I’m on a plane every week. Sometimes I’m accompanied by my boyfriend who just so happens to be a great photographer and videographer. Other times I’m joined by friends. If I’m really lucky, my mom agrees to jaunt over to Asia with me. To fill in the gaps, I travel alone. Solo. By myself.
A frequently asked question by my readers is “How often do you travel solo?” The percentage of time I travel by myself is only increasing as time goes on. People are busy. Some have full-time jobs and others have routines they can’t up and leave. My schedule is a complete 180 of the traditional 9 to 5, so the reality of the situation is that I’ve learned to enjoy my own company (or company of the Chinese locals, who enjoy blonde hair as seen below.)
In the age of Cheryl Strayed’s Wild, female empowerment and presidential candidates, more women than ever are traveling alone. Hell, if Reese can trek the Pacific Crest Trail alone, anyone can. The notion of GIRL POWER isn’t only something that the Spice Girls claimed in the 90s. And then there’s always Queen Bey who asks the critical question ‘Who run the world?’ of which she promptly answers: Girls.
I traveled to China alone and walked the Great Wall by myself. Okay, that’s a lie. I walked it with about 500 other tourists, but still. I train’d from Scandinavia through Germany and down to Switzerland solo. I hiked Canada’s best trails alone. Being at peace with my own company is freeing. While there is something to be said for sharing a beautiful experience with someone while traveling, I’m a firm believer that everyone, men and women, should travel solo at least once in their lifetime. If there’s a place you’ve always wanted to visit, there’s no need to wait on the perfect group to join. You are all you need. Don’t get caught up in the How Tos or the Dos & Don’ts. You will figure it out as you go, but be prepared. Be smart. Ask questions. Smile. Be kind. Make new friends.
Life is an experiment. The more experiments you create, the better. If nothing else, you just might learn a thing or two about yourself.
Top 10 Countries for Solo Travel
1) Canada: Talk about EASY. They speak my language, literally. Zero language barriers exist here (okay, unless you travel to Quebec and need a few French phrases to feel at home..). The amount of wilderness to get lost in or friendly Canadians to befriend are endless.
2) Thailand: From the gentle giant filled jungles of Northern Thailand to the vibrant beaches of the Phuket, perhaps it screams ‘honeymoon’ to many, and as it should. It’s also inexpensive with loads of backpackers and solo travelers throughout!
3) UK: Like Canada, the UK, of course, speaks English. Score. No translator app needed here! Get lost wandering through London or relax in Bath’s Roman spas or take up golf in Scotland. Options are endless.
4) Hong Kong: Who needs friends when you have enough varying cuisines to keep you company? Huge foodies that love a big urban city with an adventurous side: this one’s for you.
5) Australia: I’ve never felt so loved when I was so solo. Befriending Australians is quite possibly the easiest task on the planet. The continent is filled with many transplants from all over the world, too, so there’s that.
6) Switzerland: My favorite thing about Switzerland is that it’s always in season 365 days out of the year. Need a break from life in winter? Ski the Swiss Alps. Inspired to travel alone this summer? St. Moritz is calling your name ever so softly.
7) Germany: I hopped off the train in Germany and immediately met some (very drunk) very fun Germans! It wasn’t too long until I had a giant beer in hand as well. With good beer comes good company.
8) Peru: Ohh Peru. How I love thee. You bring out the best in me from your five-day adventure treks to inspiring Machu Picchu. If you’re looking for a different perspective on life, live like some Peruvian locals for a few days in the Ausangate Mountains.
9) New Zealand: Kiwis are some of the most genuine people I’ve ever come across. Arguably one of the most adventurous and beautiful places I’ve had the pleasure of knowing, both the north and south islands will leave you speechless (mostly from falling out of planes), and with new friends to repeatedly visit.
10) Norway: I started in Bergen and made my way to Oslo solo. I came across all walks of life on planes, trains, ferries and automobiles that made me blissfully aware of time spent alone. Had I been so engrossed in conversation with a travel companion, I may have missed some of those important instances otherwise.
Over to you! Ever traveled alone? Tell us about it!