Skip to content

The Birth of a Solo Traveler

October 21, 2010
U.S. Virgin Islands travel guides

Planning was the easy part...

To own the truth, St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands wasn’t even on my radar.

Last March, a perfect storm of conditions converged to make a completely unexpected trip a reality: an inexpensive airfare that coincided with my spring break weekend and the discovery of a ridiculously affordable campsite on the island. It was much too good to keep to myself. I shared my trip with friends on Facebook in the hope that I could convince a few of them to come along. Days passed and weeks went by. I had no takers. Even two separate people I’d met online who’d be traveling to St. John at the same time as I was bailed on me at the last minute. No worries. I was going anyway. That is, up until the night before I was scheduled to travel.

Packing my bags at the last minute, I had what I could only describe as an anxiety attack. My trip was now mere hours away, and reality had begun to set in. In all of the excitement of planning, it truly hadn’t dawned on me that I would be traveling alone. Solo. Just me, myself, and I. A torrent of wild thoughts and emotions rushed through me. What if…? What if…? What if…? All of the dangerous possibilities of traveling on my own as a woman presented themselves to me like a many-headed monster. Theft. Kidnapping. Assault. Rape. Murder. I almost collapsed emotionally beneath the weight of my burgeoning fears and my weakened will to go began to crumble.

So what if your airfare was non-refundable? I asked myself. What’s 300 bucks compared to your safety? You could easily cancel your campsite reservation; you’d probably only have to pay for the first night. Before long, I had convinced myself that the hundreds of dollars that I’d scrimped and saved for were disposable. That I didn’t have to wake up in the morning to take the train to the airport. That my trip to St. John wasn’t going to happen. Fear had me in its grip and I was almost completely on the verge of surrender.

I’d like to say I got indignant with myself, that finer stuff rose up in me and that I mustered all of my latent courage to overcome my terror. But I won’t say that because it isn’t true. I did wake up that next morning and take the train to the airport. I did get on a Continental flight bound for the airport at St. Thomas. I did spend six days on St. John. But it wasn’t courage that helped me to triumph over my fears in those anxious moments the night before I traveled. It was pride. Going to St. John had become all about saving face.

That night, I had begun to fantasize about actually having to tell people that I was too scared to go off on my own. No way. Not gonna happen. Me, actually admit that I got scared? Never! It was that same indignant pride that moved me through and past those hours of sheer dread. That tipped the scales in favor of traveling alone in spite of my fears. And I’m not in the least bit ashamed to confess it. Hey, whatever works.

Maho Bay, St. John, U.S.V.I.

Fear? Gone without a trace. Maho Bay, St. John, U.S.V.I.

I did go to St. John–and I had a marvelous time. I swam, took walks along the beach, kayaked in a lagoon, hiked the rugged trails. I befriended locals and travelers alike. I hitchhiked my way across the island (a whole ‘nother story). Basically, fear went right out of the window. St. John had become the locus of my liberation.

I will always remember those six days I spent in St. John as though they were magic. Like a giant, organic coming out party where I announced to the world that I was ready to seek out and embrace all of its secrets, travel partner or no.

I haven’t looked back since.

221 Comments leave one →
  1. October 21, 2010 9:44 am

    you’re AWESOME!!

  2. October 21, 2010 9:48 am

    Good for you!! Glad you got to take your trip.

    • October 21, 2010 12:40 pm

      It really I was the trip of a lifetime. I look back and I’m so glad I went!

  3. October 21, 2010 9:49 am

    nice post and good for you!

  4. October 21, 2010 9:52 am

    Wow – you are one brave woman. Not many women (or men) would consider traveling alone like that. But I bet there is something rewarding about it to. Glad you posted this!

    • October 21, 2010 12:42 pm

      I’m really not that brave…but stepping outside your boundaries truly is rewarding.

  5. October 21, 2010 9:52 am

    Nice blog! I never get the courage to travel alone yet. But I want to. Actually I am planning to start already here in the Philippines first, then abroad. Maybe I will try on the next travel sale. 🙂

    BTW, congrats for being on Freshly Pressed!

    • October 21, 2010 8:28 pm

      Starting small and in your own hometown is a really great way to ease yourself into solo travel. Good luck!

  6. October 21, 2010 9:59 am

    What a wonderful story! I love the idea of travelling solo – I’ve only done it once, and it was a bit scary, but you’re right – very rewarding 🙂

    • October 21, 2010 8:35 pm

      Where’d you travel solo? Inquiring minds…. 🙂

  7. October 21, 2010 10:01 am

    Good for you! My friend and I are headed home tomorrow after 2 months in Costa Rica. I don’t think I would’ve had the nerve to come alone, but I always admire women who do – we met one in her 50’s a couple of days ago who was having a blast on her own! (We met her rappelling down waterfalls, by the way.) Doesn’t matter if it was pride, courage or a combination of the two – you DID it!

    • October 21, 2010 12:43 pm

      Woohoo! Hope you had an awesome time in Costa Rica. I keep hearing amazing things about it. Look forward to reading about it on your blog!

  8. riparianrhapsody permalink
    October 21, 2010 10:08 am

    Awesome! What a liberating experience 🙂

    • October 21, 2010 12:43 pm

      I had a wonderful time. I’ll never forget it as long as I live.

  9. October 21, 2010 10:08 am

    I wish I had your bravery. I have often thought about traveling on my own but am much too scared.

    • October 21, 2010 12:44 pm

      You can do it! I used to be afraid too, but I think one day I just got sick of being scared and said to heck with waiting for someone to travel with!

  10. October 21, 2010 10:14 am

    You’ve been pressed!

    I’ve gone on a couple of international trips by myself. Quite an experience.

    A good friend of mine and I had intended on doing a trip to Europe too, but the cost and timing became overwhelmingly prohibitive.

    If it’s meant to be, it will be. Beaches aren’t my idea of a good vacaction, but to each their own. And while travelling with a companion has pluses, so can going alone.

    • October 21, 2010 12:45 pm

      Solo travel’s not for everyone. I doesn’t really matter *how* you travel, I think, just as long as you do travel. 🙂

  11. October 21, 2010 10:20 am

    Kudos to you!!! I want to become a solo traveler, too. I think everyone should do it at least once. You’ll be my inspiration!

