On Solo Wandering

travel alone


Lately, I’ve been thinking about a method of wandering that gives my family heartburn when I mention it: solo travel. I’ve been reading about women going around the world alone and aspiring to be at that level of fearlessness since adolescence. Now that I am in my 20s, it’s more than just about me proving that I am an intrepid lady explorer (even though it’s still about that as well).

Confession: I’m going to need a hiatus from having to deal with the trials and tribulations of traveling with other humans.

I’ve traveled alone before and it’s time to do it again. This sounds terrible because I have enjoyed many aspects of traveling with my friends and family. I also have awesome plans all lined up for summer and fall with some people. And on the one hand, I know I’ve only had certain travel experiences because I’ve had companions who encouraged me to go on adventures with them. But on the other hand, I know I’ve missed certain experiences because I’m worried about the interests (and don’t want to deal with the complaints) of the people with whom I am traveling.

It’s high time for me to retrace my steps and have those experiences without worrying about anyone trying to stop me. As I plot my grand escape from anyone who knows my name, those who love me are raising their concerns. Here’s a sample of the concerns being raised and my answers to them:

You’re going to get lonely traveling alone!

Nope! (1) No matter how hard I try to avoid people, when I am traveling other humans usually want to talk to me, in depth, about their lives. (2) My introversion means I’m a lot of company on my own. (3) I’m excellent at staying in contact with my nearest and dearest while I’m away.

You’re going to end up (insert all of the terrible things that could happen)!

Okay, so these things might happen. Yes, there are dangers in traveling alone (especially as a woman) nationally and internationally. But most of these bad things that people bring up might just happen to me while I am at home too. Not to get political, but just take a gander at the laws and violence statistics of South Carolina. They’re not so great. Of course different places have varying levels of safety and danger. I’m not so naïve to believe that the world is just my open playground for the taking. But sometimes the danger levels of “out there” are overestimated.

You’re going to get lost!

You are absolutely correct! I always get lost. It is a hazard of being me. I potentially have the worst sense of direction of anyone that I know. However, I always make sure that if I do get lost, I have a way to get back to where I need to be. This ranges from always having the number for a cab company to going over routes over and over again with maps to having a knack for knowing who to ask for directions from without threat of getting mugged.

My reactions make me sound more confident than I actually am about striking out on my own. However, I feel like if I give into people’s concerns then they are going to convince me that I shouldn’t at least try. So, for now, every time a concern is raised I’m going to slap on the bravado and keep on trucking with my planning.

How do you deal with your friends and family’s concerns about you traveling alone?


7 thoughts on “On Solo Wandering

  1. “But sometimes the danger levels of “out there” are overestimated” - this is so true! Especially if the danger levels of “here” are underestimated or at least not believed to be equated with “out there”.

    Traveling along might also make you look less like a tourist and therefore less of a target for the kind of criminals who target tourists.

    1. I’ve definitely been lonely when I’ve been traveling alone in a big city with no one knowing my name! But there’s something fun in the anonymity.

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