Have you ever traveled alone? Here, 12 awesome women share their photos (including a wild Norway hike and dog-friendly road trip)…
“My first solo trip was to Iceland and I loved it! Super friendly and one of the most empowering places to be a woman (yay for feminists!). I’d also highly recommend Edinburgh, Scotland, which locals joke is like a village due to its kindness and smaller size. I’m grateful for the courage I’ve had to travel alone; it has shaped me into the woman I am today. My tip: Buy souvenirs for yourself; you’ll enjoy having a tangible piece of your trip to take back home.” — Claire
“As the child of Greek immigrants in Queens, I grew up in a conservative community. There was immense societal pressure to reach milestones on a certain timeline. Doing anything solo as a woman is completely unheard of, especially travel! I spent my early 20s feeling very anxious and behind in life. While I commuted on a crowded subway to my corporate midtown job, I would fantasize about being far away, free to curate my own path. Finally, at age 25, I booked a one-way flight to Melbourne. I’ve now lived and worked in four continents. While swimming in oceans, climbing mountains and chasing sunsets, I peeled back all the layers until I found my most authentic self. I learned to block the outside noise from friends and family. I hold onto the values and traditions of the Greek culture that mean so much to me, and let go of the limiting beliefs that don’t serve me. The world can seem like a scary place and the unknown is intimidating, but the more I’ve seen and done, the safer I feel. When I spend time alone, I hear my soul very clearly and have a deep trust that I know who I am and who I want to be.” — Gina
“After having a second child, I knew I needed a weekend by myself. A chance to get up whenever I wanted, pee in peace, and relax or work at my leisure. I found the sweetest Airbnb (with a fireplace!) an hour from where we live and booked two nights. Since I had done no research prior to the trip, I loved ‘discovering’ a little Amish store nearby and buying farm fresh eggs, bacon, and a strawberry rhubarb pie that tasted of springtime. My #1 advice is to just do it! There will always be reasons why you can’t go, but throw those niggling thoughts out the window. I promise you won’t regret it.” — Miranda
“I’m from San Juan, Puerto Rico, and I decided to celebrate my birthday in Italy. It was the amazing. My advice is to educate yourself on the place, their traditions, and things that might be offensive. Cute side story: I met my boyfriend on this trip; we actually live 10 minutes from each other in Puerto Rico, but we met on the other side of the world!” — Yolihet
“Last fall, I was suffering from burnout and crying at work all the time, so I spent 10 days driving with my dog from Georgia to Maine. It was the longest time I’ve spent in a vehicle, but was such a blast. Driving past NYC felt like crossing an invisible barrier, a very Samwise Gamgee farthest-from-home kind of feeling. This trip showed me that there is so much more out there for me than my little town.” — Katie
“I’m a painter, so I take ‘sketchcations.’ It’s nice to have a self-assigned mission for a trip: sketching specific locations and eating my way through local pastries. This photo is from a road trip of the California coast.” — Katie
“I take a solo motorcycle trip once a year. Most recently, I rode 5,000 miles over two weeks from Atlanta across south Texas, up through the desert to Utah and Colorado, then back home through north Texas. I do a mix of camping and hotels and fit in as many national parks as possible! Here are my tips: a) It’s fine to be anxious about traveling alone, you can still do it. Start with a small trip close to home and work your way up to grand solo adventure. b) Figure out where the locals eat and sit at the bar. I met the nicest couple at a lunch spot in Marfa, who drew a map of all the spots I should hit up while in town. c) Make a rough plan for your trip, but always be open to deviating when something exciting crosses your path.” — Rachel
“At the beginning of my medical training (about seven years ago, completed this June!), I started taking solo trips. Working 80 hours a week as a resident and fellow, I felt like my entire life was compromise, delaying fun for the payoff of a career and specialization. But for one or two weeks a year, I had luxurious lunches alone and went on long slow runs and lingered in museums. I didn’t have to answer to anyone if I wanted to skip the sightseeing to finish a novel or eat dinner at the same restaurant twice. It was truly bliss.” — Saba
“I booked a trip with Pack Up & Go, a service that plans and books your travel. The catch is the destination is a surprise! I ended up spending the weekend in Portland, Oregon — hiking, visiting breweries, wandering around bookstores, and even stumbling onto a tree lighting in Pioneer Courthouse Square, where I joined the crowd singing Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’!” — Mary
“I live in Paris and decided to spend a long weekend in the Gdańsk region in Poland. I saw snow on the beach, stuffed my face with pierogis and asked kind strangers to take photos of me. My advice: Prioritize your enjoyment, even if it’s not Instagram-worthy.” — Motu
“After a tough break up, I needed a distraction. I decided to fly to Norway, hike Trolltunga, and camp overnight on the mountain top. Never mind that I didn’t have any serious camping experience. I was more concerned with googling ‘do they have bears in Norway.’ But a few weeks later, I made it to the top of the mountain! I asked another hiker to take my picture on the famed Troll Tongue (above) because there was no way I was hiking that thing and not getting a picture. Then I set up my tent and tucked in for the night. I was terrified that every rustling leaf was someone coming to murder me (I’ve clearly listened to too many true crime podcasts). But I was also so damn proud of myself!” — Laura
“For my 40th birthday, I gave myself the gift of a solo trip to Peru to see Machu Picchu. I left my husband and kids at home. I had the adventure of a lifetime; I hiked the Inca Trail and pet wild llamas. I remember heading to the airport at the beginning of the trip and wondering what in the world I was doing. How was it possible to leave my young sons for so long? I had never been away from them. But I needed to go…BECAUSE I had never been away from them. It can be so easy to forget who you are when you are the mother of young children. The best advice that I can give to a solo traveler is to eat all the strange things, don’t be afraid to ask others to take your picture, and walk and walk and walk until you walk back to yourself.” — Kristin.
Thoughts? Have you ever traveled alone? Would you? We’d love to hear…
P.S. A 10-day solo birthday trip to Paris, and 12 readers share their cozy corners.
(Top photo from Gina.)