    • October 21, 2010 12:45 pm

      I’m touched–thanks! You can absolutely become a solo traveler.

  12. October 21, 2010 10:27 am

    I definitely know that feeling of panic — I get it constantly while traveling and I prefer to have a second person there to bounce my ideas off of. My wife finds this irritating. But it’s calming to voice my thoughts and a second person can offer feedback and the illusion of protection. I don’t know if I’ll ever enjoy traveling alone.

    So here is the respect that you are due:


    I came to your post via Freshly Pressed.

    • October 21, 2010 12:46 pm

      Ryan–Thanks a bunch! That means a lot coming from you. Happy travels!

  13. oldsalt1942 permalink
    October 21, 2010 10:30 am

    Better to have gone alone than to not have gone at all.

  14. October 21, 2010 10:36 am

    How great for you! I want to go too! I did take a road trip by myself half way across the country about 12 years ago. I can totally identify with the fear & then the liberation at having done it. It was much more enjoyable then I thought it would be. Thanks for sharing!

    • October 21, 2010 12:48 pm

      Road trip! I did one of those solo last year too. Amazing, amazing, amazing experience. Stay tuned–I plan to write about my experience in an upcoming blog!

  15. October 21, 2010 10:38 am

    You know that old saying…”You go girl” ? Well you just lived it! Love your story, I am a traveler also. Love being solo because you can do and go where you please, and the only one you have to please is yourself.
    Bravo to all girl solo travelers!

    • October 21, 2010 12:47 pm

      Solo travel definitely has its own benefits…and pitfalls, but it’s also immensely rewarding too!

  16. October 21, 2010 10:41 am

    I love it. 🙂 I did the same last February – when I was ‘planning’ on using time to take a trip with an Ex. We ended before the trip date, and I used the trip as a way to solidify my relationship with MYSELF.

    Making a list for the future of places I want to go – maybe solo, maybe not – the point is the trip, the journey.

    • October 21, 2010 12:49 pm

      Bravo! Other people might have canceled the trip. I salute you for forging ahead and going solo. 🙂

  17. Nene permalink
    October 21, 2010 10:45 am

    Awesome! I have always wanted to do it. But I’m not good at navigation. But then I pick up languages fast. I should be traveling alone too!

    • October 21, 2010 12:50 pm

      Too funny! I’m the same way. I get turned around really easily but I pick up languages quickly too.

  18. October 21, 2010 10:49 am

    You’re soooo brave! Traveling alone AND hitchhiking in another country make my spine cringe. Good luck in your travels!

    • October 21, 2010 12:54 pm

      Thanks! Solo travel gets easier the more you get used to it! 🙂

  19. Modern Funk permalink
    October 21, 2010 10:51 am

    You’re a rock star. 🙂

  20. npathak7 permalink
    October 21, 2010 10:52 am

    I’ve traveled alone as well…and it is lonely. That was the largest difficulty I found but it is a lot of fun!! Keep it up! I also have a travel blog in case you’d be interested in following…enjoy!


  21. October 21, 2010 10:58 am

    awesome. you are living my dream ma’am

  22. October 21, 2010 11:01 am

    Traveling alone can be one of the most exhilarating experiences!! I had that experience of extreme fear and anxiety before going to Istanbul. Great post, look forward to reading more.

    • October 21, 2010 12:58 pm

      Thanks, Jim. I’d love to read about your travels to Istanbul!

  23. October 21, 2010 11:10 am

    Awesome! I’ve traveled alone quite a bit (India, Cambodia, Nepal, Costa Rica and parts of Europe) and totally relate to this. I just booked a trip to Guatemala and was freaking out yesterday after reading travel forums with stories about being mugged there. Almost made me want to cancel the trip.
    Can’t wait to hear about the hitchhiking. I’ve never been brave enough to do that.


    • October 21, 2010 12:59 pm

      I hope you still decide to go to Guatemala. Can’t wait to read your blog!

  24. Madison Woods permalink
    October 21, 2010 11:18 am

    Sometimes I travel for work and I loved the first time I went out alone all the way to the other side of the country, to places I’d never seen before 🙂 Love your blog, and love to see you promoting the virtues of traveling on your own. Not sure it’s my *preferred* way to go, but it can definitely be enjoyable sometimes.

    • October 21, 2010 1:00 pm

      Thanks! Solo travel can definitely be enjoyable but traveling with someone also has its virtues.

  25. October 21, 2010 11:19 am

    Have you ever been scared to travel by yourself? Please be careful out there hitch hiking and what not.

    • October 21, 2010 8:36 pm

      I have my moments when fear arises but I try to combat it with information. That helps!

  26. October 21, 2010 11:19 am

    That’s a spot I’ve long wanted to visit.

    Traveling alone is an amazing experience — I did it for four months when I was 20, in four European countries — and have done it many times since, from Istanbul to Thailand. I have encountered the most terrifying behavior in the U.S. and the greatest warmth, alone, in foreign lands.

    Good for you!

    • October 21, 2010 8:38 pm

      Wow–I’m ashamed to say I haven’t been to Europe yet, but I can’t wait to go. So true about the warmth of the people you encounter. I’ve had some of the best times with strangers abroad. Happy travels!

  27. October 21, 2010 11:21 am

    I recently went on a solo trip to NYC. I’m sure it wasn’t the same because I had friends in NYC. But getting there was rather harrowing. And I was very emotional about the whole thing — especially while I was alone in the city — which really was a lot of the trip.

    Congrats to you for overcoming your fear — even if it was because of your personal pride. Sounds like a great way to accomplish things to me.


    • October 21, 2010 8:39 pm

      Hey there Crystal! At least you’re getting out there even if you’re meeting friends. It’s all about taking baby steps. Hope you give solo travel another go! 🙂

  28. Sunflowerdiva permalink
    October 21, 2010 11:22 am

    Wow, great for you that you had the guts to travel on your own! Congrats on getting Freshly Pressed!

  29. October 21, 2010 11:26 am

    I was down the beach from you, alone as well. Except for the gentlemen I was flirting with!Ahh, but alas tis not true. It was only a momentary transport of time, in my mind. 🙂 Sometimes being alone helps us find ourselves. Nice Post.

    • October 21, 2010 8:42 pm


      It’s nice to dream, isn’t it?

