Happy March, everyone!!
Though we are sadly no longer in Black History Month (but are excitingly in Women’s History Month), supporting black businesses, sharing black stories, and continuing discourse about black experiences does not have an end date. I worked extremely hard not only on my blog, but also the content I specifically created for my Instagram as well as my YouTube videos for Black History Month. The bulk of it was two months in the making, so I would greatly appreciate just a little bit of your time in reading/viewing and/or sharing that content!! ❤
So, solo travel… I always thought this was a MUST-DO in my lifetime. It seems so introspective and almost like a rite of passage for self-growth. For women specifically, solo travel has become more and more popular the more information we are handed and the more other women share their stories. However, taking the actual plunge to go somewhere near or far can still be daunting. I mean, if people don’t know how to be single for more than a month, how many are comfortable with the idea of being completely by themselves in a place they have never been before.
I had a tiny stint of solo travel back in 2016 when I was going through a rough limbo while interning abroad and had no one to travel with. I went to Amsterdam and it may have been how terrible the travel experience was, but I quickly realized that I don’t think I have the personality to travel solo. Here I was in another country where they actually spoke English, yet I maybe said a handful of sentences out loud? Two of those sentences being, “Yes, I can take that picture for you,” and “Can I exchange my return ticket for an earlier departure?”
There are so many layers as to why I do not generally speak to strangers when traveling, especially alone, and most are admittedly rooted in fear. However, it is also not a major desire or a habit I have an interest in breaking at this time. I am totally fine being by myself and quite honestly prefer to be in my own company. Without sounding too much like the character that inspired the name of my blog *hint*, I couldn’t help but wonder if I would have been more excited about a solo trip if it wasn’t during a time where I was feeling sad and scared about the status of my intern abroad experience, as well as the stressful trip itself getting to Amsterdam. I tell myself that the way I interacted with others likely wouldn’t have changed, but maybe I would have at least stayed longer. I will never know. Still, something I have absolutely cherished about my travels thus far is being able to share memories with others. I love recounting on a specific experience and having an inside joke with someone that really upholds the phrase, “You had to be there.” Maybe it all just depends on what your current purpose is when you are traveling.
As a woman, more specifically a black woman even, I sometimes feel this pressure that having the agency and privilege to travel at this stage in my life means I should do a solo trip for those who can’t. As Elaine Welteroth eloquently put in her book (my bible), “we all have a responsibility to lift as we rise.” Even if I cannot literally take other women along with me, I know that others have read previous posts and told me that I allow them to live vicariously through me or even inspired them to take the leap themselves. However, I also believe in promoting personal well-being and it should be understood that being pushed outside your comfort zone does not mean compromising yourself. We all know there is a never a perfect time for anything, but we do know that perspective is everything. At this time, I know that my perspective on solo travel is from a standpoint of admiration, not emulation.
In the spirit of never wanting to wonder, “What if,” I hope to look back on this post one day and have accomplished a solo trip. Similarly, I know I will not feel like I let myself down or did myself a disservice if I never do it. What I will say is if you are interested in doing a solo trip, there are MANY people out here killing it and doing it regularly. I discovered Jessica Nabongo, the first black woman to travel to every country, from Condé Nast Traveler’s Women Who Travel podcast. Not only is her story amazing and her Instagram a must-follow, this podcast has been paramount in introducing me to other women who are currently or formerly full-time solo travelers, as well as women who are making strides in the travel industry to make people more informed. Definitely give it a listen!
Are you thinking of doing a solo trip? If so, what would be your dream location? Let me know in the comments!!
Photography by Fernando G Trueba