Solo Female Traveler… Never Alone

Let’s face it ladies, solo travel is a glittering, sparkly term in our heads that inspires us, is a goal for some, and an utter reality for others such as me. It’s terrifying and beautiful and brings out the best in us and the parts of us we don’t even know are there. For me, it was little by little, and still going on today after months and months. It’s also a common saying that we are never alone. I want to touch on that a little bit to take a moment to appreciate the little bits of strength that come in moments I never expected that push me even further in to embracing independence and really blossoming in to the best version of myself.  One of the many things that inspire me and make my travels and adventures more epic are those that involve other solo ladies traveling.
Despite months of solo travel, I have never felt alone. I met loads of people, made friends from around the world, and did FAR MORE than I ever thought I would. This is all because of the community and culture of backpackers that I met along the way. I have traveled as a couple before, and had I done it this trip, I would have been loaded with regrets. That’s not to any fault of a couple, it’s only that I discovered how far I could push myself with nobody to fall back on. It showed me that sometime, I used that as a crutch when I felt lazy or tired or stressed. It created a fallback plan that allowed me to never have to 100% commit to anything.

Solo travel as a female is the best decision I have ever made for myself. 

Now, everyone has their off-days, myself included. I have had days that came close to absolutely shattering me on this journey. So has every other solo traveler I have met. I also have had people enter my life at the perfect moment to reinspire and validate things I shouldn’t have doubted in the first place. These ladies are inspiring and come in every form, and deserve to be recognized for it. I keep up with them and constantly get reinspired watching them chase after what they dream of and keep me the smiling, bubbly lady I tend to be.
Back home in Tahoe, I have a group of gals that I am SO LUCKY to get to call my best friends, my support, tolerators of my terrible puns, and inspiration. They found me in Tahoe and it will always be the source of where my zest came back. I had settled in again, no real thoughts on leaving, but was reminded of everything I love about myself when I am on the road and doing what I love. At home, they are doing what they love, whether it be nailing their dream job, skiing in big mountain comps, or buying a home in Tahoe to stay forever. The goals and every step they take to accomplish them inspired me to get my butt back in gear and do what I was passionate about: travel and climb. I want to be in the mountains, on beaches, on towering rock walls. I want to push my limits, test myself, and journey on again. Leaving Tahoe was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do, but the right choice. Even when I left, however, my group of gals have been with me for every step of it. I tell them stories, I compare the shores of Western Australia to historical events (that shouldn’t make sense but they really do laughing emoji), and I continually get inspiration from what they are doing. The support and passion and stoke we all have for each other is my definition of ideal friendship…
In Koh Tao a few months back, I had a friend call me and ask if I wanted to meet up with his friend that was on her trip solo as well. Needing to leave Bangkok anyway, I booked a bus for the next day and landed myself on a random beach waiting for a blonde chick with a pink towel… As we introduced ourselves, I learned very quickly what a genuine and absolutely caring soul the girl I now consider to be one of my closest friends, Amber, was. She was a bit introverted, and I the complete opposite. As we walked down the street in search of good food and cheap happy hours, I remember the look of utter shock on her face as I talked to every single stranger we passed. If they smiled, I took it as an offer of friendship, and our short galavant quickly turned in to a long night of chit chatting and planning for the week.
Amber and I were opposites in many ways, but absolutely necessary for each other’s trips. She is absolutely one of the raddest ladies I have ever met. Her drive, her passion for the ocean, and how much she has already achieved in life simply wows me. Over the span of our almost full month of traveling together, she showed me her world of diving, I showed her mine of climbing, and we learned the flying trapeze. Yes, you heard me correctly. THE FLYING TRAPEZE. What started in a decision to face her fear of heights, and my idea of bungee jumping somewhat shut down, we stumbled upon the art of the flying trapeze. I am not scared of heights, but the first time I hopped on the swing and committed to the plunge, I had hands that were sweating through the chalk and legs that slightly trembled. One swing in, I shrieked in delight and realized that while I never EVER would have decided to do this on my own, I was experiencing every feeling I chase around the world: complete and utter joy, fun, and the exhilaration that takes your breath away. I was inspired and happy and stoked on a new experience that I might not have chosen without Amber’s excitement about it.
