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This is Your Sign to Solo Travel

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Vic chapter.

 If you have been thinking about travelling, this is your sign to do it! And I am here to talk you into it. Seriously, if you clicked this article you are clearly interested and you know you want to. If you aren’t hearing encouragement in your life, I’m telling you to follow your own instincts on this one.

There are so many reasons to travel on your own. Don’t get me wrong, travelling with people in your personal life can be amazing, but there will always be times in your life where you have no one interested in the places you want to visit. Or maybe they are busy, saving money or were never reliable in the first place. That’s where solo travel comes into play. It’s the realization that you don’t have to beg or barter someone to come with you, you can just go yourself.

Solo travel provides an experience of your own authenticity. From how you want to spend your time and your money. It decreases resentment you may feel towards the people in your life who may say they want to travel with you, but won’t. It’s a way of not letting anyone hold you back, and that feels good and builds confidence. It can be a necessary growing experience for so many of us. The travels you go on by yourself can be true coming of age moments as you enter adulthood.

Solo travel is an exercise of your own personal agency. You are the one who plans it, goes through with it and solves any problems that come up.

Planning and executing a trip may single handedly be the most empowering aspect of solo travel. Oftentimes we become complacent in our own lives and forget the agency we have to change and make things happen. Especially if you are a young adult, it is hard to shake off what we have been trained from childhood to do – asking permission and not being allowed in new places without supervision. Planning a trip is a great way of practicing navigating the world by yourself. This doesn’t mean turning down help, and in fact can be a great time to connect with loved ones by asking for advice and guidance. But, you will always feel your independence grow when you embark alone for the first time. 

Solo travel can be empowering to women, as we are constantly being told of the danger of being alone. So much so that it can unconsciously build a feeling that we need supervision, that we cannot do things by ourselves. There is a lot wrong with this narrative. It addresses male violence by using fear to control women instead of demanding justice. This fear takes away our agency as free citizens. As a solo female traveller there are actions you can take to protect yourself to compensate for weaknesses that come from being in a foreign country. But keep this fear in perspective, if you feel this worry at home how is that different than being worried abroad? If you leave home something bad may happen, but if you stay something bad may happen, too. Dissecting what are real concerns compared to anxiety is an amazing skill to have in providing yourself effective security and quality of life.

Leaving by yourself is a strange feeling, but that discomfort is where the growth comes from. It’s the moment when the plan becomes real and you get to experience the payoff of your labour of researching, coordinating and booking. Getting to have new experiences and seeing things you have always wanted to see is one of the most joyous rewards.

There is always going to be anxiety with solo travelling because of the fact that you are responsible for yourself. You must find your own way by navigating through airports and organizing your own transport, but you also have to be the one who takes care of yourself.  You have to go into it knowing that sometimes problems can arise, even in the most meticulously planned trips. Solo travelling will be the greatest exercise of your independence, and also your biggest opportunity for your personal growth. I am telling you right now – you will figure out a solution to these problems and you will be fine. Even if the solution was less than ideal, you will be okay in the end and you will have an awesome story to tell later. People don’t like listening to stories about idealized vacations where everything went perfectly, they would much rather listen to the tales where everything went wrong so they can empathize and laugh along with you.

The realization that something went wrong and knowing that you were able to problem-solve your way out of it is a valuable lesson that solo travel can bring you. Through these experiences you collect evidence that proves that you are capable and that you can do hard things. After your trip ends you can always look back when you are having a hard time and think ‘if I survived that, I can survive this’. It’s the greatest builder of self-esteem that affects your entire life, not just your travelling skill set. It’s what makes solo travel a life changing experience, you return as a more capable person.

Solo travel really can be as easy as buying a plane ticket, booking a hotel and going. Sometimes the hardest part is deciding to go. Remember that you are fully capable of making it happen and that your best days are ahead of you.

Lynn Sagar

U Vic '23

Lynn is a double major in anthropology and Indigenous studies at the University of Victoria. In her free time she enjoys travelling, playing guitar and photography.