      Solo travel has absolutely taught me more about myself and what I’m capable of and I think that’s one of the reasons I enjoy it so much.

  30. October 21, 2010 11:35 am

    Good for you.

    My first solo trip was a three night bike trip, camping. As a city girl, camping alone was kind of scary, but I did it. Five years later, I take my sons on cycling tours with me, and take trips alone, too. Being on a bike, I can stop whenever and wherever I like. People can approach me, like when I got invited to share chili and beer with a another group at the campsite.

    Camping is inexpensive once you have the gear, and easy enough to go anytime. Go do it.

    • October 21, 2010 8:44 pm

      One of my favorite memories of St. John was that everyone at the campsite wanted to take care of me because they knew I was alone. One family from Indiana always offered me drinks every evening when I ran into them watching the sun set on the beach. Good times!

  31. October 21, 2010 11:38 am

    I travel alone all the time, but hardly ever out of my country or by plane. I went to Scotland in May and survived getting lost in Edinburgh.

    Not everyone goes two by two.


    Good for you for taking the trip in spite of the fear!

    • October 21, 2010 8:45 pm

      Gigi–I think travel is travel, no matter where you go, as long as you’re enlarging your boundaries. And indeed, we don’t all come in pairs, lol!

  32. October 21, 2010 11:41 am

    Good for you!! You’ve lived my dream! I wish I had gone travelling when I was younger instead of drinking my money away in dark clubs. Well done!

    • October 21, 2010 1:07 pm

      You still can. Just make a plan and do it! get rid of your fears.


    • October 21, 2010 8:45 pm

      Ditto. No time like the present…

  33. October 21, 2010 12:02 pm

    you have just given me the confidence to travel alone round Europe for 1 months, pure and simple, in one word, inspirational 🙂 x

    • October 21, 2010 7:34 pm

      Go for it! I did two months in Europe on my own at 17 and lived to tell (also lived to move to London eventually, then back to the US after grad school). At lot of people warned me against the potential pitfalls of traveling solo (especially as a woman) but I can honestly say it was the best thing I ever did. Great post, by the way, Marsha! Happy travels!

      • October 21, 2010 8:46 pm

        I’d love to travel around Europe for a month. Take me with you!!!

  34. October 21, 2010 12:05 pm

    You go grrrl! Such is life – the biggest risks pay off the biggest rewards! And sometimes the things we’re most scared to do end up being a huge turning point for us. Look where that little 6 day trip got you!!

    • October 21, 2010 8:47 pm

      It really was a huge turning point…and I really haven’t been the same since…thanks, Kim!

  35. October 21, 2010 12:06 pm

    I can’t even go to a movie by myself…This is amazing, your photos are beautiful.

    • October 21, 2010 8:49 pm

      Awwww…if you want to get out on your own and travel but you’re a little scared to, just take baby steps in that direction. Thanks for the compliment on my photos, BTW–it means a lot!

  36. October 21, 2010 12:21 pm

    Good for you! Welcome to the wonderful world of the solo traveler! My nomadic spirit drives me to travel much more often than I have friends or family willing to accompany me, so I have taken many a trip solo and enjoyed each and every one immensely.

    The first solo trip, while scary, often offers opportunity for self-grow, the flexing and expansion of one’s comfort zone. Your story reminds me that sometimes we have to get in over our heads to realize that we’re not really in over our heads at all.

    Safe and happy travels!!

    • October 21, 2010 8:50 pm

      I love the way you put that. The time I spent in St. John was perhaps the most peaceful and relaxing I’ve ever known…and I can’t believe I almost missed it! Happy travels right back atcha!

  37. October 21, 2010 12:27 pm

    You never know what you are going to find when you travel. It can be great or awful – with or without a travel buddy. Good for you to allow pride to make yourself do it. When courage refuses to surface, the thought of losing face can push us on.

    • October 21, 2010 8:52 pm

      Travel is certainly risky and full of uncertainties, but I comfort myself in the knowledge that life is too. You never know what you’re going to get.

  38. October 21, 2010 12:31 pm

    Wow that’s great! Keep up this attitude!

  39. October 21, 2010 12:32 pm

    Sounds so mystical.. I’d love to go there! Glad you were blessed by such an amazing vacation.

    • October 21, 2010 8:54 pm

      I get so selfish about St. John sometimes but yes, it comes highly recommended. I don’t like traveling to the same place much, but I’d go back to St. John in a heartbeat!

  40. redefinition permalink
    October 21, 2010 12:56 pm

    I am absolutely happy that I came across your blog on WordPress’s homepage! I am on a journey to become a solo traveler as well. I’m adding your blog to my Google Reader. Best of luck to you! 🙂

    • October 21, 2010 8:55 pm

      That means so much to me–thank you! And best of luck on your solo travel journey. Check out some of the other blogs and links in my blogroll for other inspiring solo travelers.

  41. Jane McConnell (Janey Liz) permalink
    October 21, 2010 12:58 pm

    You’re inspiring. With all these government spending cuts in the UK, your blog just inspires me day by day to take off!!! All the best for your travels.

    • October 21, 2010 8:56 pm

      Liz–There are days I just want to take off too! Happy travels!

  42. October 21, 2010 12:59 pm

    Hey Marsha,

    Great to know that there’s a whole communinity of solo travellers out there. I’m not particularly fond of solo air travel (done it a bit), but I do love solo road trips.

    • October 21, 2010 8:56 pm

      Lenny–Stay tuned. I’ll be blogging about my solo cross-country road trip sometime in the future. Single best experience EVER!

  43. October 21, 2010 1:02 pm

    G0od for you! Congratulations! Don’t you wish you’d stepped out years ago? – Robert

    • October 21, 2010 8:57 pm

      Robert–I do wish I’d started years ago, but I’m comforted by the fact that I’m doing it now. Happy travels! 🙂

  44. October 21, 2010 1:25 pm

    I admire you for going and having a good time. I, too, often find myself doing things on my own; hiking, biking. I find I enjoy it just as much as when with friends. It is a different experience. My son travelled through India alone when he was 20; he wanted to see exotic places and was not able to get anyone else to go. He had a great time and met lots of people there. They were very friendly and took him to their homes to meet their parents and he just had a great time. I think it was a life changing experience for him.
    Have fun!

