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Clarisse Viduya – Trusting Yourself

Clarisse Viduya – Trusting Yourself

TravSolo aims to inspire people to solo travel more through authentic storytelling, by sharing real travel experiences

Tell me a little bit about yourself: What do you do for a living?

For someone whose mission in life is to travel the world solo full-time, I want to quickly introduce you to the girl writing behind the computer.

I’m Clarisse and I have been obsessed with freedom and solo travel since I had a taste of it back in 2018. This was the year that my life changed.

What inspired you to take your first solo trip?

A solo travel adventure in Australia during a gap year allowed me to be independent and reinvent myself in a way I didn’t think possible.

Australia was an incredible leap for me.

When people would ask what I would do there, or if I had a job lined up, I would tell them that I had no plans. I am simply packing up my entire belongings in one suitcase, selling almost everything I owned, and heading there on a plane on April 17th. That was the extent of it.

They then asked, are you on your own, aren’t you scared? I would then tell them that I am going solo and that something inside me felt that it was the right thing to do that even though I was scared, I needed to get past it because I wanted to grow as a person.

We all know that it’s very hard to grow in a comfort zone if it’s at all possible.

It was crazy to think that it was almost 3 years ago that I left home.

But to be honest, life in a cubicle and the everyday monotony was the reason I took the leap. I couldn’t imagine the same life every day for the next 40 years.

I have experienced many wonderful things since, including eating the best pasta, pizza, and ice cream you can find in Italy. I honestly ate as much as I could when I was in Europe as the food there is nothing short of amazing.

What is the most memorable moment you had with a traveler or local?

The most memorable time of my life came when I met locals that would invite me for a home-cooked meal. We bonded over stories and I learned so much about their culture and history at that moment that it further opened my eyes to the beauty and vastness of the world.

“But to be honest, life in a cubicle and the everyday monotony was the reason I took the leap. I couldn’t imagine the same life every day for the next 40 years.

What is biggest risk you have ever taken on a trip?

Let me tell you this, the biggest risk that any traveler can take is to book a one-way ticket halfway across the world, with all of your belongings in one suitcase and absolutely no plan, except to have trust in yourself. The trust that you made the correct choice and that you will be alright on your own. Remember, you will only have yourself to rely on, but this is not a bad thing.

What inspires you to travel more alone?

Traveling solo teaches you so much about independence, decision-making, and courage. The freedom and experiences that I felt during my solo travels have allowed me to learn so much not only about the world but also about myself.

That is one of the main reasons why I will keep traveling for as long as I can into the foreseeable future.

There are the thrills that come along with solo travel, as well as the travel bug that really guides you to keep going.

Seeing the world, through your eyes, with only you in the driver’s seat, allows you to view everything from your own perspective.

What advice might you give people afraid of being on their own or thinking of taking their first solo trip?

So for those of you thinking about solo travel, I say take the leap! Don’t let your fear hold you back from exploring the world. It really isn’t all that scary and I’ve always felt safe when I’m out on my own.

The world is at your fingertips and traveling solo is one of the best things you can do for yourself in this lifetime.

Live by this awesome mantra (could also be a cool book title):

Solo Mission: Travel

Make it your mission in life to travel the world on your own at least once. I promise you it will all be worth it!

 

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By Chizoba Anyaoha


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Cheril Clarke – Explore. Enjoy. Surrender

To me, solo travel means freedom. It means adventure and uninhibited exploration. And it means opportunity. When I think of trips I’ve taken alone, I think of all the creativity and excitement that came out of being by myself and not having to be responsible for anyone else for a few days.

The inspiration for my first solo trip was a decision to no longer skip destinations because my spouse, friends or family didn’t want to go. As much as I love international travel, I also want to explore all 50 states. For most people, there’s nothing exotic or sexy about places like Idaho, Wyoming, or Utah, but I think there’s beauty everywhere and too many people often overlook what is at home in favor of what is abroad and may get more social media clout. Also, when you live and work with your spouse, solo time is healthy for both partners to maintain individuality within the union.

Speaking of marriage, I have to note the biggest risk I ever took on a trip—leasing a condo in Montreal. My wife and I fell in love with the city on YouTube. We went up for a weekend and ended up leasing a condo. It was one of the most spontaneous and wonderful decisions we’ve ever made. Also, I LOVED the poutine!

It was also the memorable for me personally. I’d never realized the burden of living in a constant state of fear and polarization until I left the states to gallivant in Montreal. I could walk my dog at night alone without distress. There was never a thought that a gunman might enter a private establishment and start a massacre. It’s funny because I was born in Toronto and am a Canadian by birth, but I was raised in the States and completely detached from Canada until a few years ago. The locals were fantastic, and it was refreshing not to worry about random violence, nauseating political discussions. Realizing how much that weighed me down at home was enlightening to say the least.