More importantly on that day, however, was watching Amber do it. She was obviously very scared as she climbed the giant ladder up to the trapeze swing, and you could see her legs shaking as she prepared for her first try. I can count on one hand the number of people I have seen face something they are so scared of and completely face it. It’s something I have not yet had to face, but I imagine it would be something like free-soloing the most difficult climb I have ever attempted. (For real though, THAT level of scared) In the same position, I don’t know that I could have done it. Amber took a deep breath, hesitated a bit, but then committed and went for it! Just like that, she was flying terrifyingly high above the ground on a trapeze! It was SO INSPIRING TO WATCH! It’s things like that that how me the reasons we chase after goals and do what we love and value the beautiful parts of life.
From the highs to the lows, water slides and pool parties, diving my first wreck in the ocean, to her first big rock climb, we both seized every adventure that came our way. She has said that backpacking with me and making our way through even the shadiest parts of the Thai islands helped her come out of her shell and thrive. I watched her have the absolute time of her life and handle the rest of her trip so gracefully after parting ways and I know that she had it in her all along. We brought out the best in each other, shouting support and getting stoked on things that we knew the other felt was important. That’s what great friends do! Yet again, I found a solo traveler like myself that inspired me! I was blessed with a best friend, an epic adventure, matching wave tattoos (what can I say, we are infatuated with the ocean, part of what made us friends), and absolute proof that if anything ever scares me in life, there is no reason I can’t handle it. As I continue my journey in Australia and New Zealand, she has moved up and landed another amazing job in the states doing what she loves. You go, girl! And thanks for giving me some inspiration and friendship when I started to get homesick and doubt myself.
This happens everywhere I go, some friendships straying in closer touch than others. In Vietnam, I met a friend named Emma that is also still galavanting around the world. She is in my neck of the woods currently, so I will have seen her in more countries than even my friends back home! She has had this dream to quit it all and travel, and now she is getting after it!
In Myanmar, I met my friend Tatiana. We adventured everywhere across the country that we could manage on bikes and treks and even the only winery in Myanmar! She has been on the road almost a full year away from home, and the planning and zest that has gone in to it combined with her free spirit has given her such unique views on the world and a wisdom far beyond her years. And she simply radiates happy! I might also mention that our double-chin photos across the country are OUTSTANDING.
In Nepal, I was particularly blessed to link up with my friend Kelsey. We met in the San Fransisco airport with hopes of meeting other travellers heading to Nepal that might be around for the long trek through China to get there. We decided to take on the long layover in China as a team, getting in shady vans with the “hotel” people that would house us for the night. I swear, it was like a scene out of Taken with the alleyways and weird red-light district they dropped us off in. A red light glowed in to the hotel room from the street for that special added effect. Looking back, I know that neither of us would have had the guts to do it alone and probably would have slept on the airport floor. Instead, we had a grand adventure that soon turned in to multiple adventures as we met up trekking in the Himalayas AND in Kathmandu, Nepal. With the same weird sense of humour and giggly joy at everything (especially food), we ate our ways through Nepal, danced the nights away in Thamel, and then ate more food. It was a situation that I was really hoping to meet other solo travellers and ended up with an entire rowdy group of us. Kelsey got excited for everything and had a positivity for every tiny little thing that was infectious to the rest of the group we formed. If you ever read this Kels, you MADE Nepal for me. Never have I ever known someone as excited for the little things, and FOOD, and everything ever like I get when I travel. Every day in Nepal was the best day ever because I had a friend to share it with.

Just like that, as a solo female traveler, I am never alone. Yes, I travel solo and part ways with those that I meet. I have to say way too many goodbyes and face my fears in new and different ways. But, I get to meet all of the other inspiring, badass ladies that also do the same thing. They are my inspiration, and a constant reminder with each one I meet that we are doing something incredible here. So, to all of the ladies that I have met in the last few years, you inspire me. You make me appreciate even the hard days out on the road. And you make me excited looking in to the future, even if it has so many unknowns.

If you want to follow any of the EPIC world travellers I have met across the las 8 months, here are a few links to their Instagram so you can get just as inspired about the beauty of this world as I do…
Emma
Amber
Kelsey
Jess SAME NAME, so obviously pretty awesome

And as always, you can click https://www.instagram.com/the_faithful_wanderer/ to catch up on my pictures as well! ❤

From some beach, somewhere…
Jess

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