By Kristin Zibell (Independent Solo Female Traveler)
For women who strive to challenge themselves while they travel, these vacation destinations go beyond the sight-seeing/eating/shopping routine and make the solo gal traveler be all she can be.
The solo gal traveler is wandering solo for a reason – to show herself and the world that she can do it! The “it” varies depending on her mood and desires, but certain vacations and activities around the world can reveal a self-sufficient and strong adventurer. Confidence builds, adventures abound, and her independence unfolds. On my own independent adventures, I’ve ridden a camel across the Sahara and the Sinai Peninsula, trekked in Nepalese forests looking for rhinos, and snuck into the Goa International Film Festival in India. Each experience shed fears and added a layer of independence, making me a better traveler and woman.
Conquering the Surf in Mexico
There’s nothing like the first time of standing on a surf board and catching that wave. It’s victory over any self-doubt found in the thirteen or so tries where you didn’t get up. Declare your independence in two exceptional Mexican surfing spots and learn to ride the Pacific waves. Near Puerto Vallarta, there’s Sayulita, a popular surfing spot where surfers have been finding the perfect wave since the 1960s. Take a lesson for the day or join a surf camp and retreat. Further down the coast and closer to Acapulco is Puerto Escondido, another popular Mexican surfing spot. Take surf lessons to learn the difference between the wall, tube, and barrel parts of a wave on a beach named after a woman who found freedom by escaping her Spanish captors.
Bringing out Your Inner Goddess at a Bali Retreat
Solo traveler extraordinaire author Elizabeth Gilbert of Eat, Pray, Love fame found her “love” while meditating with her healer/guru in Bali. While the independent traveler may not be seeking love (unless, perhaps, it’s in the form of Javier Bardem), she may be seeking some quiet solitude on one of the most beautiful islands in the world. Join a yoga, aruvedic, or spa retreat in Ubud to find your inner Dewi Sri and flourish from within. If you prefer something less organized than a retreat, you can stay on your own in Ubud and easily find yoga and reiki workshops in this international healing destination.
Volunteering with a Women’s Organization in India
“Volunteer vacations” are an attractive option for travelers to go beyond seeing the sights to connecting with locals who need assistance. The solo woman traveler finds independence and compassion by working with and helping women in need. Volunteer organizations in Delhi, Jaipur, and Bangalore connect female travelers with women’s empowerment groups that focus on language, health, and business training. Most organizations offer add-on trips so you can see the nearby sights in addition to helping Indian women become more independent.
Walking the Streets of New York City
Every Sunday for six years, millions of women tuned into see Carrie Bradshaw strut the Manhattan streets in her Manolo Blahniks on Sex and the City. Sure, Carrie often had the support of her girlfriends, but she found her that her solo relationship with one of the world’s best cities was the longest. Embrace your inner Carrie with a walk down Fifth Avenue to Bergdorf Goodman to try on a pair of those designer stilettos. Then, get to know the city a bit more by seeing from the top – feel the powerful vastness of the city with a visit to the Empire State Building. Enter the city from the outside in with a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. Finally, walk through midtown at night to join the New York crowds at Free Friday Nights at the Museum of Modern Art. There is just something about walking those New York avenues that make the solo gal traveler want to shout, “I’ve made it!”
Independence is gained in just the act of traveling solo. However, independence is truly felt when we push ourselves out of our comfort zone and try something different and new. Good luck and happy travels!
Kristin Zibell is a chronic world traveler and travel writer. She authors the popular travel blog TakeYourBigTrip.com to inspire would-be travelers to live their travel dreams. When not traveling locally in San Francisco, Kristin is always planning her next big trip.