Traveling alone gives me time to find unexpected inspiration from new people and places. I write for a living—both corporate and creative—so traveling alone gives me time to inject freshness. I think it also keeps me open-minded to people who live differently than me and more empathetic overall even when there is an obvious difference of opinion and belief system.

If you’re thinking about traveling alone, use common sense when it comes to safety, do your research, and just do it. Embrace the chance to live unscheduled and more imaginatively. Use common sense when it comes to safety measures, research your location and locals before you go, and go or it. You’ll be fine. Even if there are hiccups or unexpected challenges, you’ll grow as a person from figuring out how to navigate them on your own.

 

Cheril N. Clarke is Founder of Phenomenal Writing. You can find more about her here and follow her @cheril.n.clarke.

 

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By Chizoba Anyaoha


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Janice Holly Booth – Never Being Truly Alone

TravSolo aims to inspire people to solo travel more through authentic storytelling, by sharing real travel experiences

Tell me a little bit about yourself: What do you do for a living?

I help companies, individuals and teams become more productive and harmonious. Most problems stem from poor or ineffective communication and I help fix that through workshops and coaching. It’s a lot of fun and I love what I do! I also create content for companies and organizations — everything from grant writing to blogs to Facebook posts and inspirational presentations. Now that the world is beginning to open up again for travel, I’m looking forward to getting back on the speaker circuit, delivering keynotes on how to become more brave. www.adventurista.us

Solo Travel: What do these two words mean to you?

Endless possibilities, personal transformation, indelible memories…

What inspired you to take your first solo trip?

My first solo trip to the slot canyons of Utah happened not because I WANTED to travel alone; it’s just that no-one would agree to go with me. But I had seen pictures of slot canyons when I was a teenager and had vowed to see them up close and personal one day.

Favorite International Meal?

Locro de Papa, an Ecuadorian potato soup that is just indescribable.

What is the most memorable moment you had with a traveler or local?

In Petrified Forest NP I met a woman who was living out of an RV, traveling from NP to NP, working as a ranger and seeing the USA. “Oh my God!” I shouted. “You’re living MY dream!” We became good friends and continue to stay in touch.

“Solo Travel means the ultimate freedom because you are in full control of what you want to do

What is biggest risk you have ever taken on a trip?

Early morning, Monument Valley. A Navajo man in a white jeep called out my name and told me that he had a horse waiting for me. Now, I had inquired about riding THREE DAYS EARLIER at another part of the reservation. Evidently, the Navajo grapevine is pretty effective. I got in the jeep and suddenly realized I might never be seen again. I had about 10 minutes of internal terror, but that all went away when we crested a hill and I saw five horses tied up, waiting for riders.

What inspires you to travel more alone?

Traveling alone is the ultimate “me”time. It’s the most rejuvenating, rewarding and transformational time I get to spend.

What advice might you give people afraid of being on their own or thinking of taking their first solo trip?

People should not fear traveling alone, because you will never be truly alone, if you don’t want to be. It’s easy to make friends on the trail!

You can learn more about Janice’s book about her solo travel story called “Only Pack What You Can Carry,” published by National Geographic on her website.

 

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By Chizoba Anyaoha


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Let it Storm – Miranda Hernandez

When I was younger, I thought of Hawaii as a magical place. Couples honeymooned there. It was always sunny. I visited Oahu on vacation after college, and did the touristy things with my local friends. I always planned to go back with my children, and enjoy the warm water and miles of sand. And then my firstborn child died.

His name was Adrian, and his loss broke me. For several months, I functioned like a robot. I ate and drank and went to work, but the light was gone. I wasn’t myself.

Nine months later, and instead of booking daycare, I booked a trip to the island of Kaua’i. It was after Spring Break, and the island was quiet. It was also raining. I didn’t know it at the time, but Kaua’i is famous for its rain.

I remember dropping my bags at the front desk and walking tot he private beach in front of my hotel. The ocean looked angry, and the sky alternated between dark clouds and heavy mist. I walked a bit, jet-lagged and sleepy. I liked that it was quiet. I liked being alone. 

I spent a week on Kaua’i, hiking and exploring. I took photos of random things that felt symbolic to me. I hiked the Sleeping Giant trail, slipping on mud and shielding my camera from the storms. And on my third day there, I bought a bikini.

