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.
Thanks for reading!
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By Chizoba Anyaoha
What travel type are you? Tag us on IG @travsolo on your solo adventure.