urge you to consider pushing forward. Needless to say, you should always ensure you’re in a safe environment but don’t limit yourself based on unfounded ideas. I’ve had great stays in either option and met amazing people along the way which I wouldn’t have in a private hotel room or apartment.
And what about driving abroad, on the other side of the road? I’ve recently just come back from my first solo road trip abroad (yeah!) and while many moments were filled with white-knuckle anxiety, at the end of it all, I now feel more capable of tackling more uncomfortable situations or apprehensions after having hit that ball out of the park.
Stepping out of your comfort zone can be daunting, stressful and nerve-wracking but I guarantee you that by doing so you will come out of it more confident and empowered; you’ve got this!
4) Meet People and Make New Friends.
Introvert or extrovert, no matter the case, travelling by yourself will put you in direct contact with people. First, you’ll have no choice to interact with service people, locals and many times fellow travellers. Each day new acquaintances will be added to your list.
From friendly travellers sitting at the table next to you in a restaurant to other solo women met on a walking tour, you’ll be making connections along the way, want it or not. In fact, I’ve met so many confident young female solo travellers during my first solo trip that it gave me wings of hope for future travels.
5) Rediscover Your Passions and Learn to Love Yourself in the Process
Without the influence of other parties in your group of 1, you’ll have the opportunity to dig deeper to find out about new interests, to try things that might only charm you. Get to the root of your passion, find out about this type of cuisine, meditate, try a new activity, join a biking tour…you might find out that you’ve been waiting for this chance your whole life.
Accept what your passions are without judgment and jump wholeheartedly into them. No compromises, the choices are yours.
6) Become More Spontaneous and Learn to Go with the Flow
I’ll be the first to admit to being a micro-planner, finding solace and reassurance with travel days planned out ahead of time. While there’s still room for improvement on my part, travelling solo has opened up a flexibility about seizing moments and becoming more spontaneous in the process. You wake up to heavy bucket full rain, you can decide to sleep in, read a book or even catch on work, no one will judge and I promise not to tell!
Opportunities will arise, like when I was invited while on Porto Tasting walking tour to join up a few ladies on a Douro Valley road trip, an incredible opportunity to explore a region best done by car. Accepting this spur of the moment offer supplied me with lifetime memories of an epic day. Travelling alone presents itself as the perfect scenario for spontaneity, endorse it.
7) Truly Connect by Facing Your Vulnerability
A Worthwhile Video to Watch
As the famous researcher and Ted Talk star, Brené Brown study shows, our fear of revealing ourselves completely holds us back from making real connections with others, develop empathy and compassion. Every time you face an unfamiliar situation that might bring feelings of shame or embarrassment, every time you need to expose your true self, those moments are actual opportunities of to let go of the fear of shame.
You’ll have to face with these situations when travelling alone, just remember that showing your vulnerability puts you in a position to really be seen for who you are and therefore make real meaningful connections.
Buy Her Books Here
8) Get Quality Time for Some Real Introspection
It goes without saying that travelling alone will come with many moments by yourself, alone with your thoughts. The types of thoughts that we generally push back and usually avoid facing. Take advantage of these unique moments that solo travel provides for inward contemplation and reflect on your past, present and future situation.
The sheer allusion of being alone with your own thoughts is scary for most of us, the concept is often not welcomed nor embraced. In a world of constant disturbances and external stimuli everywhere, grab the chance and indulge in the peace and quiet that solo travel procures.
9) Your Lifeline is Within Easy Reach
Reading at the local pub
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room; feeling alone while travelling solo. So far in this post, we’ve covered how emanticapating solo travel is and how it provides self-confidence-building opportunities, making connections and finding your true self. That’s all nice and dandy but what if you get lonely, bored and afraid while travelling solo?
Let’s make another thing clear, there’s a difference with feeling lonely and being alone. Loneliness is an emotion rooted in negative feelings of not belonging or not feeling connected while being alone is purely of physical state, a state sometimes welcomed.
There are many ways to fight the loneliness blues, some simple ones are reading, meditating or just striking up a conversation with someone sitting beside you.
But let’s be honest, with so many telecommunication tools now at our disposal there’s no need to fret about melancholy or sadness from being lonely while travelling. If you’re feeling blue, turn on Facetime, Messenger or WhatsApp and reach out to family and friends or join Facebook solo travel groups.
10) Because You’re Worth It – YOU CAN DO THIS.
Photo Credit ~ Photo by Tory Morrison on Unsplash
Alone doesn’t have to be a bad word. It can be a superhero of a word, one that lets you put a cape on and become fearless, courageous and brave, if not immediately then eventually. A word that shows you alter ego that you can rely and depend on yourself.
By travelling alone you will become more independent, be more confident in tackling more defying projects and find the inner strength you might not have known you had.
So if you’ve been on the fence about doing a first solo trip, do it because you’re worth it, you CAN do this!
Have you been on a solo trip?
Please share your experiences, comments or questions below…
Please share your experiences, comments or questions below…