Confessions of a solo female traveler

I am scared. The thought of being alone in an unfamiliar place scares me. No one close by to save me when I’m in a pickle. But the thought of being in an unfamiliar place excites me too. Even if I know no one’s around to save me, it gives me a great sense of satisfaction that I can handle things on my own.

I am paranoid. There’s hardly a time when I don’t think about death when I’m inside a moving vehicle. I think about boats capsizing, trains derailing and planes crashing, usually when I’m inside them. I’m paranoid that someone would take off with my bags as soon as I let my eyes off them. I can think of a hundred reasons not to get out of the house, but I can think of a thousand more reason why I should go out and explore the world.

I am a worrywart. I worry about getting sick, I worry about running out of money and I worry about getting lost. I’ve gotten sick while traveling (at the height of the A(H1N1) scare too!), and I’m still alive. I know that if I run out of money, I can think of ways to get some (credit card cash advance and Western Union are my savior). I also know that the best discoveries are made when you get lost.

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I am not rich. I get a lot of questions about what I do for a living to be traveling so much. I actually do have a regular job. I work nights, that’s why I’m able to travel during the weekends. I am lucky to have a boss that lets me take an extended leave to travel (no pay, of course). And I do have this blog to help subsidize my travels. As they say, if there’s a will, there’s a way. If you really want to travel, find every means to help you get started.

I am not physically fit. Understatement of the year. I’m not saying that you should stop trying to live a healthier lifestyle, but don’t use your unfit state as an excuse not to travel. Hey, if I can climb a mountain, so can you.

I am introverted. I’m shy. No really, I am. I don’t go out of my way to make new friends. Most of the time, I keep to myself, only opening up when I’m with people I know. I’m not the type you’d see in the hostel common room chatting up everybody. It’s just not me. I don’t travel to meet new people. I travel to see new places and discover new culture.

I am not adventurous. No really, I’m not. Does that make me less of a traveler? It doesn’t. Every traveler have their own traveling style, the same way we have our own unique personalities. What is exciting for one traveler may not be your cup of tea, so why force yourself to like it?

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That’s why I like to travel alone. I get to travel the way I like. I follow my own (very flexible) itinerary, and if I wasn’t able do everything, it’s okay because I’ve nobody to blame but myself. I like going around and exploring a new place in my own pace. I don’t have a list of must-see’s and must-do’s. I do what I can and see what I can. I am happy enough just being there.

I wrote this post because I’ve met a number of people who said they’ve always wanted to try traveling alone, but haven’t had the chance or the guts to go. As you have already read, I’m not the most confident nor am I the bravest of all travelers. I’m not even in the best physical condition. But I still do it.

I travel alone sometimes because of circumstances (travel buddy flaking out at the last minute), oftentimes because I enjoy it. Admittedly, it didn’t feel that way in the beginning. After a couple of trips, I started appreciating my alone time. It does get lonely, but it’s up to you if you want it to bog you down or find ways to ease the loneliness.

If you’ve been wanting to try traveling solo, I encourage you to try it at least once. Start with a weekend trip to see how you’d fare on your own, then move on to longer trips later on. Remember, if this is something that you set your mind to achieve, you will find plenty of opportunities to help you achieve your goal.

Article by Nina Fuentes

Nina doesn't aim to travel to every country in the world -- she just wants to travel to the places that means the most to her. She started traveling in 2006, and hopes to travel for as long as she can. Her travel blog, Just Wandering won the Best Travel Blog in the 2010 Philippine Blog Awards and in the 2011 Nuffnang Asia Pacific Blog Awards.

This Article Has 28 Comments
  1. jona says:

    yeah, I agree with you…been travelling solo too and it was a great feeling..

  2. may says:

    very well said. i love your blog! very informative! :-)

  3. jiji says:

    Hi, is it okay to travel to Caticlan via Seair? Nice blog. Keep it up! :)

  4. Valerie says:

    Nice insight. I have wondered how other solo travelers feel too. ‘coz most (including me) put on the brave face always. lol.

  5. kim says:

    I also like traveling by myself :) I just find it irritating when people see this as a pitiful thing. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with going solo. In fact, I think we should be praised for our courage. ;)

  6. bertN says:

    I traveled solo when I was younger and enjoyed every minute of it. Now I travel often with my wife and friends and everything is planned to a T. I hate it! I still go solo, every now and then, and despite the risks, real or imagined that every everybody never tire of telling me, I enjoy solo travel because it is very liberating.

  7. karen says:

    Nice post Ms. Nina…I’ve travelled alone on some weekends during my stay in Sydney and I LOVE it! Yun nga lang hirap mag picture picture pag magisa…haha

    I don’t mind getting lost because that’s the adventure, even if I feel dumb for awhile for not taking this bus or this route…it’s still the experience that makes it worthwile…I didn’t care if I was looking at the maps…I would find my way to the place no matter what…I hope I can go on a trip overseas alone for a change but I’m sure my parents will not allow pa din even at my mid 20s but you are right…we have to do it at least once!!! Cheers! =)

  8. dyanie says:

    late last year, I allowed myself to go on a solo trip. 1st time! i was a bit scary at first but then i enjoyed it. super “me’ time. going solo means no pressures on where to go and you own the time. :) yun nga lang napansin ko wala akong masyadong solo pics haha :P

