If I have said it once, I have said it a thousand times. I am single, and I am happy. I like my own company, especially when I am traveling. I like exploring new places and meeting new people and having those connections that a momentary. My choice to travel alone does not make me sad, reckless or lonely. It makes me an adventuring badass of a woman who refuses to wait until she finds The One to have adventures.
Since I was in high school I have wanted to explore the world. I’ve spent my young adult years saving and scheming for grand adventures for myself. I’ve traveled extensively, both alone and with friends, to more than 50 countries spanning most of Europe, Asia and Africa.
I enjoy spending time with myself, especially when I’m away from home. I love being in pursuit of the feeling of wonder that strikes when you’re walking alone down a foreign street, following an intoxicated scent of something baking or roasting, being mesmerized by the architecture that turns simple apartment buildings into large scale artwork. I do enjoy traveling with friends, but even when I am with my favourite travel buddies a crave solo time. I prefer planning adventures alone (and my friends all know that to travel with me means they will get zero input into the adventures). It leaves me open to adjustments, without having to consult someone else. I can embrace the local scene, practice the language, order huge amounts of food for lunch so I can try all the local delicacies. And I can do all this without fear of judgement.
There are a few things I wish you would all stop telling me though. There are some opinions you should just keep to yourselves. These things you say to me, they’re just insulting.
WAIT… YOU’RE GOING THERE? ALONE? LIKE ALONE, ALONE?
Why is it so scandalous that I would want to travel solo? Women have been adventuring alone for years, I am not breaking new ground in doing so. I am an adult, and I’ve been taking care of myself for a few years now. I speak two languages, and parts of others. I am intelligent and perfectly capable of thinking for myself. I mean, I am wearing my pjs at midday as I type this, but it’s Sunday, and what else are Sundays for?
BUT YOU KNOW PEOPLE THERE RIGHT?
No. And so what? Part of the joy of traveling is meeting new people. Sometimes I am fortunate enough to meet up with old friends in far away places, and I have a fairly extensive network of people across the globe that I love to see. But even when I surprised Mrs Ayla at Christmas in London, I still escaped from London and spent time alone in York and Bath. Meeting up with people I already know overseas doesn’t make me feel safer or more comfortable when traveling to a certain place.
BUT YOU DON’T SPEAK THE LANGUAGE!
People travel for different reasons, and one of the reasons I do it is to learn. I know more phrases in more languages than I can count. I can order food in most European languages, and if I can’t then I’ll say it again. I am an intelligent woman who can read a phrasebook. I’m crafty, I’ll figure it out. I can get around just fine with a guidebook, my iPhone and a G&T.
SO YOU’RE NOT GOING WITH A FRIEND? BOYFRIEND?
I don’t understand how you’re not getting this yet?
OH MY GOSH! YOU’RE SO BRAVE!
OK. I am a lot of things. I am resourceful, independent and strong. I am a fucking badass. I am curious, confident and solitary. I am not brave. When I made my first foray into the world I was terrified. I was scared witless. I had no idea what to expect. But I went anyway. Being brave is NOT a prerequisite to travel solo. If you wait until you are brave enough you will never go.
YOU ARE SO LUCKY! I WISH I COULD…
Shut up. I am not lucky. I work really fucking hard to travel as much as I do. I chose travel When you all chose marriage, houses and babies, I chose travel. I made it my career, I sacrificed and I made it happen. You could have to, except you chose a life of debt and screaming children and a husband who mentally checks out after a few years. You don’t like your life? Change it. You love your life? Great, stop judging mine.
YOU ARE TOTALLY EAT, PRAY, LOVING!
Fuck off. Just fuck off. I am not a divorcee who is bored with her very privileged life. I am not traveling in response to a trying life event, although I have had plenty of those. I am always open to the possibility of meeting my Javier Bardem…. but I am traveling alone because I LOVE TO.
BE SAFE. THE WORLD IS DANGEROUS
*thumbs up* Cheers bro. I’ll make sure to put my wallet away now instead of having is dangling off my rhinestone belt while I flash my diamond necklaces and my tiara all over. This advice you’re giving me also empowers me to avoid getting into cars with strange men, because how would I know not to do that if it weren’t for you!
MAYBE YOU’LL MEET SOMEONE WHILE YOU’RE AWAY?
Or maybe I won’t. And that’s ok. Because that is not what travel is about, and that is not why I do it alone.