Saturday, July 18, 2015

Experience pure freedom by traveling solo.
Photo taken in Saint Lucia.
(Photo: Jessica Festa/Jessie on a Journey)By Jessie FestaI never thought I
would travel solo.
It kind of just…happened.
Growing up, my vacations consisted of Caribbean cruises and road trips spent
searching for thrilling roller coasters and America’s best beaches.
It wasn’t until I studied abroad in Sydney at the age of 20 that I got
the itch to begin expanding my travel horizons.
Inspired by Australia’s rich Thai cuisine culture, I decided I wanted
to go to Thailand to try the real thing.
 I began saving immediately upon my return home to New York, planning to
go head to Southeast Asia the upcoming summer.
Right after Christmas I began asking friends and family if they would be
interested in visiting Thailand with me that summer.
Doing homestays, hiking through rice terraces, taking cooking classes,
perusing night markets and spending some time volunteering.
Who could resist such an adventure? Apparently, everyone I knew.
 When the time came to book my ticket, I was faced with a big decision:
Travel solo or stay home and give up on an experience I had been looking
forward to for months.
I worried I would feel awkward or that I would be lonely.
I worried I wouldn’t be able to communicate with anyone because of
language barriers.
I worried about finding accommodation and ordering food and getting ripped
off.
But most of all, I worried I would miss out on an enriching opportunity.
A round-trip ticket to Bangkok, please.
How many passengers? One! As it turns out, I shouldn’t have
worried.
Solo travel has changed my life in ways I couldn’t have imagined or
anticipated, and if you take the leap, it’ll change yours too.
Here’s how: Your Self-Esteem Will SkyrocketSince my first solo travel
experience in Thailand I’ve had many others: A summer through Europe,
three months through South America, an adventurous journey exploring French
Polynesia, some alone time in Morocco, and numerous solo trips around the
United States.
You see, every time I travel solo it’s like a self-esteem boost as
I’m reminded of all that I am capable of.
 Traveling with others, you tend to rely on different people for
different things.
Maybe Joe handles the map because he’s good at navigation while Jenn
smooths out any ordeals because she’s an excellent problem solver.
When you’re traveling solo, you’re responsible for it all:
Reading the map, navigating local transportation, communicating through
language barriers to order food or a bus ticket, problem solving when you miss
your train or your motorbike runs out of gas, getting un-lost in unfamiliar
cities, and any travel mishap in between.
And guess what? You’ll do it! You may not think you can handle all the
tasks that come with solo travel, but you’ll surprise yourself.
Because when you’re looking out for yourself and a challenge comes
your way you’ll accomplish anything and everything.
 Related: Scared to Travel Solo? Try a River Cruise

Solo travel in French Polynesia.
 (Photo: Jessica Festa/Jessie on a Journey)
You Will Learn to
Shine Before I began traveling solo I was much more reliant on other
people.
I was shy and would hide within the circle of my friends.
After traveling solo as a female, however, I realized I could be a social
superstar if I tried.
I think I truly reached my full socializing potential when partaking in some
solo female travel through Europe.
The culture is extremely social in itself, with people mingling and sharing
wine in public squares and the ability to make friends on every corner.
Suddenly, people were coming up and starting conversations with me in money
exchanges, train stations, parks, buses, piazzas, hostels.
 As I assimilated more into the European culture and the friendliness of
the backpacker circuit, I began initiating conversations myself.
I would bring a bottle of wine to a park, offering to share with picnickers
in exchange for some cheese and bread, or I would invite people from a walking
tour out for drinks at night.
I made a lot of great friends, many whom I still keep in touch with.
Even more, I realized how easy it was to make friends once you came out of
your shell, a skill that has helped me in work, friendship and relationships.
You Will Develop Independence While I’m thankful to have always
had such helpful parents, being young and inexperienced in the world left me
dependent on other people; however, one solo travel trip to Asia left me
transformed.
When you’re traveling solo, independence isn’t something you
need to try to attain; it’s just something that happens naturally.
There is nobody there to rely on for money, to watch your luggage when you go
to the bathroom or show you the way when you get lost.
It’s all up to you.
And the more you figure these things out, the more independent you become.
I can remember a time when my luggage was lost on a flight from Munich to
Nice.
It took me a week to get it back, and the airline made me travel 12 hours to
pick it up, which made me almost miss my train, which made me almost get to my
hostel too late to check-in.
Yes it was a hassle, but I figured it out and solved the problem—all
on my own.
 Related: The Unofficial Solo Female Traveler’s
ManifestoOpen-Mindedness Will Become Second NatureThe best thing about
traveling solo is that it forces you to interact with locals and not just talk
to your travel buddies from home.
When you visit a foreign place you must adapt to the local culture, figuring
out how to order food, dress appropriately and ride the local transport
system.
If you don’t know how to use a squat toilet in Thailand they’re
not going to roll out the red carpet for you and bring you a flusher.
You figure these things out as you go, and as you encounter new situations
and cultural facets you’re able to engage, process and react to them
without influence from others.
 For example, when backpacking through South America I spent much time
riding the bus.
This is a cultural experience in itself, as you sit with locals for 20 hours
at a time, meet local artisans, hear traditional musicians, sample typical
foods and see what the farmers are selling.
If I were traveling with a friend I may have had to deal with judgmental
comments or persuasive opinions, or I might have been too consumed talking
with my companion to actually notice the everyday nuances of culture going on
around me.
Solo female travel has allowed me to take culture in and interact with it
without distractions, transforming me into a more worldly and open-minded
individual.
 
