The 8 Reactions you get when you Say You’re Traveling Alone

April 19, 2017

Saying You’re Traveling Alone

I love traveling alone because I don;t have to share my food! Muhaha!!

If you’re a veteran, solo traveler like me then you’re used to the barrage of questions you receive when you tell someone you will be traveling… ALONE (insert gasps of horror, shock, and awe here)!!!! I found that typically the conversation goes  something like this.

Me: “Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that I’m going to Greece in May. I’m super excited. Everyone says it’s AMAZING there.”

Anonymous Friend: “You’re going away again? I don’t know how you can afford it. You’re so lucky you get to travel so much. Who are you going with and for how long?”

Me: “I’m going with myself. And for like 10 days. It’ll be nice to have a break from work and life for a little while. You know?”

Anonymous Friend: “Wait. Back it up a minute.  You’re going ALONE? Like How? Why?”

End scene.

Now, reactions may vary depending on how well someone knows me (Geez. I sound like a prescription drug advertisement. And if you know me well then you’re never shocked because I travel alone all the time). But when it’s time for the “big reveal”, I typically get 8 different responses. The wording of these reactions may vary, but the sentiment is usually the same. So, here are the  statements that you will probably encounter when you announce that you are traveling alone.

1.”You’re gonna get sold into the SEX SLAVE TRADE! Mark my words.” (The concerned parent)

That’s the face my dad had when I told him that I was moving to South Korea alone.

No joke, this is the EXACT response that I got from my father when I told him that I was teaching English in South Korea for a year. This type of reaction comes from the relatives and friends who love us so much that they are terrified that as soon as we set foot on foreign soil, we are going to get mauled by an angry mob of ravenous men, dripping with intense carnal desires.

Yes the world can be a dangerous place button reality, horrible things can happen anywhere I go (Optimistic attitude right? LoL). I simply refuse to hide from life and cater to this innate fear of the unknown.  Because if I do, then the words “what if?” will haunt me for the rest of my life.  I would also miss out on all the beautiful people and experiences that make life worth living. Instead, I do my research, take proper precautions, and try to be as safe as possible while still living a life that I truly love.

2. “Wow! I wish I could go with you!” (The envious friend)

I have this one friend who always wishes she could come with me. Somehow though, work, finances, and jobs always seem to get in the way of her travel plans. But for me, it’s pretty simple. I make the time and money for the things I love, and travel happens to be one of those things. I honestly don’t mind skipping dinner out or leaving that Gucci bag at the mall, as long as I get to do what I love as often as possible.

Sometimes all you can do is have fun and try and make friends along the way.

Plus, I don’t overthink it and “just do it. (at least that’s what Nike told me to do)” Because the more I think about a trip, the more I think myself out of it. I’ll get consumed with the expense of the trip and begin to doubt if I should even go. In reality, I make good money and can afford it. I also never know what challenges life may bring my way, so I travel when I can and embrace living in the now.

3. “You’re so brave!” (The timid friend who stays within their comfort zone)

This one is always nice to hear, but feels like such an unwarranted compliment. To me, true bravery is found in those people who risk their lives to help others. All I do is book a plane ticket and travel somewhere on my own. Yes, I understand that this does require letting go of the fear of the unknown, but that is easy when you love travel as much as I do. To me, finding someone to travel with isn’t even a consideration. I just book the ticket and go because if I waited for other people, I would wait myself into

doing a whole lot of nothing.

4. “But won’t you get lonely?” (The friend who always has to be around people)

This one cracks me up. I’m human, so of course I get lonely. But the reality is, loneliness has never killed anyone. Plus, traveling alone has taught me more about myself than anything else. Because of solo travel,  I understand who I am, what I want, and who I want in my life; things I never would have learned if I continually surrounded myself with people. I did that for a long time because I was too scared to meet the real me. Then I actually traveled alone and understood that to be truly and deeply happy, all I have to do is stay true to myself. But the real me does get lonely sometimes, and I think that’s pretty okay.

5. “But what if something bad happens? What will you do?” (The pessimist)

My face when something bad happens.

