Traveling solo as a female has been one of the best things I have ever done in my life. I recommend it to anyone. In my 30s, when everyone else was getting married and having kids, I decided to love my single life. When I decided this, everything changed. I was able to look forward to the wonderful trips I took during those years. Working on my own, I was always able to set aside 2-3 weeks each year. It truly does not matter the amount of time but my advice is just do it. Traveling solo has its highs and lows but when you return, truly you only remember the highs. I believe this is because you learn so much about yourself that you can only see the trip as positive. I work now as a life coach and coach women who want to travel solo. I can not imagine those years single without my constant companion, solo travel! It helped me learn to love myself more so I could be the best partner possible once I did find that relationship I hoped to create in my life. My new book In Love With Me: The 7 Self-Love Strategies for Successful Partnerships, Parenting, and Performance highlights some of my travels and there will be more books to come dedicated to self-love and my trips! Solo travel prepared me to think of life as a journey in whatever I do. I even met my Swedish husband on my “last” solo trip to Thailand, little did I know it would be my last solo trip. The article below discusses one of my “lows” that turned out to be a “high”. I encourage you to learn, grow, love yourself and TRAVEL SOLO!
I was a 37 year old solo female traveler in Peru. The previous day I had left my ATM card at the ATM and had missed my upgraded bus. The 10 hour bus ride was now on the economy bus in Peru. As we were driving through the middle of a huge, what looked to me like, a desert, the bus had a mechanical issue. I was the only tourist on this bus, we had been sitting there over an hour and it was growing dark. I knew a robbery was very possible and I began to feel afraid. I began to pray and within 15 minutes the bus was moving, however you could tell it was still having issues. We made it to the nearest town and everyone started getting off the bus. I have very limited Spanish skills and I had no idea what was going on, when all of a sudden this huge Spanish woman with all of her petticoats looked at me and I am sure sensing my worry and said “Vamos Gringa!” I knew what that meant, “let’s go white woman!” She and I were fast friends, even though we could not communicate. What I have learned from traveling in other countries that I can not speak the language well is that a smile is worth a thousand words. Once we were safely on another bus, she was very proud of herself for helping me; she was smiling from ear to ear and telling others in Spanish. I will never ever forget this amazing woman that helped me in a time of complete fear. As a solo female traveler, I have met so many people along my journey that give me faith in the goodness of others, whom I will never see again. I want to dedicate this story to all of them and thank them for their kindness and for the difference they have made in my life. I would not be the person I am now without all of them. I am so very grateful.
Shannon R. Rios Paulsen MS LMFT (www.inlovewithme.com) has spent the last 12 years learning, writing, and coaching about self-love. She is a professional life coach and a licensed marriage and family therapist. She is the author of two best-selling guided meditations: The Healing Journey Within: Meditations for Abundance and Love, Volume I (Deserving) and Volume II (Manifesting) (bit.ly/meditat3). She also wrote the best-selling book, The 7 Fatal Mistakes Divorced and Separated Parents Make: Strategies for Raising Healthy Children of Divorce and Conflict (www.healthychildrenofdivorce.com). Shannon lives in Denver, CO with her Swedish husband whom she met on one of her solo self-love journeys in Thailand.