DARE THE SOLO ADVENTURE!
5 months, over 7000 km solo travel through South and Central America, 1 backpack, 1 journal, plenty of nights sleeping in hostels‘ dorms & hammocks, countless buses, boats & planes, and a lot of energy & free spirit! Last September 2017, I got to stop dreaming, leave everything I had acquired and actually experience what I had been planning and looking forward to for a long time! My big project took an end in January 2018 and was happily fulfilled! It went beyond my expectations and was extremely enriching. I came back stronger, wiser, and even more confident and courageous than before.
This whole “Latin” experience has been enlightening, liberating and gave me the strength to finish exploring Central America, Mexico and certain countries of South America one day.
I wish my experience empowers other females to travel solo. I got to meet plenty of us wandering around – mentalities are changing nowadays. Despite the fear and warnings that we had received back home, I was pleased to see that, like me, other brave and independent girls had worked hard to conquer their fears, follow their hearts, chase their own goals and dreams to explore “the Americas”.
In my opinion, traveling alone is not as scary as one thinks. It might seem frightening because you are away from what is known to you and your comfort zone, but with caution, common sense, courage and confidence (4 C´s), anyone´s journey should go smoothly.
Nevertheless, insecurity and harassment were daily features in our lives on the road, and staying alert was essential. Luckily, I did not suffer any major issues of danger. However, it is true that I was littered with unpleasant instances of catcalls, or suggestive looks, and over time this really put a downer on my trip. It is essential to voice any concerns to locals and tell fellow backpackers for their own sake.
Going on adventures is what makes me happiest, and I would never let these incidents scare me away from it.
On another note, I believe solo female travelers have the following traits in common (3 C’s):
* Courage – the fact of taking the decision to head off on a solo adventure takes courage. Especially as women, there are more things to consider I believe. We evaluate, imagine, deduce and analyze what the ‘reality’ of travelling alone will be; the mere process of doing so is already courageous. I think it is a healthy boost for our self esteem too. In a way, it is satisfying to take things in your own hands and make careful decisions.
* Confidence – taking the plunge is already a confidence booster. Traveling solo means you have to make decisions and learn to trust yourself. The entire experience of doing things on your own is a fabulous opportunity for personal development. Moreover, we are used to being faced with the unknown and dealing with problems on our own; taking decisions quickly or intuitively also develop confidence.
* Connection – As a woman travelling solo, you will find that people are interested or intrigued by you. They are inspired, want to talk and hear your experience.
As a conclusion, I would like to highlight that traveling alone forces you to figure out and trust who you are and how you want to live your life. My travels have taught me to be comfortable with enjoying time on my own. I live to be free and humble, and believe that being at peace with oneself makes you a better person. I also learnt to laugh at myself and not take things too seriously. Every new perspective or events have shaped me as a person.
I do try to live my life to the fullest and always follow my dreams. Once I envision a project, challenge or destination, I will work hard to get there, and when I do, I will make every minute counts. Matthew Karsten, an expert vagabond, said, “Investment in travel is an investment in yourself.” I could not agree more with this quote and will keep on exploring the world and be as spontaneous and free as I can – be daring, be free!
BIO: Chloe is a young Australian & French woman who loves sports and nature. She has been working in Madrid, Spain for the past 3 years, and has backpacked extensively on her own through Europe, Oceania, Africa, North America and lately Latin America. She is a fierce advocate of gender equality and spread the UN message of Empower Women on a voluntary basis (#HeforShe). She is also an animal lover and has volunteered in rescue centers in Costa Rica and Australia. Chloe would love to make a bigger impact on wildlife protection in the future.