Trekking to the Akha hilltribe village in Chiang Rai as a young 21 year old
solo female traveler.
(Photo: Jessica Festa/Jessie on a Journey)You Will Experience Pure
Freedom Probably the greatest gift solo female travel has given my life
is the experience of ultimate freedom.
When you travel solo you decide where you’ll go, what you’ll do
and when you’ll do it.
There’s nobody trying to change your plans and there’s no need
to compromise.
You’re in complete control of your travel experience, and it feels
good.
As I’ve gotten used to traveling alone, I enjoy traveling without
making plans.
When I arrive to a place I discover it organically, asking for
recommendations from locals and using CouchSurfing to meet new people.
I change my plans daily based on how I’m feeling and who I meet.
Life’s one big adventure full of experiences to be had, and there is
nobody there to tell me I can’t.
 You’ll Remember That It Isn’t Permanent I think what
helped assuage my fears from the get-go was the realization that I really was
in control of the trip planning, down to the fact that I could hop on a plane
home if I really felt uncomfortable.
Many people seem to forget that just because you make a decision to travel
somewhere solo doesn’t mean it’s permanent.
Once you arrive at your destination give yourself a few days to get used to
being on your own and orienting yourself.
If you genuinely feel terrified or miserable after giving it a fair chance,
change your location or go home.
When you’re traveling solo, it’s all up to you.
My Most Important Lesson The most important thing solo female travel has
taught me is that anything is possible.
It’s opened the world for me and made it a smaller and larger place
all at the same time.
While it’s easier than ever to cross seas and explore new continents,
there are so many experiences to be had and so many interesting people to
meet.
I’ve gone from blindly believing stereotypes and what I hear on the
news to experiencing places and cultures firsthand, creating my own truths.
And while I know there are bad people and dangerous places in the world, solo
female travel has turned me into an optimist that believes there are many more
safe places and people with kind hearts.
Solo travel has taught me how much more worthwhile life can be when you live
it to the fullest without regrets.
 Would you ever travel solo? If you already have, has the experience
taught you any valuable lessons? Please share in the comments below.
 More from Jessie on a Journey:Exploring Sustainable Adventure In The
Resort Destination Of Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
My Most Ridiculous Bus
Encounters Backpacking South America  
Quiz: What Type of Traveler Are
You?
WATCH: Taste-Testing Greenland’s Finest Microbrew Beers
Let World traveling club Travel inspire you every day.
Hang out with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
 Check out our original adventure travel series A Broad Abroad.

