Thursday, December 23, 2010

Superwoman traveller Aki: Solo travel is finding a new personality

Aki at Remarkable Rocks in South Australia

This is Aki, my next Superwoman Traveller. Aki's from Japan and I met her when she showed up in my class here in Perth to learn English. I should say that her English was already very good so I'm not sure I taught her very much! Aki always impressed me because she was happy to travel around on her own, and in my experience that's not so common for Japanese girls. Aki was more than happy to be interviewed for this series and has some more good advice for solo women travellers.

What was the first trip you made on your own?
My first solo travel was to Perth, Australia in 1999. At that time, I enrolled in a language school to study English and I already had my homestay accommodation arranged, so my only concerns were if I’d be able to take the right connecting flight from Sydney. That was because I really worried about my English skills and I felt they might cause something fatal! Remembering that time, even taking a shuttle bus from the international terminal to the domestic one was a big adventure for me.

Tell me some of the places you have visited on your own.
I’ve visited Australia five times so far and most of the times I travelled on my own. Sometimes I jumped on a tour (like a camping tour) to meet new people. I travelled from Perth to Adelaide by train (it took 3 days and 2 nights), then from Adelaide to Melbourne by bus. I also visited New Zealand once by myself. I really like Queenstown where I felt a peaceful atmosphere surrounded by mountains.

What are the advantages of travelling solo, for you?
When I travel, I always want to be a traveller rather than a tourist. Therefore, one of the advantages of travelling solo is that I'm able to make my own itinerary and it’s all up to me how to arrange it. (Sometimes I don’t even need an itinerary.)

Secondly, in my experience, I had far more chance to talk to people when I traveled by myself. Mostly, they were also traveling solo or with a small group. We had a chat and shared some information, and one day in Adelaide, some of my room mates at a hostel and I went to see a Christmas event in the city - we shared not only information but also some special times together.

Do you have some advice for women who are nervous about traveling on their own?
I always book accommodations at least for a few days in advance. I recommend that you stay at a hostel where you could meet people from a wide variety of countries. Dorm style would be much better though there’s less privacy than a hotel.

I like being very flexible when I travel, but “just in case” is also an important phrase for me. I try to reduce my concerns as much as possible before I go.

It may sound like I contradict myself, I also believe that my adventure (traveling solo) would become more memorable when I go through any uncomfortable situations. Most of the time, people around you would definitely help you (from my experience), so no worries! Just give it a try to take one step forward.
You might find your new personality while you're traveling solo, like I always do.


Aki in Esperance, Western Australia (the place I claim has the most beautiful beaches in the whole world!)

Thanks Aki! Great advice, and I look forward to catching up with you if you come to visit Australia for the sixth time!

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