Like most of my solo adventures, many of the people I meet can’t wrap their heads around why I travel solo. On my most recent trip out West, I spent 5 days in the Alberta outback with a rental car, my backpack, hiking shoes, no running water and super spotty cell reception. Stupid to some? Perhaps. Soothing for the soul? Absolutely. There’s something so special about being surrounded by nothing but your own thoughts.
I’ve had many different answers for when people ask me why I travel solo. “Because I can,” has become my favourite answer. I refuse to wait around for others to be able to join me. If I want something and I have the opportunity to go do it, then I’m packing my bags. Beyond the safety of traveling alone as a female – two of the most common misconceptions I’ve gotten about solo traveling is that you are always alone and your pictures are nothing more than a terribly angled selfie. I’m happy to report that’s far from the reality.
Let’s start with the first. You are only alone if you don’t want to be. On this trip, I was doing a day hike up a bear-infested mountain. While yelling out “hello bears, come eat me” ever so often made me feel better, the facts don’t lie, there’s strength in numbers. Naturally, when I got to the summit I became friends with a group of 3 men from Calgary. Two of them were CTO for tech firms, while the other was a senior developer for another tech company. I spent a good 4 hours hanging out with these guys chit chatting the afternoon away. By the time we got to the base not only had I not been eaten by the bears but had made 3 new friends.
That is a single day of travel. Two days later I befriended Betty and John a couple from California who were doing a 4-month road trip to Canada and back. John offered me a drink and Betty made me promise I would come knock on their trailer and come sleep on their couch if I heard any bears at night. In similar fashion, I met a man from Hong Kong who let me fly his done while I was hiking in the Italian Alps. I have his contact info for whenever I make it out to his neck of the woods and need a tour guide. On a trip to the south of France, I met two girls from Tasmania that to this day I stay in touch with over social media after they let me tag along on their weekend adventures through Marseille.
These are just a few of the people I’ve met along the way. If you want to be alone while traveling solo it’s pretty easy to live in a bubble. But, put on a smile, offer a compliment or heck try introducing yourself and voila you are no longer alone. As cheesy as it may be “the world is full of friends waiting to get to know you.”
The second concept people get hung up on is the pictures. Yes, selfies are great and asking others to take a snapshot of you comes in handy but what about every other time? Let me introduce you to a new piece of technology….. the tripod. Prior to Alberta, I set my camera on a ledge, backpack, stone or anything else I could lean it up against, then self-timer the perfect shot. This time around I got smarter, paid my $25 and got myself a tripod. Let the pictures speak for themselves. Each one of these was taken by yours truly.
So as the thoughts of new years resolutions and 2018 travel plans start making their way into your head, take me up on on a challenge; Pack the bags and go solo – just don’t forget your camera!
“Travel has made me more aware of me. I learn more about myself while on the road than anywhere else. It’s given me the ‘I can make it happen’ attitude.“