I think one of the hardest things to experience after the loss of a child is that you still have a postpartum body. And although I had technically lost the baby weight, I still had a noticeable “belly”. I wasn’t ashamed of my body at all, but it did stimulate conversations. I realized when I bought that bikini, I finally felt ready to face them.

 

 

I hired a photographer, and we hiked together, exploring Kaua’i in the middle of storms. Prior to that trip, I might have complained about wind and mud and getting wet. But this trip felt different, and I embraced all of it. I embraced me, and my new world. And the clouds never quite cleared during my week there, but I was happy to let it storm.

~

Miranda Hernandez is a writer and mother to two children: Adrian James, who was stillborn at term, and his living sister, “Peanut.” You can find Miranda on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram, or on her website at https://adrianjameshernandez.com/.

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By Chizoba Anyaoha

From Wall Street To Solo Traveling the World – Kesi Irvin

TravSolo aims to inspire through authentic storytelling, by sharing real travel experiences

Tell me a little bit about yourself: What do you do for a living?

My name is Kesi, the blogger behind www.kesitoandfro.com, and I quit my job on Wall Street and have been backpacking around the world solo for 5+ years.

Solo Travel: What do these two words mean to you?

Solo Travel means the ultimate freedom because you are in full control of what you want to do, where you want to go, and how long you want to stay somewhere.

What inspired you to take your first solo trip?

I traveled solo the first time after graduating from University. I originally went on a backpacking trip to SE Asia with two friends for 5 weeks, and when I returned home, I still had a month before I started my full-time job. I met many Europeans on my SE Asia trip, so I  decided to book a solo trip to Europe for 3 weeks, visiting different people I met.

Favorite International Meal?

My favorite International meal was in Lamu Island, Kenya because a local fisherman decided to cook an entire seafood feast for free because I gave his friend a waterproof phone case. There were crabs, calamari, fish, and more, and the food was made with a lot of love and extremely fresh.

What is the most memorable moment you had with a traveler or local?

The most memorable moment I’ve had with a local is when I met a potato farmer in Peru who showed me the Rainbow Mountains. In 2015 no one knew about the Rainbow Mountains and there were no tours, yet I was still determined to find them. I took local buses until I arrived in a small village and found a potato farmer who knew where the mountains were. It was too late to trek that day, so he offered me to sleep in his shack, and we could hike the following morning. He never asked for money and guided me to the mountains the next day. The farmer and I were the same age but lived completely different lives. He had never heard of New York City before, he was married with a child, and he spent most of his days farming.  Whereas, I was a single, solo girl making an around the world trip.

“Solo Travel means the ultimate freedom because you are in full control of what you want to do

What is biggest risk you have ever taken on a trip?

The biggest risk I’ve taken was when I was in a small hill village in Vietnam and agreed to their typical meal without knowing what it was. I shared the same spoon that the whole family used and ended up eating sour rice seasoned with dried rat. The rat was actually good!

What inspires you to travel more alone?

Traveling alone allows for the most adventures because you don’t need a plan and can easily go with the flow and see where the journey takes you.

What advice might you give people afraid of being on their own or thinking of taking their first solo trip?

Book that first solo trip because there are many ways to meet people while traveling, whether you decide to stay in a hostel, go on a walking tour, or start a conversation with a stranger in a bar.

You can check out Kesi’ many solo travel trips on Instagram @kesitoandfro.

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From Trusting a Stranger in Uzbekistan to Challenging your Preconceptions – Sebastian Modak

TravSolo aims to inspire through authentic storytelling, by sharing real travel experiences

Tell me a little bit about yourself: What do you do for a living?

I’m a travel writer and multimedia journalist based in New York. In 2019, I was the 52 Places Traveler for the New York Times, which had me traveling to and reporting from all the places on the Times’ “52 Places to Go” list. Before that, I spent some time as an editor and staff writer at Condé Nast Traveler. Even before I was writing about travel full-time, I was always most interested in being on the move and telling stories that connect people with the world around them. I think a lot of that has to do with how I was raised: my mom is from Colombia, my dad is from India and we moved every 4 years or so. “Home” is a complicated subject for me.

Solo Travel: What do these two words mean to you?

It means taking a risk, but also creating the space and silence you don’t get when traveling with friends or loved ones (which is also great). It means not being bound to anyone else’s schedule and allowing more space for the serendipity and chance encounters that I think lead to the most rewarding travel experiences.

What inspired you to take your first solo trip?

