One of the biggest challenges of traveling solo is actually making the decision to book your flight and pack your bag. There are so many preconceptions that people hold about solo travel but, the reality is very different to what most people imagine.
This is particularly true for women. I can’t tell you how many times people ask me, “But aren’t you afraid?” or “Is it safe?”
The truth is, traveling solo changed my life and is the single greatest gift I’ve ever given myself. Like me, many women will find solo travel to be empowering, enjoyable and a wonderful experience.
Here are just a few reasons why all women should travel solo!
The Freedom Is Wonderful
What you eat, the activities you do and how you spend your day are all some of the options that solo travel will give you, and this sense of freedom is a great thing to embrace.
Traveling with friends or family will often cause people adapt to suit others in terms of what they do and where they visit. With solo travel, the ability to be selfish and do what you really want to do is wonderfully liberating.
The counter to this coin is that it does mean that there is no one else to blame if you end up on the wrong train or your find yourself struggling with a menu in an unfamiliar restaurant!
Those moments are when we learn most about ourselves and rise up to overcome hurdles.
Meeting New People
The thought of solo travel may seem like a lonely one to many people but, it is amazing how often travelers will start conversations with solo female travelers.
There’s a curiosity around it and people are usually more inclined to lend a helping hand and play a part in your adventure. It’s happened to me time and time again around the world despite language barriers and cultural differences.
There are also many people who will want to find out more about you and will want to make sure you feel welcomed in their city. This is the kind of experience that can really enrich your travels and restore your faith in people.
The hardest decision you will make with solo travel is to book a flight and pack a bag. Even that very first step of your solo trip is empowering. From there, the more you travel solo the more your confidence will grow.
While all of the organizing and hard work will fall on your shoulders, all of the pleasure that comes from a job well done when you have organized a life changing trip will be yours to savor.
Become The Master Of Your Destiny
Being able to do what you like when you like is something that is often underrated. When it comes to solo travel, you can choose whether you want to to sleep in, fill your day with activities or treat yourself to a day of getting lost in a beautiful city.
Solo travel is often associated with longer term travel and, if this is an option, being able to amend your route simply because you want to go somewhere on a whim is a great experience.
Learn To Be Resourceful
Until you are in over your head and desperately trying to figure out what to do next, you won’t really know how resourceful you really can be.
This is something that will sometimes happen when you travel, whether you miss a connection in a city you weren’t expecting to visit or you find yourself trying to arrange an activity that isn’t usually offered to tourists in an unusual destination.
Some of the most beautiful experiences come from the unexpected and even accidental. You will learn to loosen up and make the most of any situation.
Making compromises is a natural part of most trips, as you will have to choose a route to suit yourself and whoever you are traveling with. Finding experiences that suit everyone in your travel party means compromise is inevitable.
However, if you are traveling solo then these compromises are entirely up to you, whether you want a shorter holiday staying in hotels or if you prefer budget accommodation so that you can travel for longer.
Solo travel lets you prioritize what is most important for you.
The United Nation Environment Programme (UNEP) via the Hello Kitty Global Channel, in cooperation with the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, Thailand’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, has named Ko Tao as the island with a strong community committed to coral reef conservation.
The announcement was made on the World Oceans Day 2020, today, 8 June, making Ko Tao as one of the global communities that follows “Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources” under the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Ko Tao – which means Turtle Island – was given the name because its pristine beaches have long been breeding and egg-laying sites for green turtles. Today, the island is Thailand’s most popular scuba-diving destination, and there are many diving schools, shops, resorts and diving tour operators, which cater for beginners and experienced divers alike.
Dive operators and local dive schools on Ko Tao are praised for adopting the Green Fins practices to protect the marine environment. Divers are usually among some the most ecologically aware individuals on the planet, and are well schooled that proper diving means avoiding contact with any plant or marine life they encounter. With Ko Tao’s ongoing sustainable, community-based initiatives, the island’s marine environment is always prepared to handle future generations of eco-aware divers and tourists.
There is also an on-going drive by the local people and authorities to preserve the natural wonders of Ko Tao and keep it clean and pristine, while trying to cater for the many young people who go there, with a range of food and nightlife options.
Located just off the mainland province of Surat Thani in Southern Thailand, Ko Tao can be reached by speedboat or ferry from Samui and the mainland. Once there, travellers can enjoy powdery, white sandy beaches washed by the waves of crystal-clear sea water.
Rome Station is high desert in Southeastern part of Oregon. I was in the right place at the right time for this beautiful picture.
The pacific northwest is full of awe inspiring waterfalls!!
I still have seats available in my 2020 Columbia River Gorge photo clinics. I’m co-hosting this event with my friend Chris Byrne. This is in the gorge. I’m about to announce 2021. This is what I have for 2020. My Alaska trip, which is always the highlight to the year.
I am fortunate to live so close to so many beautiful landscapes.
Thanks to the weather here and the Fabulous Pacific Northwest Landscape we get to enjoy beautiful wildflowers.
