It’s that time again. Time for another inspiring solo female travel story. For those who don’t know, Women Who Wander is a travel series I have on my blog where other bloggers can share their stories of Solo Female Travel. It’s something I personally have not done enough of but reading all these incredible stories inspires me to no end! this week we have Daniela sharing her unapologetic experience as a solo female traveller.
Daniela loves traveling and exploring new places. She goes on a trip every month, some closer, some further. She recently started a travel blog, to share what she saw and learned on the way and to inspire more people to travel. You can follow her adventures on her blog The Lost Romanian
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I have always dreamed of traveling and I was lucky enough to be able to do it from a quite young age. It was not in my plans to become a solo female traveller. In the beginning, it was either I was traveling by myself or I was staying at home. I chose to travel. Then I started enjoying it. Now I barely find time for solo travel, as friends ask to join me even before I decide where I’m going next.
Why would you go there?
My first solo travel outside Europe was in Kenya. I was so excited I could finally afford to go on a safari trip in Africa. I asked all my friends and acquaintances to join me, the instant response was No. “Why do you want to go there? You must be crazy, you will get raped/kidnapped/killed etc.”
Indeed, travel should come with some warnings. For me, it was a very intense experience, as it shook up all the cells in my brain and re-puzzled them to give me new perspective and meaning. Being alone and far from everything for some time made me connect better with myself. It’s a relationship that is too often disregarded. I would go to a destination not because it’s a well-known tourist destination, quite the contrary. I would go there for the experience, for the thrill of the unexpected, for how it changes me. I am trying to capture what I’m seeing and living into valuable lessons for my personal development.
Could you not find a man to travel with you?
One morning, I was taking my breakfast at a soda (family-run small restaurant) in Liberia, Costa Rica. The owner was visibly puzzled, and couldn’t hold it in and came to ask me: “How come you are alone?” I explained how I traveled by myself to many beautiful places and I like it. He insisted “But why alone? You are pretty…”
I noticed that for some cultures is particularly hard to understand a woman traveling by herself is actually… enjoying it! In Romania, I got the same. “You couldn’t find a man to travel with you?” or “She must feel so lonely”.
The thing is, you can feel lonely while traveling with others. Being alone and feeling lonely are not the same thing. I’ve heard many stories of friends traveling with people they don’t really like, simply because they don’t want to travel alone. Or couples breaking up before or during a holiday, while both feeling miserable.
For me, travel is important and each trip is dear to me. I would not choose to spend the time with people I don’t really like, it’s too risky. Usually, the ones I do travel with, they are solo travelers as well. It’s kind of a guarantee they are more relaxed and less clingy.
You are so brave!
A few months after I moved to London, I had to go to the dentist. I filled in a form, but couldn’t add anyone for emergency contact (in the UK). When I explained the lady, I was expecting another pity look, but instead, she looked surprised “Did you move here all by yourself? Wow, that’s so brave!”
Sometimes I get this reaction. It makes me feel good, though I don’t see myself as brave. Solo travel seems to me just another type of travel, same as traveling with friends or family. But it’s not perceived so, if it’s a woman. She is brave for not being afraid or for her ability to plan and enjoy a trip to a foreign place. The bravest thing about solo travel is stepping out of the comfort zone. You might not like what you find there, in your sight and in your mind, and you have to handle it by yourself. But at the end, it is very rewarding.
The bigger picture
Solo traveling can give you more confidence, through self-awareness. It teaches you about tolerance and understanding others. You witness kindness without labels. You learn to trust yourself and the unknown. Ultimately, this benefits not only you but also others, through relationships and interactions. Having relationships just for the sake of not being alone is not quite healthy, and yet very common.
More common than a solo female traveller. I often wonder why being or doing something alone is viewed in such a bad light. And I’m thinking maybe because there are not so many of us (yet). But hopefully, in the future, it will become less weird and less brave, just common.
Finally, If you are a solo female traveller, or just have an interest or opinion about it and would like to write for Women Who Wander, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Can’t wait to share your stories
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