No, It’s Not Stupid to Travel Solo

Stolby

Apparently quitting my job to travel around the world for 13 months was stupid thing to do.

Not because I left my job in a bad economy.

Not because I drained my entire savings.

Not because I strained relationships with friends and family.

No, according to a majority of the 800+ people who commented on a recent article on nbcnews.com, I was stupid to travel around the world because I traveled solo. And I’m female. And American too.

Apparently the combination of these three factors – especially the first two – means that it’s a bad idea to leave your hometown, much less the country. And travel to second or third world countries with vastly different cultures and religions? Apparently you can’t be more stupid.

Beket Ata

I hope you’re reading this, thinking how absurd that all sounds. That was certainly my feeling as I made the mistake of reading through over 800 comments regarding the recent murder of a New York mother, Sarai Sierra, in Istanbul. It’s a sad situation, don’t get me wrong, but reading the response from people and realizing that a significant proportion of Americans likely agree with many of the comments made me even sadder. Here’s a small sample:

“But for a woman to travel around alone, without a trustworthy local guide, is very reckless. …She should have had one or two local guides with her whenever leaving the hotel. They can translate, suggest sites to photograph, guide you to safe restaurants, etc.”

“Never travel alone to countries like that. Especially if you are a white female.”

When you leave the US and are an American you are a TARGET.”

“So sad for the family, but what on earth would possess someone to travel to a Middle Eastern Country by themselves? Americans do not understand the cultures of these places. There are alot of people that have such hatred for Americans, and they have very little regard for women in these areas too. She should have taken her family on a vacation to a place that is not so dangerous. I would NEVER let my wife do something like this!”

“Turkey is a wonderful country, but traveling there alone, especially Istanbul, is just plain stupid!  But traveling in that part of the world, especially if you’re an American woman by yourself is, again, STUPID!”

“Who in their right mind goes to a third world country by themselves?   I, myself, would never go anywhere outside of the U.S. by myself. It’s too dangerous.”

“This is a reminder to our naive citizens that foreign lands are dangerous; especially countries dominated by muslims. You can not assume those places are as safe and secure as NY, Chicago , LA streets etc.”

You get the picture.

As I read through these comments, I realized how naïve I have been. Not because I spent 13 months traveling around the world by myself, but because I had no idea how ignorant and fearful so many Americans are.  As much as friends and family didn’t always understand my desire to travel long-term, they never questioned my desire (or intelligence) in wanting to travel in general. My dad spent most of my childhood traveling for business, visiting places like Singapore, South Africa and Brazil. I have close friends who have been everywhere from Argentina to Cambodia to Morocco – many traveling solo. While I am careful when I travel and mindful of the risks, I have never thought of travel as dangerous.

Ani minaret

I resisted the urge to reply to every single comment – to point out that Turkey is not a third world country, that Muslims as a group do not hate Americans, that the world outside the United States is not inherently dangerous and that women like me and my friends and poor Sarai Sierra are not stupid for traveling alone.  I realized that such arguments would be falling on deaf ears.

But I also worry that those comments will scare some women away. I worry that the soon-to-be college graduate who’s planning a summer backpacking trip around Europe might now reconsider. I worry that the 45-year-old divorcee who just got her first passport might change her mind about heading to South America. I worry that the parents of the college sophomore who was going to study abroad in Asia might talk her out of it.

To those women, if you’re out there reading this, I say this:

The world is an amazing place, full of fascinating history, natural beauty, intriguing cultures and wonderfully good-hearted people.  Did I feel safe traveling alone as a female?  100% yes. I probably felt more safe in many of the places I visited than I sometimes do in my adopted hometown of Chicago – and that includes the 3 weeks I spent in Turkey and week I spent in Istanbul.  Moreover, I met so many incredibly friendly, wonderful people during my travels – people who were eager to help me, share their food with me and welcome me into their homes – in many cases, even more so because I was on my own.

The people I met in almost every country were far more hospitable than most I meet at home in the United States. They were also very welcoming of me as an American, curious to learn more about our country and for those who disagreed with our government’s policies, they were able to separate the American people from the American government.

As a result of my travels, I have learned about other cultures and developed a greater appreciation for the world around me. I have seen some of the most beautiful places on earth. I have made life-long friends and challenged myself in ways I never thought possible. I have grown as a person and learned lessons that will stay with me for the rest of my life.

So no, traveling solo isn’t stupid. If anything, it’s one of the smartest things I’ve ever done.

