Over the course of the past year and a half, I have traveled to 17 countries. Of those 17 countries, 15 were trips I made by myself.
The first time I stepped out of my comfort zone I was apprehensive. I had no idea if I would enjoy solo travel, or if I would hate every minute of it. Luckily, I only went away for a weekend so if it turned out to be a bust I would not have wasted very much time. But, as you may have guessed, I loved it.
There are so many people who will tell you that you should not solo travel as a woman. The world is dangerous, and you’ll be kidnapped and Liam Neeson will have to get you. Or even worse: you’ll have to eat dinner at a restaurant alone.
I’m here to tell you to stop being afraid. Solo travel is liberating. You can do whatever you want, whenever you want. While it may be nice to have the input of another person, and maybe it’s comforting to be in an unfamiliar city with someone else, you have to let go of other people as a security blanket.
Being alone is no worse than being with someone else. Personally, I think it’s even better because there’s never anyone to say “I told you so” when you get a little lost or get sick from the street food you ate. You don’t have to worry about someone sharing your interests and who will influence how you experience a country. You never have to wait for your friend who insists on putting on a full face of makeup to go to breakfast… and you don’t have to feel rushed when you want to put on a full face of makeup to go to breakfast.
While this all might sound great to you, you might be wondering: “what if I get lonely?” I’m glad you asked. There are so many activities that you can do in order to meet other people. This is the number one reason I will always recommend staying in a hostel. They’re built for travelers to meet each other. If you’re not into that style of travel, then check out walking tours, pub crawls, organized tours, and there are even apps created to help travelers meet each other.
Just because you solo travel doesn’t mean you have to be alone or lonely. There is no end to the number of ways you can meet people. The best part is that you have the choice.
After you’ve taken your first solo trip you will feel like you can conquer the world. People you talk to will say you’re “so brave” for going out on your own. You’ll look like a total badass. I’ve always had the travel bug, but after my first solo trip a new door opened for me and I realized that I could be an independent traveler and still be just fine.
Do your research, be prepared, be knowledgeable. Most importantly, travel however you want to. Don’t be scared of solo travel just because your aunt’s friend Carol read an email chain about a girl who lost a finger while traveling by herself through Atlantis.
See the world on your own terms.
Picture via Unsplash