Why I Started Solo Traveling (and Why You Should, Too!)

Photographer:  Stephanie Heymann

Photographer: Stephanie Heymann

I’ve always envisioned an alternate reality of my life where I’m journeying around the world, but my excuse for not doing so was that I didn’t have someone available to come along. In a time when endless travel inspiration is only a click away, visiting a far-away destination has never seemed more feasible. Coordinating a trip with others, however, has never felt more difficult.

If you’re past your early twenties, you’ve probably experienced the shift in your social circle where everyone becomes busy. Busy working for that promotion (with little time off), busy scraping together a down payment for a home, or busy getting married and starting families. The chances of you and your friend/partner/relative having the same time off, the same budget, and the same desire to go to a destination is harder to come by.

On New Year’s Eve 2017, I found myself (once again) perusing travel blogs and thinking of the amazing places I wanted to see. I pulled up a fresh Word document to make a list of trips I wanted to take, and within minutes had 40+ destinations written before me. I was shocked - something about seeing the number of places I wanted to visit on paper made me realize that I didn’t have time to wait around and hope these trips happen. I had to make them happen.

Wearing a white dress in the desert at sunrise.

I did the math in my head - even if I organized one trip a year with someone else, I would be nearly 70 years old before I made it to all of these places, and that’s with an (unrealistic) average of one trip a year, which could easily be derailed by future children, health issues, job changes, etc. Here is when I had my epiphany:

If I don’t go to these places by myself, I may never go at all.

I don’t want to be 95 years old and regretting that I never walked the bustling streets of Tokyo or watched a sunset on the cliffs of the Algarve because no one was free to go with me. Becoming a solo traveler has solidified a new constant in my life: I am going. If my partner/family/friends are free to travel, great! I plan a trip with them. And if I’m dying to go somewhere or find an awesome flight deal and no one is available, no big deal - I am still going to go, just by myself.

One of my favorite solo trips from last year was to the Tempe/Scottsdale area in Arizona. For a fantastic photographer in the region check out  Stephanie Heymann  - we shot these photos in the desert at sunrise and she is absolutely incredible!

One of my favorite solo trips from last year was to the Tempe/Scottsdale area in Arizona. For a fantastic photographer in the region check out Stephanie Heymann - we shot these photos in the desert at sunrise and she is absolutely incredible!

Since I began solo traveling, I’ve received countless messages from other women who are in a similar situation to myself: their work schedule is more flexible than their partner’s, so they are free to travel but don’t have someone to join them. My advice is to GO! Make a list of destinations you want to see, and then divide that list into places you want to experience with someone else (more romantic spots?), and places you don’t mind seeing alone. I still have a number of destinations I want to visit that I am saving for trips with my fiancé or friends/family - such as an overwater hut in Bora Bora, or watching a sunset on the cliffs of Oia in Santorini. But I also have a lot of destinations on my list that are just cities I want to go walk around, and I don’t necessarily need someone with me to enjoy them.

So if you’re on the fence about solo travel, ask yourself this: would you rather go alone, or never go at all? Because if you have a mile-long list of destinations you want to see, getting to all of them is going to be much harder if someone else has to be available in order for you to go.

Have you ever taken a solo trip? If so, what prompted your decision?