Courage is Travelling Solo As a Woman
| Jessica, 23, Miami
I’ve always loved traveling. But it wasn’t until that period in time between college and post-graduate school when finding a travel partner seemed impossible that I decided to do it solo.
I’m actually a person that enjoys doing things by myself, but that preference is strained when getting on a plane and landing in a strange place.
I think it all started with a sticker I received when I attended Michelle Poler’s conference in Miami.
“If I weren’t afraid, I would _____”.
I knew the talk would be inspirational, because I had been driven by her 100 days of Fear project long ago, and I had already faced some of my fears thanks to her.
I ended up writing "I weren't afraid I would travel the world by myself".
Maybe that sticker meant nothing.
I didn’t have to actually go face that fear, but a few days after that presentation, my friend that went with me started chasing her sticker dream! And to me, her fear was a lot harder to achieve than travelling solo. That was the last push I needed to make the decision to go for it.
I chose to travel to Cusco, Peru.
I was very nervous. Of course, this is the moment when you constantly think of what could go wrong. To help calm my nerves I decided to join a volunteer program. It gave some structure to the adventure. I could count on the program for help and everything would be more organized.
Still, I was very nervous.
Coming from a small Jewish community in Venezuela and living in its Miami equivalent, you don’t get to see a lot of different people.
It’s true that I didn’t get to travel the whole world, but I did get to see another small piece of it.
Meeting all the volunteers was like a small taste of what the world has to offer, most of them didn’t even have Spanish as their native language and had been travelling South American countries for a while, Cusco was just one of their stops (these people were doing what I was so afraid to do!!!).
I learned a lot from them, even just from meeting them, it struck me that it was very common to just do it, go and travel the world, the amazingness of wandering, not wondering how it will go, but sharing in the awe of other people I could meet, the places to be discovered, all just by being open to the opportunity.
And what seemed comfortable to them were some of my fears to begin with: how to be in a strange city with no one you know? Will I meet someone that I can spend the time with? This is considering the fact that I’m very shy and that it is hard for me to open up to strangers. But how everything had gone, and how I’ve seen everyone else being so open, talkative and friendly, I decided to join a German girl on a trip to Machu Pichu. I never imagined myself doing so.
On the plane there, I wrote a note with all the fears I had at the time. It was an experiment to see how different the feelings could be before and after. Everything I doubted or feared then, has no relation to the way things actually went.
I realized many of the fears I was facing didn’t have to exist. Of course, I would be scared if I were to do it again, but I would make the decision a lot faster.
To anyone thinking about traveling solo, whatever that final impulse might be, find it. Even volunteer. Your eyes will open to experiences, culture, cities, and people. It’s all worth it.