I did a lot of traveling with my family as a kid, but I think — like many — my first true “solo traveling” experience came in the form of choosing to study abroad in college. In my case, I chose to spend a semester in Botswana, largely because I knew there wouldn’t be that many other American students there that I could rely on for company. And, fortunately, I was right! While I was technically “living” in Gaborone, it felt like an extended solo trip because every day was a little different and it was entirely up to me how I spent my free time. And it was also up to me to step out of my comfort zone and put myself out there if I wanted to make any meaningful connections. The same is true on any solo trip.

Favorite International Meal?

A hot bowl of noodle soup — phở, mì quảng or bún bò Huế, depending what city I’m in — while sitting on a plastic stool on a Vietnamese street corner. Glass of beer (with ice) compulsory.

What was the most memorable and/or let down travel experience you have while traveling?

I don’t really believe in “let down” travel experiences. Of course there are things that can go *really* wrong – like life-threatening stuff – but that’s a bit more dire than just a “let down.” In terms of the minor inconveniences or the stuff that doesn’t measure up to big expectations, in the long-run I think those are still valuable experiences and opportunities to ask important questions. What can you learn from the experience? What does it tell you about your potentially misplaced expectations? What preconceptions were you coming into a trip with that you can (and should) throw out the window?

What is the most memorable moment you had with a traveler or local?

In terms of most memorable moments… Whew.. There are too many to name. Focusing on last year, where I traveled for the whole year (a memorable experience on its own, to say the least), I highlighted some of my most life-changing encounters for the New York Times here. One that always comes to mind is the time I trusted a stranger in Uzbekistan; I got in his car, not knowing exactly where we were headed, and ended up witness to a game of kopkari. It’s a sport in which horseback riders compete over the carcass of a goat in an intense game of keepaway. I felt so lucky to be seeing the tradition at play and so lucky to have made a new friend, who I’m still in regular touch with today, in the process.

“It was also up to me to step out of my comfort zone and put myself out there if I wanted to make any meaningful connections. The same is true on any solo trip.

What is biggest risk you have ever taken on a trip?

Traveling alone is, on its own, a risk. Even having done it for a full year, getting on a different flight every week, I would still get a bit of the jitters every now and then. It’s intimidating, and that’s because of the little risks you take along the way. What an “appropriate risk” is comes down to the individual traveler though. It’s important to find your own threshold for risk. For me, some of the biggest risks I’ve taken have involved solo road trips; like driving for 12 hours through a blizzard in Michigan and Ontario. Or getting off a 40+-hour plane journey and then driving through the night in Chile, on no sleep, just because I was in a rush to get to my destination. Both those decisions were beyond my risk threshold — stupid impulse moves I made that taught me valuable lessons about what I am and am not comfortable risking.

What inspires you to travel more alone?

It’s the people. I love sightseeing and hiking and eating and drinking around the world. But at the end of the day, I travel for the people I meet along the way. And when you’re traveling alone it’s so much easier to meet people. If you put yourself out there a little bit, I think you’d be surprised how much people will open up to you — and how excited they’ll be to show you a little slice of what makes their home special.

What advice might you give people afraid of being on their own or thinking of taking their first solo trip?

If you’re nervous, start closer to home. Not to mention, the current Covid-19 crisis makes that basically the only responsible option. You don’t have to be going to Siberia to justify a solo journey (though I do recommend it). But why not try a city nearby that you’ve never been to? Or even just a day hike or long solo bike ride? By starting small, you’ll understand yourself better. You’ll figure out what you like about traveling alone; and the parts that you maybe don’t like as much. From those starting points, you’ll be better equipped to design a bigger trip that is tailor-made for you. You don’t know what resonates with you until you at least dip your toe in it.

If you were writing a book about personal solo travel story, what three words would you use for the title? (Similar to Eat. Pray. Love)

“Learn, Learn, Learn.” A rewarding travel experience starts with you admitting and embracing your own ignorance. There’s so much to learn about the rest of the world and it starts with realizing that, in comparison to someone who has lived in a place their whole life, you know nothing about that place. Ask questions, and be prepared for the answers to counter whatever preconceptions you might have once had.

You can check out Sebastians’s many solo travel trips on Instagram @sebmodak.

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By Chizoba Anyaoha


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Experiencing Death to Understand Life – Conscious DeMi

TravSolo aims to inspire through authentic storytelling, by sharing real travel experiences

“Are you ready?” asked the mortician.

He was about to reveal my fiancé’s body for the first time since it happened. Since we were not married yet, I couldn’t see him in the hospital. I knew that if I didn’t do this, I was going to lose my last chance to see him physically.

We were donors…

There we were, in 2011, at the dinner table talking about what we wanted to do with our bodies after we died. I mean, we thought it was bizarre to talk about this now, especially since we were both only 30 years old. But because we had just gotten engaged, our lawyer thought it would be a good idea for us to sort out all the paperwork before we got hitched.