    • October 21, 2010 8:59 pm

      Thanks! I’ve found that I’m much more comfortable interacting with people when I’m traveling alone that when I’m at home. Funny how that works.

  45. October 21, 2010 1:53 pm

    Bravo to you! A great example of powerful womanhood. Read “The Female Nomad,” by Rita Golden Gelman, if you haven’t already. You will love it. She also has a website.

    • October 21, 2010 9:00 pm

      Thanks for the recommendation. I’ll definitely check it out!

  46. October 21, 2010 2:02 pm

    Hey, congratulations! You’ve been wordpressed today! And keep going, girl, because you’ve done something that most of us wouldn’t even dare to consider. Oohh, I have always wanted to go crazy and travel around the world… 🙂

    • October 21, 2010 9:02 pm

      Tiffany–if only I were independently weathly, I’d travel non-stop I think, lol! I think a lot of people feel the way you do but once you get started and the travel bug bites you it’s like a disease for which there is no cure.

      Thanks for the congrats!

  47. October 21, 2010 2:17 pm

    Good for you!!! I am glad you went on your trip and decided to share it. Your picture is beautiful!!! Looks like you had a wonderful time. 🙂

    • October 21, 2010 9:03 pm

      Thanks! I did have a great time. Whenever I share my joy about this trip, it takes me back and makes me happy all over again! 🙂 <—see?

  48. October 21, 2010 2:31 pm

    Loved your post. I too went on a solo adventure this year…all the way to Ireland. Not going to lie I had a bit of anxiety myself, but once I got there–oh my gosh. Best experience EVER! 🙂

    • October 21, 2010 9:04 pm

      It’s so true. You make yourself crazy wondering about all the bad things that could happen that you forget about all of the possibilities for amazing things. Glad you had such a great experience. I’ve been dying to go to Ireland!

  49. October 21, 2010 2:36 pm

    Beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

    Last year when I turned 50 I made plans with girlfriends to fulfill a lifelong dream to visit Greece. With only weeks before departure, plans changed for valid work- and economic-related reasons so that only I could still go on to Greece. I asked at least 8-9 others if anyone could go, I considered not going, but remembered that it was the original reason for the trip to Europe and that I had waited 25 years to get that close, so I chinned up, made solo plans, modified for safety of a single woman and had a glorious 2 weeks in Greece (and unexpected stop in Turkey). On my own. It was wonderful. In fact, I think it is preferred.

    It has been exactly one year and although I blogged about the travels, I’ve never written about this aspect because to really celebrate the achievement of traveling alone, I would have to talk about my disappointments and some unhappy things. To you, Marsha, bravo!

    • October 21, 2010 9:05 pm

      What an empowering story! I’m glad you didn’t let circumstances dictate your trip or change your mind. Good on you for going anyway. I’d love to read your blog!

      • October 22, 2010 1:32 pm

        Please do. See link above. First half is Italy with friends; second half is Greece on own. It’s all about the travels!

  50. October 21, 2010 2:36 pm

    Amazing! Congrats on taking the solo plunge! I started travelling alone a few years ago. Granted, by solo trips were work-related but it was still travelling! Traversing airports, security lines and getting to and from your final destinations are the hardest part for me. Once I’m there I’m happy to explore, but it’s the getting there that’s the most stressful for me.

    Glad you had an awesome time!! 🙂

    Drive on,
    – M.

    • October 21, 2010 9:14 pm

      Thanks Miranda! There’s just something about being in a new place, isn’t there?

  51. Colin L Beadon permalink
    October 21, 2010 2:40 pm

    That is the way to go Marsha. The only thing I hate about traveling, is having somebody with me. The true excitement is in the journey, and who you might run into, and which way to may decide to turn. The untrodden path, and where it might lead.

    • October 21, 2010 9:17 pm

      Thanks, Colin–some of my experiences I’ve had traveling with people have been less than completely positive too so I understand where you’re coming from. But I’ve also had amazing experiences too!

  52. October 21, 2010 2:40 pm

    Congratulations on being freshly pressed!!

    I enjoyed this blog. I’m also glad you were able to travel alone and have a fantastic time! I have traveled alone before myself and I love it.
    You meet so many more people when you’re alone versus traveling in a group or pack. People are more willing to strike up a conversation with you.

    Great pic! Keep on traveling!

    • October 21, 2010 9:20 pm

      Thank you!

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I agree that you have so much more potential for meeting people when you’re alone. And that’s one of the best parts! Happy travels!

  53. October 21, 2010 2:50 pm

    This is amazing and exactly what I needed to read right now. I just came out of a long relationship, and me and my ex fiancee used to go on trips together to the Bahamas, Jamaica, etc. I was feeling all down that I will not able to go on one of those trips again any time soon. But your trip sounds amazing, and what a liberating experience! I think I’m going to start considering a trip for next year, with a friend or by myself, but I shouldn’t give up traveling to beautiful places because I don’t have a man to go with me. Thank you!!

    • October 21, 2010 9:22 pm


      You go girl! Glad you’re heading out on your own. It really is so liberating. Have a great time on your travels! 🙂

  54. October 21, 2010 2:55 pm

    Go girl! It’s a truism: you only live once…at least on this planet.


  55. October 21, 2010 2:58 pm

    Bravo to you, lone traveler! I took a semester off in college, got a work permit for the UK, and lived in Edinburgh for 6 months back in 1996. People here in the States and there in Scotland thought I was crazy to “jump off the edge of the world all alone”, as someone once put it. But it was just something I needed to do for myself, even if my parents’ first responses to my plan were (semi)negative. I traveled all over Scotland by train, bus, and car; to Paris via train where I walked all over the city alone; and to Bergen, Norway via Newcastle and a 24-hour-long ferry ride. Someone above said it right when they said it was sometimes lonely–but seeing what I saw, being where I was, and striking up conversations with random people was an experience I will never forget.

    Again, BRAVO TO YOU!!!

    • October 21, 2010 9:25 pm

      Thanks! I’m so jealous–sounds like you had an amazing, unforgettable time. I’d love to trek around the UK.

