Why This Mother and Wife Travels Solo

If you knew me you would know that I absolutely love my husband, sons, friends and family. If you knew me you would know that connections are important to me. So why does this mother of 2 and wife leave behind my family to travel solo?

I Travel Solo Because…

  • I travel solo because sometimes there are places I want to go that others don’t.
  • I travel solo because it is such a feeling of accomplishment. I research the places I want to see. I choose the accommodations, the activities, my transportation and my meals. I go from one end of the city to the other, from one city to the next and from one country to another.
  • I travel solo because I get to meet like-minded individuals from all over the world who are also travelling. It is amazing to learn of where they have just come from and where they are going next. It makes the world feel smaller and more connected.
  • I travel solo because it gives you space. Space to reflect, breathe and appreciate.
  • I travel solo because there are places all over the world that I want to experience for myself.
  • I travel solo because there are people all over the world that I have yet to meet.
  • I travel solo because it gives you time for yourself and to come back home more renewed than ever. Often when you travel with others, it’s a series of compromises. Sometimes I just want to take a while longer while photographing something or to really be present.
  • I travel solo to take care of myself. Some people shop, I travel. Travelling is so much a part of me that when I don’t travel I am itching to get back out there. It is much more than just a destination, it is all the experiences that come with it. It is living life.

 

Solo travel gives you as much or as little time as you want, to see, to listen, to touch, to smell and to taste. It’s only up to you to decide how much. All your senses truly come alive.

Sometimes I just want to…

Sometimes I just want to sit a while longer with my vin chaud (mulled wine) and people watch at the café in Paris.

Vin Chaud in Montmartre district in Paris, France
sipping vin chaud and people watching in Montmartre – Paris, France

 

Sometimes I want to enjoy the views a little longer.

Neuschwanstein, the fairy tale castle in Bavaria
Neuschwanstein, the fairytale castle in Bavaria

 

Sometimes I want to take more time to photograph what I see or wait for a shot I envision while listening to the calls of the wild in the Kruger National Park.

Processed with VSCOcam with kk1 preset

Sometimes I want to enjoy the culture of the city I am visiting and go to a ballet in Vienna or opera in Prague at the historic theatres.

Vienna Opera House
Vienna Opera House

 

Estates Theatre in Prague
Estates Theatre in Prague

 

Yes, you are physically alone when you travel solo and sometimes I feel lonely for a spell, especially missing my family, but I never feel truly alone. As a solo traveller, it is easy to meet people, mostly without even trying. I feel that the connections you make with yourself, the people of the world and nature can only be genuinely experienced while travelling solo.

 

If I didn’t travel solo…

If I didn’t travel solo I wouldn’t have had an opportunity to travel to and spend time in a village in the Eastern Cape to witness a Sangoma (African shaman) graduation ceremony in South Africa.

An amaXhosa elder in the Eastern Cape, South Africa
An amaXhosa elder in the Eastern Cape, South Africa

 

If I didn’t travel solo I wouldn’t have taken Djembe (African drum) lessons with a Master djembefola at a local cultural centre in Dakar, Senegal and be invited to watch his group practice for a performance after. I was the only foreigner amongst about 30 drummers, dancers and local children. We also chatted about life over mint tea after the lesson.

Still photo of me drumming in Senegal (from video).

still photo of me drumming in Senegal (from a video).

 

Watching a local Djembe & Dance group practice in Senegal
watching a local Djembe & Dance group practice in Senegal

 

If I didn’t travel solo I wouldn’t have been invited to sing Christmas carols with 5000 locals against the backdrop of Table Mountain under starry skies and the shimmering lights of Cape Town in the background.

Carols by Candlelight - Cape Town, South Africa
Carols by Candlelight – Cape Town, South Africa

 

One of the biggest reasons I travel solo as a mother is for my boys.

I want to show them that I am not just a mother, but that I am a woman that has dreams and that dreams do come true.

I want them to know what living life to the fullest is all about. They can’t always come with me, but with technology, I can share my travels in real time (FaceTime or photos) or when I get home.

I want them to learn that there is more out there than just our neighbourhood or country and that the world is not a big bad scary place as some make it out to be.

I want to inspire them to find things they love, to follow their hearts and go after their own dreams.

