I was a Globetrotting Stiletto long before the brand was registered and trademarked. The first time I set out on a solo expedition was during my junior year at Howard. I ditched Chocolate City for Central London and I’ve been traveling ever since. Some may argue that studying abroad doesn’t count as solo travel, but in my book it does. I was 19 and 4,000 miles away from my friends and family, shortly following the 9/11 Terror Attacks. That’s solo enough. Fast forward a few years and I’m living in Costa Rica, then I did a stint in Belize, all by myself. The more I saw, the more I understood, so I had to keep seeing. I’m sharing this in hopes that it will inspire you to travel solo one day too. If not, forward it along to your girls, it should give them the guts to touch the road alone. It’s terrifying until it’s not. Then you’re liberated and lifted. The key is to make a promise to yourself, no matter what, to go through with it. You got this!
All You Gotta Do Is Say Yes
Women traveling in groups tend to overthink things. There’s always that person who wants to play is safe, but see, one of the benefits of this solo voyage we’re semi-forcing on you is that for once, you won’t have to compromise. All you gotta do is say yes. Say yes to riding ATVs through the Atacama desert. Yes to that Moroccan rug that will breathe new life into your living room. Yes to long hikes and early morning museum crawls. Yes to mission work in local communities. Yes to macaroons and sundae’s every night, minus the judgement. Yes to sleeping-in way past noon. Be spontaneous, take calculated risk and practice saying yes, starting now.
Making Friends with Strangers is All Good
If you’re setting out on an Eat Pray Love, become one with yourself solitary confinement kinda’ expedition, you can skip over this part. If not, keep reading. Having the security of a friend to your left and right to chat with while you’re traveling is sweet, but when you set out alone, you’re pretty much forced to chop it up with strangers on a daily basis, which is actually a good thing. Even if you’re in a foreign land and don’t speak the native language, still give communicating with locals and fellow tourists a try. You’ll be surprised at the depth of those unexpected convos. You may open up in ways that you normally don’t and by the end of the night, walk away with a new friend.
Rely on You and Only You
Now’s the time to overcome that fear of being alone. When you set out solo, you will be forced to rely on you and only you. If you get lost and need help finding your way back to your hotel, that’s on you. If a street vendor is trying to hustle you and you can feel in your gut that you’re being ripped off, it’s on you to speak up. We trust and know that you will figure it ALL out. It’s ok, life happens, you will get through it. Being receptive to different cultures, adapting to change and confronting the unknown are just a few of the many benefits that comes with solo travel, embrace the feeling of independency, it will stay with you forever.