Did we want to be donors or not? Did we want to be buried or cremated? Where was the service going to take place, in Los Angeles, where we both lived or in our native states? How much money would we need to set aside to pay for all of this? Yada, yada, yada.

And just a few years later after we had this discussion, I found myself standing in front of his covered body holding his favorite suit. The day I bought him that suit, I never thought in a million years that, this suit was going to be the one I was going to dress him in for his funeral.

I took a deep breath as the mortician uncovered his body. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I mean it was him, but it wasn’t.

We had to lift him up, hold him and dress him, but we were having so much difficulty because he hardly had no base left. He had no eyes to see, no legs to walk, no hands to touch, no lungs to breathe, and no heart to beat.

And in that very moment, I had an epiphany.

 

I realized that I was wearing an earthly suit simply so I could actually experience earth – to hear earthly harmonies through my ears, to speak motivational and meaningful sounds through my mouth, to feel warmth and love through my heart, to touch and experiment through my hands, to see beautiful sights through my eyes, to taste deliciousness through my tongue, and to smell bliss through my nose. At that moment, I realized what our body’s purpose was. We were not born with this specific “suit”, so we could live in a square, work in an unfulfilling job, pay bills, and die.

No.

And at that moment, I knew exactly what I needed to do.

 

On the day of love, February 14th, 2014, I took a plane out to Kerala, India to unlearn everything that I had learned from the day I was born. I wanted to go back to zero. I figured I would go there to heal (do some yoga and meditate) and then I would figure out what I was going to do with the rest of my life moving forward.

And well long story short, I am now healed and I never went back to LA. I have been traveling the world since then, non-stop. I guess it’s true, “time does fly when you’re having fun”. So far, I have experienced over 60 countries and its people and their culture in six continents.

 

Below are just a few examples of how I have used this human suit to experience my time here on earth.

I have eaten tasty couscous with the Berber’s in Morocco, I have drank foamy Ayran with the Kurdish people from East turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran. I have enjoyed sizzling Saltah with Yeminis, I have ingested injera & wat with Ethiopians. I have gnawed at tort tulik mal with Kazakhstans. I have enjoyed the warm filling lablabi with Tunisians, I have forcefully swallowed baluts with Filipinos, I have held my nose while eating durians with Malaysians, I have swallowed sushi & saki with Japanese, I have eaten hot spicy pho with Vietnamese, I have eaten spitted on chowmein in the night markets with the Chinese, I have eaten crunchy fried tarantulas with special sauce with the Cambodians, I have eaten Shishkebab with Turks, I have eaten scrumptious empanadas with Argentineans, I have devoured wine and cheese with French, I have eaten goulash with the Hungarians, I have eaten paella & Sangria with the Spaniards, and I have even unawaringly tasted cuy with Peruvians.

I have smoked shisha with middle easterners in small tiny souks, I have gotten drunk off Glühwein at the Christmas markets with Europeans, I have experienced coffee readings from gypsies, I have consumed mushrooms with the hippies on the islands, I have danced with the Aborigines of Australia, I have drank ayahuasca from shamans in Peru, I have had extensive sloughing experiences from Greeks and Turks in their Hamams, I have karaoke’d with the Koreans, I have danced bangra with the Punjabi’s, I have practiced Ramadan with the Muslims, I have enjoyed Nyepi with the Hindu’s, I have meditated with the monks in Asia, I have learned to whirl from dancing dervishes from Konya and I have even dabbled my hands a bit as a snake charmer in India.

 

I have slept in 1,2,3,4, & 5 star hotels, sand hotels, ice hotels, hostels, hostals, airbnb’s, local’s homes, deserts, jungles, forests, airports, train stations & trains, bus stations & buses, taxi’s, tuk-tuk’s, coffee shops, and strangers homes (lol).

I am constantly scammed. I have almost been robbed, raped, and killed. I have gotten a few different types of malaria, food & water poisoning, fungi, and other kinds of bacteria that I cannot even pronounce, and I have even had a few near death experiences.

BUT if you were to ask me, would I change my life?

Hell. To. The. No.

Hi, my name is Conscious DeMi and I am a soulo-female traveler.

Sometimes when we think something “bad” has happened to us, in time, we actually realize it was a blessing in disguise. If I would have never experienced Death, I would have never had the nerve to live my dreams and travel the world soulo. So the next time you think something “’bad” has happened to you, I would take a good look at that situation and see what it actually is trying to teach you. Experiencing Death has actually taught me to live. And because Death motivated me and keeps motivating me, I have realized that while uncovering the world, I have actually uncovered my Self, all at the same time. I am currently writing a book about my Self-uncovery journey called, ‘Uncover The Hidden You’. I am writing this book with the hopes to inspire you to take that first step to soulo-travel or keep traveling the world, so you too can uncover the hidden you.

