Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of @cocogreenzgyal
Traveler Story: 'Solo Travel Helped Boost My Self-Esteem And Confidence'
Charnelle, affectionately known as “Coco,” is a 30-year-old solo world traveler. She was born in the Caribbean island nation of Grenada and moved to the United States in 2007. “I migrated to the U.S. to live with my parents and to pursue my education.”
She began traveling alone in 2018, after a horrible breakup.
“I felt that I needed to do something to help me get out of the rut I was in,” Coco told Travel Noire. “In June of that year, I decided to pack my bags and travel solo to three Asian countries.”
Coco describes her first solo travel experience to Thailand, Singapore, and Indonesia as exciting and liberating.
“That trip helped boost my self-esteem and confidence. I began to feel like myself again.”
It was just the beginning. Coco caught the travel bug and has been traveling solo ever since. She has been to Curaçao, the U.K., Morocco, Spain, Malaysia, the Bahamas, Hong Kong, India, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, and most recently, Tanzania. Morocco is her favorite destination thus far.
“I love, love, love Morocco,” she said. “I don’t think any country can bypass Morocco. I really enjoyed spending time connecting with the culture and the people. One of the most breathtaking things I have seen in Morocco was the Atlas Mountains.”
Coco says she felt the most safe and welcomed as a solo Black woman traveling in Indonesia, Thailand, Turkey, and Zanzibar, Tanzania. However, she admits she has not always felt 100% safe while traveling alone.
“There were times when I felt very uncomfortable in Malaysia. I was followed a few times by young and older men, which was quite scary. Honestly, it was the last place I thought this would have happened to me.”
Nevertheless, Coco is looking forward to returning to that region of the world again.
“I hope that Southeast Asian countries reopen soon! I’m patiently waiting.”
Her suggestions for other Black women planning to travel solo:
“Always read hotel reviews,” she explained. “Make sure to give your family or someone you trust a copy of your itinerary and important documents. Stick to tourist areas. Be friendly, but not overly friendly. Be prepared to haggle in the marketplaces. Keep in touch with your family and friends on a regular basis. Keep an eye on your belongings, and never accept drinks from a stranger.”
She also reminds travelers to be smart if traveling during the pandemic.
“Wear your mask, wash and sanitize your hands frequently. If you feel sick while in another country, seek medical attention as soon as possible. Also, stay up-to-date with entry requirements, because they can change in the blink of an eye.”
For more of Coco’s solo adventures, you can follow her on Instagram at: @cocogreenzgyal.