  56. October 21, 2010 3:01 pm

    I LOVE this post! Stumbled across it on Freshly Pressed (congrats, by the way!) and I relate so much to that experience. While I didn’t vacation by myself, I took last semester off of college to take an amazing internship in Washington, DC — a city where I didn’t know a soul. Of course, I met plenty of fabulous people and made wonderful friends over those months, but there was still that gripping moment before the journey, as you settle in somewhere new and are struck by the fact that you are totally, truly independent. Or when you wake up in the morning to sight-see alone — at first scared, then lonely, then proud, and finally that moment when you realize you are the best company you could have asked for, and you are enough for yourself. I get the sense that you have discovered that in yourself as well. I admire you for your bravery in going solo to vacation so far from home, and I look forward to reading more!

    • October 21, 2010 9:36 pm

      Thanks so much for the post love! Glad you had an opportunity to go out on your own. When those moments of fear and uncertainty dissipate into excitement and anticipation that makes it all worthwhile!

  57. October 21, 2010 3:15 pm

    Interesting how the mind works, your fear of going was trumped by your fear of not going. Now you fear neither, having gone, and now admitting (on a worldwide forum no less) that you almost didn’t. Congratulations.

    • October 21, 2010 9:38 pm

      LOL! There’s something about being transparent that’s really attractive to me right now. I don’t mind so much people knowing that I was scared to go as long as I did go and overcome my fears, I guess. The mind really is a mysterious thing….

  58. October 21, 2010 3:22 pm

    GOOD for you!! : )

    Sometimes people look at me like I’m crazy when I tell them I’m going away solo!

    Happy to see you on the front page of wordpress today!

    you get it!!!

    : )

    • October 21, 2010 9:40 pm

      Crush-monkey is such a cute name!!!! 🙂

      I get the crazy looks sometimes but it’s okay. Those of us who’ve traveled solo know how awesome it is!

      Keep on travelin’! 🙂

  59. Bipolar Pensante permalink
    October 21, 2010 4:00 pm

    Nice post, very inspiring! Thanks 🙂
    Someday I´ll have the guts to go travel around, my country first, which is Brazil… see ya around!

    • October 21, 2010 9:42 pm

      Ooooooh Brazil. Lots of potential for some excitement. Hope you get out there soon!

  60. October 21, 2010 4:01 pm

    Congrats on being freshly pressed!
    Although I’ve travelled a lot, I just made my first truly solo trip to Haiti last week. It was absolutely scary (especially with my limited French), but I was able to sort out a ride to the hotel and they introduced me to an orphanage where I could volunteer. I met great people and can’t wait to go back.

    • October 21, 2010 9:44 pm

      How incredibly brave of you to travel to a place where there was so much devastation just a few months ago. Glad you were able to get out to Haiti and volunteer. I’m sure your efforts were appreciated. Keep on travelin’!

  61. October 21, 2010 4:12 pm

    I pulled the solo travel move to Europe this time last year. Same dread and fear (even encountered a man in Paris I am pretty sure was trying to collect me for the sex slave trade, but I’m a badass and a smarty. Needless to say, I did NOT accept his offer of joining him that evening, NOR telling him where I was staying. ;))

    Once you go without a partner, you realize one isn’t needed and suddenly, the world seems a whole lot smaller.


    • October 21, 2010 9:46 pm

      LOL about the freaky French sex slave guy. Glad you kept your wits about you. Good luck on your future travels!

  62. October 21, 2010 4:16 pm

    How tough was it to hitch hike across St John?

    • October 21, 2010 9:47 pm

      It wasn’t difficult at all. It’s almost part of the culture. I just did what I saw in the movies. ;p

  63. October 21, 2010 4:17 pm

    Marsha, I can relate to what you said: jumping on a great travel deal and later fretting over the “what could happen to me as a single woman” anxieties.
    I’ve been taking baby-steps: traveling on group tours, but on my own in a sense, because I don’t know anyone in the group at first. Also, I like to spend a lot of time on my own, exploring towns. This was fine when I went to Ireland, where I understand the language. But Sicily made me nervous, until I got there and realized communication would not be a problem.
    I’m still not brave enough (or proactive enough) to plan a trip totally on my own and have no one to meet up with. I think it’s terrific that you have that spirit to travel and don’t let other people’s plans affect yours. I look forward to more of your adventures. -Jen

    • October 21, 2010 9:48 pm

      Jen–thanks for your sweet words and congrats about striking out on your own. It really is among one of the most liberating things a person can do. Good luck on all your future travels. 🙂

  64. October 21, 2010 4:44 pm

    you are awesome. I always dream of travelling alone but never have the guts or the mood to do it.
    your blog is very inspiring and makes me believe a girl can also backpack and walk the globe!

    I love travelling and photography, my blog is in Chinese.

    • October 21, 2010 9:51 pm

      There are lots of other travel bloggers out there who are traveling solo. Adventurous Kate just left yesterday to spend 7 months traveling. Hope you enjoy reading her blog! Happy travels!

  65. October 21, 2010 4:48 pm

    I love that you’ve made this the whole theme for your blog. I live in London so I’m trying to take all the Euro trips I can while I’m here!

    Also, congrats on being Freshly Pressed. My blog got FP’d yesterday and it was so cool!

    • October 21, 2010 9:53 pm

      Travel has become kind of an obsession so having a blog helps me keep it under control, lol! Going to check out your blog right now!

      • October 22, 2010 8:22 am

        I think it’s really nice that you have replied to everyone. I tried to reply to everyone, too. I hate when people get Freshly Pressed and don’t respond to even one person! All these people have so many thoughts they want to share about your article so it’s nice to get responses!!

        I’m definitely going to come back to your blog regularly.

  66. October 21, 2010 4:59 pm

    I came to solo travelling because I like going to the Middle East and it’s not easy to find travel partners there. So I have gone alone to Lebanon, Israel, Syria and Iran on several trips. Fantastic experiences:

    • October 22, 2010 5:41 am

      Very cool, Andreas. I look forward to hearing all about your trips on your blog. Happy travels!

  67. October 21, 2010 5:55 pm

    Glad your pride made you go. I’ve had the opportunity to go to St. Croix, it is lovely there. I totally understand the anxiety about solo travel though. I drove down to Savannah recently to visit by myself. The night before going I realized no one knew where I was staying and thought, what if something happened to me. I watch way too many police type shows. So I gave the info of my lodging to my manager at work and a friend. My friend also called me daily to make sure I was alright. My paranoia caused her paranoia to arise:). You can never be too safe but not going about and seeing this world should not be an option. I actually really enjoyed it. It gave me more time to myself and my thoughts. I also met some new people. Hope you have more solo and safe trips.

