Just do it! Book your flight, start planning and packing and turn those nerves into nerves of excitement. Traveling solo is addictive and once you do it, you’ll soon want to do it again and again.

That’s what I tell anyone who asks me for advice on solo travel – for the first time.How traveling pointed me in the right direction (3)

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Who I am?

I’m a 30 year old divorcee who turned her life around and left everything behind to live back on the road. I am a freelance writer and also run a website called Girl about the Globe, a travel information website for solo female travelers that promotes responsible and ethical travel. My goal is to show that solo travel is not as scary as people think. I come from a small seaside town in the south of England but have been traveling and living in different places since I was 21. I have now been lucky enough to have traveled to 100 countries and 60 of them alone.

Why did I want to travel the world?

I have been traveling and living abroad since I was 21 years old. I always wanted to travel and I made a collage of all the places I wanted to travel to when I was a teenager. I never went abroad with my family because we always had caravan holidays in the UK, so the first time I went somewhere was when I was 17 when I went to Spain with a friend. But my first solo trip was to France to work as a cottager, and I missed home so much that I only lasted a week. Then I worked on a cruise ship and the fear and homesickness came back and I lasted 2 months. I gradually built up my confidence until I was away for a year. Back then I was so shy and unsure of myself but every time I came back to the UK I knew I should have stayed longer so I left again. I set up a bucket list and have been traveling ever since.

What makes traveling solo a great experience?

I enjoy figuring it all out myself and traveling to countries where I don’t know much of the language and meeting local people. When you travel solo, you’ll experience much more adventure and interact with people than as part of a group or couple. For me it gives the best experiences. I’ve been traveling alone for so long now that it’s hard for me to adjust to traveling with someone else for long periods of time. I’m so used to my independence, plus I work on the road and that’s hard when you’re traveling with others who just want to see and be on permanent vacation.

Traveling solo gives you the freedom to choose your schedule, go where you want and with whom you want. There is no one to answer to and if you decide you don’t like somewhere you can just move on or stay longer if you love it. There are a lot more people who choose to travel alone, so you’ll never be short of people to connect with if you need company, but if you prefer your own space, this is perfect!

Should I be afraid of traveling solo?

Not at all. There are different elements of danger for both men and women, but the differences are in the way women are viewed in certain cultures and some countries in the Middle East and Asia. A woman traveling alone can be frowned upon and considered unacceptable, especially if she has reached a certain age and has no husband or children. In these circumstances, it’s easier to say you have a friend who works here and you’re on tour while he works. It’s a shame, but that’s the world.

In all my travels I have never felt truly threatened. I was spat on in Mongolia, almost mugged and also followed in my car in Bali, but nothing bad happened to me. I think the key is to listen to your gut and be as alert as you can be. This is different from traveling alone. You are content when you are with someone else, but when you are alone, you are constantly aware of who is behind you and where you are walking.

You have to get used to those looks too. Most people are just curious, but if you try to blend in with your surroundings, listen to local knowledge about which areas to avoid, and walk around talking with confidence (even if you don’t feel it), then you’ll be fine.

How traveling pointed me in the right direction

What have I learned from solo travel?

Slow down. So that we don’t sweat the small stuff, and all over the world, we’re all the same. I like to learn from other cultures and understand their way of life. I realized that all people have the same basic needs: shelter, food and love, no matter where we are in the world. Traveling has taught me not to judge and to be open to any experience, good or bad. It’s a never-ending learning curve, and every time I feel like I’ve got it all figured out, I learn something new about myself.

Do I have a favorite travel moment?

My best memory of solo travel was learning the art of slow travel in Montenegro. I was on a week long cruise in Croatia sharing a yacht with seven other people and although I had an amazing time I was ready to be alone and travel alone. I took a bus to Montenegro and there I happened to come across Bay of Kotorska, a magical place with a beautiful bay. I only booked one night but loved it so much I ended up staying a week and didn’t even speak to anyone (except the old waiter) the whole time. That was bliss! That’s the beauty of solo travel, you can do exactly what you want and change your plans at the last minute without having to ask anyone.

How Travel Pointed Me In The Right Direction (2)

What is my book about?

It is called “A Woman’s Guide to Solo Travel’ and it took me 7 months to write. I came up with the idea on the back of the site. Through traveling, I have gained so much knowledge and experience in tourism that I wanted to help others to travel independently as well.

The book has 3 parts:

1. How to Travel Solo – Covers the obstacles and challenges you face as a solo traveler. It’s about facing your fear and ignoring what society tells you to have the confidence to just get up and do it.

2. Plan your trip – Step-by-step advice on how to plan your trip, including finding out what type of traveler you are and what destinations would suit you. This section also includes a comprehensive continent-by-continent guide, how to get around, and what it’s really like for women to travel solo. Plus a checklist to make sure you have all the essentials before your trip.

3. On the road will advise you on how to be a responsible traveller, how to have a more cultural experience and what to do if something goes wrong on the road. I wanted to make this book the most comprehensive on the market and I feel like I succeeded, so I’m very happy!

I realized that there are so many different types of travelers from party goers to spiritual and cultural travelers and that you don’t have to fit into the mainstream travel style to find the right style for you. I wanted to make more sense of the travel and I’m already thinking about a second edition that would cover everything in more detail.

About the writer:
How traveling pointed me in the right direction 1Lisa Imogen Eldridge is a travel journalist specializing in solo travel. Her background in travel fueled her passion to see the world and over the past seventeen years she has traveled extensively as a solo traveler, living and working in many countries and has now visited 100 countries. Lisa’s mission is to empower women to travel independently through her website, The girl about the globetravel resource for women traveling solo.

Female traveler: How traveling pointed me in the right direction