“Life Is Either A Daring Adventure Or Nothing At All”
– Helen Keller
You could say I am a professional traveler. 57 countries and countless solo adventures; I love a good quest, I am daring, and I savor every moment. Solo travel is my thing now. I wasn’t always like this, but years of traveling solo and LOVING it have taught me a travel (and life) lesson or two. Below, I share my secrets. I hope they enrich your travels in ways you’ve only dreamed of and empower you to be brave in everything you do.
Welcome To The Wonderful World Of Solo Travel
Oh, The Places You Will Go
You know that one special place? The one that’s always been on your bucket list, but you’ve either had no-one to go with you or your travel companion is less than interested? Gorilla trekking in Uganda or Rwanda, hiking to Machu Picchu, the traditional African villages of Ethiopia, the great migration in East Africa, a helicopter ride over the Victoria Falls, a camel ride in the Sahara Desert… the destination that speaks to you.
When you travel solo, you get to personally curate your very own bucket list trip, with all the things you’ve imagined.
Solo travel means you call the shots. You learn to trust your own judgment and become more independent. This gives you a sense of fulfillment and achievement, confidence and bravery, tolerance, gratitude, compassion and much more. You become more aware of your surroundings when you are not distracted by conversation with friends. You have the freedom to dive into the experience at hand and fully immerse yourself like never before. It is these precise moments when you notice the sunrise in a different way, you hear the birds singing for the first time, and slowly but surely, you rediscover yourself in the perfect (or imperfect) moment.
Exploring the jungles of Costa Rica
More Time For Me
When you have a travel companion, you graciously consider what they want from the trip; their preference for hotels, restaurants, sightseeing. This means compromising. Every now and then, it’s nice to skip the compromise and ‘have our cake and eat it too’, right? We all deserve to be a little selfish and indulgent sometimes. Something we all crave but rarely find time for. And when you travel solo, no one can stop you.
On your own, you can skip that museum you are disinterested in, wake up late one morning because you feel like it, eat that indulgent dessert, have another glass of wine, travel to that country you’ve always dreamed of. Say YES to yourself more often, instead of always saying yes to others.
Solo Travel is Rarely Solitary
Often people ask me if I get lonely. The honest answer is: yes, sometimes I do. But it rarely lasts more than a moment as I whisk myself off to the next adventure or make an unexpected new friend in the least likely of places. Packing your days full of fun activities leaves little room to feel lonely. And when I am lonely, technology immediately connects me to those back home (to brag to them about how much fun I’m having without them, of course).
Hello, New Friends
You meet more people traveling alone than you do traveling with others. I’m sure this is a scientifically proven fact, and many of my solo travel friends agree. Fortunately, meeting people abroad is easier than you think.
On your own, you are more likely to start up a conversation and ask questions. You never know the small things you could have in common with someone. If all else fails, ask someone to take your picture, this is a great icebreaker for those of us terrible at ‘selfies’.
I Don’t Want To Dine Alone
Solo travelers often feel most awkward at mealtimes. I’ve found this can actually be of benefit. You see, humans are compassionate creatures; people are more generous and welcoming when they see a solo traveler. Making friends with restaurant staff or your bartender can mean a larger pouring of wine, a free dessert, or even a new friend. This also applies to travel in general. Others in the restaurant may stare, but many invite me to dine with them so they can hear my story. Don’t take your phone out. Instead, invite another solo traveler to sit with you – they are probably feeling the same way. And if all else fails, bring a book or review your travel photos.
The Solo Traveler’s Packing List
- A smile: this can get you into (and out of) many situations
- A scarf: for warmth / dusty roads / sun protection / when feel like dressing up a little
- Gratitude: to appreciate your surroundings, the things you are experiencing and the opportunities you’ve been granted in a new light
- A book: for when you’ve tried to be brave but still feel a little awkward (it happens to us all)
- A camera: you will see the world with new eyes when traveling solo. Capture the fleeting moments, the small details, those things you would otherwise miss. They can make the best photographs.
Now is your chance to take a leap and plan your adventure. Fortunately, we have plenty of ideas to get you started! The Rothschild Safaris team is meticulous with trip details. We have insider tips and expert advice on where to travel and how to best tailor an itinerary for any avid solo traveler. We’ll include camps and hotels with a social feel, fantastic guides, and ensure you feel supported every step of the way through the planning process and while you are traveling.