  9. chyng says:

    mahina man ang katawan ko pero malakas ang loob ko. kaya finally I decided to make my first ever solo travel last feb. super priceless experience. Ü

  10. huwaw Nina! I can relate I can relate! hehe I work at night too and I travel during my day off and my vacation leaves, too bad split off ako ngayon. huhu And yes, so true, people think that because you get to travel a lot you’re rich, how I wish!!! hihi :) But wait, aren’t you rich since you’re the top Pinay travel blogger? hehe :)
    Kim is absolutely right, sad to say most people don’t understand why girls like us travel solo, they think it’s pathetic. Eventually, I learned to stop explaining myself to anyone and I’m glad to have known (mostly online, thnx to blogging) solo female travelers. Cheers to all the tough Pinay solo travelers! :)

  11. Great post. I’ve made a few solo trips as well. I find that while I really enjoy spending all day by myself, I don’t like eating meals alone and being on my own at night isn’t much fun. I do a lot of solo day trips, which I love, so maybe that’s my happy medium.

    I look forward to reading more of your posts!

  12. I’m a female who travelled by herself for ten months last year and it was a wonderful experience. I think going alone, although hard at times, was the best option. I always chose my path; it was up to me to make the decisions. I made mistakes, even got my passport stolen (which I then got back), and I grew up a lot. I definitely recommend it. I don’t think there’s any need to be scared if you’re alone and female, just always be careful, which you should be anyway when walking alone in your home town.

    Always read up on where you’re going beforehand too, I didn’t but I think that would have helped A LOT.

  13. Woah, the evil martian like never seen before. this is a pretty cool post :)

  14. Marites says:

    I tried traveling solo abroad and it scared the sh**t out of me but what do you know, I had fun! I still have to try traveling solo locally and this post really encouraged me to do it in the near future. Way to go!!

  15. aud says:

    I had so many concerns as well about solo travels, then I prepared myself by reading up on destinations as well as starting slowly with domestic locations. Nothing like being on your own to discover new things!

  16. laryh says:

    I enjoy traveling alone as well. Even if I’m in a group, I prefer to keep to myself :) I like this post. I can relate! :)

  17. len says:

    hi! i love this post. i think we have the same personality. i’m thinking of going on a vacation solo, but i don’t know where to go yet and i’m scared because this is going to be the first time. i have never been on a plane and i don’t know the processes of riding the plane. can you suggest a good place for first timers like me? and also the direction and budget? thanks.

  18. MariAnne says:

    Nice…good to know there’s solo traveler…how brave of you…and the line – “I don’t travel to meet new people. I travel to see new places and discover new culture” really amaze me…an introvert yet adventurous soul…keep it up. inspired me…I’ll try to travel alone…one of these days…thanks. :)

  19. kat says:

    I’ve been reading your entries since I read your post in GT. I so wanna travel with you!

  20. mimi says:

    i like this article. It encourage me to travel alone *more.
    i guess there is really nothing to be scared of travelling alone, for sure there is communication devices that we can use in case of emergency, hehe
    I’ve been reading your articles. I like it!!!Hope I can travel with you in the future. I work in night too. i already travelled in cebu,bohol and dumaguete and am wishing for spending my holy week in boracay but am not sure if my work will permit me and i dont have a lot of ideas about Bora!!thanks

  21. […] a particular destination? Oddly enough, what I find beautiful is something that is very personal: Confessions of a solo female traveler. It’s a post I wrote in celebration of International Women’s Day in hopes of […]

  22. chris says:

    I love this post kasi kahit “Confessions of a solo female traveler” ang title it talks about being a traveler pa din and about being a solo traveler which i can relate to.gusto ko ang sinabi mo na every traveler has his own style korek talaga

  23. AJ says:

    HoMG! All your points describe me, except the 2nd to the last one! :) Whew, such a relief to know that at least one travel blogstar is so much like me. I thought I was weird and a misfit in this, hehehe.

    I hate plane rides talaga. Kaka-watch ko ng Air Crash Investigation. Lahat ng crash scenes navi-visualize ko at the slightest turbulence. LOL

    And super worrywart here also. As in I check my passport, tickets, money, even camera like every 15 minutes. OC amft!

    The not rich part…well you’re obviously richer than I am. I just have enough credit limit to allow a bit of traveling. I wonder, do you use cards too? I only do so to buy plane tickets, not for shopping.

    And finally, I’m not fit and so not adventurous. Mabilis mapagod at ayoko mag-bungee jump, utang na loob! LOL

    Sowee haba na pala ng comment na to. Sobrang relate lang. Love this post, Nina! :)

    • nina says:

      Nye. And here I thought *i* was the weird one! :D Yun ang ikinatuwa ko sa post na to.. ang dami ko palang kapareho!

      As for the credit cards… hay nako, abused to the max!

  24. […] Here are some of Nina’s Confessions of a Solo Female Traveler. […]

  25. PwedePadala says:

    This is my favourite part “I can think of a hundred reasons not to get out of the house, but I can think of a thousand more reason why I should go out and explore the world.”

    I definitely have to save and to follow your tips, I’ll travel out of town by bus this summer. And for travelers who loves to use credit card, choose a credit card with no foreign currency conversion (2.5%) for every swipe. Imagine how it will all add up.

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