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74 thoughts on “No, It’s Not Stupid to Travel Solo”

    1. I got sucked into it. I kept hoping I’d find the ones with the people defending travel and saying how great it is. But those were few and far between.

      1. How cool that you did this! We have (Americans) have been made to feel that the world is a scary place full of people wanting to hurt or take advantage of you. Safety precautions must be taken wherever we go, and even within our own homes. But the fear factor keeps so many people from taking the road less traveled.

        My son, a recent high school graduate, will be deferring college enrollment for a year and wants to travel — alone — to India. I admit I am afraid because I am not seeing much planning on his part. What words of advice would you give me?

        1. Thanks Eileen!

          As for your son…my advice for you would be to try not to worry. 🙂 I’ve never been to India – I’ve heard it can be crazy and chaotic, but also amazing. For guys, I don’t think there are many issues with respect to safety – for women, certainly India is more of a concern. I would suggest trying to work out something with him to at least check in regularly via email or social media and for him to let you know when he is moving on to a new city and where he is staying.

  1. Preach, Katie!

    I’m with you on being pissed off by all of those comments. Especially when most of them were from ignorant people, who were making ignorant comments about a country they clearly know nothing about. UGH.

  2. Hello my fellow Midwesterner! I remember my first trip out of the country, I had my passport sent to my parent’s house. My mom refused to send it to me. I assured her that nonsense only meant…I had one more stop to make (to get my passport) before I left the country! I traveled to Europe and before leaving, I’d arranged to stay with like-minded travelers in several cities. Strangers? Yes. But not for long. I was raised on the mantra “strangers are friends you haven’t met yet.” It was a terrific trip and since then I’ve traveled solo in a post tsunami Thailand, survived a coup, two hurricanes, and more adventures than I can count.

    1. Thanks for sharing! And love the “strangers are just friends you haven’t met yet” – that was one of my sorority mottos when I was in college. It’s such a great way to look at life!

      1. For too many people, their view of other countries is “There are no friends there, only strangers we don’t want to meet.”

        Happy travels!

    2. Hi Katie,loved reading your letter..i never heard of that poor Am.woman being murdered because i,like all other Australians have been focusing on 3 horrible,disgusting murders here in Australia..1 at the time was a young boy 14yrs.His alleged killer is about 2 go on trialshortly,the hearing is just completing,and his poor parents sat through the lot.

      it took police a long time 2 find his body,9yrs..

      Another,here in my home town of Brisbane,mother of 3,has her “husband’STANDING TRIAL FOR HER MURDER.
      Down in Melbourne end of last yr.,a woman kidnapped ,raped and murded a short distance from her home after leaving a hotel[on her own]after saying good bye to her friends..all 3 cases are of different circumstances…does this make Australia a 3rd,world country??????PROBABLY..we are NOT all sugar and spice..
      women have been attacked hanging out washing at night during summer..these a..holes are opportunists who just happen to be on the PROWLlike a starving lion..

      I too love Instanbul and the rest of 3weeks i spent there in Turkey.would love to go back one day.
      .
      i wish you very good luck on your j
      ournies.xx from Aussie Sharyn.

      .his alleged killer is standing trial now after 9 long yrs.[his body could not b found 4 sometime].

  3. As a former solo female traveler, I couldn’t agree more. I would bet (a lot!) that not a single person who wrote those negative comments about solo female travelers had actually traveled solo.

    1. I also think that most, if not all, people being so engative about female solo travel are people who’ve never actually traveled solo themselves or know a woman who has.
      I think we can also blame the media, though. I’m no expert at all, but when I compare the news in the US (which you can get all around the world) with the news we get here in Belgium or other western European countries I always get a little bit scared. Scared because I find the news in the US to be fear-provoking and often without nuance.
      Again, I’m not an expert and I haven’t studied American media, it’s just a feeling I have.

  4. Congratulations to you on choosing to live the life you choose instead of doing what others tell you MUST DO.

    I travel often and have now for many years.

    In 1977 I traveled alone all over UK Europe Eastern Europe, parts of Greece and Egypt with a backpack, expandable shoulder bag and a Euro-Rail pass for 110 days.

    It was the greatest thing I could have done at that stage in my life when I was 33.

    Best wishes to you and your adventures.