You’ll enjoy finding History, Statues and Art in Krakow along with, so many more wonderful things to see and do. Krakow is a must-see for anyone traveling through Poland!
First, go into the main square and walk through the central market. There, if you’re lucky you might be able to catch a weekend outdoor market filled with delicious foods and handcrafted items that you can purchase. Also within the square you can catch parades.
Next, continue to walk around the Planty of old Krakow (which used to be the moat that surrounded it). Enjoy the art set up in it. And all the shade from the trees that arch over the paved paths!
Third, if you walk along the riverside, be sure to go over to the pedestrian bridge that crosses the river splitting Krakow. There you will find some amazing statues suspended by wires all down the bridge.
Next, while you are walking around, enjoying the sights keep your eyes posted so not to miss anything.
Note: This article is not intended to teach you how to climb, or about safe climbing practices. This article is about sizing up potential partners.
Traveling the world to rock climb is a fantastic way to see some places. That are not on the normal tourist trails, and not from the normal vantage point. There are views and adventures for every appetite, from the easily accessible to the dangerous and obscure.
But, for most solo travelers, the first problem is finding a partner you can trust. After all, how many sports require, you to immediately place your life in the hands of another? How do you know if someone you just met is trustworthy?
Climbing is Dangerous
The risks cannot be overstated – an accident from just a short distance off the ground can be fatal or life changing. That is not how anyone wants to spend their day.
Even to non-climbers it might appear that climbing is singularly dangerous, climbing is a very broad sport that encompasses everything from the very safe (top-roping at a gym) to the very risky (high-altitude mountaineering or free soloing). Most climbers follow certain rules that make the sport quite safe. Pushing the limits of risk should only be done with trusted partners.
For this article we are focusing mainly about the most popular types of climbing. That involve finding partners – top-roping, sport climbing, and trad climbing on removable gear. When done right, these can be, safe. But, things can go wrong in the blink of an eye.
Partners can be found on the We Solo app, or on other social media or websites. But, how do you know if you are compatible partners? How do you size up a potential partner? The easiest, part is the “where” and “when”. – Making sure you can be at the same place at the same time. But, what else should you be looking for?
Talk is Cheap
Have you ever seen a sport climbing anchor fail? These are the simplest types of anchors, typically two bolts with or without chains. All the climber has to do is clip in a couple of quick draws, or possibly use slings to make a quick and secure anchor. Generally these are considered fool-proof, but nothing really is.
I have seen one fail.
It was at a meetup group of climbers, some very newbie, and some slightly more experienced. I considered myself the latter … I had been leading for a few months. During the get-to-know you chat, one climber, I’ll call him “Greg” here, declared that he had been climbing for 15 years. He had gear and a rope, and was very confident in his abilities.
As we were splitting off in groups of two or three. I stuck near Greg. Since some of the other climbers, had never even lead belayed, and I wanted to lead some stuff. We split off with a third climber, “Norm”.
Greg took the first lead up a single-pitch 5.7 climb. I noticed some oddities right away.: His quickdraw all had screw gates on the rope side (not common). And every time he clipped a bolt, he would grab the quickdraw and pull himself up. In, other words, he was aiding, not free climbing. We’ve all, pulled on quickdraws, but most people do not pull on every single one. OK, I thought, that’s weird, but whatever makes you happy. The anchor was over a bulge and out of sight.
After Greg put up the rope, Norm decided to top-rope it next. As he moved over the bulge and near the top, suddenly a quickdraw slid down the rope from the anchor. Whatever, Greg had rigged at the anchor had at least partially failed. Norm was climbing with a single point of protection, at best.
Fortunately, Norm got to the top without falling and descended safely. It turns out that Greg had rigged the anchor by chaining together two quickdraws on each bolt. The carabiner on each lower quickdraw was clipped into the carabiner on the upper quickdraw. (If you aren’t aware of how dangerous this is. I encourage you to play with two quickdraw, clipped carabiner to carabiner. One little twist and they pop apart.) All it took was a twist in the rope and one half the anchor failed totally.
Humans are bad at self-assessment
Wikipedia describes the Dunning–Kruger Effect as “a cognitive bias in which people with low ability at a task overestimate their ability.” Another way to say this is that some people do not have the ability to realize their overconfidence and do not understand their own limits and lack of skill. Even if Greg had been climbing for many years, he was not only unaware of his lack of skill, but he was confident that he was highly skilled.
If you cannot trust what someone says, how do you evaluate them?
It’s a Date.
You are meeting a stranger, possibly in a strange place. It makes sense to treat, this like a blind date, because that is exactly what it is. Meet in a public place, and make sure someone knows where you are going and with whom.
Be an Internet creep. Read everything you can about them online. Make sure you know their full name, and Google it. Look them up on Facebook, Mountainproject, 27 Crags, etc. Are they constantly looking for partners, despite staying in the same location? Possibly because, no one wants to climb with them? Are they bragging or arguing in forums? Listen to your gut.