This one can be scary if nothing awful has ever happened to you while  traveling alone. But lucky me, I have had my wallet and luggage stollen, food poisoning, been harassed by men, and even had an ATM swallow all my cash. All this happened while I was alone, and somehow, I survived it all. Sure, there were tears and a whole lot of anxiety along the way. But in the end, I figured it out because we are much more capable than we think. Would it have been comforting to have someone with me (especially when you lose your money and haven cash)? Absolutely!! But the more I accomplish on my own, the more self-esteem and self-worth I create. Something that  is pretty awesome when you stop to think about it. However, I sometimes do want to sarcastically reply, “I don’t know. I guess I’ll just rock back and forth, while curled up in the fetal position and sucking my thumb. Then I’ll continually mutter, ‘make it stop’ to help ease the pain.”

6. “Just be Careful.” (The calmer parent who freaks out but in a more subtle way)

This is so snarky, but I always want to respond, “Nope. I’m gonna be really reckless and go to the sleaziest part of town, do some drugs, sleep with random strangers and who knows, if I’m lucky I may just come back pregnant. And as a bonus, we can play ‘Guess Who’ to try and figure out who the baby’s daddy is. Or even better, we can go on Maury and have him say, “Trang Pak, you are the father!”  Of course I’ll be careful! Contrary to popular belief, I am not traveling alone to torture you. I travel alone to enjoy life, not to become a cast member on Locked Up Abroad. We’re on the same page because safety is my primary concern too.

7. “I could never do that.” (The timid friend would say this too)

I firmly believe that this is not true. You may have self-doubt that makes this statement feel true, but that all stems from fear. In reality, if you believe in yourself and let go of the fears that are holding you back, you can do almost anything. I bet you could even do way more than travel alone. Just have faith in yourself and believe that anything is possible.

8. “How do you have fun? Like, all alone?” (The skeptic)

This response makes me feel like I have to “sell” traveling alone. Inevitably, I try and defend my love of
solo travel and extoll the virtues and freedoms that traveling alone affords me. But then I realize that it doesn’t matter what other people think. What’s important is that I do what I love and if other people don’t understand it, that’s okay. But sometimes, I really want to shake people and say, “You have no idea what you’re missing!” Then I remember that everyone has their own life journey and we are all just trying to figure out, each and every single day.

Final Thought (Jerry Springer anyone?)

When you inform someone of your plans to travel alone, you may get an assortment of positive and negative responses alike. Just remember that in the end, as long as you’re happy and kind to others, the rest of it doesn’t really matter. Besides, the people who love you will only want the best for you and will support you in anything that brings you joy.

 

 

girlwiththepassport

Nanny by day and travel blogger any other time.

I love writing and traveling and bearing my soul on the page.
I want to inspire others to face their fears and join me on an adventure.

https://www.instagram.com/girlwitthepassport/
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80 Comments

  • jack 7 months ago

    So true – couldn’t recommend travelling alone more! Especially with mobile phones these days we are rarely to free to do exactly what we want, when we want. Travelling alone really means everything is on YOUR terms! just make sure you turn off the mobile 🙂

    • girlwiththepassport 7 months ago

      Totally agree. Love the independence and freedom that solo travel affords me. IF I can ever turn off my phone.

  • Danielle 7 months ago

    I laughed so hard reading this — I rarely travel alone but when I do I get a lot of these phrases/commentary. Good for you for traveling and learning about the world in which we live. Just be careful! haha xo

  • Alice Chen 7 months ago

    THESE ARE SO ON POINTTTTT. I can’t laugh enough for all the times people have said each of these to me! My favorite is #5, because I’ve found that almost all my personal growth has come from overcoming those challenges!

    • girlwiththepassport 7 months ago

      Oh I am so glad you found it funny. That’s what I was going for!! And yes. Such a rewarding experience. Unlike anything else I have ever experienced.

  • Paula Dixon 7 months ago

    I’ve heard pretty much all 8 of these reactions at one point in time. Some people just don’t get the beauty of traveling alone!

    • girlwiththepassport 7 months ago

      And that’s okay. I guess it’s not for everyone. But I am glad I am open to it and all that life has to offer.

