Why You Should Stop Fearing Solo Travel, and Embrace Solo Trips

A reflection on my international solo trip

Photo by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash

“Your brave”,“wow”, seemed to be the most common response I got from other’s when telling them I was taking a trip to Mexico alone. Of course, along with some “fun”, and “exciting” responses as well. It wasn’t the destination that made people question safety, it was the fact no one else was going with me. Travel I feel is one of those things in life just about all humans no matter walk of life you come from, your background, lifestyle, we can all most likely agree is a rewarding activity that should be a necessity in life. There is so much excitement and positive things about traveling. Whether its a local trip within your state, or country, or even a simple weekend getaway, the anticipation of a trip seems to always be positive.

So what is it about traveling alone that we humans have built up so much fear about? It could be one of the safest places on earth, and people still question if it is safe to go alone. According to Learning Mind, the top 10 fears humans have, does not even include “traveling alone.” Fear of public speaking, death, and loneliness are the top 3.

I think as people we equate danger happening to a person in a foreign place when they are alone. Now I haven’t gone down the rabbit hole and studied “reasons for fear of traveling alone” for hours upon hours. I am here to give you my experience taking a solo trip internationally and my positive experience. And hope to embrace others to travel solo if they get the opportunity. Life wait’s for no man!

What makes a trip with someone or others any more safe?

This was the response I decided I was going to use whenever someone questioned if me taking a solo trip was safe? Now I want you to think about the times you have taken a trip with others. What about it made that trip more safe? Can you think of an answer? Do you think people who commit crimes are going to think twice because a tourist is not alone? I would say not.

Look back to those string of deaths that occurred in the Dominican Republic in 2019. A record of about 16 tourists had died over over a span of 2 years in the Dominican Republic, according to The Sun. Almost all of these unfortunate deaths they were with others on their trip. The main theory still remains is poisoning caused the deaths. I know this sounds horrific, talking about death while vacationing, but I think it’s important to be real with facts and real life situations that have happened, and are nothing new. “Cruise ship deaths, kids gone missing while on vacations, a missing couple” while on vacation. These are headlines im sure we have all heard at least once in our lifetime. Again, my point is not to instill fear in you, but to realize bad things happen a lot more than we want to think while vacationing even with others. And to also back my point of, “what makes a trip more safe with someone?” I mean all the above incidents that have been happening since the dawn of time did not stop them from happening despite someone was with at least one other person on a trip.

The benefits of having to NOT compromise with others

When I took my trip to Mexico I did a tour everyday, it was amazing! There were a few times during my trip and when I got home, where I questioned “what would I have ended up doing & would have sacrificed not being able to do if I was with other people.” My sister and cousin looked into going with me very close to before my trip was supposed to happen. Although I love them,and I am sure we all love the people we have been with on vacations in the past and future vacations we plan on taking with others, I am so happy they did not join me. Why? Because when you take a trip with others you need to plan out activities you want to do, this can mean compromising due to the fact there maybe someone else that has a different interest in an activity during your vacation.

I definitely would have not had the amazing experience of horseback riding in the mountains. I know this because my cousin is terrified of horses. The riding trip on her previous vacation to Hawaii was enough for her. Would I have been able to convince them to take a day trip to a nearby city 3 hours away? Which also felt like a dream when I did it. I visited the city of Taxco Mexico, a beautiful city built on steep hills in the mountains. Imagine Santorini Greece, but Mexico! So worth the 3 hours there and back. I feel like the response I would have gotten when bringing up this idea for a tour if the other 2 had come would be something like: “we could do other things locally”, or “I don't feel like driving that long.” Trust me, I know my sister and cousin, again, love them, just I don’t always feel like compromising with others!

Would I be urged and pressured to stay up late and hit a local Mexican bar or night club because, well, we could have, we would have been on vacation, and I would have been the single one. I tend to get a lot of dating advice from my older sister (married), and my cousin (in a relationship). So the idea of night bar hopping or clubbing im sure would have been right up there alley, as far as what they think “I” should be doing anyways on vacation and in a foreign place. Did I mention I for one am not the bar/ club type.

Now again, these are just likely scenarios that could have been the case, although I think very likely. Even if I happened to take a trip and my experience with 2 family members turned out not to be what I mentioned all above, I have had trips where compromising with others about what-to- do is definitely a thing. Leaving my trip still great, but with a feeling of “I wish I would have been able to do this”. Please keep this in mind.

Just thinking about these highly likely possibilities if I was joined by others, I am so glad I avoided them because I was on my own time, solo!

Finding yourself more

Whether you are single, in a relationship, getting over an unhealthy relationship in the past, or you know who you are as an adult, I am sure you will find more of yourself when touring a new place by yourself. When your by yourself you only have yourself to to talk to and reflect on. Obviously you can end up meeting locals and other tourists. Visiting a new place allows for time to yourself, time to absorb a new culture and place, and time to reflect on how you see the world differently now that you’ve experienced a new place.

According to Brain And Behavior Research Foundation, here are some benefits of taking a vacation: stress reduction, lowers the risk of a heart attack, better sleep, improved productivity at work, and vacations make you happier with life. Now who couldn’t benefit from all of these?

Digital Nomad’s are solo travelers, and the number are rising

Ever heard the word digital nomad? I only recently heard of it maybe three years ago. A digital nomad is someone who works remotely online, and can work just about any where in the world. Guess what, this lifestyle of work is rising. MBO Partners 2020 estimated 7.3 million nomads in 2019, which grew to 10.9 million in 2020. A major contributor to the growth was COVID, making more jobs possible remotely. The idea of working anywhere in the World and still being able to keep a job is also very appealing to many employees. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be sitting near the beach in the Caribbean while working?! Because digital nomad’s work remotely, and can live anywhere, they usually are living by themselves in a foreign place, with no family, so they in a way are solo. The fact that digital nomad life rose significantly I think should prove a life style of being able to travel freely can be safe, and rewarding. Not to say bad things will never happen around you. But I at least hope you ponder on this fact for a moment while re-considering the safety of solo travel.

If you’re curious more about digital nomad or expat life, in regards to traveling & safety, I recommend You Tube is a great place to start. I have learned so much about this lifestyle, as well as following a few digital nomads and expats who have a wealth of experience living and traveling abroad, solo. I recommend “Traveling with Kristin” You Tube page. She has lived abroad for 15 years! She shares the positive’s, good , bad, and ugly. SPK Lifestyle is also a good You Tube page to start. He is a digital nomad who has lived in Mexico and Colombia, and has visited traveled to many places in Mexico. If digital nomads and expats can travel solo, so can you!

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So, have I gave you enough inspiration to at least consider taking your first solo trip ?!

My professional life I am a teachers aide. I have always had an interest in writing for many years, just never knew where to start, until now!

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