The thought of traveling alone, especially as a woman was something I never imagined I would do. Growing up with a police officer for a father, I was told that danger was out there and have a healthy dose of paranoia. For years, it was never an issue, I had a partner to explore the world with, then one day I didn’t. It came to a choice, travel alone or not at all. I obviously choose the later, I would rather travel the world alone, then to know I would never again wander down centuries old cobblestone streets, to discover an old café. To never again practice my horrible French in France, or to hear the sights and sounds that have inspired my favorite authors. For me that wasn’t an option, and if your reading this then it’s not an option for you either.
Traveling alone can be an eye opening and extremely empowering experience. I encourage everyone at one point in your life to take a solo trip, especially as a women. Now your first solo trip doesn’t have to be a trip across the world, start small have a staycation at home. Start with some of the following solo activities to gain confidence before you take the plunge into solo travel, believe me you won’t regret it.
If you have never had a meal alone in a sit-down restaurant, now is the time to go. Learning to feel comfortable eating alone, somewhere familiar will help prepare you to feel comfortable when you’re abroad or even in a new city. I remember my first dinner alone, I kept thinking “does everyone know I’m alone, are they judging me”, then at one point I stopped noticing. Take a book, go to your favorite restaurant, and overcome your fears. Then the next time you are dining alone, it will be on a terrace overlooking the Eiffel tower.
When travelling alone, safety always comes first especially being a women, however don’t let that limit your experiences. Some of my best memories from my trips are you guessed it the people I have met, the stories I have heard and shared. They leave a mark on the soul and put a smile on your face. When your abroad or even in a new town, the locals tend to know the best food and fun places to visit. If you never to talk to them you may get lucky and stumble across them but asking tends to get results faster. Before my first solo trip, I started striking up conversations with people at restaurants, in line, on the elevators, you name it I was going to make conversation. I am naturally bubbly and talkative person but being able to find common ground helped me get over my initial fear. When travelling abroad, I have had to ask for directions, asked for restaurant suggestions, the must-see places. Without the guidance of the locals I would have missed some great experiences. Now go strike a conversation with that person in the grocery line, you might be surprised what you learn.
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This is probably the easiest thing to do alone, its dark and no will see you. To make it easier hit an early morning showing, grab some popcorn, and enjoy the movie. I promise no one will even notice your there alone. At the end, you saw a great movie and put one more thing in your “solo prepping” arsenal.
Now that you have done some things alone, you are one step closer to your first solo trip. There is a whole word out there, don’t let fear prohibit you from seeing it.
Up Next: The Ultimate Guide to Solo Travel