    Alan (now 68)

  5. Happy my friend passed along this post to me! As an American expat living in Istanbul for nearly 3 years, I too was saddened and quite angered by the comments people made regarding Turkey, Muslims and Istanbul. Angry enough that I had to write about Living Safely in Istanbul, American Ignorance Although I’m not traveling to Istanbul as a white, single, female American, I do walk around this city all the time and often alone. I’ve never encountered a problem as I photograph the sites, talk to the locals, eat lunch by self, etc. Istanbul is just as safe as any large American city. Keep traveling! Life is just too short to miss out on exploring this big world!

    1. Thanks for sharing Joy! I also felt quite safe in Istanbul – even into the evening in some places because there were just always so many people around. And even though I’m blond, I got mistaken for a local by a waiter on my first day in the city. He started explaining the menu to me in Turkish (or so it seemed) and I just looked at him and nicely asked if he could speak in English. He laughed and said (in English) “oh, I’m sorry, are you a tourist? I thought you were Turkish.”

  6. I don’t want to sound ignorant or offensive as I know a lot of awesome American travellers and have some really good friends there but I’ve somehow nottice mostly Americans have the issue with safety when travelling, as if they think the whole world is against them and the danger waits on every step as soon as they leave the US. And mostly people who have never left US are saying that. I’ve never really seen such big discussions on the issue in Poland or even Europe. Sadly I’ve also notticed that a lot of people believe these opinions but then suddenly they see that the world outside US might be safer than their homecountry.
    As for your travels and safety: I must say I felt safer in Georgia, Armenia, Czech Republic or Ukraine than in UK or Spain… but these are just stereotypes that people tend to believe in, that so-called 3rd world countries are where the evil lives

    1. I would like to respond to your comment (and no there was nothing wrong with it). You are seeing what the media wants you to see similar to how in North Korea, they just posted a video about the atrocities in New York City (Ummm…what?). It is true that there are people in America (quite a few) that have never traveled alone. There are a quite a few Americans that have never left the country (except to go to Mexico or Canada). But there are ALOT of Americans that have left the country and have traveled alone. Look at these comments here. There’s ALOT of Americans that do not feel this way, but the media only shows the bad. I was happy that I read an article about two solo traveling women (for it obviously) in response. We can’t help how the reporters will angle their stories. We just have to push through it and break the stereotypes that not ALL American girls are frightened by the big bad world outside of our home steps and not ALL Americans fall under the category of “Ugly Americans.”

      I hope this helps with your question that you didn’t ask. And I hope you don’t feel I’m attacking, because I’m not.

      1. thank you for your answer. of course I don’t feel attacked or something, I appreciate a good discussion. Like I said, I’ve met A LOT of amazing American travelers during my travels and they were all amazing people, open to the world around. I also met quite many Americans who just left US for the first time (mostly for the Eurotrip around main tourist attractions) and very often they said that they were afraid of going but still decided to do so and were surprised that these are normal places like any other. I read some travel related American websites, including comments, and that’s how I got the impression I wrote about, not from the media as I’ve learned long time ago not to trust these (otherwise I’d believe I myself live in the third world country and I’d never have gone to places like Ukraine, Romania or Georgia because it’s even worse there). And also many of my US friends (met during my travels, often via CouchSurfing) told me how much they had to struggle to make people around them understand that the world out there isn’t as scariest place as they believe. I’d more say these kind of people more believe in what media tell them. I’ve just learnt that there’s a big (and loud) group of people out there who feels the danger waits on every step only because of their nationality.

        1. It has to do with the mentality that you don’t need to travel. You go to school and then go to work. That is changing now since I work with alot of new graduates and they all took off traveling before they started. I didn’t sadly. It wasn’t encouraged back then.

          But my family has been traveling all over the world since I was young (over 30 years now), including living in Singapore. Last year, was my first attempt traveling solo to another country (do it all the time here no big deal) and I love it.

    2. I do think Americans make it more of an issue than others – see the post on olympicwanderings.com addressing how solo female travel is viewed in Australia – as she explains, it’s generally not a big deal.

      And yeah, I felt so incredibly safe in Georgia and Armenia and Ukraine. As I’ve written about before, the Georgian people were some of the friendliest and most welcoming I have met. I was only scared by their crazy driving habits. 🙂

      1. oh yes, the driving was insane there! every time I took marshrutka I was saying good bye to my life at least five times 😉 but Georgian hospitality is the best I’ve ever experienced and I do hope I’ll be able to return there soon!