  • Nina 7 months ago

    I think these pretty much sum it up. It’s been a few years since I last traveled alone, but I remember comments like these.

  • Lauren 7 months ago

    I know these all too well, but us independent gals gotta stick together 🙂

  • Henry 7 months ago

    So true! Always remember that you’re the more interesting one…everyone else is gonna have a vanilla latte life, while yours will be a Starbucks Unicorn Frappichino.

    • girlwiththepassport 7 months ago

      Thanks so much!! I actually really want to try a unicorn frappichino. I just hope it actually tastes goods. Thanks for the support!

  • Corey | The Nostalgia Diaries 7 months ago

    I love that you make it a priority to travel – you’re doing what you love, and that’s so important!

    • girlwiththepassport 7 months ago

      Thank you!! I think that is all any of us can do. Follow our dreams and just try and be happy.

  • Jean 7 months ago

    Ah so true. As someone in a relationship this goes to the next level – What will you do without James? Is he ok with this? Urgh. Travelling solo is a lot of fun. You meet so many great people. It totally out-weights any negative perceptions.

    • girlwiththepassport 7 months ago

      Oh God, I can’t even imagine. LoL. I love traveling alone and do it for me, not other people. Glad to meet a like minded sister.

  • Andres 7 months ago

    Agree with every point – great summary. Although, being a guy my parents don’t freak out that much 🙂 For me, actually, the beauty of traveling alone is that I’m not responsible for anyone else’s fun and once that goes out of the way it’s pure joy

    • girlwiththepassport 7 months ago

      Totally agree. You only have to worry about yourself and that is pretty freeing. And you’re lucky you’re not a woman. My parents always freak out, but now I’m used to it and just remind myself they love me.

  • Marvi 7 months ago

    This is hilarious! 😀 I love the way your friends and family reacts and your reaction as well 🙂 Though I haven’t tried solo traveling before (except on official business for work, but that doesn’t really count I guess), I wonder how MY friends and family would react if I tell them that I’m traveling to some foreign place.

    • girlwiththepassport 7 months ago

      It’s hilarious because it’s always the same thing. That’s why it cracks me up. The reactions never seem to change.

  • Rhiannon 7 months ago

    I LOVE your blog. This post is super accurate. Solo travel is a lot of fun, but I do enjoy travelling with people as well. I work part time, but I make time for travel and it gives me something to save for! My partner and I don’t want kids, so why not see the world instead! 🙂

    • girlwiththepassport 7 months ago

      Hey, I say go for it. If you found someone that shares your passion for travel then why not. Life is best lived when we enjoy it. And thanks for the love.

  • Kiara Gallop 7 months ago

    Yup, I’ve received all of those responses before! I think the worst one though is when people feel sorry for you. They think you’re travelling alone because you have no friends, because you’re incapable of making friends, or because no-one wants to be your friend. Nobody seems to understand that anyone could have friends and a partner but CHOOSE to travel alone. Grrrr!!!

    • girlwiththepassport 7 months ago

      Absolutely!! People feel bad for me and I’m like, no man. I’m having a blast. I love traveling alone and need a break from people, even my friends.

  • Cherene Saradar 7 months ago

    I loved this so much! I smiled and giggled and read it aloud to my friend because I have the exact same thoughts. Love the part about being careful and the ravenous men. You are hilarioius!

    • girlwiththepassport 7 months ago

      Oh I am so glad to hear this!!! That is what it’s all about for me. I want to make people smile and bring some light into their life.

  • Becky 7 months ago

    I always, always get …. you are so brave! No idea why I don’t feel very brave most of the time!

  • Sara 7 months ago

    Ah I have pretty much had every single one of those conversations with someone in my life. I have moved to a new country now 5 times and I feel like it’s the same conversations had every single time. Especially when I went alone most of those times. People don’t get it if they haven’t done it.

    • girlwiththepassport 7 months ago

      Absolutely. They don’t get the need to explore the world and love in new places. So glad we get to meet like minded people on our travels and online who actually do get it.

  • Flo @ Yoga, Wine & Travel 7 months ago

    I also get: “Why isn’t your boyfriend going with you?” Because he isn’t invited HAH!

