From the Female Traveler:
A solo trip is about you and what you need or want to do for yourself. The best solo vacations give you a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment and help you grow as a person. Regardless of whether or not you have done this, always remember that traveling alone can be a defining moment. The fact that you can travel alone is a gift and privilege, and you should use it to the maximum of your ability.
Above all, don’t forget to have fun!
Over the last few years of solo travel, I have met more and more fellow solo travelers. The common traits are: independence, confidence, inner peace, and good planning.
On my last trip to Europe, I met some interesting travelers, since it was winter, and not the tourist season. Most were in Europe on business, and were happy to have other Americans to relax, talk football, and drink. But I think solo women travelers are more interesting. Why?
Several young women were “working” their way through Europe. One works for a big high-end hotel chain, and can work remotely, and cheaply for long periods of time. Another decided to quit her job, learn to speak Portuguese, and find some work along the way to support a yearlong adventure. I found both to be great strategies. And both seemed fearless in their own way.
Of course, the world champion for solo travel is my travel hero, Katy. She travels 365 days every year and is currently in Australia. We met about three years ago in Bucharest, Romania. Since then, she has landed in Russia, China, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, and now Australia, despite covid!!! She will actually be in California in April, when we plan to meet. She works as a document translator in several languages. It is conducive to working online in co-working spaces around the globe. Oh, and she avoids air travel as much as possible. She loves long cruises, and train rides.
But as I age, I find that being at home is best. The need for medical care increases with age. And I miss everyone here, the creature comforts, my sports on TV, and the wonderful meals we always have. Sadly, my stamina for long trips has abated, exponentially. Two weeks is my limit now, whereas not too long ago, a month was my preferred travel period.
And more than anything, I miss my travel buddy, Mr. Mike. We have golfed all over the world, and visited Europe, Africa, South America, and most of Asia together. Our longest adventures were in Africa (safaris and stay with Barry the V), and driving Chile from top to bottom.
Some other observations. In Africa, we noticed much more women traveling and going on safari than men. We decided to ask why? Almost every woman said their “men” were not interested in seeing wild animals! Interesting!
I would imagine in the years to come that medical tourism will become mainstream. Cosmetic surgery is so much cheaper in Mexico and Thailand. Even the guys are getting into the act with hair implants in Istanbul.
I notice many women are willing to move overseas. A friend of mine from SF just bought a home in Portugal. Another lady, a former neighbor moved to Slovakia a few years ago.
Perhaps it is gender equality? Iceland is the world’s most gender equal country, the only country to have closed 90% of its gender gap, according to the World Economic Forum’s 2022 Global Gender Gap Report. It is also the third happiest country in the world, ranking just behind Finland and Denmark on the 2022 World Happiness Report. The country also has the lowest poverty rate of the countries belonging to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. OECD includes 38 member countries, including the U.S., the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, Korea, France and Spain. (USA Today) The US is only 129th!!
My observations and experiences, whether real or purely anecdotal, seem to trend toward women. Maybe they feel safer in some foreign countries. Maybe they need a culture change. Maybe there are more eligible partners. Maybe the cost of living is lower. I really don’t know!