Ask your mutual friends about them. It is surprising how many climbers we get to know over time. And how many climbers they each know, and it’s entirely possible to have mutual friends in common. Even the non-climbers can tell you something about their judgement.
In advance of meeting, decide what is acceptable.
By that I mean you should have a set of minimum safety considerations that you plan in advance, and stick to them. I am not going to tell you what level of risk you should accept, that’s up to you. For me, I expect that a partner knows about and is enthusiastic of doing standard quick safety checks (look at each other’s harnesses, knots, belay device, etc). Anyone who is not interested in this check or finds it silly or annoying (it takes all of 3 seconds) is disqualified.
I also make sure I state that I expect they always keep a hand on the rope when belaying. Most climbers these days use assisted braking devices and some feel it’s OK to drop their hands and let the device do all the work. I don’t agree, and if they argue with me then I am not going to be comfortable continuing.
Skip the mind-altering substances.
Climbers make their own decisions about drinking alcohol or smoking weed at the crag. But, you should at least consider that when you have a new partner. You are not in a comfortable and safe environment. You are in a new environment. With a lot of unknowns, and it might be best to play it safe and keep all your senses sharp.
Plan conservative goals.
On a blind romantic date, you don’t make the first date a week-long trip to Vegas. You make it short, casual, and have an escape route. Climbing is the same, so if you meet in person and decide that this partnership is not working, you can bail. This is easy if you are on a single-pitch sport climb. It will be more awkward if bailing means you have to have an argument on the 10th pitch, followed by hours of rappelling and a 3 hour hike home. Pick a casual crag where you can walk away. If you are planning a long multi-pitch climb, do a warm-up on something that’s just one or two pitches and make sure you are working together well.
Keep an eye out for subtle cues.
I once had a new partner, whose rope looked like a rat had been chewing on it. I could see clearly to the core. Not only did this tell me that they were careless with critical gear. But their reaction, – completely casual – drove home the point that they were not aware of what is important.
You might be the weak link.
Remember the Dunning-Kruger Effect we talked about? I’m sorry, to break it to you, but this cuts both ways. If you think you are perfectly confident. And, have all the necessary skills, then maybe, just maybe, you are the overconfident one.
Maybe you are competent at your home crag, with your friends, and gear, on routes you’ve climbed a hundred times. But, maybe you are not completely well-rounded in some new situation. Something as simple as the anchors might be different. Or, you might be forced to rappel instead of lowering at the top of a climb. Perhaps it is smart to be a bit humble. To ask questions. To back off on the grades a bit. And to see if there is anything that a new crag or a new partner might teach you.
Hopefully some of this advice is helpful on your adventure. Have fun and be safe!
Solo travelers are exploring the world like never before. And being safe when you travel is important. Below are some of the Top Safe Travel Tips for Traveling Alone. Always remember that no safety tip ever trumps simply using Common sense.
Research Your Destination
Before, you go you want to research where you are going. As in “What’s the Climate? What’s appropriate clothing? What do I want to see or do? How expensive is my destination? What should I be aware of as far as local cultures?” There are so many other important questions, that you need research.
You can find the answers in a variety of different places.
Keep your valuables on your person (or you can use a day bag), you should really keep your valuables in a safe at the hotel or leave them at home. But, when you do go out, take items like your camera, wallet (with only the essentials), cell phone, minimal jewelry. (However, it is a good thing to wear a cheap wedding ring, to avoid unwanted attention.)
Only Take What You Need
You don’t want to over pack. This goes back to your research.
Trust Your Gut Feelings
If something feels off or just not right, always trust your sub-conscience/gut feelings.
Talk to Locals
Locals usually know the best places to visit and eat, that may not be as “touristy” as you might find on the internet or guide books.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
You are more vulnerable, when you get, too focused on the sites. Stay aware of what is going on around you. Always trust your gut feelings if something doesn’t feel right it probably isn’t.
Know Emergency Numbers
911 is common in the states for an emergency number. However, when abroad, that is not necessarily the case. In Europe you can dial 112. And, you can, also get emergency numbers, from the State Department. You can Enroll in the STEP program.
Get Travelers Insurance
Help protect your trip from the unexpected. Get protection from canceled/delayed flights, lost or damaged baggage.
Watch your Drinking
This again goes back to being aware of your surroundings. You can drink to have fun and be social. Drink responsibly!!
Don’t Trust to Quickly
It’s advised that you should not trust people quickly. When you are travelling, or when you have just arrived at a new destination.
When you’re traveling in a new destination, or you finally had that homecoming trip you have been dreaming about. And especially, when you’re traveling on your own, it can be tempting to join up and find a tribe or people that appear similar to your culture or way of life. Sometimes these tribes turn into lifelong friendships, but they don’t always. Some con artists have mastered, the art of befriending travellers, getting them to leave their valuables unattended, and robbing them before taking off.