Traveling by oneself is often a scary idea for most people. Traveling alone, for women, is often times even scarier. However, don’t let your fear of traveling alone, prevent you from having a life-changing experience.
I have written 11 Pieces of Advice for Women Who Want to Travel Alone, in the hopes that it will inspire both women (and men) to continue to follow their own, Helpless Wanderlust, whether they will be traveling solo, or not.
1.TRUST YOUR INTUITION
I have learned this over, and over, and over again. Your intuition is a powerful tool. I have never regretted listening to my intuition when something didn’t feel right, or if something did. Your intuition will help keep you safe and will also lead you on some crazy, life-changing adventures. All you have to do is listen.
2. KNOW THAT JUST BECAUSE YOU TRAVELED ALONE, DOESN’T MEAN YOU’LL BE TRAVELING ALONE
I think the biggest thing that people don’t realize when deciding whether or not to travel alone, is that you never actually end up traveling alone, unless of course you want to. In fact, you actually end up meeting more people than you would have met if you had traveled with a friend. Every time I have traveled with a friend, I do not meet half as many people as I do when I am by myself. So long as you are open to it, I guarantee you will meet some incredible people, potentially some life long friends, and perhaps even your significant others!
3. REMEMBER THAT GOOD THINGS TAKE TIME
When you first arrive to someplace foreign and new, it is normal and quite frankly, very probable that you will have a “What the hell was I thinking?!” moment. However do not get discouraged. Realize that those feelings are perfectly normal as you are in an entirely new culture with different values and customs than your own. Remember that those feelings will, also, most likely turn into “I don’t want to leave!” feelings by the end of your solo adventure. Who knows, you may even be crazy enough to move to that “What the Hell Was I Thinking” country, like I did. The point is, you never know, just remember that good things take time.
4. AVOID GOING TO CLUBS BY YOURSELF…AND IF YOU CAN, AVOID GOING TO CLUBS, PERIOD.
Don’t get me wrong, go out dancing, have some drinks, then dance some more. In fact, dance the whole night away, but just try to avoid the dodgy night clubs. Night clubs are one of the number 1 places where travelers get into trouble. I have heard so many horror stories, that all have had to do with sketchy night clubs. There are so many cool and authentic places to dance, such as on beaches in Bali, that require no sketchy night clubs, and the creepy men (or women) that accompany them.
5. PACK LIGHT
Every seasoned traveler will tell you to pack light, however, being the women that we are, we won’t. But really… pack light! One, you will totally regret having to lug around so much stuff, and two, you will want to buy those awesome pants from Thailand, or take home that one-of-a kind, numbered, Merci Gustave! Eiffel Tower given to you by a handsome Frenchman! If you pack too much, you won’t have room to pack your newly found treasures in your suitcase home.
6. BRINGING ALONG PEPPER SPRAY NEVER HURTS
While, thankfully, I have never had to use my pepper spray while traveling, there has been countless occasions, such as walking home alone from the metro alone at 2 o’clock in the morning, that I have been so glad that it was in my pocket, just in case.
7. MAKE FRIENDS WITH THE LOCALS
While making friends with other travelers is important, and fun, making friends with the locals is a good idea. They are great connections to have, and people who can give you authentic advice about the best and safest places to go. I have found making friends with older locals, as one of the best. They welcome you into their homes, cook you delicious homemade meals, and treat you like their very own long, lost granddaughter.
8. FEELING LONELY IS NOT A BAD THING.
This is one of the hardest lessons that I have had to learn while traveling solo, as I am a people person, and love being around people. While traveling solo, you are bound to feel lonely at some point while traveling alone. However, feeling alone is sometimes a good thing, because it teaches you about yourself, and also forces you to go out and meet new friends. It also gives you the time to develop confidence to be by yourself.
9. HAVE FAITH IN YOURSELF
If you have ever seen the Wizard of Oz, you may remember Dorothy being given some very valuable advice. “You’ve always had the power my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself.” You are a beautiful, strong, intelligent, and capable young woman. Why on earth would you not be able to make the decision to travel the world on your own?
10. JUST DO IT!
There are so many excuses that prevent people from traveling. There are even more excuses as to why those people couldn’t possibly travel alone. Don’t overthink things and as the old Nike Slogan goes, JUST DO IT!
11. BE READY TO HAVE YOUR LIFE CHANGED
In the original words of Elizabeth Gilbert, be ready to have your life changed. It’s just as simple as that. Or rather, be ready to have your life shaken, turned upside down, and re-invented in the most amazing and unforeseen way. There has not been one trip that I have taken, that has not changed my life and altered my perspective. I can’t guarantee it will be easy, but I can guarantee it will be worth it.
Until next time,
Follow your own Helpless Wanderlust
Bisous from Paris