Sending you light, love, and life!

 

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By Chizoba Anyaoha


Thinking about solo traveling for the very first time? See others who have @travsolo for more inspiration.

Exploring the World on My Terms – DeAnna Taylor

TravSolo aims to inspire through authentic storytelling, by sharing real travel experiences

Tell me a little bit about yourself: What do you do for a living?

I’m DeAnna, a criminal defense attorney who now works as a freelance writer. While I’m technically still a licensed attorney, writing is my current love. I write for Travel Noire, CharlotteFive, and I’ve done a few pieces for XONecole and even Medium.


Solo Travel: What do these two words mean to you?

To me, solo travel means freedom. It means letting go of anything that holds you back and simply living. It also means courage to step into the unknown.

What inspired you to take your first solo trip?

My first solo international trip was to Cuba in early 2017. It was on my bucket list before the restrictions got too crazy and I didn’t really have any friends that could go when I wanted to. So, I made the decision to do it on my own. Best decision ever. I read tons of blogs befor hand to get a feel of what to expect and how to prepare. Luckily they were all very accurate and to this day Cuba is still my favorite destination.

When I’m alone I can truly take in the sights and sounds of a place in my own way.

Favorite International Meal?

Hmmm that’s a tough one. I would have to say the pad thai in the streets of Khao San Road in Bangkok. You can get a plate for less than a dollar and cooked to order at a tiny little street cart. It’s delicious.

What was the most memorable and/or let down travel experience you have while traveling?

I think my biggest let down happened recently in Amsterdam. I was solo and I ended up booking an Airbnb out in the suburbs to save money. But, I didn’t do my research on transportation prior to and I ended up wasting/spending so much money on trains and buses to get into central Amsterdam during my short stay. Next time I will just spend the money to stay in a more central area.


What is the most memorable moment you had with a traveler or local?

One of my most memorable experiences was riding the train in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I was heading to see the Batu Caves and I heard the girl next to me listening to my church’s worship CD. She was a local and I was amazed that my church’s music had reached so far across the world. We struck up a conversation and she was amazed that I go to attend Elevation Church in person.

What is biggest risk you have ever taken on a trip?

That would definitely be in Cuba. I randomly met two young Cuban guys and they asked me to come hang out with them. They didn’t speak much English and my Spanish is only intermediate. Also, the wifi in Cuba is very limited. Yet, something about them didn’t make me feel afraid so I actually hung out with them and had an amazing time. We went to this random rooftop spot where they taught me how to dance salsa.

What inspires you to travel more alone?

I enjoy the ability to move at my own pace and explore on my terms. I’m somewhat of an introvert so I need time alone to recharge and operate and my highest level. When I’m on group trips sometimes I start to get really agitated and I shut down. When I’m alone I can truly take in the sights and sounds of a place in my own way. This helps me to appreciate the trip even more.


What advice might you give people afraid of being on their own or thinking of taking their first solo trip?

My advice is to do your research on your destination prior to going. Have a general idea of things you want to do and see and then try to stay in an area that’s close by to the majority of them. Also, don’t count out the locals. Sometimes they give the best recommendations.

If you were writing a book about personal solo travel story, what three words would you use for the title? (Similar to Eat. Pray. Love)

Release (your fears) Grow (as a person). Enjoy (the freedom and time alone).

You can check out DeAnna’s many solo travel trips on Instagram @brokeandabroadlife.

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By Chizoba Anyaoha


What travel type are you? Tag us on IG @travsolo on your solo adventure.

Learning To Focus And Put Myself First – Lotte Huijsman

TravSolo aims to inspire through authentic storytelling, by sharing real travel experiences

Tell me a little bit about yourself: What do you do for a living?

Before I left home in January of 2018, I used to work for the Dutch government as a business consultant in HR and procurement. It was a comfortable life and I had a great time with my colleagues. However, I felt that there was more to life than that. Now I am a full-time solo traveler! I do take on freelance writing and editing assignments from time to time. On top of that I write for myself While traveling I also try to make myself useful by doing work exchanges by teaching yoga.

Solo Travel: What do these two words mean to you?

More than anything else, solo travel is a journey of personal growth for me. Especially when it is long-term. I have been on the road for about 15 months now. Over that period of time, I have experienced, learned and grown more than I could have ever done while living a more traditional life, in my home country. Solo travel has taught me to let go, get to know myself better, to live more in the present moment, connect to others and to take care of myself.