  • Charmaine 7 months ago

    I love your titles! They gave me a good giggle and yes, absolutely! Everyone react differently based on their own style and personality! 🙂

    • girlwiththepassport 7 months ago

      So glad I could make you laugh. I really like putting joy into people’s lives.

  • Jacqui M 7 months ago

    Haha! Yes – all true! But it looks like you have a blast on your trips. Keep having fun! x

  • Lynn 7 months ago

    lol I’m for sure one of those people that needs to be surrounded by others at all times, which was why I avoided solo travel for so long… until I realized that I could make new friends while traveling alone! [I didn’t learn my lesson at all.] Great post!

    • girlwiththepassport 7 months ago

      I used to be like that too. I needed to be around people and feel a part of a group. But then I did the same thing. i stepped out of my comfort zone and realized it could be a lot of fun.

  • Sarah 7 months ago

    I still haven’t quite mustered up the courage to travel alone although hopefully I’ll give it a shot one day! I know for a fact that my parents would freak out – probably in the subtle way you describe, but freak out all the same! Love the post 🙂

    • girlwiththepassport 7 months ago

      Haha. Mine totally did. And if it’s something you enjoy then I feel like you need to stay true to yourself. If not it’s totally okay to travel with people.

  • Jill at Reading the Book 7 months ago

    Oh, I identify so hard with this post! I get a bit sick of having to “sell” solo travel to people. It’s safe, I’m happy, leave me alone! 😊

    I’ve written a similar post, actually: http://readingthebook.blog/2017/03/12/on-travelling-alone-and-being-brave/ . So I definitely know where you’re coming from!

    • girlwiththepassport 7 months ago

      Great to meet another solo traveller. And I totally agree. I always feel like I have to sell it to people but it doesn’t matter what others think if I’m happy.

  • Allison Green 7 months ago

    Ha, I love this post — so funny and true! Luckily my parents are more like #3 and #4 than #1. 🙂 I get annoyed with always getting called brave though — I’m not brave, I just like to travel so much that I don’t care if I have a travel buddy!

    • girlwiththepassport 7 months ago

      Yeah. I get super irked by the brave thing. I feel more selfish than brave if I’m totally honest. LoL

  • Megan Johnson 7 months ago

    I relate! haha. Family expects me to be gone now but when I tell new people I like traveling alone, I get all the questions, too. I still haven’t figured out how to answer when they tell me I’ll get kidnapped or murdered or something, though.

    • girlwiththepassport 7 months ago

      Yeah. That one is the worst. I just tell people that that could happen anywhere and that I will be as safe as humanly possible because I do not want that to happen either. Some people just give into the fear and I refuse to.

  • Bachelor of Roaming 7 months ago

    Every Point! Haha.. This post is really funny! I can relate a person to every point :D.
    -Prachi

  • Bidisha 7 months ago

    Wow! This is so relatable. Here in India we also get another reaction, Carry the pepper spray. Haha. Also loved your style of writing. Very entertaining.

    • girlwiththepassport 7 months ago

      Haha. Oh the pepper spray. Muhaha. I am actually surprised that no one has told me to carry mace (pepper spray here in the US)

  • Julia Dent 7 months ago

    I have definitely gotten some of these reactions! Solo travel is worth it though! 🙂

  • tendelle 7 months ago

    this is ALL so accurate! i want to add that i used the be the kind of person that would say “I could never do that”. But after I read about all these solo female travel bloggers’ experiences, I believed I could, and I did! 😀

    • girlwiththepassport 7 months ago

      So glad to hear this!!! That is amazing that you could do something that you never thought you could. Bravo!

  • Ketki 7 months ago

    I kept nodding and widely smiling all through the 8 points. I always get asked, “your husband doesn’t mind you traveling alone?” And i am like he doesn’t own me to approve or disapprove plus we have our own lives. What’s wrong in travelling alone?

    • girlwiththepassport 7 months ago

      Haha. I love that you’re not allowed to do anything without you husband. Sometimes it’s good to have time alone to regenerate. People crack me up. So glad you don’t let their reactions keep you down.

