For several years May has been a big travel month for me. I worked in travel for a few years and I tried taking advantage of my travel perks as often as I reasonably could. And after several consecutive years of adventuring in May, I find myself nostalgic for the experiences.
Two years ago I went on a very unique adventure. I went to Bali for 16 days all by myself. It was a magical and transforming experience. I swam in waterfalls, I had monkeys sit on my lap, I ate pineapple at every meal, and I spent my days enjoying the most glorious ocean. I also spent time processing some big life changes that were going on at that time in my life. It was an incredible life moment that I am continuously grateful I actually took.
Solo traveling creates a lot of opinions. There are always those who are quick to fear and forewarn about the dangers of solo travel, particularly as a woman (and they aren’t without warrant). And it’s further proof that this world is just a more dangerous world for a woman to walk than a man.
Warnings about taxi rides, about talking with strangers, about pick pockets, about watching your drinks. Growing up, women are conditioned to never go anywhere alone. Simply being a woman is to be a target for rape and assault. The stats back it up, women are more likely to be the target of violence. Traveling alone goes against all of that conditioning, and challenges everything we were ever taught.
And it is liberating.
Bali is considered one of the top ten safest countries for solo travel. And it definitely felt like it. I met incredible people, both local and fellow travelers. I experienced a new culture. It’s absolutely fascinating being in a country not defined by Christianity. I ate incredible food. I felt alive in ways I never had before, because I was alone, because I was challenging the norm.
I’ve always thought of myself as a fairly independent individual, but being alone for 16 days on the other side of the world required me to be dependent on myself in ways I never had before. I did entirely my own thing and every last detail was entirely up to me. I was alone, but I never really got lonely. I grew up a lot on that trip. And I am continuously grateful that I had the guts to follow through with it.
Yes, there are real dangers to going out alone. But if you keep your wits about you, you’ll be fine. And if you’re brave enough to do it, you’ll discover something truly spectacular on your solo adventure: Yourself.