        Last summer a Polish girl went missing and eventually was found dead in Svaneti, Georgia. She was there with a friend and it turned out to be a bad accident – they were hitchhiking from Mestia to Ushguli, apparently one of the guys in the car was hitting on her, she run out of the car, fell to the river, end of story. And it was mentioned in the news but there were only one or two comments on women’s safety when travel, people more focused on how to help with researches and how incredible Georgian people behaved… reading couple of the comments on the article you’ve mentioned (how you managed to go through 800 of them is a mystery for me, respect for that!) reminded me on that situation and how people here reacted in a completely different way

        1. Very interesting about the reaction to that story. Several other travel bloggers have pointed out that you would think the question being asked is why/how could someone do this and how can they brought to justice – not why was the victim traveling alone.

          1. That’s exactly what I said when I talked to my English friend about the whole story! Why the only question here is how could she travel alone and not what really have happened there and how could a person behind this have done such a thing? That’s so not right! Or maybe people just can’t face what’s really important and just blame everything on the solo travel?

  7. I wonder why so many prejudiced people felt the need to voice their narrow uninformed opinions. The risks are probably lower than that of being knocked down by a car in many American or European cities for that matter. Do these people counsel against crossing roads?

    1. I wonder the same thing. Why hundreds of people who have never left the country need to comment that it’s stupid to leave the country…

  8. Nice, candid post! I’d love to see statistics comparing the number of people murdered, raped, robbed etc in their home country versus when they are abroad… The benefits of getting out there and experiencing the world – both the good and bad parts – far far outweigh the ‘benefits’ of being too scared to leave the house! Attitudes like this really annoy me – I am newly single and I’ll be damned if I hide away at home just because I no longer have a ‘big strong man’ to go travelling with anymore!! lol

    1. Thanks Aisleen! I haven’t seen specific statistics like you mention, but I do know some of the other posts I’ve read from other female bloggers (see Stephanie’s of http://twenty-somethingtravel.com) reference the fact that men are more likely to get killed while traveling than women and that most women who are killed are killed by people they know, close to home.

  9. Well said Katie! I’m British and female and have a love of travelling solo. Applying the same amount of common sense as you do in your home town keeps you as safe as it does in your home town. Travelling solo helps you meet people, interact with locals more and have amazing and original experiences. In fact, in response to many of these comments, in my experience in my travels, you gun-toting Americans can come across as far more intimidating than a group of rural workers in third world South America……

    1. Thanks Izzy! And sadly, you’re a bit right about the image of us “gun-toting Americans” – I have met plenty of people overseas who are scared to come to the US because all they hear about the gun violence here.

  10. Hi Katie. I’m a Lonely Planet author, so pretty experienced traveling solo, and I often write those “Tips for Women” bits in the back of the books despite my gender. Thanks for writing this. I waded into those comments — briefly — then clicked out before I got physically sick. There is a lot I want to say about them, but let’s suffice with this.

    You, like any traveler, know the truth of the situation–that solo travel can often lead to some of the most profound human interaction anyone is lucky enough to experience; that said interaction often occurs because you are made to feel safe and embraced by another culture and individual’s hospitality; that said hospitality is overwhelmingly the norm, not the exception; finally, that EVERYONE who has also traveled on their own feels the same, and the commenters who say anything to the contrary do so because they, well, haven’t traveled. That’s the point; you have the experiential knowledge here, and anyone else who shares it agrees with you.

    So the hell with those commenters. Keep doing what you’re doing, and ramble on.

    1. Thanks for commenting Adam. I agree the people who are so close-minded and have never traveled will never be convinced that it’s safe. I did see several comments, though, from people who claimed to have traveled extensively (and even to Turkey) and still took the view that women shouldn’t travel solo. Those almost disturbed me more because those people should have the experiential knowledge to know better but for whatever reason they maintain their fear.

      As I wrote in my post, one of my fears is that other women who are thinking about traveling but on the fence could get discouraged by reading through comments like those on the NBC News article. I want to assure those women that it’s not as dangerous as others would have them think.

  11. the comments in your post make me want to gouge my eyes out. and cry. at the same time. can’t believe that people think these things…

    I’ve had the same experience traveling as you! people are nice, want to share their culture with me, want to ask me about America and what I’ve done and this happens more often when I’m alone than when I’m with friends (it has happened when I’m not solo though too)

    1. I was really in shock reading them – like I said in my post, I think I was naive to believe that while many Americans have no desire to travel abroad, that lack of desire wasn’t due to fear. Clearly, I was wrong.