  • Anisa 7 months ago

    I love this! Especially the one about the friend that wishes she can go. Yeah one thing i have learned is if people really want it they will make it happen and figure out a way to get past the excuses!

    • girlwiththepassport 7 months ago

      Absolutely. I usually don;t tell people a whole bunch because I get sick of people saying they want to go and then never do. LoL. Usually I mention it matter of factly now. Like, “Oh yeah, I’m going away next week.” Most people aren’t surprised now though.

  • Jurga 7 months ago

    With three kids in tow, I can’t even remember the last time I did anything alone. So jealous of those who can travel alone, like you do. Enjoy it and don’t let the sceptics or the pessimists stop you from doing what you love!

    • girlwiththepassport 7 months ago

      Absolutely!! I treasure my alone time because I know that if I get married and have kids, I will never be alone again.

  • Jen 7 months ago

    Story of my life! Haha no one understands the allure and assume I’m traveling alone out of necessity, not choice. Don’t even get me started on the sex trafficking fears! Haha one girl goes missing in Aruba and parents forever think it’s the most dangerous place on earth.

    • girlwiththepassport 7 months ago

      I know. My dad kept harping on that. I also mentioned I wanted to go to Istanbul and you would have thought I wanted to travel to a war zone. He doesn’t even like the fact that I will be in the airport. Omg well. I’m an adult and paying for it so he can’t say too much. I also try and say as little as possible.

  • Maegan 7 months ago

    Yes yes yes! I think ALL of these people are in my family bahaha

  • Penny 7 months ago

    I love your post. Its so much of fun. I’m not a single traveler but a number of those comments hit home for me too. People view travelling as something akin to having an archer shoot an apple off the top of your head. Sure its dangerous… ish but then what is life is you don’t face it?

    • girlwiththepassport 7 months ago

      Absolutely. I would live a really boring life if I gave into every single one of the fears that I have.

  • Sara Essop 7 months ago

    Haha, this is hilarious. I rarely travel alone so I can’t say that I’ve heard them personally, but I’m sure that if I did travel alone, I’d hear some variation of them too. I did a double take when I read the first reaction though 😀

    • girlwiththepassport 7 months ago

      Haha. I know right? It was all very melodramatic when it happened but my dad really did say that. Glad I can laugh about it now.

  • Kristine 7 months ago

    Haha, I love your style of writing! This was a fun read. I can totally relate to this list. I love traveling solo, and nobody seems to understand why. Honestly, I have more fun on my own. I’m too introverted to be around people at all times. I prefer getting lost within my own thoughts, rather than listening to other people’s small talk all day 🙂

    • girlwiththepassport 7 months ago

      I agree. I need time to myself so that I don;t feel the pressure to make conversation with people. Totally get it.

  • jiahui 7 months ago

    I had a good laugh over your post. But yup it’s so true… I get them all the time!

  • Paroma Chakravarty 7 months ago

    Your post had me in splits! Loved the candid and humorous way you have dealt with this situation. Traveling alone can be very rewarding and the best way to build confidence. I have done it and cannot wait to do so again.

    • girlwiththepassport 7 months ago

      So glad you could relate. I love it too and have given up caring whether other people get it or not. LoL.

  • Chirasree Banerjee 7 months ago

    Wow! Loved reading all those precise points. I exactly got the same kind of response from my father a few years back. Now when I look back, I understand what he wanted to convey. World is not ideal but exposure is priceless.

    • girlwiththepassport 7 months ago

      I am so glad I am not the only one who got that reaction. I know he loves me and wants me to be safe but it was all a bit melodramatic.

  • Katy 7 months ago

    So true! I’ve heard a few of these too. Do you also get the “Do you travel alone so you can meet a man?” I think I need to adopt your attitude. Just today I was asked if my next trip I was traveling solo, and then I felt I needed to justify why.

    • girlwiththepassport 7 months ago

      I know!!! I hate when I have to justify it. And no. No one has actually asked me if I do it to meet a man. They all say maybe you’ll meet a man. And I want to say, “Well, it would be weird if I met someone for a week and decided to change my entire life. That would be a little rushed don;t ya think?” But that’s just me. LoL. I am so practical. haha

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