Some of my most memorable moments in life have come about while traveling solo around the world. While it may sound cliché, solo travel really is empowering and liberating. However, as with anything, there are challenges with traveling by yourself.
Challenges are of course, easier to overcome if you’re prepared for them. So if you’re worried about your next solo experience, prepare yourself with the knowledge of these most common challenges.
The sun blazes down on me, as I desperately look around in the hopes of finding a spot in the shade to stand. I am forced to accept, with a high level of dismay, that I will be having no such luck. And so I continue to wait on the side of the road with my thumb in the air, hoping that next ride will come along before I succumb to heatstroke in Middle-of-Nowhere-Town, Mexico. Despite the beads of sweat trickling down my face, my smile never fades.
I’m a hitchhiker. A female one, to be exact.
I could regale you with tales of how I first started hitchhiking in Australia, and tell you about the day I gleefully hopped in a truck with one of Australia’s most notorious motorcycle gangs. I could brag about the year I hitchhiked over 24,000 kilometres across Canada, through the United States, and down to the southern tip of Mexico.
Or I could simply tell you why all of your perceptions about hitchhiking are just plain wrong.
There’s a trend in the travel industry at the moment, a movement if you will. Those who are selling their possessions, and packing everything up to travel the world.
Though travel doesn’t always have to be about quitting your job and leaving everything behind. Sometimes you might actually like your job, and the stable lifestyle of a 9-5. Sometimes you might actually enjoy the security of having a home base to return to.
Just as there are many travelers right now realizing their dreams of full time travel, it’s also important to recognize that there are just as many travelers successfully juggling a full time corporate job too. Because it is absolutely possible for women to take up travel without sacrificing other elements of their lives. Deepika Gumaste is one of them.
When I flew home to spend Christmas in Australia last year I ended up having to travel with two bags. Knowing that we would be moving to Australia permanently 6 months down the track, we had originally thought this Christmas visit would be the perfect opportunity to ferry as much of our stuff home as possible, to lighten the cost of shipping associated with our future move.
Though as with all best laid plans, we ended up not having the room. Upon announcing a Christmas visit to Australia from the States, the shopping orders started flying in. My phone went crazy with notifications from what seemed like everyone I knew.
Lingerie from Victoria’s Secret. Perfume that they won’t ship internationally. Pandora charms exclusive to the States. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve been asked to pick something up while traveling, it probably could have paid for our entire move!
My second suitcase ended up being a dedicated “goods” bag for items we had picked up at other people’s request. We joked at the time that we should start charging a commission to shop for people overseas.
Iceland is known as the land of fire and ice, where turbulent volcanic forces meet the icy touch of the Arctic to shape an island that is as desolate as it is beautiful. Blasted tundra, glistening glaciers and pounding waterfalls are among the many wonders vying for space in the Icelandic wilderness, and the best way to explore the extremes of this spellbinding country is to take a long walk into its heart, on the famous Laugavegur trail.
Stretching 55km from Landmannalaugar to Thórsmörk, the Laugavegur trail is the country’s most well-known hiking route. The four-day trek takes you past colourful mountains, warming hot-springs and steep ravines as you wind your way through the landscape of South-East Iceland.
If you are looking to test yourself physically, as well as rewarding yourself with moments of wonder, then Iceland’s Laugavegur is the trek for you.
Planning a solo jaunt across the land? If this is your first time planning a solo adventure abroad, I understand completely how excited and nervous you are. We were all once in your shoes. How to be a good solo traveler.
But before you slap on your backpack and march out that door, here’s a small checklist of things you might want to go through to ensure a smoother trip.