  12. Omg i can hardly catch my breath with the irritation towards those people leaving such comments 0_0 Do they seriously believe that USA is the safest pace? How about someone being killed in NYC every several hours? Those comments are stupid, and i’d like to esp. regard the one ‘i would never let my wife travel abroad’ comment, cos that freaking husband is exactly representing what others are so afraid of when talking about the mouslim countries. Shame on people saying that it’s better to live in a small box and lock off the whole world. As a solo traveler myself i can say that any, and i mean ANY country is equaly dangerous if u r reckless, but otherwise, saying that solo female travelling is bad – it’s just a weak attempt to find excuses for being closed minded, uneducated and morally poor:)

    1. Good point about the husband’s comment about “letting” his wife travel – it’s the same backward mindset that they’re saying makes other countries unsafe for females.

  13. I like this post. I’m annoyed, pissed, and confused by all of the ignorant comments on articles like this designed to get people “Up in Arms.” I realized a long time ago that the people that have time to respond to this articles (so obviously angled a certain way) are just ignorant people. It’s not worth even trying to respond. I find it funny that people said LA or Chicago or New York were safe cities. HA! I traveled alone for the first time last year out of the country (I travel alone alot in the US). I did pick England based on two reasons: 1.) So, i wouldn’t have to worry about a language barrier on my first trip and 2.) I have planned England three times before that with friends and it always fell through. I had the best time of my life and I encourage that in all people (regardless of gender). My girlfriend was so inspired, she took a trip like mine this year and she’s way more introverted.

    It’s just people have to understand that these articles aren’t meant for facts; they are meant to bring out the crazies to comment. I just have to keep telling myself that at least! HA.

    1. Thanks Kristi. Yeah, several of the comments referenced cities in the US being safer, which just made me laugh.

      I was similar to you in that my first trip solo was to Australia – it felt comfortable for me knowing the language and I knew a couple people who lived there from past group tours I had done. That experience gave me the confidence to go solo elsewhere.

      As for the original NBC News article, I was actually shocked to see how many comments there were – I took it for a regular news story and never imagined people would respond so harshly.

      1. Well, I’m seeing it anything nowadays whether it’s abortion rights/pro-life or gun rights/control or politics (dem/rep) or now this solo traveling. People just say the ugliest, harshest things from a story (or anything that was said) that was probably cut up from the start. So, I try to remember that when I read the comments. I look at it as more entertainment.

  14. Thanks for writing this Katie. I’m devouring so many of these posts in the past 24 hours while working on my own. The comments on that article you mentioned were infuriating, I don’t see how you read through that many of them. I was done after about 5. Solo travel is NOT stupid, it’s a wonderful thing to do and it has taught me so much about myself, as I’m sure it has for you too. I wish people weren’t so ignorant and fearful of the world around them.

    1. LIke I said above, I was naively hoping that there would be some voices of reason in the mix. Sadly, not so much. My friend Taryn commented about her own experience traveling solo and was ripped to pieces by some jerk who said she was stupid and foolish and said no one ever should travel abroad on their own. Sad. 🙁

  15. It makes me SOOOOO mad to see how judgemental people have been of woman traveling alone.

    I solo travel a lot and have never had any real issues (other than the usual stuff I get at home.) Don’t believe me? Then meet me and let me explain … http://www.wandermates.com/profileview.php?profileuserid=21

    I keep telling my frends, we don;t need to ask for permission or be afraid. Solo travel is perfectly fine – just take all the usual precautions.

  16. There are so many people who are afraid of ANYTHING that isn’t in their immediate little world. I live in an urban part of the St. Louis area called The Loop. It is a nice area that attracts people from the entire St. Louis area. (Yes, there are some rougher areas that are nearby.) I have a friend who lives in the suburbs who told me that he would never dream of coming to where I live… or anywhere else in the city. Way too dangerous! Yes, there have been some problems here… but there have been problems in his area as well.

    So that is just a microcosm of what you experience. Pretty sad…

  17. Great post! I had not read any comments about that murder until I read your post. I cannot understand how people can be so ignorant! Reading those comments gave me an urge to punch some men. America is not that safe. Did those people forget about all the school shootings? I plan on going on a solo RTW trip soon and nothing is going to hold me back! I don’t need a ‘big, strong man’ to protect me.

  18. Good for you! Oh, I can’t stand to read negative comments. It is infuriating to realize that even arguing your point with them wouldn’t make a difference…those people will NOT change their opinion. Way to be true to yourself, and be open enough to conquer the world and recognize it is 99% full of good people who are striving to be happy, and happy to share this journey with you!

