I’ve just wrapped up the solo travel portion of my Australia trip, so I figured a new blog post was in order! After a month on my own traveling along the Land-Down-Under’s gorgeous east coast, I’ve got plenty to say about solo travel and all that it entails.
I have to start by saying that Australia is one of the safest places for solo female travel. As a young, blonde, blue eyed girl I’ve encountered many situations both around the globe and around my home town in mid west United States where I’ve felt the need to be extra on the lookout. Although I’ve always been careful to be aware of my surroundings on this trip, I’ve never felt unsafe. So to any ladies out there looking for a good place to spread your solo travel wings for the first time, Australia is perfect! The culture in general is quite respectful of women, especially compared to the US.
So, location and safety set aside, here’s my ten cents on solo female travel.
There are some incredible aspects of solo travel. Over the past month I’ve kayaked with whales, wandered through eucalyptus forests, and spent a weekend at a music festival dancing beneath the stars. I’ve done yoga surrounded by morning song birds, picked my own bananas, and surfed some good waves. I’ve searched for shells on beaches all to myself and I’ve explored local markets among the crowds. I’ve also met some extremely incredible people and artists and have sat around the fire talking about anything and everything over mulled wine and new music. Could I have done many of these same things with a traveling partner? Obviously. Would I have been challenged to learn and grow in the same way that I have been? The answer to that is just as obvious.
“Traveling is the great true love of my life… I am loyal and constant in my love of travel. I feel about travel the way a happy new mother feels about her impossible, colicky, restless newborn baby- I just don’t care what it puts me through. Because I adore it. Because it’s mine. Because it looks just like me.”
Elizabeth Gilbert – Eat Pray Love
Traveling solo really gives you the chance to make your own plans… And the chance to change those plans, improvise, and just do whatever the hell your heart desires! It’s freeing and it’s fantastic. It will change whatever limited belief you had of travel beforehand. It will give you a new passion for life and culture.
I won’t lie- solo travel is hard sometimes. Being the introvert that I am, the hardest part for me was finding the energy to meet people and get involved, especially while staying in hostels where people are only around for a few days then either they or I are moving on. I’d meet people to hang out with, then I’d get to the next place and have to do it all over again. For most people I’m sure this isn’t a problem. For me, I did a lot of things by myself. I didn’t mind this, but there were times wished I had someone who I already knew to hang out with, just because it became tiring for me to constantly have to make new hostel friends.
While maybe half of the past month was spent in hostels, the other half was spent doing Workaways. One thing I hadn’t considered in my travel planning was getting lonely doing Workaway as a solo traveler. I guess it didn’t occur to me that most of the time I’d be working by myself. Of course all Workaway situations are different, and I’m thankful to have had all amazing hosts so far who were great company in the evenings, but for the most part my morning work was separate from theirs. I found that working alone can make the work seem long and make home seem far away.
Alright well there’s nothing that I’d go so far as to say is “ugly” about solo travel, but I will say that after this time on my own I have no real immediate desire to do another long term solo trip. After about two weeks I was done being alone. Having no choice but to continue on my own is where I think I grew the most and really learned my limits though, so in hindsight that wasn’t all bad. As a woman, it’s made me feel incredibly empowered. I’ve realized how much I really can do by myself.
Traveling alone will be the most terrifying, most liberating, most life changing experience you may ever encounter. You’ll learn more about yourself than you would doing anything else. You’ll get the chance to do things you’d never do with a group. Solo travel will test you, your beliefs, your physical and emotional limits… and your cooking skills.
Try it at least once.