Adoration 4 Adventure’s solo female travel series – part one.
A three part series including tales from women all over the world sharing their experiences, inspiration and tips for solo female travel. This is part one of the series, read on to part two and part three.
I didn’t plan my first solo trip. It happened the best way possible – spontaneously.
It was January 2011 and I had just finished up a group tour of the U.S.A., which had landed me in New York City. Despite having just traveled for a month by bus, all the way from Los Angeles, I was completely energized and wanting more.
With less than 24 hours until my flight back to Brisbane, I changed my departure to a month later and then booked a bus to Boston. I had never imagined that I would travel alone. It seemed much too scary and risky – how would I manage it all on my own in a foreign country?
However it was happening. Without a second thought, I threw my over-sized suitcase onto the bus and was transported to Boston, Massachusetts. I couchsurfed with Chris, a photographer from LA, who also had a friend staying from San Francisco, Miguel. Both became dear friends of mine after we celebrated St Paddy’s Day in true Irish fashion.
After Boston, I then traveled to Chicago, Seattle, Portland and San Francisco. I was never alone for more than twenty four hours. Whether it was meeting people at the hostel, through couchsurfing or just randomly on the street. Even when dining out alone, I would be invited to join a nearby group table.
The people I met along the way would often give me recommendations and contacts for the next city I was visiting. When I arrived in Seattle, I met up with another of Chris’ friends, Kristina, a lovely Russian girl who was living and working in Seattle as an Au Pair. Kristina and I hit it off instantly and hung out while I was in town. We are still friends, almost five years later, and see each other whenever possible.
Since that first solo trip in the U.S.A., I feel confident to travel to any place by myself because I know that I won’t be alone for long and that the world is full of incredibly kind and good people.
For as long as I could remember, I always traveled with someone when I went on a holiday.
But, when my five year relationship ended when I was 22; I knew I needed a massive change. I had always felt a huge pull towards visiting the United States, and now was the time to make it happen. It was my ultimate dream having never left the shores of Australia; and I had no reason not to make it a reality now.
So that’s exactly what I did.
At the time, I had already applied for a 1 year post-graduate diploma to use my Bachelor Of Arts Degree to become a teacher. But, when I didn’t initially get into the course, I applied to work at a US Summer Camp instead; which was a sign that this was where I needed to be, as I eventually did get accepted into my diploma course, and was able to defer it to the following year.
Funny how things happen like that right?
To me, this was a serendipitous moment that would be a turning point in my life; where travel became a major priority and solo travel became a defining characteristic of who I would become over the remainder of my 20s.
Upon acceptance to the Summer Camp program for Summer 2008, I was hired by a camp outside Philadelphia called Julian Krinsky. It was a non-traditional camp that had us living on a university campus and our campers studying school-based subjects and sports like Golf and Tennis. It was exactly what I needed. Plus, now I was able to pretend that I was living the US college life in a dorm room, so dreams were coming true every day.
After finishing my 8 weeks at camp, I left the bubble of life there for my first solo travel adventure. I headed to New York City first and ticked off all the touristy things. But it was here that I was able to begin what has become a major passion of mine, especially now, 8 years later in visiting filming locations I’d waited my whole life to see.
I am a film and tv nut.
New York had the main things: ‘Sex and the City’ and ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ to name a few locations; but it was the remaining places across the States that were the cherry on this sundae. I solo travelled to so many cities in my one month of travel and it was just amazing! Whether it was tracking down Dawson Leery’s House in Wilmington, North Carolina from the tv series ‘Dawson’s Creek’ (I even scored a tour inside the real house!), the ‘Home Alone’ house in Winnetka, Illinois, Rydell High from the classic ‘Grease’ in Venice, California or the ‘Mrs Doubtfire’, ‘Full House’ or ‘Party Of Five’ Houses in San Francisco; the epitome of all of this was definitely staying at the Mountain Lake Resort in Pembroke, Virginia. The hotel that is famous for being the setting for the ultimate classic ‘Dirty Dancing’.
This trip was a real dream come true. It showed me I was independent, courageous and above all strong enough to make my own dreams come true without needing anyone else.
It has led me here, to right now: an Australian expat who has lived in London, traveled through most of Europe, the UK, New Zealand, Canada and most proudly, 43 states of the USA.
Since 2008, and this amazing trip, I have returned to the US 7 times, knocking off many more filming locations and dream destinations. I am still single, but I am so proud of myself for taking control of my life since then.
If I want to experience a place, or see a filming location, I know I can do it. That’s the best lesson I have learnt from all of this: if you want something bad enough, you find a way to make it happen.
It is possible.
2016 sees me solo and heading to Canada on a working holiday and what an adventure that will be.
Maybe this is where my solo travels take on a partner?
If not, it will be ok. I will always have me to travel with.
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