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When I fell in love with travelling in 2014, I came to the realisation that if I wanted to see the world, I’d have to stop waiting for people to join me and start travelling solo. Fortunately, I’ve always been fiercely independent and very content with my own company. Don’t get me wrong, I love being with friends and family but I’m also happy going it alone.
I’ve never been one to lean on other people, preferring to challenge myself to learn and constantly push my limits. Growing up, my parents encouraged me to believe in myself, telling me that I could do anything if I just put my mind to it. And I guess because of that, I feel that if I try hard enough, nothing is out of reach.
And that belief filters right through to travel. If I want to travel the world, I will, whether people want to join me or not. I’m not going to let other people hold me back from living the life I want to live. So I’m happy to travel solo.
I understand that not everyone feels this way. And not everyone has the self-confidence to travel solo. But if you can give it a shot, you’ll learn a lot about yourself in the process.
Some people really don’t understand my desire to travel solo, and I get asked a lot of questions about whether I enjoy being alone, whether I get anxious, and whether my husband minds me taking off for long stretches.
So, to answer your questions…
Yes, I enjoy travelling alone,
No, my husband doesn’t mind me taking a solo adventure from time to time,
Yes, I occasionally get scared or anxious,
Yes, it can be dangerous if you don’t keep your wits about you,
And yes, I travel despite all these things.
I’m not going to tell you that solo travel is perfect and 100% safe because no one can guarantee safety. But what I will say is this: solo travel may not be danger-free but it is liberating, exciting and freeing.
Travelling alone helps me figure out where I am and what I want. With no one to make small talk with, I can just be in the moment, undisturbed, soaking it all up.
Solo travel makes me feel accomplished and very self-confident. When I navigate the subway/metro/tube, find my way across a big city and communicate with locals in their language, I rely only on myself. I realise what I’m capable of if I just try.
Being alone for any length of time means I also value the company of my friends and family much more when I return home.
And what’s more, I only have myself to please. I can do whatever I like, eat wherever I want and travel at my own pace.
Realistically, travelling alone, especially as a female, has its risks. And it’s important to be vigilant and keep your wits about you. There have been times when I’ve been anxious about travelling alone, but I will not let my fears get in the way of living a life I love. I don’t want to have any regrets.
My husband and I are capable of spending a few days apart because we love and trust each other. It’s true that absence makes the heart grow fonder. He is happy to let me be independent and would never hold me back from pursuing my dreams, just as I’m happy for him to pursue his dreams and travel without me. Although others disagree, I feel solo travel makes our marriage stronger because we appreciate that, although married, we are still two individual, unique people.
I would tell everyone to travel solo at least once even, if only for a couple of days. You might decide it’s not for you, but at least you can say you have tried it. Who knows, you might love it and wonder why you hadn’t done it sooner.
For inspiration, read these awesome stories of females who travel solo without their partner. And check out this post for some of the best destinations for solo female travel recommended by solo female travellers themselves.