What inspired you to take your first solo trip?

For many years, I used to travel with my ex-boyfriend. When we broke up, I found it a bit of a challenge to match my interests, budget and availability with that of my friends. Eventually I decided to book a retreat at an ayurvedic center in Sri Lanka. From past experience I already knew most people attend these kind of retreats alone. That made it a more suitable destination for my first solo trip. In the end, retreats are all about focusing on yourself anyway. Something inside of me, assured me that I would be fine. My inner voice was right: it turned out to be an amazing experience that sparked my love for solo travel.

“I have come to realize that the people that I have met have made my journey more memorable, than any destination out there ever could.”

Favorite International Meal?

I am obsessed with Indian food. In a few months I will be back in India and I cannot wait to have good dahl (lentil curry), palak paneer (spinach curry with cheese) and butter chicken again.

What was the most memorable and/or let down travel experience you have while traveling?

After so many months of solo travel, it is hard to pick just one experience. Some of the highlights are definitely the first yoga class I took in India, seeing orangutans on a jungle trek in Indonesia, getting my massage certificate in Thailand, learning salsa in Cuba and watching the pros surf Hawaii’s gigantic waves.

Solo travel is not just all highlights. Like that time I ended up in an Indonesian hospital with a bad stomach infection (barely anyone spoke English) or when my suitcase got lost at an Indian airport. I have also felt lost and homesick plenty of times. But that is okay, solo travel has taught me that these moments always pass and that I am capable of taking good care of myself.

What is the most memorable moment you had with a traveler or local?

Solo travel keeps surprising me by introducing me to the most amazing people. Somehow, I usually tend to meet people the very moment when I find myself wishing for someone to hang out with. I am currently in New Zealand and I have learned a Moari proverb – “What is the most important thing in the world? The people, the people, the people.” I have come to realize that the people that I have met have made my journey more memorable, than any destination out there ever could.

I have shared good (and bad) times with many people from all over the world. However, I have never befriended so many locals as I did in the south of India. People there are so curious and hospitable and have never felt alone. After several days I was already invited to an engagement party. It was quite the experience: me as a tall, blond girl in a saree and everyone wanting to take a selfie with me. I cannot wait to see my Indian friends again later this year.

What is biggest risk you have ever taken on a trip?

Solo travel is a bit of a risk in itself. I believe in the good in people – without being naive or reckless. That has worked out pretty well so far. Looking back, some situations might sound risky. Like when I got on a motorbike (no helmets in India) with a guy I had only met once, going horse-back riding through the mud in Cuba right after a cyclone and going out by myself to dance salsa in Colombia. I trust my gut feeling in situations like these. It has never let me down.

What inspires you to travel more alone?

My own curiosity keeps on leading me to new travel destinations. I am intrigued by other cultures and nature never ceases to amaze me. The world is soo big and there is so much to explore! So far, solo travel has been such a rewarding experience. It inspires me to keep on going.

What advice might you give people afraid of being on their own or thinking of taking their first solo trip?

It is better to have regrets about what you did do than about what you did not do. If solo travel is on your mind: go for it! There is only one way to find out if it suits you. I have never met a single person who went on a solo trip and hated it. If it makes you nervous to book anything; pretend to be booking it for a person that is dear to you. Arrange the bare necessities such as a visa, vaccinations and your first accommodation. Outside of that, I would recommend leaving as much room as possible for chance encounters and unexpected adventures. You will be positively surprised.

If you were writing a book about personal solo travel story, what three words would you use for the tittle? (Similar to Eat. Pray. Love)

 

Meditate. Meet. Move.

Thanks for reading!

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By Chizoba Anyaoha


What travel type are you? Tag us on IG @travsolo on your solo adventure.

Moneyless, Homeless and Making Travel Happen – Michael Blaney

TravSolo aims to inspire through authentic storytelling, by sharing real travel experiences

Tell me a little bit about yourself: What do you do for a living?

I tend to change jobs like most folks change their pants. Usually I’m in a restaurant cooking or bartending but I find myself in hostels from time to time. Recently I’ve been doing more catering work and a little acting as well. I tend to get itchy feet after being too long in one place so I see my way out pretty quickly.

Solo Travel: What do these two words mean to you?

Freedom. Possibility. Adventure. There are a few better feelings than arriving to a new country where you know no one and everything feels like it could happen at any moment; it is life in HD. Everything feels new, intense, and you can do whatever the hell you want. Nothing like it!





What inspired you to take your first solo trip?

