3 Things I Learned from Solo Female Travel in 2015 (#12DaysOfTravel, Day 8)

“You’re going to walk Bourbon Street, by yourself??” “You’re going to eat dinner, alone??” “You’re going to go there, as a solo woman?”

Yes. Yes, I am.

This year, I’ve done more solo female travel than usual thanks to several business trips and a few situations where my husband, my favorite travel companion, couldn’t come.

Though some people insist on a shock reaction, I always find traveling solo to be an educational, enjoyable experience.

#1. I’m more observant and aware

When I’m traveling solo, my sense of self-reliance is at max.

I notice details I might not have otherwise. I fill my camera with more photos than usual as I dart down side streets and pop into shops at random.

I get shots like this one when I spend all morning taking pictures.

I learn directions before I set out and I don’t stare down at my phone as I walk. I don’t want to look oblivious, and I also want to enjoy the scenery.

I strike up conversations with strangers, mostly because I’m not engrossed in talk with companions. I chat with baristas, bartenders, taxi drivers, shopkeepers. I learn so much more about the local culture.

I watch people around me, partly out of curiosity, but also because I’m not stupid, and I know that a small level of concern isn’t misplaced.

But for all my vigilance, I never feel threatened. I’m not saying one shouldn’t be careful, but the world’s not so scary as people paint it to be.

I learn to be aware, but I also learn to enjoy the freedom of being on my own.

And when I manage an entire trip myself, I feel empowered. I feel like a travel guru. It’s awesome.

#2. I like the freedom of it

Call me selfish, but let’s be honest: it’s nice to call the shots yourself. No one to disagree with you, no one to override your plans, no one to make you late (or insist you have to be on time), no one to slow you down or hurry you up.

It’s not something I want to do always, and sometimes seeing a location through someone else’s eyes is revealing. But as an introvert who usually knows what I want, finding my own way is a treat.

#3. Though it’s fun for a while, eventually I miss shared adventures

For all the pleasure of solo travel, eventually I miss companionship. I start to miss sharing a meal with someone, trading bites of each other’s plates. I miss reflecting on the day’s adventures, talking about our favorite parts. I find myself thinking what a great trip I’m having, and how I can’t wait to tell my husband about the coffee I had, or my friend about this cool shop I found, or my mom about this museum she would have loved.

Even if you travel alone frequently, I think the adventure is meant to be shared in some way. That’s why I love blogging, using sharing apps like Instagram and Snapchat, and talking or video-chatting with loved ones — it lets me share a piece of the adventure.

At the end of the day, even when I travel solo, I’m always going to be sharing the adventure somehow, some way, with someone.

What about you? Have you traveled solo? What do you like or not like about it?

This is day 8 in the 12 Days of Travel on The Globe Turner. Stop by tomorrow for day 9 of #12DaysofTravel, a series of travel memories from 2015. There will be a post every day ’til Christmas!


6 thoughts on “3 Things I Learned from Solo Female Travel in 2015 (#12DaysOfTravel, Day 8)

  1. I love solo travel (and don’t love it) for the reasons you listed. I enjoy the freedom of setting my own schedule without regard for another’s preferences. However, there is something special about sharing the experience with someone else.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post – I AGREE WITH EVERYTHING YOU’VE SAID. This year was the first time I’ve been overseas alone and it was the best decision I’ve ever made. I find I remember things so much more clearly than I would have if I was with someone else. Like, the night after I’d been to the Globe, I remember how everything around me looked and I remember how I felt. Whereas if I was with someone else, I would only remember walking with that person and that we’d talked about the play. While it would have been nice to have someone there to share it, I feel like that sharing would have been at the expense of my own inward reflections.
    And it is great being on your own time and going where you want, whenever you want.
    I had someone on Facebook ask me why I was “on such a nice trip by myself” and I wondered why I needed to justify it. I mean, not only was it really none of her business, but why shouldn’t I be able to take a trip on my own?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! I think I remembered things better because I was on my own and always processing everything so intently, more than I ever would if I was traveling with others. Although I do keep a meticulous travel notebook, regardless of whether I’m solo or with a group, so that helps. 🙂

      Ugh. I hate that you have to justify solo trips to anyone. What’s wrong with exploring in solitude? I think it’s good for the soul, and good for learning things about yourself you might not otherwise learn. Even when I’m on group trips, I tend to break away by myself, if only for short periods. I just like to have time to myself, in general. Travel doesn’t change that.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I really like the independence of traveling solo. Determining my agenda and my pace entirely on my own means I get exactly what I want. But you’re right, that it’s exciting to share with other people, and sometimes a travel partner can push you to try a new place that might not have initially seemed interesting or worthwhile. Compromise sometimes breeds the best.

    Liked by 1 person

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