Lastly, I want to raise them to respect, encourage and support women in their dreams. The best way to do this is by example and what better way to learn what it takes to be a man than witness their father support my dreams and travels around the world.

I am grateful for my dear husband, but I know that is not the reality for many. I hope for a near future where “let” and “allow” are replaced with “encourage” and “support” when it comes to other mothers, wives, girlfriends and daughters in following their dreams of travels around the world.

For all these reasons, I travel solo as a woman, as a wife and as a mother.

Andrea… and my wandering iPhone

 

The We Go Solo Movement & Solo Travel Resources

BreatheDreamGo – http://breathedreamgo.com/2013/02/ode-to-the-lady-traveller-wegosolo/

Mariellen Ward has travelled solo to India for a total of 17 months of the last 7 years. Find out about why she started the WeGoSolo movement. Mariellen is a great resource for solo travel in India. As well, you will find countless posts, tips and resources by other woman solo travellers.

Journeywoman – http://www.journeywoman.com/

Evelyn Hannon of Journeywoman has been travelling solo for more than 30 years and has inspired women from around the world to do the same. Her site is a fantastic resource for woman travellers.

Solo Traveler – http://solotravelerblog.com

Janice Waugh began travelling solo after a loss and hasn’t looked back. Her site is another great resource for solo travellers.

 

25 Comments

  1. Amy February 27, 2013 at 6:44 pm

    This is great! I’m a mother and solo traveler too, and I certainly hope I’m setting a good example for my daughter. Showing her I can be independent, curious, and responsible for my own choices and happiness.

    Glad I found your blog!

    1. Andrea February 27, 2013 at 9:42 pm

      Thank you Amy, I appreciate your comments. I am sure you are setting a wonderful example for your daughter. Glad to know that are more of us solo mother travellers out there. Best, Andrea.

  2. Colleen O'Brien February 27, 2013 at 7:26 pm

    (website under construction) I loved this posting, as I am a solo traveller, also. I will be 70 this year and my next trip is to Barcelona to study Spanish for 6 weeks, then on to Morocco, to the city of Fez, where I will be “Artist in Residence” for the month of May. I have a new iPhone and my question is,HOW DO YOU UNLOCK YOUR iPhone? I have been told that the iPhone 4s cannot be unlocked. What kind of iPhone do you have. Thanks for your post! Colleen O’Brien.

    1. Andrea February 27, 2013 at 9:40 pm

      Hi Colleen, thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. Sounds like you’ll be going on a fantastic trip, wow! You’re an inspiration! Please email me at wanderingiphone@gmail.com so I can ask you further questions. I too have an iPhone 4s but here in Canada you can purchase it unlocked. Also, one of the largest providers, Rogers, has now agreed to unlocking factory locked iPhones after a 3 month period. I have heard there are ways to unlock your iPhone, but not entirely sure if it applies to the iPhone 4s. Let me look thorough some resources, but please email so I can get more information from you. Alternatively there are many places that provide portable wireless devices. I used that with my iPhone 4 when my phone wasn’t unlocked. Perhaps my post about travelling internationally may help as an alternative. Thanks again, Andrea. http://www.wanderingiphone.com/2012/08/02/data-plans-international-travel-the-iphone/

  3. Marie February 27, 2013 at 10:19 pm

    I loved this! While I was more antsy about leaving my husband behind to travel solo when I lived in Japan (husband was in a scary sized earthquake while I was away), I do love travelling solo. It’s like having two fantastic lives, the family one and your very own one. Both are equally fulfilling but even more enhanced when they sit side by side. And the idea that I am setting a good example for my son makes it even more rewarding. Well written!

    1. Andrea February 28, 2013 at 1:21 am

      Marie, thanks for the comments and for sharing. You are so right, we are lucky in that we can have two fulfilling parts to our beings!

  4. suzilong February 27, 2013 at 11:05 pm

    I travel alone so I can sketch my journey, record my sensations, and appreciate my experiences. Bravo to you!

    xoxoxox suzi

    1. Andrea February 28, 2013 at 1:22 am

      Thanks for dropping by and commenting!

