Welcome back to Women Who Wander. This series focuses of Solo Female Travel. The aim of this series is to enable Solo Travellers to tell their stories. Also to provide encouragement for those who have yet to venture out on their own. While I am not a seasoned solo traveller myself, I hope these stories will not only inspire you, but also give myself some inspiration!

Here’s Danielle’s story about how you don’t have to be single to be a solo traveller

Meet Danielle

Women Who Wander

Danielle Bricker is the girl you see smelling the pages of Pride & Prejudice in the corner of a used bookstore. She is an avid reader, occasional hiker, and an obsessively neat eater. After years of juggling various jobs in publishing, nonprofit management, hospitality, and freelance writing, she is undertaking a year-long round-the-world trip to cover Europe, Central and Southeast Asia, and South and Central America. She likes this current gig – where she travels the world and writes about it – the best.

Read more about Danielle’s travel adventures at www.world-smith.com

You can also find Danielle on:

Facebook; Twitter; Instagram; Pinterest

The Life of a Solo (Not Single) Traveller

Sometimes it seems like the crash and burn of a relationship is a prerequisite for solo female travel. Just take a look at the stories of traveling women that take off in pop culture: Eat Pray Love, Wild. In the new Netflix revival of Gilmore Girls, when Lorelai declares she’s going to “do Wild,” Luke immediately begins freaking out about how she’s going to end their relationship. In our collective mindframe, for women to travel alone, they have to be alone.

I’m here with a radical suggestion: No. We don’t have to be single to travel solo.
If I’m being completely honest, the first bud of my solo RTW trip plans did appear during a horrific break-up. But not six months into the three years it took to make my travel pipe dream a reality, I began the healthiest relationship of my life.

Making it Work

As the time for me to leave for my year-long trip steadily approached, there was a lot of dancing around the issue of what would happen to ‘us.’ I briefly entertained the notion of getting my boyfriend to come with me, but deep down I knew I had always pictured this being something I undertook on my own. So our options were either to break up or attempt a long-distance relationship. We were not eager to embrace either of those choices and put off the conversation for months.

Ultimately, we determined that it was silly to make assumptions about what my travels would do to our relationship and end things prematurely. It may be a morbid comparison, but if you somehow knew you’d be run over by a bus in two weeks, would you kill yourself right away to get it over with? Or would you enjoy the rest of your life? We decided not to put any undue pressure on ourselves. We’d give long-distance a shot and if it didn’t work out, we could separate without any hard feelings, knowing it was simply our circumstances driving the split.

I’m now over six months into my year of travel, and happy to report that leaving home for so long has actually been good for our relationship. By no means would I suggest that everyone should maintain long-distance relationships while they travel. But there’s no need to immediately write off the possibility.

The Benefits Solo Travel can have on your Relationship

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Jo and I at Annapurna Base Camp, when he visited me in November

Traveling has made us better at communicating. When all you can do together is talk, whether via text or Skype or Facebook or email, you become very good at talking. Having the distance as a buffer makes it easier to speak openly. We are in touch if not every day, at least several times a week. Our conversations run from quick check-ins to long, serious discussions.

Traveling has made us both more independent. Like many couples, we were often guilty of the ‘I don’t know, what do you want?’ game, whether we were deciding what to do for the weekend or what to eat for dinner. We rarely spent a day apart and were verging on codependency. Spending all of our days apart has revitalized our ability to be alone. I am more decisive and less concerned about being seen out by myself.

Moreover, traveling solo has given me a stronger sense of self. As a very introverted person, at home I often felt my boyfriend had a richer life than I did. I put most of my energy into working multiple jobs saving for my trip, and nearly all of my friends were also his. As a result, I sometimes felt like my identity was simply ‘Jo’s girlfriend.’ Finally being out in the world as a traveler and a writer, my identity is wholly my own.

