Solo traveling – c’mon, everyone’s doing it…
Along the dusty and muggy trails of Laos I’ve met some amazing people from nations across the globe. One of my favorite things to do on trips is to bump into others who are also on the road without a map, on a path without a plan, on the verge of something they do not yet know.
It’s almost comical as here I am taking a few weeks to explore and others are on their 6th month on the road. A large part of that is other cultures and how traveling in other countries is not unique, but a rite of passage that is expected. And often times, it is solo.
For instance, prior to a windy, sweaty and long bus ride through the hills of Southeast Asia I spent a few days with a newfound friend from China. She is 27 years old and has been traveling solo for over two months with a few weeks remaining. She left her job and has been exploring by herself while making friends and sharing meals with former strangers and fellow adventures along her travels.
I also met two beautiful women from Germany. Both were recent high school graduates (yes, high school!) and were in the middle of a 6 week tour around Asia with no plan, minimal funds and ‘no worries.’
Along that ride, that introduced all 60 of us tightly packed in the bus to the edge of cliffs on each turn for 6 hours, I met a 30 year old from Switzerland who had quit her job, purchased a bus ticket and had made her way south, stopping in various cities with curiosity as her guide.
Meeting solo travelers, in particular females, is not uncommon on the road but on this trip I thought about my friends in the states who want to travel but fear exploring alone. As a brother of a beautiful sister I completely understand the fear of females traveling alone, but for those of you who dream of other nations, lessons learned on the road and newfound friendships – other are doing it.
So as this trip comes to an end and you are at that fork in the road sensing the desire for adventure; well, I urge you…I dare you…try solo traveling ‘everyone’s doing it.’
Closing in upon what many would call the “senior citizen world,” it’s a bit more challenging to travel alone, especially as a woman. However, the years prior to my 25 years of marriage and the past 3 1/2 years following my husband’s death, have afforded me many opportunities to be a “solo traveler.” I truly believe that the adventurous spirit is nurtured in childhood, encouraged to be independent. The freedom to explore the world without any restriction of planning and negotiating with others is indeed an advantage. I was fortunate to have parents that encouraged that trait in me. Yogi, I would encourage your readers as well to pursue the adventure, even if it were to backpack sections of our wonderful country before heading abroad. However, it might be more difficult for those who were never challenged as a youth to spread their wings and soar. To travel is to learn….I love being a lifelong learner!
Yogi, that’s spot on! So many women worry about ever traveling alone (lucky for me, my dad indoctrinated me into that when I was 17). It’s marvelous and so freeing in as many senses of that word as I can think of. There are a few places I’d never recommend going it alone though so I always encourage everyone to use common sense. For any woman concerned, I recommend reading a few tips/sites before they embark like this one:
You’re never really alone when you travel – there’s always a network of adventurers out there you can trust 🙂
Thanks Kathryn & Chandrima – great advice!!!
Yogi that is interesting and that is the reason i like traveling, but as you said it can be terrifying to travel alone as a woman to a foreign part of the world but again the beauty about it is that you learn a lot, you have new explorations, new views about life , personal growth etc. gonna try one time .