  5. Anita Nessin March 1, 2013 at 9:10 am

    You are an inspiration.
    After taking a very brief solo trip (thanks to a gift from parents and child care from my sister) to the Bahamas while going through my divorce, and feeling out of place among the families and couples, I took what I consider my first real coming of age solo trip at age 63. Single motherhood, finances and fear had kept me from doing it before then. (Though I had camped “alone” with my two young boys). It was liberating. I also met a woman who has become a sister to me, and I to her. We enjoy sharing our travel, but I also plan to take more trips solo.
    I’m so glad I saw your post.
    Anita

    1. Andrea March 1, 2013 at 1:58 pm

      Thank you Anita for taking the time to comment and for your kind words. Great to hear that you are enjoying solo travel. It is like no other travel, really! All the best on your future travels.

    2. Catheriam March 2, 2013 at 12:30 pm

      Strolling in the Scottish Hebrides, I happened upon a local woman and we got to chatting delightfully about this and that. I reflected to her, “You know, despite my mother’s warnings, I always speak with strangers. As an American living in the UK, I’ve taken weekends alone just to wander around. My husband says I always come back with such great stories … the kind of stories which never seem to occur when “we” travel together.” “Ah”, this canny Scottish lady remarked, “one assumes a couple speaks to each other. When you travel alone, you allow others to speak with you.” So true, so true!

      1. Andrea March 2, 2013 at 2:41 pm

        Great story, thanks for sharing. So true and why I love to travel solo. It’s not that I care less about those I already know and love. It’s just that it is so great to meet people from other cultures. It has enriched my life.

  6. Mary March 1, 2013 at 9:53 pm

    Thank you for this list. You have put into words what I have felt for a long time. I have not traveled solo much, but have really enjoyed the times I have. There is such a different flavor to traveling solo.

    1. Andrea March 2, 2013 at 2:38 pm

      Thank you Mary for commenting. Yes, it’s like no other travel. I wish everyone could experience it, particularly women and especially wives and/or mothers.

  7. Ardean March 15, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    Although I don’t classify myself as a traveller (quite the opposite actually), this resonates with me, having actually travelled alone (only to Montreal, but still!) and finding that it was the most relaxing and enjoyable experience, exactly for the reasons you listed above!

    1. Andrea March 19, 2013 at 4:08 am

      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment Ardean. It is an unique experience every time.

  8. Brian Connell April 3, 2013 at 1:57 am

    I travel solo. I always have. Me and my camera and all of East, Central and Southern Africa to explore. Why do I do it? Simply because I prefer the company of animals to the company of people who don’t understand or care. People who have never learnt to revel in solitude. People who cannot ‘see’ when looking at wildlife rather than observing them and learning. I have never regretted my decision to remain unattached. The more I deal with people the more I realise that greed, material goods and self-importance are more important to them than the simple pleasures of life. I enjoy my life. There is a huge difference between ‘lonely’ and ‘alone’. I am happiest when I am alone.

    1. Andrea April 3, 2013 at 12:19 pm

      I hear you Brian! Loved Africa so much, can’t wait to return to the animals and nature. Thanks for taking the time to comment, appreciate it.

  9. Debbie @ Traveling Well For Less April 3, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    I can relate to everything you said. Even though, I too am married with kids, I LOVE traveling solo.

    1. Andrea April 3, 2013 at 8:29 pm

      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment Debbie! You know how I feel about travelling solo 😉

  10. AndreaAndrea April 9, 2013 at 2:56 am

    Andrea, I love this post! I agree with so many of your reasons to travel solo, and I leave my man and his son (my step kid!) and my little dog to do so I still feel a wee bit guilty, like I’m abandoning them, but its an insatiable need, this need to see the world that can’t be ignored! By the ay, your post on iPhone was one of the most informative I’ve read! I wish it had been around before I left for Europe in 2011 with MY unlocked iPhone!

    1. Andrea April 9, 2013 at 4:42 pm

      Thanks for taking the time to comment Andrea! I hear you about the guilt. I am always sad to leave as we’ll and have even been known to cry, but I miss my sons when they’re at school or daycare too. I also use the word insatiable when it comes to travel! Yes I’ll be at TBEX, my 1st one. We should definitely meet. See you on twitter for the #WeGoSolo twitter chats!

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