TRAVEL & LIFESTYLE

Are You Alone? Insights From a Female Solo Traveler

Heather Markel, Writer, Speaker, Photographer, Traveler, Business Strategist

“The solo traveler appears alone, lost in thought
But takes in the entire world – sights, sounds and reflections.
Long walks, surprising discoveries, love found, love lost, new friends awaiting in every town.
A journey from the inside out in mind, in body and in earth.”

Heather Markel, May 2019.

 

Are you alone?

This is a question I am often asked. Solo traveling the globe, alone, means, well, I’m on my own a lot. Depending on who asks, and when they ask, I vary from bristling and wanting to protect myself to feeling openness to a new friendship. The few solo male travelers I have met do not appear to be asked this question as much as we women. I imagine, in part, because fewer men travel alone than women.

Enjoying a view in Ushuaia, Argentina.

March 2019

And sometimes I laugh at the question because none of us are really alone, ever. We may be physically in solitude but we are constantly connected with thoughts. So many times, I’ve thought of a friend and had them reach out shortly thereafter, or I’ve reached out to them to discover they were just thinking of me. So, mostly, I don’t feel alone.

“Even when we appear alone, we’re not really.”

Having solo traveled on vacations, and now for the past year, I realize I’m not phased at all by solo travel. Sure it would be nice to have a travel companion (but that has it’s own set up challenges unless you find the right one!) but the fact is, most people will more easily find excuses to travel than time and money to make it happen. So, for myself, I’ve found that if I want to pursue my passion, I have to, at the onset, do it on my own. I find this question really hits home with the wonderful women who dream of traveling the world, but can’t imagine doing it on their own. Whether for safety, for companionship, or something else, there tends to be a lot of fear and perhaps disappointment, around this concept for those that haven’t done it. 

Meeting friends everywhere I go.

March 2019

Of course, as a woman, I carry the burden of needing to think about safety more than a man – I always ask my hotel if it’s safe after dark. If there is ANY hesitation in the answer, I’m home by dark and in my room. I don’t drink much and I don’t go home with strange men, and even avoid talking to them unless I’m in a safe environment. But here’s the irony; traveling alone I meet way more people than I might have done if I were traveling with someone. In fact, South America, for some reason, has been a wonderful haven of beautiful encounters with people that have either been traveling the same direction as me, or with whom I have met up, sometimes more than once, in different cities!
Traveling alone, I find that thoughts are so much more powerful for me than ever before, especially around companionship. The other day I decided to take a hike I thought would be easy to get to with a bus. I thought “It would be nice to meet someone else going to the same place so I have someone to hike with”. I arrived at the bus stop and quickly befriended a French couple going to the same place. Good thing, too, because I didn’t know I’d have to hitchhike! Thankfully we were 3 but that meant most people turned us down indicating room for only 2. Just as I was about to give up and tell the French couple to go without me, a Swedish girl joined us and then a van pulled up and took all of us! And I ended up with company for the whole walk and hitchhiking return.

On another day I take a tour and no sooner than I stepped into the tour office to hand in my reservation ticket did I meet a lovely Argentinian family on vacation from their home in California who offered to take care of me all day. If you read my recent thank you post, you’ll see that, in fact, I really haven’t been alone much at all. Even at the beginning of my journey, where I was much more in need of solo time and headspace, I still made wonderful friends with whom I am in contact to this day. So, in the end, I don’t feel I’m truly alone, at all. In fact, it is because I travel alone that I am less alone than I’ve ever been – finding companionship every place I go means more friends in more places. 🙂

Learn about Heather and what set her on her world journey. She also explains why this life is not just for Millenials, it’s for anyone that wants to create a life around what they love most in life. 

Listen to an episode of the video interview series that will inspire you to follow your heart. Whether you want to travel full time or have another calling, this series is for you.

See the amazing people I’ve been meeting on my travels and the fun stories that go along with the meetings.

Check out my travel photos from around the world to see the world from wherever you are.

If you’ve been thinking that there’s got to be  more to life than work, or, you’ve lost your job, and wonder whether now is the time to do something you’re more excited about, this quiz will help you. Answer a few questions and get a free guide to help you know the areas you need to work on, followed up with inspirational and helpful tips to put your dreams into action.

Traveling the world full-time may sound glamorous and exhilirating. (In many ways, it is!) But, it’s not full-time fun. Before you decide to go, take this quiz to make sure you’re ready, and, if not, find out how to bridge the gaps.

This fun quiz helps you understand what your travel personality is, and how to make sure you indulge it when planning your next trip to maximize your enjoyment!

This one is pure fun – test your transcontinental travel trivia knowledge. Hit the button below if you dare take the quiz and see your score! 

If you enjoyed the first quiz, see how you do on the second one! More fun, more tricks, Click the button below to test your knowledge!

If you want to see every post I’ve written, starting with the most recent, this is the place to start!

In 2020, I was traveling in New Zealand as the coronavirus pandemic brewed, and, got stuck there. If you want to read about what this time was like and traveling during this time, check out this page.

Many of my blog posts are about things I’ve discovered about myself or about being, while I’ve traveled. If you’d like to focus on posts that only have self-discovery themes, click the button below.

I’ve been traveling the globe solo, and many of my posts share thoughts and resources specifically for other solo travelers. If you’re a fellow solo traveler, or you’re thinking about solo travel, this is a collection you will find of interest.

Sometimes I write posts where I give insider information on certain cities I’ve visited, which may be more along the lines of places to go, how to save money, etc. If that’s your main interest, check out this compilation of posts.

At the heart of international travel is learning about the many different cultures and ways of being around the world. The posts compiled on this page speak, specifically, about the cultural observations I’ve had.

If you’re looking to read blog posts about specific destinations, click the country of your interest below to go to it’s blog page and get country-specific reviews and thoughts.

Africa

Argentina

Brazil

Cambodia

Chile

Costa Rica

France

New Zealand

Peru

Portugal

Scotland

Thailand

Uruguay

Vietnam

 

Want more in-depth information about travel? Trying to figure out how to afford full-time travel (or, doing what you want to do, full-time)? Check out these items!

Looking for a photo or a travel-related item to reconnect with the spirit of travel? Check out this page to see some of my photos and where you can find them as prints and various photo-gifts..

Trying to create a more fulfilling life? Want help with planning out how to make your mark in the world? Check out this page to see how Heather can help you!

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