  19. The one that cracks me up is the one that says something about NEVER leaving the US alone because ‘its too dangerous’. HA. I’ve felt more threatened in the university town I lived in in California than I have living in Rome, Milan, or Rotterdam. Oh, these places are all outside the US. I would walk home from friends apartments or bars as a young, blond, AMERICAN (they can just smell it, can’t they?) and nothing ever even almost happened to me (save Milan in the middle of the day, but lets be honest, the US has a longer track record of abuses than most European countries). Gug. The generalizations of people. Makes me sad. Thanks for this.

  20. I haven’t read the 800 comments but just hearing them through you makes me angry… Can’t stand that people who know nothing about traveling feel like they know everything. Ignorance is a very sad thing… I’ve traveled for a week by myself in Istanbul two years ago and felt very very safe everywhere. Can’t say the same for certain parts of NY… Anywhere outside the USA is unsafe? My god! I live in Montreal, these people wouldn’t even take a trip to Quebec?! Ok, I should breathe….. Thank God I didn’t start reading the comments like you did, I would not have been able to stop and would have been furious all night!

  21. Great post Katie, and yes, it seems most of the comments evidence an American population that is totally naive. It is sad for the female, but she could have just as easily been killed in NY crossing the street, or in a car accident on the way to the mall, and they do not say you should not do those things as a woman (or do they?).

  22. Hello Katie…read THIS…I was frozen! Why do you they thinking about travel solo? I feel like the whole world is my home. With interest I studied in high school geography. My teacher worked 30 years in the Middle East and India, and even Alaska! And she never anything like this. She always said that we need to study and learn about the world in which we live.

  23. This topic has really generated a lot of interest. Previously I’ve written about travel safety ( http://travelandphototoday.com/2012/01/14/travel-emergency-go-kit/) and more recently I wrote a couple of times about the unfortunate happenings in Istanbul and travel safety. (http://travelandphototoday.com/2013/02/04/travel-safety-death-in-istanbul/ ) and (http://travelandphototoday.com/2013/02/08/solo-travel-travel-safety/) I appreciate your perspectives on the issue. In the Feb 8 article I linked to your article.

    I’ve enjoyed following your blog, have been a bit envious of your travels, and have admired your success. Keep up the great work!
    Bruce

  24. Great post Katie. I also got ‘sucked in’ to reading the comments on that nbc article and felt myself getting more outraged the more I read – for all the reasons you have stated here. But then I came across the #WeGoSolo effort and some of the articles solo female travellers have been posting. We’ll never change the views of some people, but like you, my concern was that this reaction would deter other females from taking the solo travel path. It’s a path that changed my life and I hope others have the same experience.

  25. What a terrible tragedy, but well-put Katie. Reading those comments I also felt saddened by how ignorant so many Americans seem to be. When talking to women about traveling alone, I often reference you and other female travelers I met along the way. I’m glad to be able to use you gals as an example to my friends and acquaintances that women can travel, alone, safely. Thanks for the post.

  26. I have to think that last comment was tongue in cheek — most US cities are far more dangerous (in terms of actual crime statistics)!

    1. If I remember right, that was just an excerpt from the full comment and reading the whole thing made me think the person was serious. I would hope it’s just tongue in cheek, but there were several other comments from people who clearly have never left the US, yet believe the US is far safer than anywhere else in the world.

  27. Katie,

    Yeah, many people (Americans, S Africans, Brits wherever) can be very paranoid about traveling outside their countries and comfort items. It’s more about adventure and curiousity.

    I bicycled toured in Europe and Africa back in 1994, 1 year with my new wife till she seemed to tire of it and then by myself for another 6 months in Africa. I could have gone on for another 2 years, although it did sometimes get tiresome. People would definitely consider me a bit stupid, especially the thought of cycling through a game park (85 kilometers) in Tanzania. It was the major (and only) road south and well there were no restrictions stopping me. The coolest thing there was when the giraffes were running alongside of me. The best thing is no lions enjoyed me, even though I am a vegetarian like most of their prey. It was a great trip from Kenya down to S Africa. I hardly ever felt threatened except when the policeman grabbed me for jumping off the boat before it had docked properly, not a big problem, he just admonished me in an African manner.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experience and please continue being STUPID.

  28. Great post, Katie!
    I’d recommend anyone (regardless of age, gender and nationality) to set out on a solo journey at least once. Stepping out of the comfort zone and into the world is an amazing and eye-opening experience.
    I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my solo travels!

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