21 June 2012

Stigma of traveling solo

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: travel

My decision to start traveling solo was a big one, and now, I love it.

But, the reaction I get from others is very interesting.

Over my last few US and abroad trips, I’ve told several people about my adventures and get one of the following responses:

  • “Bless your heart”
  • “Aww good for you being so brave”
  • “Why????”
  • “That is awesome”

While I may be sensitive to how I respond to each, I find that I roll my eyes at the first three because they feel condescending. They may not be meant that way, but they are.

To those that doubt or question solo travel and my true intentions, let me be clear.

I travel alone because I love it. Because it lets me see life outside of the Midwest and feeds the need I have to step out of my comfort zone. It’s allowed me to learn a lot about myself and make me a better person.

I do not travel alone because I’m trying to meet men or to give my father an ulcer by saying “damn the man” and getting out of town.

And after a few run-ins with negative Nelly’s in Paris and Hawaii, I don’t let it roll off my back as easily anymore. When they question or make snide comments, I fight back. Not in an aggressive manner, but to clarify.

Maybe it’s not worth it, but to me, it’s worth saying something.

Those who may be more narrow minded, need to hear the truth, even if it ultimately does nothing.

Why do you love to travel either solo or with a partner or friends?


  1. allison says:

    i sort of love getting lost in the city when i travel by myself, going to dinner by myself, trying new places, etc. It’s fun and I love that time alone.

  2. I’m glad that you do and have said something back to people who’ve had something to say about your PERSONAL vacation (I mean, really?!) I think it’s crazy that anybody would have something negative/condescending to say about how you choose to spend your own, HARD-EARNED time.

    I’ve never gone on a solo vacation, but when I do travel, I do like splitting off from the group or other person and doing my own sight-seeing for a bit.

  3. solo traveling is my absolute favorite thing to do.

    i just recently went camping for 3 days solo and loved it. the responses from everyone when i said i was going/went camping in rocky mountain national park were all that i was crazy. but it was one of the best experiences.

    you get to decide what you want to do, when you want to do it and if you decide to change plans you only have to consult yourself.

    i’ve gotten to go to so many places that i wouldn’t have seen if i had to find someone to travel with me. especially for my work trips. while company can sometimes be nice it gives me a chance to have some erin time and really just get to have fun. from when i was living abroad and went on my first solo adventure i’ve been so glad i did it and i look forward to many more solo trips!

  4. I have traveled alone quite a bit and I love it. I am single and my friends are all married so my option is to travel alone or not at all. I get varied response when people find out I am taking a big trip on my own. I have come to accept that they are just projecting their insecurities or jealousy on me, but there have been some hurtful comments. Like when I was preparing for my (solo) 30th bday trip to Paris and a very close guy friend said something like, “Sure, it’s great you are doing this, but I’d wait until I had someone special to share the experience with.” I was like, so you are saying you want me to put my life on hold until something happens (meeting a guy) that I have absolutely no control over? Great.

  5. katelin says:

    i totally think it’s worth saying something back, you love traveling solo so you should do it. i don’t mind traveling solo for work trips but that’s totally different. other than that i’m usually traveling to visit someone or with someone and i love it. as long as i get some alone time i’m solid, ha.

  6. Jen says:

    I just went to Oregon and Idaho all alone. The horror! The number I got was “Why on earth would I travel alone?”

    Ah, because I would never go anywhere if I didn’t.

    I have done several trips alone. Ireland, Pittsburgh, San Diego, now Idaho/Oregon (which was awesome!)

  7. LWLH says:

    I think it’s awesome that you travel by yourself. You have to get out there and see everything, what time then the present.

  8. Good for you for calling them on their ignorance. I think solo travel is a great way to recharge. Plus, you only have to appease yourself and do what YOU want to do. Anyone who has had to humor a traveling companion by doing something they themselves arent interested in should be able to appreciate that.

  9. caryn says:

    I think those who question solo activities/travel are just afraid of it themselves. People doubt and question what they fear. I don’t think it is an attack on you, but rather their own insecurities.

  10. Arielle says:

    I’ve only done minimal solo traveling but I absolutely love it! I think you learn so much more about yourself and really experience the locations in a totally new way. I think it’s awesome that you’re going on so many solo vacations. =)