The Benefits Solo Travel Can Have on Yourself

Women Who Wander
Me weaving in Luang Prabang

About a month ago, I was sitting at a bar in Chiang Khong, stopped over for the night before getting on the slow boat to Laos. For the first time in my life, I was chatting easily with the bartender and other patrons, also on their way to Luang Prabang. We could talk about where we were from and the experiences we’d had. And I realized how rich my own story is after months of travel.

I could say I’m a writer without any reservation. I could talk about seeing an avalanche in the Himalayas or hiking the active Nea Kamini volcano in Greece. I could listen to their own stories. I felt engaged. I felt interesting. I felt whole. And I also knew that feeling won’t end on the road – having taken this time to myself and developed my independent experiences, I can return to my home and my relationship and have more to offer.

Find more Women Who Wander entries here

Finally, If you are interested in writing for Women Who Wander, you can contact me at youngandundecidedblog@gmail.com. Can’t wait to share your stories

Women who Wander

Linking up with FlyAwayFriday FarawayFiles and WanderfulWednesday

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53 thoughts on “Women Who Wander: Solo Not Single”

  1. Hi! Thank you for posting this! I am a solo female traveler and I am single but I can still relate to this post! It’s wonderful to hear that people can still be independent and do what’s right for them but have a strong bond! Gives me hope to keep doing what I do 🙂

  2. This is a great perspective and very inspiring! As a happily married woman, I’m hoping to take my first solo trip this summer. I won’t go very far or for very long, due to my chronic illnesses, but I think it’s important for us all to try traveling by ourselves. Great post! #FlyAwayFriday

  3. This is so inspiring. I haven’t done any solo traveling but I would love to at some point in my life. I’m happily married with two kids and I think a solo trip would be an awesome way to restore my sense of self. #FlyAwayFriday

  4. So wonderful to read Danielle’s story! It shows how strong people can be independently while still being in a relationship. It’s great to show the world that we can travel regardless of our relationship status. #FlyAwayFriday

    P.S. Really love the series, Chiera!

  5. I really enjoyed reading this! I’ve been travelling with James for over two years now and must admit that I sometimes feel worried about doing things alone. I travelled solo before we got together but love having someone to share my memories with. However, I do think that having time apart and “retaining your own identity” is very important in any relationship! Great post, thank you for sharing!

    1. You just have to do what’s right for you really. I am personally torn between going off solo, and having someone there to share the experience. Both I think are great for learning more about yourself x

  6. You two are inspiring! I didn’t even apply for a semester abroad in college because I didn’t want to leave my boyfriend (he’s now my wonderful husband), but that was over 10 years ago. Now that we are together, we travel together and I’m not a big fan of solo travel, but I’m not scared of it either. I love that you give people hope for long distance. You sounds so happy too!

    1. I totally agree. Sometimes the situation.relationship needs focus. Sometime you can focus on travel. It depends on the person/time really. And now you’re happily married so it all worked out 🙂

  7. This is awesome, I love that she is breaking the stereotype of the single girl out of a brake up solo traveler. Its inspiring to read about someone who can both live their travel dream and maintain a relationship, you don’t have to choose, you can have both! Thanks for sharing
    #flyawayfriday

  8. Great take on what I think would seem like too difficult a situation for a lot of people but that actually has a real positive side. I’ve yet to take off on my own but I’m really starting to think about t seriously!

  9. As a guy in a relationship I still empathize with this a lot. It can be challenging! If I’m away for a log time and my partner needs to work we try to find at least some time where she can fly out and meet me. While it’s hard, i think you’re right that it builds healthy relationships and self esteem if you do it right.

  10. I did a little bit of solo traveling in Scotland for about six days back in late December. I simply could not find friends to go with me and take advantage of the cheap flight I found from Spain to Glasgow. So I was like “I’m gonna go anyway,” and I’m so glad that I did. You can do things at your own pace and you meet people along the way.

