TRAVELLING SOLO? You Can Do It!
“You should never travel alone as a female.”
– Someone who has never travelled solo
I want to turn this into an unpopular opinion. So, I’m here to express one thing.
Actually, I’m going to express lots of things. I have the tendency to ramble.
I am a 21-year-old female from Australia. I have travelled to 16 different countries. I have had the most fulfilling and awakening experiences of my life during my time spent abroad. Sure, it can definitely be overwhelming, and pulling your hair out stressful. You might even cry on a plane, and not as a result of watching Titanic. There will be difficult moments; times of uncertainty and sadness. Everything is unfamiliar. You don’t know anyone. You miss your family and friends. And suddenly, all you can hear are negative stories about your chosen travel destinations.
You don’t want to be alone. You don’t want to be target for danger.
Fellow women. I’m going to let you in on some secrets.
All of the fears.
The voices in your head.
The real people that feel the need to incessantly express the dangers of solo travel.
The fears can be overcome.
The voices aren’t true.
The people have no clue.
And here’s why.
YOU ARE NEVER ALONE
“I would hate to travel solo. You’re always alone.”
– Someone who has never travelled solo.
This has to be the biggest misconception about solo travel. The seclusion, the loneliness. This way of thinking is just so far from the truth, that it’s actually physically painful for me. I honestly take it personally, because I have met some of the most beautiful, magical people from all around the world. Friends that have changed my life.
All because I travelled solo.
You are travelling alone, but you are never really alone.
When you travel solo, you have nobody to rely on. Nobody to hide with in the hostel dorm. Nobody to hike with. Nobody to eat breakfast with. Suddenly you’re thrown into a strange new world, complete with strangers wearing backpacks. So, what do you do?
Do you stay by yourself in private room and avoid all human interaction?
(I did that once and had a stage five meltdown.)
Or, do you fester the courage to make random conversation with the attractive stranger sitting across from you at breakfast.
Trust me, you do the latter.
Solo travellers have one very obvious thing in common. They are travelling solo. Therefore, everybody wants to meet new people. Everybody wants to share a moment with someone. Hostels are packed to capacity with lively, open minded people. They are always down for adventure. They are always there for fellow travellers.
With that in mind, my biggest recommendation is to SAY YES TO EVERYTHING.
Every time an opportunity would present itself to interact with new people, I would say yes immediately. Engage in conversations with complete strangers at the breakfast table, seek out cheap walking tours, always show your face at hostel activities or party nights, and definitely be willing to try new things. On top of everything else, remember to always be yourself. People that are well travelled understand and appreciate diversity. Be as uniquely weird, awkward and beautiful as you can be. Trust me, it will be okay.
Seriously, everyone is travelling. So, if you accidentally let it slip about your 50 cats back home, you can always leave the next day.
Travel hacks with Gina. You’re welcome.
TRAVELLING IS SAFE
Within Reason…Let’s Not Be Crazy!
“Don’t travel alone. It’s very unsafe.”
– Someone who has never travelled solo.
I have travelled to 16 different countries, and I have never felt real fear for my wellbeing. I have had the grand total of zero dangerous experiences.
I know, what? Liam Neeson wasn’t required once.
But, don’t misinterpret me. The level of safety is definitely specific to the region you have travelled. But, the act of travelling itself isn’t dangerous. Meeting new people isn’t dangerous. Staying in hostels isn’t dangerous. The truth is, there will always be some element of danger no matter where you travel. It is how you deal with those circumstances that will define your experience.
– If it is dangerous to walk at night, maybe don’t walk the streets at night?
– If you shouldn’t go to a region of the city without a guide, maybe don’t go to that region without a guide?
– If you shouldn’t hold valuables out in public, maybe you should zip them up real tight in a backpack?
And sure, I acknowledge that sometimes things don’t always go to plan. Something could go wrong, and suddenly everything is different. But as long as you do everything in your power to stay safe, there is nothing left to do except enjoy the moment. Be smart, act confident even when you’re completely confused, always pay attention to cultural differences, be aware and alert of your surroundings, and never do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable.
Also, common sense is a great thing. Use it and trust it.
But more than anything, never be so afraid that it takes away from your experience. Everything could go perfectly, so maybe just enjoy your time?
You’re a boss woman taking on the world. Soak in all the culture, all the love, all the diversity you can. Never be afraid to seek the unknown, to start that conversation with a stranger, or to explore the local eateries. Great stories are made through immersing yourself in the experience. So, do not be afraid to wholeheartedly connect to a place. The fear should never overpower the excitement of travel. Seek adventure, be curious, have deep conversations, and connect with humanity.
It’s time to break down the barrier surrounding solo female travel.
And all the chatter, all the negative talk. Just forget about it.
Maybe people are just scared of the immensity.
Maybe they are subconsciously fear mongering.
Or maybe you are pursuing a dream they always had, but never chased.
So, I’m going to share what only a few special people said to me.
What I wish was said to every female with the desire to search for more.
You will make friends.
You will be safe.
This will change your life.
Gina McClifty is a Brisbane based photographer and writer, with absolutely no qualifications in either of these fields, but she is killing it! With her sense of humour, interesting stories about her time spent abroad, and an insatiable desire for adventure, there is unbelievable value for anyone wanting to start their travels.
Her website Lekker Co. Lab is a community that aims to reflect how powerful new experiences can be if you really let yourself be immersed. Check it out!