This is our monthly project on #Solo #Travelers which are created from interviews and engagements that Travlyng authors have with active travelers. If you are interested to be interviewed for your travels, please reach out to us on Twitter.
History, and of course, documents, would have that the thirst for exploration is as old as the human civilization itself. The earliest sign of cartography was discovered on a Babylonian tablet, dating back to 2300 BC! In European History there is an entire era dedicated to exploration, which saw its peak in expeditions conducted by explorers such as Columbus and Vasco da Gama. The examples are innumerable, but the soul of the voyage is one: Discovery. It is an urge to bridge that gap between the familiar and the unfamiliar. The moving factor that encourages the productive exodus is the physicality of exploration that even modern technologies cannot provide.
obviously you cannot control everything
Travelling is a spiritual, recreational, educational and emotional act that is still manual, the automation of which (if it ever materialises) would be a distant nightmare. It is important to confront navigational issues in a country as foreign as Costa Rica and be a little lost, only to find one’s way back, as Sav Fersner recalls. She is a novice when it comes to hitting the road solo, but clearly the travel bug has bitten her. Google Maps might rule the roost but “obviously you cannot control everything” says Ilana, an academician and journalist from Germany for whom travelling is a challenge, a trough from which knowledge can be drunk and a tool to study the cultures of the world.
...solo travel taught me that it's okay to take care of me first, that I don't have to put my own self-care on the back burner
All travellers have been first timers during which they learnt to let go of their ‘what if’s’. They see solo travel as not just nurturing on an individual level, but it also works as a foreplay culminating into the understanding of self-care. As Moni says, “...solo travel taught me that it's okay to take care of me first, that I don't have to put my own self-care on the back burner”. Today the roles of women are not restricted to the home and the hearth. They have embraced the road and liberated themselves, the resulting reinforcement being “female solo travellers”. If you’re thinking that someday you will be “...tied down to a career, family”, follow Jessica’s path. She says “I knew if I didn't do it now, I might never do it.” “Now” is always a good time to start!
I knew if I didn't do it now, I might never do it.
Now, the burning question is why “solo” travelling? The answer is quite simple, self-discovery. However, the motivation could be many and the implications, well, we keep them an open ended trajectory. For example while Moni Boyce left her glittering career in the film industry and boarded the solo caravan to engage in a tryst with herself, Lindsey on the other hand left a drab corporate job and found the sheer joy of the reel life through her journey across India, Morocco and England. For Moni, exploration restored her love for the self, while Lindsey made peace by loving another. Jessica is another nomadic soul who wanted the taste of the world to remain on the tip of her tongue. That led her to dig deep till she found an English teaching programme in Spain. It’s not that she has not fought odds in her journey, but in the end what did not kill her only made her stronger!
give yourselves some time off while you’re travelling, you don’t have to see or do everything at once
There might be detention and rude attitude at the airport, hostile looks, being clicked without permission, dress code issues, tourist scams, unknown people following you, inadequate medical care, to only name a few. Seasoned travellers, like Co, would suggest, “give yourselves some time off while you're travelling, you don't have to see or do everything at once.” (She has travelled to 27 countries by the way!) Getting oneself acquainted with the political and social situation also helps, as Ilana suggests. In these times - and some solo travellers have in fact agreed - a community can work as a sound support system. Sav says, “I agree, having an app as a more experienced friend in these circumstances would definitely put my mind at ease.” Jessica thinks that a digital community might be a good idea. “It’s nice to have a travel community, to isolate & address issues”, says Lindsey.
It’s nice to have a travel community, to isolate & address issues
All of these are inferences drawn from dynamic interactions with solo travellers. The more extensive the engagement becomes, the more stories come alighting on their wings of inspiration. These stories deserve to touch, first the souls, and then the soles of those who aspire. But for these stories to take flight, they require a runway first. Our engagement with active globetrotters is the stepping stone to create that runway. And, for it to be up and running, we look forward to more and more interactions with the travelers.
Reach out to us on Twitter!