Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Superwoman traveller Rhi: Solo travel is adventure (with a book)

As I promised recently, it's time to launch my Superwoman Traveller series. The first Superwoman Traveller I've interviewed is Rhi, who I met relatively recently when she was teaching here in Perth (after her stint in Japan). She's now moved on to New Zealand. Oh, I should mention she's originally from Wales! Yes, like many of the superwoman travellers I know, she's moved around a lot. Rhi's excellent advice involves books, so I love her. Read on!


What was the first trip you made on your own? Were you worried? How did it go?

When I was 23 I decided that I'd had enough of drifting along and not really knowing what I wanted to with my life, so I decided to go and teach English somewhere on the other side of the planet ... the further the better. I completed a tremendously hectic 4 week CELTA course and was offered a job in Japan after a two-day interview in London. I wasn't due to start my job until 6 months after the interview, so I had plenty of time to work up a boat load of nerves and excitement. I didn't even know which part of Japan I was going to until two months before my departure!!! During that six months, I consumed literature about Japanese culture, read books by Japanese authors and attempted to learn how to read Japanese script. These days I'm blasé about airports, but back then I worked out how to get from my international flight to my domestic flight online, just in case the airport signs weren't in English! I'll never forget my first night in Japan: the vending machines selling a plethora of unidentifiable objects; the waiters scaring me to death as they screamed welcome; the scolding hot techie toilet seat; the Japanese businessman propositioning me in the lift at the hotel!!! Moving to Japan was certainly somewhat daunting, but also a dazzling, thrilling and profoundly life changing experience.

What are the advantages of travelling solo, for you?

When I embarked on my teaching English world tour it didn't even cross my mind to take someone with me. Thinking about it now, if I'd felt that a companion was necessary, I might still be looking for one now. The advantage is the adventure.




Do you have any tips for women who are nervous about travelling on their own?

Always have a mobile phone and a book. Travelling solo means you might find yourself unwittingly in dark parts of town late at night. At times like these I call someone or pretend to call someone in the hope that it will detract undesirables. Travelling solo also means that you'll have to eat alone. With my trusty book, I feel perfectly comfortable eating out or going to pubs without any companions. In fact, my reading material has instigated conversations and occasionally led to long lasting friendships.


Thanks Rhi for the great tips and information on travelling solo as a woman. Add your questions below and if you're a superwoman traveller do let me know - I'd like to interview you too!

8 comments:

  1. Thanks for including me Amanda. I love the new look BTW!

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  2. This blog is an amazing resource for hopeful travelers, especially women. I enjoy reading it immensely, and it adds a bit more substance to my dreams of traveling solo and teaching ESL after I finish my degree. Thank you so much for posting!! I can't wait to read the rest of the superwoman traveler series.

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  3. Ellie, thanks for the lovely comment and I'm really glad it might help you out. Your dream of travelling solo and teaching ESL can definitely be real - quite a few of the superwoman travellers I have lined up have done exactly that, so you can do it too!!

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  4. I love the comment that solo women travellers should take a mobile phone! When I first went solo travelling at 19 (in 1995) mobiles were only in my future. How did I manage!!?? Hard to believe now that I also had no internet to check things, paper tickets to protect and traveller's cheques. Oh, those were the days! :)

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  5. So true Jen, how did we manage?!?! But no nostalgia for the old times will make me give up online bookings and never having to speak to a travel agent ever again (no offence to any travel agents reading this, but I just prefer to do it all myself!).

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  6. hey I just stumbled on your site as I was looking for some travel literature and I found your "Top 5" post. I just got back from travelling for a year on my own, if you're interested, I've written about it all in my blog http://megandortmans.blogspot.com/ So many people try to discourage you from going places on your own, but it is certainly the most liberating experience I've ever had.

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  7. Glad you found us, Meg. I've just had a look at your blog and it sounds like you've had a real adventure. Would love to interview for the series so I'll leave you a message on your blog too!

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