9 Things Solo Female Travel Has Taught Me

Millennials make up a generation of young entrepreneurs, start-up enthusiasts, travellers, and people who try their best to have a work-life balance. All of those things, I have tried on my own. I am part of this generation and I have already embraced it completely. We are part of a community that has the confidence and has self-awareness that we can make a change to the world. I am part of a generation that makes solo female travel possible.

The millennial in me made a decision of quitting my corporate job to travel (and work). Almost two months in and I have already learned a lot. I started travelling alone in 2015 and I always learn a thing or two (of course, more) whenever I do.

Travelling alone sounds fun, but the reality is that for a female or solo female travel, it’s a challenge. It really is. No matter how you want to go to new places, the thought that you’re a woman travelling solo has always been a concern. This fact, of course, should not stop us, girls. We can be cautious for our own safety but we should not stop moving for in a new environment, we learn new things.

solo female travel

Here are 9 things solo female travel has taught me:

  1. Work On My Trust Issues

    The feeling of betrayal and abandonment is something that I have been working on for years. With all the disappointments and past events in my life, I’ve been fighting the universe to let me trust again. I thought I was just being cautious until I realised that I was seeing others as deceptive and malevolent.

    Solo female travel gave me the opportunity to take steps into trusting people again. It started with simply asking directions from strangers to sharing life struggles and goals.

    I remember I was at Pasar Seni in Kuala Lumpur having my lunch and I met a girl eating alone (hello Pamela). Walking towards her was the first thing I did. I asked if I can share a table with her and the next thing we knew we were already having beers in front of the Petronas tower. I also met a guy from New York (hi Dan!) in Kuala Lumpur via Tinder (yep, I use Tinder) from New York. He was also travelling solo so we met to go around the city since we were both struggling with getting around. We were joined by his friend, Tan, and we took the hop-on-hop-off bus to roam around the city.

    Liberating. That’s the word that I can think of. It’s liberating to sometimes give in and say yes. Overthinking can be unhealthy at times and I am glad that I was able to overcome this and started trusting people again.

    NOTE: I consider my safety. Meeting Dan from Tinder took a lot of considerations that’s why you look for photos and profile and possible mutual connections. I just knew he’s travelling there and just in sincere need of a travel buddy.

  2. Self-esteem

    Smart, beautiful, independent, and confident are the first impressions that I get from people. Truth be told that I never felt that way no matter how strong and confident I appear. I was always that kind of person who craves for praises or some sort of validation. I thought those were necessary for me to feel good and to have an assurance that I am doing just good.

    Perks of travelling alone: meeting new people that won’t make you feel lonely.

    A post shared by Haze (@apinchofhaze) on

    Solo female travel taught me to be more confident in my own skin and individuality. It showed me that people are different so it’s okay to be one, too. There’s no shame in being who you are and I stopped trying to please everybody. I learned to celebrate people’s differences and individualities. Going solo taught me to embrace my flaws and still have the self-esteem that I am equally beautiful as others. Girls, we are beautiful in our own ways and that’s one of the things solo female travel have taught me.

  3. Break Stereotype

    We might hate stereotypes but we can not run away from the fact that they exist. Women are not suitable to travel alone. Only rich Asian kids can travel the world. Asian women are too conservative or close-minded. A lot more.

    One thing I love about my generation, the millennials, is we break stereotypes. On my solo travels, I feel like I am breaking stereotypes. Most of the people I met along the journey couldn’t believe that I am travelling solo or in my case, travelling indefinitely. There are some who think that Asian women do not know how to have fun. Some think that when it comes to human interactions, we catch feelings easily. It’s true that we value things, people, and relationship but that does not mean that we are just sweet and caring to people just because we like them romantically. Most of us are naturally loving and caring, but some of us also believe that it’s better to catch flights than feelings.

    We also need a break from stressful corporate life or after graduating from the University. It is a common thing for Europeans to take a break once they have graduated from high school before they work full-time. Can’t we do that, too? Oh, we can! We are all human beings who get tired at some point, who need to find ourselves first, who want to go to places and meet people. We are world citizens and solo female travel makes me feel that I am proving the stereotypes wrong. I can only do so much and I am no superhero but it feels so good that by taking this journey I break my own stereotypes. Girls, we can break those stereotypes being thrown to us and solo female travel is a good way to do it.