    • October 22, 2010 5:44 am

      Sophia–That’s a very important point. I usually make an itinerary with where I’m staying, what I expect to be doing, etc. and send it to my family and maybe a couple of friends. It gives me peace of mind to know that someone else knows where I am and helps my mom not to freak out, lol! Glad you’ve had the opportunity to travel about! I’m traveling to Savannah myself in a few weeks. I’m so excited! Thanks and happy travels!

  68. October 21, 2010 7:08 pm

    Speaking for myself, I find solo travel to be the better way to begin with: We can see our friends at home—and leaving them there makes it easier to enjoy a foreign country. Consider the greater flexibility and ability to chose what to see and do without compromise, the reduced distraction of small talk from the fascinating environment, and the greater ease of leaving thoughts relating to home behind.

    The one down-side is that traveling in a group makes it easier to cope with unexpected misfortune (e.g. a stolen wallet); however, with due precautions and the right mindset, the risk and negative effects of such misfortunes can be minimized.

    As for your fears about “Theft. Kidnapping. Assault. Rape. Murder.”, this largely boils down to “There is nothing to fear but fear it self.”: These things do happen, but they are comparatively rare, they are not automatically more likely to happen because one travels (with reservations for where one travels: Colombia and Afghanistan are not ideal for tourists), and by avoiding obvious stupidities (e.g. walking drunk in dark alleys after midnight) one can make them even less likely. Not being conspicuously “tourist” can also dodge a few problems.

    • October 22, 2010 5:46 am

      Agreed. You can travel solo as long as you travel smart.

  69. October 21, 2010 7:41 pm

    Awesome!. I’ll check the rest of your blog.
    Greetings from Argentina.

  70. October 21, 2010 7:58 pm

    Wonderful post! I’ve been blogging about an upcoming trip to India, and I enjoyed hearing another solo traveler’s thoughts. Definitely going to be reading your blog in the future. Congratulations for making Freshly Pressed!

  71. October 21, 2010 8:01 pm

    Wow–nice! I think I would have felt exactly the same and done exactly the same 😉 How memorable is that?! Congrats on Freshly Pressed and love the pic too! LB

  72. Fleg123 permalink
    October 21, 2010 8:39 pm


    I just wanted to say congratulations on your trip, looks awesome.

    As a solo traveler myself, I just returned home from a 3 month solo backpacking trek across western (and some of eastern) Europe. Solo travel is absolutely one of the most liberating and exhilarating experiences.

    Hope to see more exciting updates

    -A new reader

  73. October 21, 2010 9:33 pm

    I too travel solo. The more you do it, the braver and more confident you get in travel and in other areas of life. Enjoy!

  74. October 21, 2010 9:54 pm

    You go, girl! Really! How empowering is THIS! Kudos for taking the risk.
    Big hugs 🙂

  75. alastor993 permalink
    October 21, 2010 10:00 pm

    Well done! Fear is the biggest magnet for the nagetive, never let it take you agian!!! I traveled to China, where I’m living now, and it made me feel strong! All the fears I had were wasted energy and absolutely unfounded!
    So, be proud of yourself, you’ve done it! And if you’re ever wanna come this way, look me up through my blog, I’m in Shanghai

  76. October 21, 2010 10:06 pm

    hooray for you! 🙂

  77. Lorraine permalink
    October 21, 2010 10:31 pm

    Welcome to the world of traveling. Be it solo or with a friend or someone you met on the road, this will become an addiction I assure you. Like you I’m a female solo traveler (most of the time) and once you get over the initial attack of nerves and paranoia you’ll find out that traveling solo is very enjoyable. It enables you to be more open to more people and more experiences rather than stuck with your own company the whole time.
    Come to Asia next! Happy travels!

    • October 22, 2010 6:02 am

      So true, Lorraine! It has become an addiction. I’ve been to South Korea once before and I’d love to travel through the rest of Asia sometime soon. Hope you have another travel adventure soon!

  78. October 21, 2010 10:34 pm

    Awesome post, Marsha. Those feelings of liberation are probably the most satisfying thing about traveling solo. I didn’t tell very many people about my first extended solo travel trip because I didn’t want to hear the inevitable; the speeches of the terrors of traveling that would make me nervous… I was nervous enough on my own. So what really nudged me was the money I spent and the thoughts of “now or never”. If I really want to go somewhere, I don’t have to wait for someone to join me!

    I’m loving that so many people are seeing this post, hopefully it’ll encourage more people to consider traveling solo!

    • October 22, 2010 5:58 am

      Ekua–I really am excited about the exposure the post has received and hearing people, especially women, say they’ve been motivated to travel solo because of it. That means so much to me because I remember how it felt to want to travel and not have anyone to go with you. Thanks for your comments–I’m looking forward to your next adventure, wherever it is! :p

  79. lunchwithmary permalink
    October 21, 2010 10:48 pm

    I often have anxiety about travelling, especially airplanes, and I’m so glad you pushed through.

    A bit jealous that you got to hang out on such a beautiful beach.

    • October 22, 2010 5:55 am

      Maho Bay is gorgeous. I hope you get to visit St. John one day!

  80. October 21, 2010 11:10 pm

    Well done on still going, no matter what it was that convinced you to! The thought of travelling on my own absolutely terrifies me – maybe one day I’ll get there.

    • October 22, 2010 5:53 am

      Solo travel is great for me but if you have someone you can travel with, that’s fine too. If travel is something you want to do, I just think it’s important you get out there and do it!

  81. everythingneat permalink
    October 21, 2010 11:12 pm

    Congratulations on being featured on Freshly Pressed!
    Great that you were able to overcome your fear and have such a wonderful trip.
    I’ve successfully travelled solo many times in Europe and Asia and, although I love the freedom, sometimes it’s nice to have a glass of wine and evening meal and talk about the adventures of the day with someone you know.
    Hitch hiking is not the safest way to travel. You may want to rethink that one. I’m old enough to know many people who have had bad and/or traumatic experiences.
    Also, read about solo women travellers and watch for pick pockets. By being aware of my surroundings and belongings and the scams I was recently able to side step attempts in Paris and Rome.