  11. I think it’s awesome to travel solo even if you’re in a relationship. I mean there are certain destination I’d rather see and certain things I’d rather do in company but overall I think it enriches a relationship if you spend time apart from each other every now and then. Plus, what would you have to talk about if you’d be together all the time? I find that so boring 😀

  12. This is such an inspiring post and I love the overarching message: solo travel shouldn’t be synonymous with single traveler. No matter your relationship status I think it’s a great experience for every woman to travel solo, at least once just to give it a try 🙂

  13. While I don’t have a partner, I definitely think you don’t need to travel with them all the time. You need alone time. I would think that if you were traveling for a longer period of time that they could join you for parts of it. This would be especially great if they are still working and can only take off a week or two. I also can’t image that all couples want to see the same places, so it is a good way for everyone to see what they want!

  14. I’m married, and while my husband and I have been together we’ve both taken solo trips, for work and for pleasure. I prefer when we can travel together, but it doesn’t always work out that way and it’s important to feel comfortable traveling on your own.

  15. Great post. Every relationship is different but my husband and I certainly benefit from my trips with friends as well as family time together with our children. I truly believe you need to know who you are before you can really commit to someone else. Wishing Danielle all the very best on her future adventures! Thanks for joining us on #FarawayFiles

  16. I loved reading Danielle’s take on travelling alone. She’s so right when she talks about travelling alone as a way of forging one’s own identity. I can really relate to that and the ability to talk to new people more easily when you’re comfortable with who you are and why you’re there. Thanks so much for sharing this with us on #FarawayFiles

    1. Yes! I find that when I travel alone I actually talk to more people. Just because you have to. If I’m travelling with someone I can get to the end of a trip and realise I didn’t get to know anyone new.

  17. What an unique post! I think you have approached everything with grace and I am happy to hear about your success both travel and personal. I had a similar dream, to work and live in Italy, but then I met the love of my life and two years later we married and traveled throughout Europe and spent 2 months living and working in Italy together. Everyone has different ways of traveling and making relationships work. It has been very refreshing reading and seeing your way of traveling! Best of luck to you and everything in your life!

  18. I too am a solo traveller and I see so many comments where people ask me am I scared to go on my own.

    No I’m not, I prefer solo travel because I can do the things I want and not have a disagreement with someone else because they didn’t want to do what I want to do. That’s one example of why I like to travel on my own

  19. Hello, I am single solo and independent traveller. Still I can also understand that travellers in relationship do need a room for themselves. Thanks for sharing!

  20. Inspiring story. I’ve suggested to friends in relationships to travel alone when their significant other doesn’t want to go. Many people aren’t comfortable with that. Understandable, but I personally plan to still take solo trips regardless of relationship status, I think it’s good for the soul. I appreciate that it can be challenging, nice one for making it work!

  21. Another fabulous Women who Wander series – amazing perspective Danielle offers. Thank you for sharing her story. I am really loving hearing about different perspectives towards travel, self and being female. Cheers from Copenhagen, Erin

  22. This article is great! I’m always up to break the stereotypes and I’m sure they are only for scared people who are not willing to be themselves. We all have the right to find what is best for us and this includes how we want our relationships. Totally agree with you! A solo time is going to improve your souls and mind with new experiences and this will also improve your relationship! Happy travels!

  23. What a great article! People always think if I’m traveling solo, it means I’m single, and usually they think that’s sad – totally not true! Thanks for joining Fly Away Friday, hope to see you again this week!

  24. I love this series!! I’ve traveled solo twice and think it’s definitely quite the experience!! I enjoyed both times and learned some valuable lessons about myself. I can’t wait to read more of these!!

  25. I think it’s so cool that you ladies are out exploring the world “solo style”… It’s a little scary for anyone to jump into another culture.. You learn a lot about yourself when traveling solo. You learn to love yourself, and at least for me it’s sooooo much easier to make friends when your traveling solo. People would just want to come up and talk to me. When your in a group or even with your relationship partner people are much less likely to come up and say hey! Thanks for this post. I love your blog.

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