  4. Self-discipline

    It has been two months since I quit my corporate job in the GCC. I then started working remotely with no number of hours required with a lot of tasks on queue. The thing about travelling and working remotely is one might think that you just have to choose one to be good at it. No, not at all.

    Solo female travel taught me to work on my self-discipline as I was so bad at it! My tendency to give into temptations is unimaginable!

    My desire to survive the life that I chose gave way to self-discipline. I always make sure that I spend time working on my tasks before I go out and explore. If I partied too much the previous night (Yeah, Bangkok has turned me into a bit of an alcoholic. LOL), I make sure to spend all day working or prevent myself from going out or just have a glass of whisky coke beside my laptop.

    You see, I just don’t want to go home and I need to work my ass off to survive. I believe self-discipline is something difficult to learn and I am grateful that travelling solo provided me with the opportunity (or left me with no choice but) to finally work on this.

  5. Listen To Others

    Solely lending ears (without interrupting) was never my thing. I used to always cut in the middle thinking that it’s gonna help and I had no patience for what I thought was “nonsense”.

    Meeting different people every single day lead me to finally shut my mouth and just lend ears. I came to realise that just like me, these people have their own stories and reasons on why they chose what they chose.

    It feels fulfilling that at the end of every conversation, you get to receive a tight hug in exchange for listening and just non-verbals. People sometimes do not need our opinions or pieces of advice. We just need to let it out so we can lessen the burden we are carrying and keep moving.

  6. Beauty of the World

    A post shared by Haze (@apinchofhaze) on

    There’s just so much in this world than what we know. Travelling opened my eyes to greater possibilities. There’s more to a destination than the touristy places. Touristy places are good. The Petronas tower is being visited for a reason, temples are wonders; these are touristy because they deserve to be. What we ignore to see is beyond those places are stories of people. Local areas will let you see how life can be different and how people do things to survive on a daily basis. I find it beautiful to see beyond the great images we post on social media., to hear stories that no one writes on the internet. The world is a lovely place.

  7. Letting go

    It’s difficult yet fulfilling to find the guts to laugh and still love life despite everything.

    A post shared by Haze (@apinchofhaze) on

    This one is challenging. Come on! I have moved on from the guy that I loved since the university days and it took me 7 years. You read that right, 7 years! Solo travel or the long-term travel helped me to accept that there are some people and things that will just pass by our lives. At least physically. I found some great friends while travelling! We tend to like someone while travelling or get attached by having some great times but at the end of the day, you all know the lives that you choose. People come and go. I have learned to let go but not forget to treasure people and moments.

  8. Stop Living On Others Expectations and Standards

    I’ve been living my life trying to keep up with people’s expectations. Back home, you just have your life planned out. The family would decide on what university you should go to, the degree that you should get, the job that you should take, even the guy that you should marry. I might be stubborn enough to not listen to my family. I took my on way, but it was nowhere near being easy.

    Exhausting is the word that would define how it feels when you feel pressured for something that you are not happy to do. Failing into something that you don’t desire is fine but you feel bad because you care for friends and family.

    Travelling alone and doing the things that I want felt like I have broken free. People might not like the life I am taking but at the end of the day, I’m okay with it. I am happy. Graduating from a university, getting a good, buying properties, putting up a business, and all those things that the society tells us to do or to have are great. The thing is, we should accept that people have different lives. People have different goals thus, different sources of happiness and fulfilment. I just stopped being apologetic for the choices that I make. For as long as I don’t step on anyone and I am happy, it’s fine.

  9. Not Let Other People’s Fears Be Projected Onto Me

It is not safe to travel alone. You won’t be able to survive roaming around for a long time having no corporate job. People might ridicule you because you are Asian and travelling solo. Do not take a long bus ride. That place is not safe.