    • alastor993 permalink
      October 21, 2010 11:55 pm

      Yes! Pick pocketing is “easely” prevented by having your money and important documents in a belt poutch that you can wear inside you pants, you can buy these in any traveler store. And always be aware of your surroundings is very important, after a while you get used to doing it and you’ll be able to recodnize certain scams/people/tricks.

    • October 22, 2010 5:51 am

      I certainly don’t advocate hitchhiking in general but it is generally part of the culture in St. John. I probably wouldn’t try it anywhere else. As for pickpocketing, if you take steps like alastor suggested like wearing a belt pouch and not keeping all of your money in the same place, you can avoid being in a difficult situation.

  82. October 21, 2010 11:21 pm

    Good for you! As much as I love traveling with friends and family, there’s really nothing like exploring a place on your own. I’ve traveled to Italy, Chile, and several US locations by myself over the years. I even navigated Shanghai on my own once (for a day, anyway!). Solo travel is scary, exhilarating, and life-altering almost every time. I’m so glad you experienced it! 🙂

    P.S. Congrats on being “Freshly Pressed” today! I was right there with you – “Are We Really Helping Our Kids Get Healthy?”.

    • October 22, 2010 5:48 am

      Solo travel really is an amazing experience in spite of the uncertainties of it all. I wouldn’t change a thing about any of my solo adventures.

      Thanks for the congrats! I look forward to checking out your blog!

  83. October 21, 2010 11:25 pm

    This is great! I hope that I can do something like this someday and have as much fun as you did!

  84. October 22, 2010 12:56 am

    “Because life isn’t like Noah’s Ark. We’re not all meant to travel in twos.” great line, love it 😀 i’d be the happiest if i’m able to do what you just did…:D

    • October 22, 2010 5:11 am

      Thanks…travel does seem to generate joy, doesn’t it?

  85. Annette permalink
    October 22, 2010 12:57 am

    I am so proud of you!!!!! I as well came to the realization that I could sit on the side lines because I didn’t have a traveling partner, and marvel at all of the places others had visited or I could just go…..
    As females we just have to be a little street wise and use our common sense….but the accomplishment of “Just doing it” is awesome!!!

    I hope you keep traveling …life is too short to sit idle… I have so many places that I want to see yet.


    • October 22, 2010 5:12 am

      Annette–I have every intention of continuing to travel. It’s so addictive! Keep on traveling and thanks for your sweet words!

  86. shazhat permalink
    October 22, 2010 1:05 am

    Wow! I’m inspired 🙂 I’m actually planning a solo trip to Italy next April – part of my ‘I’m turning 30’ present to myself. Can’t wait to experience what you have. Thanks for sharing!

    • October 22, 2010 5:15 am

      Awesome! Italy will be amazing–I’m so excited for you. Hope you’ll share some of your adventures on your blog. Thanks and happy travels! 🙂

  87. honey permalink
    October 22, 2010 2:24 am

    WOW! always wanted to go backpacking on my own but i dont have the courage. so maybe one day i will too! very inspiring! 🙂

    • October 22, 2010 5:20 am

      You can do it! I hope one day you have an opportunity to go out on your own and that you will find the courage to pursue it! Good luck on all your travels!

  88. October 22, 2010 3:08 am

    I adore the gorgeous picture of you smiling away with your feet in that clear blue water! wonderful!
    I am travelling to Brazil for 6 weeks on my own at the end of February, and have been so excited learning Portuguese, planning, etc. So many people try to tell me that I am crazy, but I am a careful intelligent woman! I am not going to Brazil to go to bars and get drunk and wait around for bad things to happen. I don’t plan on being a stupid tourist! lol ! My boyfriend will be with me in Rio for two weeks, but that month on my own? I’m excited to accompany myself on the voyage of my dreams.
    Good for you! Keep travelling… you are a true inspiration to us independant women.

    • October 22, 2010 5:22 am

      The water in St. John is unreal! Every time I would round a corner, I was in total awe of how clear and blue it was! I’m so excited that not only are you traveling to Brazil but your studying Portuguese too–good for you! So many people don’t even bother to embrace the local language so you’re already one step ahead. Hope you have an amazing time with (and without) your boyfriend. Thanks for the lovely words and happy travels!

  89. October 22, 2010 3:22 am

    couldn’t agree more! I am currently spending two months alone traveling through europe and focusing on amsterdam while writing a blog about it! traveling alone is definitely simultaneously thrilling and draining as your adrenaline is constantly slightly elevated!

    • October 22, 2010 5:24 am

      It is draining, isn’t it? But it’s also energizing as well. Enjoy Amsterdam–I’d love to get over there some day! Good luck on all your travels!

  90. Terri permalink
    October 22, 2010 3:40 am

    Wow, good for you.I have often wondered about travelling on my own, but the world is just too dangerous, especially if it is one’s first time travelling. I have travel plans with my mum for after next year, going to europe. I have always wanted to go to america, visit disneyland. Maybe I will get there one day. Intereting blog! thanks.

    • October 22, 2010 5:26 am

      Terri–I enjoy traveling alone but you may not feel comfortable with it yet and that’s okay. I’m just glad that you’re traveling, solo or not! Thanks and happy travels!

  91. October 22, 2010 3:41 am

    Great post! Im 17 and have been travelling solo for the last 3 months. Well, kinda solo – staying at horse farms and training/working horses. So living with people. But Ive never met them before meeting them at the airport 🙂

    • October 22, 2010 5:29 am

      Tarnia–I just checked out your blog and wow! I’m so impressed with all the traveling you’re doing on your own at your age! Seems like your job has allowed you to go all over the world. How cool! Will be checking out your blog in the future. Keep on travelin’!

  92. Terri permalink
    October 22, 2010 3:57 am

    Can’t say I’m use to planes, I’ve only been on one once so it will be my second time.I’m looking forward to it! I would like to actually get out of australia, so I might even find somewhere to live whilst on our travels.

    • October 22, 2010 5:32 am

      I’m not fond of planes myself, but I’m always excited about where they take me. Hope you get out Australia one day (the funny thing is I want to get into Australia, lol!) You don’t even have to leave your country to travel–there can be so many beautiful, exciting, and interesting places right at home. Enjoy your travels!