Experience pure freedom by traveling solo.
Inspired by Australia's rich Thai cuisine culture, I decided I wanted to
go to Thailand to try the real thing.
  I began saving immediately upon my return home to New York, planning to go
head to Southeast Asia the upcoming summer.
Right after Christmas I began asking friends and family if they would be
interested in visiting Thailand with me that summer.
Apparently, everyone I knew.
  When the time came to book my ticket, I was faced with a big decision:
Travel solo or stay home and give up on an experience I had been looking
forward to for months.
.
You Will Learn to Shine Before I began traveling solo I was much more
reliant on other people.
I was shy and would hide within the circle of my friends.
After traveling solo as a female, however, I realized I could be a social
superstar if I tried.
I think I truly reached my full socializing potential when partaking in some
solo female travel through Europe.
The culture is extremely social in itself, with people mingling and sharing
wine in public squares and the ability to make friends on every corner.
Suddenly, people were coming up and starting conversations with me in money
exchanges, train stations, parks, buses, piazzas, hostels.
 As I assimilated more into the European culture and the friendliness of
the backpacker circuit, I began initiating conversations myself.
I would bring a bottle of wine to a park, offering to share with picnickers
in exchange for some cheese and bread, or I would invite people from a walking
tour out for drinks at night.
I made a lot of great friends, many whom I still keep in touch with.
Even more, I realized how easy it was to make friends once you came out of
your shell, a skill that has helped me in work, friendship and relationships.
You Will Develop Independence While I’m thankful to have always
had such helpful parents, being young and inexperienced in the world left me
dependent on other people; however, one solo travel trip to Asia left me
transformed.
When you’re traveling solo, independence isn’t something you
need to try to attain; it’s just something that happens naturally.
There is nobody there to rely on for money, to watch your luggage when you go
to the bathroom or show you the way when you get lost.
It’s all up to you.
And the more you figure these things out, the more independent you become.
I can remember a time when my luggage was lost on a flight from Munich to
Nice.
It took me a week to get it back, and the airline made me travel 12 hours to
pick it up, which made me almost miss my train, which made me almost get to my
hostel too late to check-in.
Yes it was a hassle, but I figured it out and solved the problem—all
on my own.
 Related: The Unofficial Solo Female Traveler’s
ManifestoOpen-Mindedness Will Become Second NatureThe best thing about
traveling solo is that it forces you to interact with locals and not just talk
to your travel buddies from home.
When you visit a foreign place you must adapt to the local culture, figuring
out how to order food, dress appropriately and ride the local transport
system.
If you don’t know how to use a squat toilet in Thailand they’re
not going to roll out the red carpet for you and bring you a flusher.
You figure these things out as you go, and as you encounter new situations
and cultural facets you’re able to engage, process and react to them
without influence from others.
 For example, when backpacking through South America I spent much time
riding the bus.
This is a cultural experience in itself, as you sit with locals for 20 hours
at a time, meet local artisans, hear traditional musicians, sample typical
foods and see what the farmers are selling.
If I were traveling with a friend I may have had to deal with judgmental
comments or persuasive opinions, or I might have been too consumed talking
with my companion to actually notice the everyday nuances of culture going on
around me.
Solo female travel has allowed me to take culture in and interact with it
without distractions, transforming me into a more worldly and open-minded
individual.
 
Trekking to the Akha hilltribe village in Chiang Rai as a young 21 year old
solo female traveler.
(Photo: Jessica Festa/Jessie on a Journey)You Will Experience Pure
Freedom Probably the greatest gift solo female travel has given my life
is the experience of ultimate freedom.
When you travel solo you decide where you’ll go, what you’ll do
and when you’ll do it.
There’s nobody trying to change your plans and there’s no need
to compromise.
You’re in complete control of your travel experience, and it feels
good.
As I’ve gotten used to traveling alone, I enjoy traveling without
making plans.
When I arrive to a place I discover it organically, asking for
recommendations from locals and using CouchSurfing to meet new people.
I change my plans daily based on how I’m feeling and who I meet.
Life’s one big adventure full of experiences to be had, and there is
nobody there to tell me I can’t.
 You’ll Remember That It Isn’t Permanent I think what
helped assuage my fears from the get-go was the realization that I really was
in control of the trip planning, down to the fact that I could hop on a plane
home if I really felt uncomfortable.
Many people seem to forget that just because you make a decision to travel
somewhere solo doesn’t mean it’s permanent.
Once you arrive at your destination give yourself a few days to get used to
being on your own and orienting yourself.
If you genuinely feel terrified or miserable after giving it a fair chance,
change your location or go home.
When you’re traveling solo, it’s all up to you.
My Most Important Lesson The most important thing solo female travel has
taught me is that anything is possible.
It’s opened the world for me and made it a smaller and larger place
all at the same time.
While it’s easier than ever to cross seas and explore new continents,
there are so many experiences to be had and so many interesting people to
meet.
I’ve gone from blindly believing stereotypes and what I hear on the
news to experiencing places and cultures firsthand, creating my own truths.
And while I know there are bad people and dangerous places in the world, solo
female travel has turned me into an optimist that believes there are many more
safe places and people with kind hearts.
Solo travel has taught me how much more worthwhile life can be when you live
it to the fullest without regrets.
 Would you ever travel solo? If you already have, has the experience
taught you any valuable lessons? Please share in the comments below.
 More from Jessie on a Journey:Exploring Sustainable Adventure In The
Resort Destination Of Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
My Most Ridiculous Bus
Encounters Backpacking South America  
Quiz: What Type of Traveler Are
You?
WATCH: Taste-Testing Greenland’s Finest Microbrew Beers
Let World traveling club Travel inspire you every day.
Hang out with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
 Check out our original adventure travel series A Broad Abroad.

Experience pure freedom by traveling solo.
Inspired by Australia's rich Thai cuisine culture, I decided I wanted to
go to Thailand to try the real thing.
  I began saving immediately upon my return home to New York, planning to go
head to Southeast Asia the upcoming summer.
Right after Christmas I began asking friends and family if they would be
interested in visiting Thailand with me that summer.
Apparently, everyone I knew.
  When the time came to book my ticket, I was faced with a big decision:
Travel solo or stay home and give up on an experience I had been looking
forward to for months.

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