These things are not the things I am scared of. People around me are scared of these. They were projecting their fears on me. I was scared because people around me were scared. Travelling alone helped me cope up with those and proved that there’s nothing much to be scared of.

Being cautious is totally advisable and I would recommend that myself, too. Keeping yourself from doing things you desire because the world projected fears on you is something that we can work on.

These are just a few of the things I have learned from solo female travel. I know there will still be a lot for me to learn and I am excited about it!

Have you tried travelling alone? Did you learn something? Feel free to share!

  1. How are you able to travel like this! Huhuhuhu I’m so jealous. I can’t even go to Laguna or Tagaytay without thinking and worrying about expenses. Lol. Miss you, bb! 🙂

  2. I can relate to this. I’ve been traveling the world solo for seven years, and a year ago I also quit my stop so that I could do it full time 🙂

  3. Great post, love point 2 – have to agree with ‘we are beautiful in our own ways’. If we see another photoshopped Instagram “yoga on the beach in a bikini’ we’ll scream. But we are just a pair of grumpy “Generation X’ers”

  4. I can relate to many of these points (although I am not a millenial!) I have travelled several times solo and would say it really teaches you confidence and versatility.

  5. Its great to read about your experience and how solo travel has made you a stronger person. Just keep on traveling, learn and be the person you are/or finding out who you are deep down. Fantastic read.

  6. I have been traveling solo for the past 6 years, 3+ of them full-time nomading. I totally agree with all the points you’re making. Traveling has made me a more self-confident, more open, and more excepting person. But that’s my lifestyle choice. Somebody else might find exactly the same in a corporate job or a house in the suburbs and 2.4 children.

    Here’s to happiness!

    Happy travels from Hoi An,

  7. Lots of solid advice here, not necessarily to a method of travel or what generation you belong to. It’s more or less life experience — if it comes while you’re exploring the world, that’s all the better.

  8. Travel does teach one many lessons, whether traveling solo or not. While I’m not a solo traveler, I can relate to many of the points you’ve brought up. Greater self-confidence, living on my terms and not others, not buying into other’s fears and projections, and more. Travel fundamentally changes you and prepares you for life. Great article. Thanks for sharing the lessons.

  9. These are great lessons for anyone to learn. Good for you for daring to try and find your own way in life. Too many people take a ‘traditional’ path thinking that is what is expected and what they have to do to succeed.

  10. Learning to stop and listen to other people might be one of the most important skills anyone can learn. It’s how you really connect with people. Sounds like you’re on the track to enjoying a much fuller and richer life!

  11. I think solo travel is one of the most liberating things a person can do–especially a woman. Kudos to you for breaking down barriers and taking on the world. It’s a magical experience!

  12. Love this and so true, and I hope that I have given this gift of self esteem to our kids who have traveled the world. Love that you say don’t let other project their fears on to you as well!

  13. I have spent lots of time traveling solo and I agree with every single point you mention on your post. For me the hardest part of traveling solo is letting go some cool people I met on the road, it is always very sad . .

  14. I think a lot of these lessons apply to me as a solo male traveler as well. As a guy with some major trust and self-esteem issues, travel has been a huge lift to me as a person.

    I’m glad to read that many of these lessons have been positive ones for you too.

  15. I love this Haze, I particularly agree on the breaking stereotypes. I personally found that solo travel showed me anything was possible, and even if other people believed something was scary or unsafe, that didn’t have to stop me from experiencing it or doing so. Solo travel is such an empowering experience – it really does show you the path to finding your inner strength, your street smarts, patience, and as you said, you learn to listen to others and value help instead of always having to rely on yourself. Really great reflective post 🙂

  16. Travelling solo was the best thing i have ever than 3 years ago. The self confidence and being independent are atleast i have mastered while travelling solo. And meeting amazing people and sharing experiences is priceless.

  17. Being a solo traveler myself, I can relate and agree with all the things that you have mentioned. It is liberating and fun always! I’m working on the self-discipline part though, lol!

  18. It sounds like solo travel had a great effect on you. I know lot of people fear traveling alone. I was in the beginning too, but it made me more independent in many ways.

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