I’ve been traveling solo since I was a student at college. Before that I had always traveled with family or friends, never once thinking I should, or could, go it alone. But this all changed when I left for Sydney, Australia, by myself, on a semester-long study abroad trip.
Over the last five years, I have embarked on a huge life-changing adventure. I’ve continued traveling solo and would have no qualms about doing it again. I’ve learned a lot traveling as a woman during this time. Some of these have been new things. Sometimes they’ve been things I already knew about myself, but somehow traveling cemented them more in my mind.
You’re Not The Only One
I’ve realized there are so many people around the world doing exactly the same thing as me. Whether we’re jumping on a bus, train or plane to an unknown destination, we are all ready to gain new experiences and explore different cultures. And when you meet these people, you share stories of your travels, of where you came from, and eventually, you may even get to call them friends. So next time you think you can’t travel alone as a woman, remember, you are not the only one.
It’s Not That Scary
One of the biggest things I’ve learned as a woman traveling is it’s not as daunting as you think. Yes, I was nervous about heading to Sydney alone. It was a city where I knew no-one, across the world from everyone at home, but I got past it. I knew I was heading to a dorm where there would be people I could make friends with. And the same goes if you’re staying in a hostel or embarking on a tour – there will always be people you can talk to. And what’s more reassuring is that most of them are in the same boat as you.
Independence is Freeing
I knew this one before I went away, but traveling has taught me how to be even more independent than I already was. I realized I didn’t always need a travel companion; I could go out for a nice meal by myself. I would have missed so many experiences – like exploring the Christmas Markets in Cologne or sleeping under the stars in Uluru if I wasn’t so independent. Sometimes being independent is a trait people don’t give enough credit to or completely understand, but it has allowed me to do things and feel confident, and for that, I am thankful.
Safety Is Always On Your Mind
I think traveling as a woman (especially as a solo woman), is always different from traveling as a man or traveling with a big group of people. You’ll always be thinking about safety while you’re traveling. You might have to pay for a cab if you’re heading back from a late dinner, instead of walking the short distance. You might have to rethink going to specific cities or countries because of their reputations regarding women travelers.
But for me, this process isn’t that different from how I act when I’m going about my day to day life at home. If you’re sensible and take the right precautions exploring, an unknown city shouldn’t be scarier than if you were to go and explore a neighborhood close to where you grew up. And if you’re still worried about safety, that’s fine too. Just know there are so many destinations around the world known for being exceptionally welcoming to solo women travelers. If you’re feeling nervous, focus on those destinations first.
Which of these have you also learned while traveling? Or have you experienced something else that you can share?
By Sage Fitzpatrick
Sage is a tattooed, tea drinking girl who is always reading and traveling the world. When she’s not traveling, she spends her time blogging about her travels over at A Virtual Postcard.