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Solo Travel




Here I sit. A blissful single at a four top table on a random Wednesday in JFK airport waiting with giddy anticipation for my flight to Costa Rica, a trip I am taking by myself. This is not the first time I’ve traveled solo, and I’m sure it wont be the last. In fact I hadn’t really thought much about it until a friend of my looked at me with awe and remarked, “You’re going to a foreign country… by yourself?” each of us looking at the other like she was crazy. “Why not?” I asked and answered, forgetting for a moment that most people link friends and family into their journey. But I don’t always have that luxury. If I waited for my friends to go anywhere, I’d never make it past Miami. And trying to coordinate folks is like running full speed into the wall, getting up, and then skipping into the wall, getting up, and then walking into the wall, until eventually you just bang your fists against the wall, screaming and cursing uselessly. And as far as family is concerned… well I won’t make that mistake again (Jeesus).

So it’s me. Just little old me  And for any woman who has considered taking a trip by herself, but hasn’t, I’m here to tilt you in the right direction. I’ll start with the positive. Here are some of the absolute best things about solo travel:

You can do whatever YOU want to do.
You make your own schedule and fill it however you like. You don’t have to rush for people, wait for people, compromise, spend money you don’t want to spend, or do anything that is not a part of YOUR agenda. That can be powerful.

Meeting new people.
When you’re with friends, you can enjoy their company which is great. But solo travel really opens you up to meeting new people, which may lead to new experiences that you hadn’t considered before. Two of my close friends I met abroad, both traveling solo through Eastern Africa. One was living temporarily in Ethiopia and I got the opportunity to experience a more real, non-touristy side of life in that region. The other woman I met during that trip was so excited about where she was planning to visit next, I was enticed into taking a detour from my original plan and joining her. One of the best decisions ever. The awesome and insane adventures we had during that trip would be perfect feed for a movie. (maybe I’ll write a short story).

Freedom from other people’s crap.
Now this I mean literally. You can avoid the stinky bathroom problem. You travel, you eat together, everybody has to sh*t at the same time. You have to suffer through someone else’s funk, or be the perpetrator yourself. Blech!

Liberating.
There’s something simply empowering about seizing upon your own opportunity, not waiting for anyone else, not needing permission, or being leashed together. Walking out strong and secure on your own into uncharted territory and focusing on your own thoughts, reflections and responses to new stimuli. It can be refreshing if you have the trust, faith and openness to really make the best of your time.

BUT…. There are always buts. So let me try to rebut the buts.

Danger. (lions and tigers and men… oh my!)
Let’s face it. Women face more danger than men. It’s most likely true that they are targeted more and taken advantage of more frequently. Keeping this in mind, keep your brain on ladies. Avoidance is key. DON’T PUT YOURSELF IN A SITUATION WHERE YOU ARE LIKELY TO BE OUT OF CONTROL. Don’t drink too much, don’t get in a strange dudes car, don’t flirt with guys unless you want to talk to them, and even then, don’t give away too much information. No one has to know you’re by yourself. Use your judgment. Use your gut. Be clear about what you want and you don’t want. Danger can be avoided.

Loneliness.
This can also be avoided. Don’t stay somewhere ultra secluded. Strategically place yourself in the mix and find some friendly people to talk to. There’s always potential bubbling, open up to it. Tune into other people and see where you might jump in. And ladies, please don’t hate, talk to other women too.

Other people’s judgment.
Who cares what anyone else thinks.

More expensive.
With no one else to defray the costs of lodging, taxis, etc. solo travel is typically more expensive. Nothing I can really say about that one. You just have to deal with it or not.

So if you have the opportunity to travel, you have the time, you have the means, but you can’t seem to find anyone to accompany you, go with yourself. Try it. Do your due diligence first. Research the area, keep yourself safe, but don’t let your solo status stifle you, let your independence motivate you.




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