Saturday, December 04, 2010

Superwoman traveller Jen: Solo travel is luxurious

Meet Jen, my next Superwoman Traveller. She's a British lass who I met when we taught together in Slovakia, and I admired her ability to travel solo. Since then, of course, she's done even more solo travel, and has some great advice for women out there who are a bit nervous about travelling on their own.


What was the first trip you made on your own? Were you worried?

My first trip was to Italy in 2004, I was 25 years old. None of my friends had the time or money so I went it alone! I can't remember what my concerns were, but knowing me, my main concern was probably about my safety as a single woman traveller. As it happens, nothing dangerous came to pass. Instead I had an absolutely amazing time; an unforgettable feast of vibrant people and places.

What are the advantages of travelling solo, for you?

Travelling solo is so luxurious! There are no comprises. Travelling alone is simply about indulging yourself, your passions, hobbies and whims. Doing exactly what you want, when you want. It is heavenly just to be completely your own person.

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

I am always a little nervous about travelling alone, and I take comfort in planning my main destinations and organising my accommodation before I leave. Some people may say that this can limit your spontaneity, but I prefer to know where I am heading rather than wondering around trying to find a place to rest my weary feet!

Also, get to know who you are, what you like and what you want to get out of your travels. For example, I love my own company but know that after a few days I need to escape my own head and talk to other people. So my strategy nowadays is to go out of my comfort zone (psychologically and physically!) and spend a couple nights in a hostel where I can meet other people, followed by a night or two in a comfortable (okay, very nice!) hotel where I can indulge myself in luxury and solitude. Then back to a hostel! It works for me, and you will find what suits for you :-)

I am also a fan of group trips. People of all ages and interests come together nowadays to do trekking, climbing, sailing, art trips (to name but a few!). Definitely an option if you have a particular hobby or don't really want to be by yourself.

Most of all, though, have confidence in yourself. And in the world - don't put yourself at risk, but do put yourself out there. There is an abundance of wondrous places and experiences before you, so go for it!





Thanks, Jen for these great ideas - I especially like the idea of alternating between hostels and more comfy hotels. Clever move. As usual, give me your reactions in the comments below.

5 comments:

  1. I completely agree! I'm 24 and I took my first solo trip this past summer because my friends couldn't commit to a trip and I decided I wasn't going to let it stop me.. I had an amazing time and I'm planning my next trip now! Some of my friends thought I was crazy for going alone but I honestly don't think I can do it any other way now!

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  2. Good on you, Holly! A lot of people would have just given up on the idea of the trip, well done for going alone.

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  3. I am at the stage where even driving for 20 minutes on my own feels luxurious. Jen sounds like she has had a few great solo trips. I have very much enjoyed the small amount of solo travelling I did (in the dim distant past).

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  4. I set off on my own at 19 and didn't even think about the fact I was heading off alone, my head and heart were full of the adventure ahead of me. Now I have a 19 year old daughter and I'd probably be a little anxious if she was heading off alone.

    Since that time I've traveled around the world and had many solo adventures, it's a great way to travel, and thankfully I've never had any horrific travel experiences - lost bags, no money, missed flight connections, but no serious problems, and I've met lots of wonderful people along the way. I agree with Jen, traveling solo is a total luxury - you can indulge your own whims and determine your own course, you're more likely to connect with locals and experience your destination wholeheartedly, it's great.

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  5. Sue, I think you make a good point, those horrific travel experiences that parents are sure will happen to their kids actually rarely do. Haven't had anything horrific happen to me either and not too much even semi-bad - touch wood, no airline has ever even lost my bags!!!

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