“It’s good to get lost in the right direction”.
This is by far one of my mos favourite quotes, and one I’ve often lived my life by. As I’m sure you will be able to tell by my blog, I love to travel! Even more so, I love to travel solo. There’s nothing quite like taking off on an adventure on your own, not having anyone to consider, no one to bail you out when things get tough or hold you when you’re confused and emotional. It is a journey of finding yourself in the best possible way.
Travelling as a female poses it’s unique risks, and definitely you need to research customs and others’ experiences before heading to a new country. I’ve had a couple of scary incidents in the past, that I handled because I had no alternative. However, I’ve found the rewards of solo travelling to be so far beyond the risks. In this day and age, women are becoming more and more independent, and every time I’m at the airport, I see more and more young women on their own, backpack in tow, off on an adventure. I love it! Gone are the days of needing men, or any type of travelling companion.
Currently, I’m travelling Nicaragua solo, and this is the second solo trip I’ve done here. The last one was more dipping my toe in, as I arranged a lot of it beforehand, and didn’t have to worry much while there. This time, I have planned out a few of my stays as I didn’t want to miss out on specific places due to them booking up, but I’ve left a lot of the transportation and the last couple days up to whatever presents. I’ll be taking the Chicken bus for the first time – that is what the local bus is called – and hopefully I’ll be picking up more Spanish along the way. We shall see! Trying to communicate with my taxi driver was absolutely hilarious, and luckily we both had translator apps on our phone. This is one of the biggest things I would recommend if you are going to travel to a place where you don’t know the language. I use Yandex Translate, as you can download files for specific languages and use the app when you’re offline as well (nice bonus for travelling). You’ll find you also become very fluent in hand gestures and nodding! It’s great for your brain to process this type of information, and it allows you to handle situations that may end up being frustrating at times, with a little more grace and understanding. Going with the flow is a necessity when on the road, especially in countries outside of North America, as they tend to move at a much slower pace. Here it’s called “Nica Time”, and that means letting go of control of your schedule, because everything happens in its own time!
The challenges you face while travelling solo will show an adventurous and independent side that you may not have discovered before. When you end up missing a train or being dropped off in the wrong town, alone, without knowing how to communicate, how would you handle that? If it’s never happened to you, it probably sounds highly stressful, if not terrifying, right? But imagine how you would feel after you figured out that entire situation, ended up exactly where you needed to, with little extra cash spent, and were back to enjoying your travels in record timing? I bet you’d feel pretty damn accomplished, am I right? It is moments like these that show you you can handle absolutely anything that comes your way!
Here’s some of my travel trips to get you on your way:
1. Buy a diva cup! Honestly ladies, having to carry a bunch of pads or tampons takes up so much space, and you have no idea what the sanitation conditions are going to be like where you are. The diva cup is a life saver!
2. Save your toiletry bottles and refill them with your own products when leaving for your next trip. I’ve used the same bottles for the past five years, and they work perfectly. I even bring my magnesium spray by transferring some into an old aromatherapy bottle.
3. Learn all of our basic phrases – greetings, pleasantry, asking about bathrooms, directions, etc. Translation apps are great, but making an effort to learn shows respect for the people you are integrating.
4. Don’t assume you know best. The biggest lesson I have learned while travelling is that you have to allow each culture to live life their way. Perhaps your way is more efficient, but that doesn’t mean they will choose to change, and perhaps there is very deep cultural systems in place around their lifestyle. Respect cultural differences, above all else, while travelling.
5. Leave a low footprint if you can. I only bring all natural toiletries while travelling, a refillable water bottle, and I have a portable charger that hold enough juice to charge my phone three times (more on technology in the next post). Ask about recycling and composting wherever you are staying, maybe pack your own metal or bamboo straws and cutlery as well. It is best to leave things how you found them, always.
6. Have your technological comforts, but keep things small. I bring an iPad, a portable Bluetooth keyboard and speaker, my portable charger, a mini flashlight, and my cords. This way I have some of the comforts of home, can keep up on my blog and in touch back home if needed, and it adds that extra bit of security, especially on your first solo trip.
7. Invest in a great backpack. Rolly suitcases won’t get you far when you’re beach hopping or hiking, or having to stay in a hostel that doesn’t have great security when you want to explore. Plus, they aren’t great for you ergonomically. Find a backpack that has lots of compartments, is at least 35L, has a hip and waist belt, wishbone frame, adjustable suspension, and well ventilates material. This will literally be a life saver if you’re on the go! Brands I’ve used and recommend are Osprey and Gregory Backpacks.
So ladies, go out on your own adventure. Let go of the need for anyone else, get lost for a while, and see more of what this world has to offer! There is so much to see and experience! I guarantee, it will change your entire life!
The Salt Yogi