Photo Credit: Leonardo Patrizi | Getty Images
How I Became A Fearless Solo Traveler
Written by Sapphire Anderson
As I soar thousands of miles in the sky, I wonder if this is all such a good idea. Frolicking through the streets of Old San Juan in Puerto Rico or in the jungle, trekking throughout the beautiful island of Dominica alone? Maybe, but maybe not. At this point, I realize there’s no turning back. Am I afraid? A little! But that’s what courage is about, charging your fears like a bull. Fear is a natural emotion but it’s unnatural to allow emotion to control your life.
Traveling solo is an exciting and new adventure! I’ve traveled a few places within the states but always with friends and family. In the past, I would make plans only to cancel if I couldn’t find a travel buddy. Even though this world consists of 7 billion people, the idea of traveling alone seemed foreign and daunting. Despite the fear, I booked a flight to Dominica and Puerto Rico with passport in tow and boarded the plane.
That’s how you go from fear to fearless; just do it. Nothing is ever as bad as it seems. The world consists of 7 billion people so we are never truly alone. It’s about perspective. There’re so many opportunities to meet amazing people. For example, I met an interesting fellow name Cerni , en route from Puerto Rico to Dominica. As we boarded the small plane, he shared his story of growing up in a small country called Andorra (located in the eastern Pyrenees mountains and bordered by Spain and France) and how he recently quit his job to travel the Caribbean Nations.
Below are some revelations I discovered while traveling solo:
One rainy morning in Dominica, I ate breakfast then hiked 12.4 miles down to the Valley of Desolation and Boiling Lake, a UNESCO World Heritage site (only two exist in the world, the second one is in New Zealand) on the side of an active volcano. None of my family or friends would have been excited to experience this adventure, but I was ecstatic.
Traveling solo gives you the opportunity to do or not to do whatever you want. Wanna sleep in till 2pm? It’s OK! Wanna sign up for every activity available? Why not, you’re free!
Another benefit of traveling alone is more flexibility. You can stay in one place as long as you like and are able to change your itinerary on a whim. It’s also very relaxing. You don’t need to make any plans for the day and can take things as they come. While in Puerto Rico, I woke up at 5 am and walked to Condado beach. After a couple of hours of exploring, I stumbled upon this amazing Jamaican Restaurant, Blessed (I know, I know! I’m in Puerto Rico but I couldn’t resist the food and music). Later, I took a tour of the Bacardi Rum Factory and Listened to Live Salsa Music at Nuyan Rican Cafe till 4 am (my flight departed at 650am). I had no official agenda, no schedule, just omplete blissful randomness!
When traveling with friends and family, your focus is centered on the group. You’re less likely to entertain others and are less approachable. When traveling solo, people are more likely to approach and you can focus on meeting new people. My first night in Dominica, I had dinner with 4 German men and a Swedish woman name Nancy! My hiking buddies were newlyweds from Norway and England. Also joining me on hikes and excursions were a mother/daughter team from France and Mike from Philly. While hiking Trafalgar Falls, I met a Hungarian woman while soaking in the natural hot water springs. She was on holiday for two months and decided to island hop from Jamaica down to Trinidad. Dominica was her 133rd country visited. Her goal was to visit all 196 countries in the world!
I loved traveling solo! I’m so happy I didn’t miss the opportunity to meet amazing people on an amazing trip because of fear. Hopefully my experience has taught you to never be afraid to pursue your dreams!
Bonus Tips for traveling Solo
Be safe and smart -use common sense! The same precautions taken at home should be taken while traveling. If traveling internationally be sure to check the US Passport and International Travel website for the most up to date information, and be sure family and friends are aware of your whereabouts.
Stay smart and leave a paper trail! I made three copies of my passport. I also gave one copy to my daughter, kept two copies on my persons at all times, and emailed a copy to my personal email. Purchase a small lock to store passport and personal items safely.