Welcome back to Women Who Wander. This series focuses encouraging women to seek out solo travel. Empowering and inspiring both seasoned Solo Travellers and those who have yet to venture out on their own. The response to this series has been amazing and I just want to thank you all for embracing it. Hopefully many more Solo Travel stories to come
Next up is Ciara with her experience with Solo Travel.
My name is Ciara, With a real interest in tourism and travel, I started my blog about my travels at home and abroad and discovering new places along the way and also my trips abroad.
You can follow Ciaras travels on here blog www.irishtravelkey.ie
You can also find her on:
Overcoming Initial Fears
My first solo travel experience was Australia and New Zealand together when I was 24 .. The night before I left my cousins to go to Sydney I was terrified, yet within a couple of hours I was swimming in Bondi with people I had just met. The experience was amazing. One of the best parts of this trips was meeting different people along the way. I made some great friends in Sydney the weeks I was there then one day I just booked a trip up the west coast. So there I was with my backpack a month after my first adventure by myself, setting out for a new one. In every stop along the coast I met different people.
By the time I got to Cairns I had been travelling with four other girls who I only met two weeks prior, two of which I am still good friends with to this day. Some of the most surreal moments for myself was the simple random evenings when a couple of us would be sitting around drinking in the hostel. I would think to myself, we are all from so many different countries/cultures and all here together embracing the same experience and this was possibly the best part of traveling by myself for the first time.
Solo Travel Made Me Independent
What I loved and embraced most in comparison to my friends who went as part of a group was the fact I had the ability to plan. Plan within capabilities of myself. I travelled the coast, I wasn’t a fond fan of Brisbane so I moved on without sharing a decision with anyone I ended up speding more time in Cairns where I had the best time. All my friends thought I was crazy and I suppose I was, no one ever went away by themselves. Ever. In the years to come, I went through something hard that essentially required me to have the skills for independence If I wasn’t for travelling solo, I may not have coped. This is the honest truth.
Starting off solo in the Australian west coast was perfect. Through the years I have done a few separate solo trips to Krakow, Stockholm, Edinburgh. However, they were only short weekend trips. For my 30th birthday I purchased flights to Sri Lanka where I travelled last September. It was out of this world and really very safe and comforting for a solo girl. Likewise, I was terrified leaving however the excitement helped me power through and I had such an incredible time.
Caught the Bug
When I was deciding to go somewhere for my trip I had narrowed it down to South Africa, India or Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka won for two reasons, it intrigued me most and I knew least about it. I also felt it would be safest for a solo female traveller. The night before I was extremely nervous, and while I knew I would be ok, it was a solo trip to a culture completely different to any where I travelled solo to before. I kept thinking what if someone robs me(literally) or I get lost. Thankfull, neither happened. Yes I got attention from men however it was all totally harmless. I never once felt unsafe.
Sri Lanka was never intended to be a drinking holiday like Australia yet I still never spent a night alone. Hostels were friendly and I spent every night with people and brought me back to why I love solo travel, the excitement and courage it gives me.
It’s Not All Unicorns and Rainbows
When it comes to horror stories of solo travel I’ve had a few ones that I look back on and laugh about. One, however, will always stick with me the most. One Friday evening I was catching a flight from Dublin to London, I was running tight on time and jumped in a taxi. Once arriving at the airport, I noticed my wallet was stolen. No money , no cards. Needless to say, the taxi driver didn’t believe me and wouldn’t let me leave. I offered to pay him by card number (using one of my friends details). He didn’t go for it. I offered to meet him the next day. He didn’t go for it. I left my bags in the car and I ran into the terminal for help.
The information desk at the Airport called Airport Police for me, at the point the taxi driver called the Gardai (normal police). Thankfully the police believed me – I was in floods of tears at this point and my plane was almost arriving in London at this stage.
Whats next for travelling by myself? Well I am off to Budapest in two weeks so another trip to keep me going.
Finally, If you are interested in writing for Women Who Wander, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Can’t wait to share your stories