Solo travel is in my DNA. From travelling to the UK, as an 18 year old on a two-year working holiday, to celebrating my 50th birthday backpacking for seven weeks around Italy and the Greek Islands and recently exploring Bali, I’ve learnt a thing or two.
But why solo travel? Don’t I have any friends?
Even as an 18 year old I didn’t live in London, the destination for most Aussies; I wanted to live life as the British did. Experiencing the culture and everyday living of different countries holds endless fascination. That’s why staying in secluded and exclusive resorts has rarely been appealing. The spontaneity of the moment guides me so the accommodation for my seven week backpacking trip was booked for the first three nights, only. My gut guided me after that.
Strangely, some find that scary. So yes, I do have friends. We simply are not a match for how we like to spend our time when travelling. But why on earth would anyone travel solo? We live in dangerous times, don’t we?
Often, a woman’s true identity gets lost as she takes on the many roles the decades of her life demands. Inevitably though, the day will come when she needs to be who she really is, but just who is that?
Stepping into the search for self takes courage. And that journey is one she must take for herself.
And why begin that search on a cold and grey wintery day?
That’s just one of many reasons to step into a different location. Lounging by an infinity pool, sipping cocktails and soaking up the warmth of the Bali sun can be a life saver. Feeling pampered and nourished by daily massages and fresh, vital food, one can finally let go of ‘life back home’. Now there is the head space to ponder what we truly want out of life, to play with those infinite possibilities. Now there is time to honestly ask if we deserve to be happy and to listen to our answer.
We all have a right to live a happy life, one we could describe as ‘Wow’, don’t we?
Secondly, do we live in dangerous times?
Yes, listen to or watch the news and this will be confirmed 24/7. But is that true? Whilst travelling through Naples in 2000, I found an internet cafe and sat down to check my emails. Every email had the same urgent message. “The riots” family and friends screamed “stay clear of the riots in Naples!” Puzzled, I looked out the window at the peaceful street scene. Yes, there was shouting but that was the shouting of people, packed into every cafe boasting a TV set, watching the Sydney Olympic Games. Yep! It looked pretty bad from back home but here at the heart of the reported riots, all was peaceful.
One way to diminish danger is to walk confidently.
Whilst it is true the backpack gives you away as a tourist or traveller, this does not mean you will automatically be seen as an easy target. Walking confidently is an art and like any art, it must be practised. A woman who walks confidently with shoulders back, head upright and an easy smile conveys an impression of strength and an alertness to her surroundings. Travelling solo means your attention is focused on your surroundings, not on talking to your companion.
Travelling solo is not for everyone but as an exercise in getting to know yourself all over again or perhaps uncovering you don't really know yourself anymore, I recommend it.
Leadership Trainer-Self-empowerment Enthusiast
Author: How To Make The Rest Of Your Life The Best Of Your Life: Tough Love For Smart Single Women Over 60
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