I just successfully completed by my first solo travel adventure! Imagine my own surprise to realise that I have never had the opportunity or need to travel by myself in my 33 years of life! Yes I’ve travelled for work or family events on my own, but never for the pure pleasure of going to a place purely for ME!
I have had the amazing experience of travelling with my family far and wide (I will forever be indebted to my parents for gifting me the wonders of travel from a very young age), and I’ve had the most wonderful, off-the-beaten travel adventures with my husband who is just as passionate about travel as I am.
Flick back to MY travel story where I find myself – living in the beauty and majesty and mystery of China – one of the most ancient civilisations, with just a few weeks left before I return back home. With the clock ticking, and an unexpected opportunity to travel, my mind was set alight wondering just where I should venture to.
Should I explore the wonders of Sichuan province known for its natural beauty? Amazingly spicy food and cuddly pandas? Should I venture out to the southwest Yunnan province, a dream destination known for ancient wonders and sites such as Kunming, Dali and the ever famous Shangri-La? Or should I trek further afield to China’s neighbouring countries of Mongolia or Tibet? The options were endless, and with time running out and prices increasing, The pressure of deciding became real!
When I asked my husband for advice, he simply said to me, “Love, what do you want to do? Where do you REALLY want to go to?” And then it hit truly hit me… I WAS completely in control, I HAD the POWER to decide whatever I felt was best for me! What an amazingly empowering and liberating feeling. I made a decision, booked the tickets, found a personalised private tour and was all set to go.
And so, I can now proudly say, that as a woman, hailing from a big, extended Indian family, always surrounded by friends and loved ones and married, I made the decision to do something for ME, to feed my soul, my desire, my adventure bone and it was one of the most incredible experiences of my life.
From deciding on a destination, the activities and hotel, where and what I wanted to eat, setting the tour at my own pace, to how I wanted to spend my time, I WAS IN COMPLETE CONTROL of my experience and the outcomes of that. Yes, the weather wasn’t ideal and rained every day I was there yes there were times when I got back to my hotel room at the end of the day and missed the chatter and companionship of a travel partner, yes there was the time at breakfast where I gazed at a family indulging in the spoils of a hearty breakfast together making me long for my own family… but those were mere flashes of emotions wavering in my heart of a life filled with living in a comfort zone or expected outcomes.
The overall joy and feeling of liberation realising that I was comfortable enough to enjoy my own company, and that ultimately, I was responsible for the quality of my adventure and memories made, is something I would never regret and always be grateful for. I highly recommend it, would definitely do this again and encourage ANY woman out there to grab or create the opportunity for an adventure like this! Do it now, do it today!
Realise that it’s never too late to plan your solo adventure – a colleague married with one child plans a solo overseas trip every year to feed her pleasure of seeing and learning more about the world!
Think long and hard about where you want to go and what you want to do – travel usually means seeing couples and happy families doing things together – if you’re not ready for seeing this as a solo traveller, change your perception and think about why you want to go on an adventure.
Be prepared to have moments of feeling lonely – so go prepared with your favourite things such as awesome playlists, books, magazines and any other indulgences you love
Enjoy and just make the most of each experience
Travelling solo doesn’t mean you always have to be alone – book a guided tour and either befriend the tour guide, fellow tourists or travellers along the route and enjoy the experience of being in an awesome location with the opportunity to meet like-minded people
By: Poonam Harry-Nana
My name is Poonam, meaning "full-moon" in the Hindu culture, my dream is to shine my light on the world and turn that into action. A small-town girl from South Africa. I am passionate about purposeful living, travel, art, history, and motivating & inspiring women. Through my journal site, I share my experiences in my quest for the love of wisdom, as I journey into the unknown. I am currently living in China, having given up a "normal" life to seek my true-life purpose. Three things I love: 1. Good food. 2. Travel. 3. Inspiring & motivating people.