  93. October 22, 2010 6:17 am

    Nice post. Takes a lot of guts to travel alone. Maybe it’s time for me to embark on a solo voyage. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • October 23, 2010 4:25 am

      It does take a lot of guts to travel solo but it’s so incredibly rewarding to overcome your fears and get out there. Happy travels!

  94. October 22, 2010 6:49 am

    so beautifull.. Great!!!
    Nice to know you…

  95. October 22, 2010 6:51 am

    If I could go there,,, Hehehe

    I like that sky blue…
    Nice to know you…

  96. October 22, 2010 7:05 am

    I love it! As you say “Whatever works.” If that was the thing to get you to try solo travel, so be it. 🙂

  97. October 22, 2010 7:55 am

    Congratulations on your achievement!Way to go for not letting fear keep you from doing something you never did before:-)

    • October 23, 2010 4:31 am

      Thanks! I just checked out your blog…teaching Korea sounds awesome! Here’s to enjoying every moment!

      • Butterfly Jewel permalink
        October 23, 2010 8:37 am


  98. October 22, 2010 8:11 am

    nice post marsha..

    good job!! 😉

  99. Meaghan permalink
    October 22, 2010 8:52 am

    Solo travel is the best thing you can ever do for yourself. You really get to find out what you are made of!!! I remember making a decision to sell my house in Australia and buying a one way ticket to the UK with a work visa. The whole process took less than two months from decision to getting on the plane. Days before I left I would wake up with heart palpitations and extreme anxiety – but I just told myself all I had to do was get on the plane and deal with the next bit when I got there!
    If I had have waited for a friend to come with me, I would still be waiting…it is 14 years since my first overseas trip – and it was done all by myself…
    You meet fantastic people on the way and are more open to talking to people than if you had taken along a friend. You do things you normally wouldn’t because no one is there telling you who you are – you get to make it up as you go along.
    I definitely think it is something everyone should do – especially in other countries. It is great to see how other people live, and how little things make people happy. Some of my most amazing memories are of children’s happy faces in Africa where they have next to nothing!!! It really helps you come to the realisation that deep down we are all the same – we all want to be happy and to be loved and a good quality of life.
    May you all have the most wonderful solo trips, and also enjoy sharing the path with others when the occasion arrises.

    • October 23, 2010 4:36 am

      Meaghan–This is really beautiful. What you did required so much courage to sell everything and move to a different country on your own? Wow. I agree that travel gives you a fresh perspective on life and sometimes, we need that.

      Happy travels and thanks for the travel wishes!

  100. October 22, 2010 9:07 am

    WOW!! That is is amazing!! And that photo of the blue waters I am sure you took one look at that and it was all worth it! I commend you going on you own whether it was out of pride our courage it is still awesome!!

  101. October 22, 2010 9:22 am

    wow,… inspiring….

  102. October 22, 2010 10:04 am

    excellent! There is so much life out there, if only we would have the courage (and yes, it did take courage to face yourself!) to go partake! Beautiful! Thanks for sharing this! Great blog!

  103. randomischief permalink
    October 22, 2010 10:52 am

    An enjoyable post. Good on you! I’m looking forward to hearing about your future travel plans!

    • October 23, 2010 4:41 am

      Thank you. As long as I’m able to, I’m going to keep traveling and sharing my adventures.

  104. Monica Soto permalink
    October 22, 2010 3:20 pm

    I’ve always wanted to travel alone but had the same fears. Your blog is touching, real, and inspiring. I love it!

    • October 23, 2010 4:41 am

      Thank you Monica–what a lovely thing to say! That means a lot… Happy traveling!

  105. October 23, 2010 1:29 am

    Marsha, ryan CHANDELIER appreciates your efforts in educating those who believe that taking the amtrak from Rancho Bernardo to La Mesa requires 2 weeks vacation time. Personally, I have scaled the many highs and lows of traveling the globe. I’ve walked the great wall of Edmonton. I’ve scaled the leaning tower of Chechnya (it wasn’t leaning when I started going up). I’ve swum the crystal clear, brown waters of Manchester. One thing I have never done though – risk RSI in my index finger scrolling past 196 comments to make my own. Bravo!

  106. October 24, 2010 3:47 pm

    The Birth of a Solo Traveler…How can i explain my feelings about your posts…I am overwhelmed to see your great travel blog.

  107. October 25, 2010 1:51 am

    you’re a great writer!

    • October 25, 2010 1:54 am

      Thank you, Heather! That’s very sweet of you to say. 🙂

  108. Lui permalink
    October 25, 2010 7:45 am

    I love this post. I’m planning my own solo travel next year, I hope I’ll have a grand time myself. Thanks for sharing your experience. 🙂

    • October 25, 2010 12:41 pm

      You’re welcome. I’m looking forward to hearing about your experiences as well.

  109. threesixtwo permalink
    October 26, 2010 2:47 am

    I love this and can totally relate to your fears of traveling alone. Thank you for bringing these worries to the surface and equally banishing them!

  110. November 2, 2010 12:45 pm

    Cool! You just gotta plug your nose and do it. I left my homebase behind 2 months ago to travel full-time, and really, once I started, I thought, “Really? What was I afraid of?”


    Lisa Rogak

  111. November 6, 2010 9:10 am

    Traveling alone has been the single most life changing experiences of my life… It really does dispel your fears and make you comfortable with things you normally wouldn’t be. Especially as a woman. It’s good to hear someone else’s insights on this.

  112. The Letter "B" permalink
    November 9, 2010 9:23 am

    Hurray for solo travel! I have an aunt who has been traveling solo for the last 15-20 years. She has been an inspiration to me. My first solo trip abroad was to England in 2008. It was a bit daunting the night before but as I boarded the train to the airport I was more overwhelmed with thoughts about what I was going to see then worries. Congrats on taking that first step and thanks for starting this blog to share your experiences and advice!

    • November 9, 2010 10:44 pm

      Thank you! I’m always happy to meet other solo travelers! 🙂

  113. October 22, 2010 5:18 am

    Thanks for the link!


  1. The Birth of a Solo Traveler | Second Langage's Blog
  2. The Birth of a Solo Traveler (via Single Occupancy) « COMEWHTMAY
  3. Weekend Intelligence: October 23, 2010 « Single Occupancy

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: