Why traveling alone IS brave

November 4, 2017

Solo woman in front of a snowy lake on an adventure alone

Why traveling alone IS brave

I’m at the salon getting a haircut. I tell the stylist about my upcoming trip to Morocco. She asks, “Who are you going with?” and I answer “No one, I’m going by myself.”

“WOW, you’re so brave!” she exclaims.

Traveling alone is shocking and that’s okay

I’m a member of several Facebook groups for women who love to travel. My first thought when she said that I was being brave, was that many women from these travel groups would disagree. Some might even be insulted and get upset because traveling alone should not be so shocking. But here’s the thing, traveling alone is shocking and that’s okay.

Related: Travel Resources

Traveling alone is going against cultural norms. Many people won’t even go to movies alone. Many people won’t eat out alone. Most people go their entire lives traveling only with other people, usually family. If you’re traveling with others, not only are you physically safer but you feel safer. With others, you have a support system there always with you if you get into trouble. If your phone is stolen, others in the group probably have a phone. If you’re getting into a bad situation and your partner says to you “This doesn’t feel right, let’s leave.” You’ll probably leave. But put yourself into that same situation alone and you might talk yourself out of leaving because you don’t want to make a scene.

Being brave is about facing your fears

Solo travel puts 100% of the responsibility of the planning, activities, and safety completely on your shoulders. That brings me back to my original point. Traveling alone (especially your first time) can be daunting and scary. That is normal. Lots of people are afraid to travel alone and that is okay.

Solo person with a map planning a solo tripRelated: Do I need travel insurance?

Is traveling alone brave? Being brave is about facing your fears. For plus sized women (I am one) it can be terrifying to wear a bikini for the first time. But you face your fear and do it anyway and that is brave. Maybe you’re afraid of heights but you face your fear and went zip-lining; that is brave. So, if someone says to you that your solo adventure is brave, don’t diminish that, it IS brave. Bravery takes many forms. Running into a burning building or being a soldier on the battlefield aren’t the only way one can be brave. This army veteran is here to tell you that facing your fears is also being brave.

How to take your first solo trip

Group adventure of people hiking down a mountain

If you haven’t taken a solo trip and you’re considering one, talk with others who have traveled to the countries you’re interested in. Don’t rely on the opinions of people who have never been there. I highly recommend joining Girls LOVE Travel, it’s a free Facebook group of active and aspiring female travelers that empower and support each other. The group has been an invaluable resource and source of inspiration for me.

Another way to travel alone but still feel the safety and support of a group is to do a group tour. Below are affiliate referral links, which means that I’ll earn a commission if you make a purchase. Each of these travel sites are very well known and come highly recommended by those who use them:

G Adventures, Intrepid Travel, and Groupon.

Have you even taken a solo trip? Tell us about it in the comments so that others can be inspired by your story.

Why traveling alone IS brave. Being brave is about facing your fears. Traveling alone can be daunting and scary for a first timer.

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By Amber Alexander

Through my own adventures, I strive to provide insight into experiences that will enrich your life. Traveling is my passion and I want to share that with you. Along with recommendations for adventures, I will also review books and supplies that are related to those adventures. I want you to push your own boundaries of what you thought you could do. Let me be your guide and compass to rediscovering how fun life can be!

18 Comments

  1. Reply

    Michelle Joy (@harborsnhavens)

    I’m married and I still like to travel alone sometimes. It’s great to get out of your comfort zone!

  2. Reply

    jiahui (@jiahuimuses)

    i like the freedom of solo traveling and would encourage females to try it out once in their lifetime! We should not feel stigmatized either way regardless of our choice of traveling.

  3. Reply

    Clazz - An Orcadian Abroad

    Great post, I totally agree! I think solo travel is becoming normalised, but even if you didn’t feel brave booking it, it gets to the night before your first trip and it’s totally natural to be nervous! I suppose it’s a little like stage fright, except you’re putting yourself out there in the real world. Plus solo travel isn’t for everyone, so the people who DO do it are definitely brave. 🙂

    1. Reply

      Amber Alexander

      Thanks for writing this! I have a trip in 2 weeks and every day I feel a little bit more of this. It’s starting to feel real, scary mixed with excitement.

      1. Reply

        Clazz - An Orcadian Abroad

        That’s the best kind of scary! 🙂

  4. Reply

    Claudia

    When I was traveling by my self for the first time I did a combination of both. I traveled by myself for a few days and also joined a group for a few days. That was perfect. Now I am used to travel by myself. Traveling alone has taught me a lot. I would encourage everyone to do it.

  5. Reply

    Shibani

    I love travelling solo, it was intimidating and daunting at first. But also liberating towards the end 🙂

  6. Reply

    Ketki

    I have traveled solo so many times for work and leisure even though i am married and i absolutely love it. I try and inspire so many women to take that step to be brave enough and do it. I feel it is liberating 🙂

  7. Reply

    Nina | Lemons and Luggage

    As much as I enjoy traveling with my boyfriend, I love to travel alone every once in a while!

  8. Reply

    Ryan | A Polished Palate

    I think it’s so inspiring seeing those that have the courage to set out on big travel adventures alone!

  9. Reply

    Prachi Shah

    Traveling alone according to me is not shocking! I understand people do fear traveling alone and I have done one solo travel. Somehow I didn’t like traveling alone. After a certain point, I just got bored of myself. But lately, I feel I want to do more solo traveling. I believe that is because a lot of things have changed in my personal life.

  10. Reply

    Anonymous

    I really enjoyed this, wish I read it before my first solo trip to Mexico last year!

  11. Reply

    thatanxioustraveller

    Awesome article – sometimes its easier to really take in another place or culture when you’re alone, because you have less distraction and you’re forced to interact with people. It definitely is brave!

  12. Reply

    Sierra Dehmler

    As a fellow solo traveler, I so relate to this post! It’s funny the reactions people have when you tell them you’re going on a trip by yourself. Being alone is so frowned upon in our culture, which is a little strange when you really think about it! I love traveling solo, so much freedom!

  13. Reply

    shesatripblog

    I so agree! Traveling alone is brave 🙂 I got that some reaction from my dentist when I said was going to Berlin alone hahaha. You would think I was doing something crazy and not just exploring.

  14. Reply

    Karolina | But, First, Tea!

    You know, before I read your post, I didn’t really put my mind to a thought of traveling alone. I always have been with somebody so traveling by myself wasn’t actually on a table. The older I get though the more I think it changes you – in a very positive way too. Thank you for that post and for the thoughts in my head too:))

  15. Reply

    Kaitlyn

    Took a solo trip last year to Oregon (I’m from Colorado) and I can’t tell you how many people’s jaws dropped when I told them I wasn’t going with anyone. Traveling alone to a new place IS scary and it IS brave, but that doesn’t mean you should miss out on a wonderful opportunity to travel just because you are solo. Love it, thanks!

  16. Reply

    Steph

    I just got home from Costa Rica where I did a one week surf camp. People got surprised when I told them about my boyfriend home in Sweden- why did I go by myself to Costa Rica? Because he was not interested in Surfing or Costa Rica as destination- but why should it stop me when I wanted to travel somewhere new and also learn to surf? I had one of my best weeks in my life with new friends, new experiences and the “wow I did it!”- feeling. It was my first “solo trip” and it was perfect! So even if you have a partner- travel to places you dream about if the partner somehow have no single interest in travelling :)!

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