I grew up being told travel and adventure stories. My dad used to tell my brothers and I about his misadventures during his solo bike tour through the Southwest US, my favorite high school teacher would share his tales of hitchhiking through Ethiopia, Palestine, and the United States. It was always so alluring that I wanted to have these kind of awesome adventures of my own. I remember noticing that people who traveled and came back seemed different; it was the way they lived and looked at the world. I wanted to be like that when I got older too.

After my first time overseas visiting family in South Korea, I was hooked! All I wanted to do was travel and I wanted to do it on my own terms. Years later when I was old enough and had just ended a 5 years relationship, I immediately bought my first one way ticket to Paris.

Favorite International Dish?

Being a chef I could go forever back and forth about what international meal might be my favorite so for the sake of everyone involved I’m just going to go with the first one that popped in my head: Bacalhau Com Natas. It is a Portuguese dish of salt cod baked in a rich cream sauce with potatoes, onion, and a boatload of garlic. It’s incredibly decadent but you can never seem to get enough no matter how full you are. I learned to make this from my ex after a day of hiking and we ate the entire pan that should have fed six – it’s that good.

What was the most memorable and/or let down experience you had while traveling?

Running out of money and accidentally moving to Portugal is pretty up there for me. A few months into my first jaunt in Europe, my bank deactivated my card because I had completely neglected to notify them of my travel plans. I was on my way from Ireland to Portugal so I arranged for my brother to send my replacement card to me in Lisbon. Now stuck with only the cash in my wallet before my card was sucked into a Dublin ATM, I was left with six Euros and about two weeks until my card came to Lisbon.

I landed in Lisbon on Thanksgiving day. My feast that year would be some pastries and bread I had found in a dumpster, eaten in the rain. A few more cold nights went by sleeping on the street and eating what I could find when I realized I’d have to make a better plan than this. I went to a few hostels explaining my situation to see who would trust me to pay them, when my card finally came in. Eventually one hotel receptionist, after giving me what felt like the first hot coffee I’d had in forever, told me not to worry and it will be figured it out. A few months later, I found was still in Lisbon working at the hostel and dating the receptionist. We lived together until I left over half a year later to continue my travels. It is hard to describe what it feels like to show up to a country not knowing anyone, nor the language or culture. Then depart later, leaving behind new friends, lovers, and a place that had become home.





What was the most memorable moment you had with a traveler or local?

I spent a month and a half in Busan, South Korea working as the cook for a language exchange cafe. When I was set to leave, I decided that my goodbye party would go like this: eat some great food, barhop until all were sufficiently wasted, and climb a mountain to watch the sunrise over the sea. While sitting in a tree up on the mountain, watching the sun come up completely plastered with a bunch of strangers from all over the world 40 something days ago, I felt such joy, love, and belonging among these friends-turned-family. I have yet to see a prettier sunrise.

What’s the biggest risk you have taken on a trip?

Probably running out of money a million times and just leaving with little traveling cash. It feels apocalyptic the first few times but eventually you get used to it. You learn to survive and trust that things will eventually work out. You find somewhere to work in exchange for room and board and after some time paid work seems to come on by. It’s a little uncanny how serendipitous it can all come together.





What inspires you to travel more alone?

I get little travel pangs daily. This little restless feeling, mixed with an insatiable curiosity. It is an ever present desire to move and explore. I’ll just be going about my day and find myself making mental notes about flights to look up, & places I need to go that I haven’t thought about in a while. I’m still not sure if it is something you can get out of your system or if each trip just makes you more restless. I’ve found that so far it is the latter.

What advice might you give people afraid of being on their own or thinking of taking their first solo trip?

It may seem cliché but just fucking do it and you’ll be fine. If you’re afraid of being on your own it’s probably exactly what you need to do. You’ll make friends and it is amazing to discover that the people you needed to meet seem to come your way. You’ll also learn to stare down loneliness and work with it. All the emotional, mental, spiritual shit that has been hiding beneath your routines, distractions, and comforts back home will come up in a big way and force you to deal with them.

You’ll have a lot of shitty days, mishaps, and the occasional disaster or breakdown, but you’ll learn to become stronger for it. Don’t get me wrong, you’re not going to become some enlightened Buddha figure because you went backpacking, all your problems won’t be solved by your new worldly perspective, but you will grow, you will meet some amazing people, build some beautiful friendships, and you’ll have an absolute blast doing all this.

If you were writing a book about a personal travel story, what three words would you use for the title?

Learned. Lost. Looking.

Thanks for reading!

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By Chizoba Anyaoha


What travel type are you? Tag us on IG @travsolo on your solo adventure.