There is no right or wrong way to travel.
However, everyone will have an opinion on how you travel.
My travel preference is solo travel.
I’m not one to wait around for someone to say “hell yes” to when I find a crazy flight deal to Europe or book a long weekend in Mexico City just because I got my new passport back.
I’ve traveled with friends, family, coworkers, and significant others, but I always find that solo travel is the way to go. I like having the freedom to do the things I want on my own time. Plus, as a solo traveler, you’re never really alone.
While my travel style is starting to evolve slightly as I’m getting older, I still believe that everyone should travel solo at least once in your life. You’ll learn so much about yourself and the places you’re visiting.
But the one thing that I’m getting really tired about is the questions people ask me because I’m an American female solo traveler. Apparently that makes me either “weird” or “brave.” So, without further ado, here are my top 10 favorite questions that people love to ask me as an American female solo traveler.
After I tell them I’m from Maine and it’s located in the northeast near Canada, “So, you’re Canadian then?”
No, Maine is part of the United States. Maine became the 23rd state after it seceded from Massachusetts in 1820. We may be a small state that no one knows about, but we’re the best state. We have a beautiful rocky coastline, awesome mountains, picturesque waterways, and one of the best small cities in the country. Portland was recently ranked the number one city in the world for microbrews. And we have lobster.
“But, you sound Canadian.”
Yes, I probably do. Maine borders both Quebec and New Brunswick. Maine’s heritage is heavily influenced by the influx of French Canadians that immigrated to Maine in the late 1800s to work in the mills. Almost my entire family is French Canadian. In fact, I can trace my father’s side of the family back to the 1600s in Quebec City. Also, the first language my mother spoke was French until she was forced to learn English to play with the neighborhood kids and attend school.
I may sound Canadian, but I’m a proud Mainer and American. If you cut me, I’d probably bleed red, white, and blue.
“Oh, you’re American. Do you like Donald Trump?”
No! No, I don’t. Please stop asking me this question or I just might tell you I’m Canadian. You couldn’t pay me a million dollars to vote for that idiot. I’d rather sit in a pit of snakes, which I absolutely hate. Who could support someone who has repeatedly insulted women, immigrants, and just about everyone else in the world that is breathing? Like I said above, I’m a proud American, but Trump makes me a bit embarrassed to be one at the moment. So, please… I’m begging you… STOP asking me about Donald Trump! I can’t stand him just like you.
“Your dad lets you travel the world by yourself?”
Well, since I’m almost 30 I’m pretty sure that makes me an adult. I’m perfectly capable of making my own life decisions. Sure, my dad was skeptical at first when I told him I was moving to Australia, but he knows that I make my own decisions in life. He still treats me like I’m 5 years old at times, but he knows I’m going to do what I’m going to do and he can’t stop me.
I don’t need anyone to hold my hand in life. I’m a strong, independent woman. I’m capable of doing my own taxes, booking flights, navigating foreign public transportation systems, and communicating in foreign languages. But, I will call my father in tears if my computer breaks or I’m having car problems. That will never change.
“Why don’t you have a boyfriend?”
A. My love life is none of your business.
B. Finding a compatible man that can handle my strong personality and quirks is not easy. I’ve dated plenty of nice guys and some complete assholes. Dating hasn’t been a major priority in my life in the past couple of years because I was working all the time to pay down a sufficient chunk of my student loan debt and save to travel. And this little thing called an Ironman. Now that I’m in semi-permanent location for a bit I am open to the idea of dating if the right guy comes along. But, he’s going to have to accept the fact that I like to travel – with or without him.
C. I’m currently in a relationship with my passport. My passport gets around – to the tune of 30+ countries – just the way I like ’em (my passports not my men).
“Don’t you want to settle down?”
Yes. Yes, I do. It’s one of my biggest internal struggles I have with myself on an almost daily basis. I’m a bit Type A. In college I had a 3-ring binder that contained my nicely typed up and color-coded 10-year life plan. According to my plan, I’m pretty sure that I am currently supposed to be married with one kid and in the middle of my oncology residency. So, yeah… clearly that life plan got thrown out the door the minute my mom became sick seven years ago.
For most of my early 20s, I didn’t think I wanted kids. I’ve always been very career focused and I want a powerful career that both makes a difference in the world and makes me want to get out of bed excited every day. Kids seemed to get in the way of that dream. As I started to see my friends get married and start to have kids something in my head switched and I realized that I wanted that too. I still have issues with the whole “American Dream” ideal, but I do want that white picket fence and family. But, at this point in life, I can’t even get a date on Tinder so I’m thinking Crazy Cat Lady is in my future… and I don’t even like cats.
Can I be the crazy dog lady?
“Don’t you get lonely?”
Yes, at times. Everyone gets lonely at times. You could be in a crowd of a million people and still feel lonely. As a solo traveler, it is actually fairly easy to make friends. I tend to stay in a lot of hostels in my travels. Hostels are a great way to make friends. Couchsurfing and meet up groups are also another great way to meet locals and other travelers.
Some of my closest friends today are people I have met during my travels. It’s often an instant connection that will last a lifetime. But, to answer your original question – yes, sometimes I do get lonely. I’d love to share an epic El Tunco beach sunset with someone special or a weeklong yacht cruise through the Mediterranean with some of my best girl friends. But, until then, I enjoy my own company and making friends along the way.
“How do you afford to travel so much?”
My favorite question… I have a trust fund and a sugar daddy. Just kidding.
I pay 100% for all my own travel. I’m a certified workaholic. Before I left on my Great Escape, I worked full time at a health IT company, ran a freelance writing business, taught fitness classes, and was a triathlon and running coach. I also sold a lot of my crap. I don’t need 20 pairs of jeans and multiple pairs of heels that I never wear. While I was certainly sad to see both my bicycles go to new homes, the money afforded me to become a certified scuba diver, climb the Eiffel Tower, ride camels through the Sahara Desert and travel Australia for the next year.
I’m an avid travel hacker so most of my flights are essentially free. I flew first class from Abu Dhabi to Sydney for $40 USD. I currently have a large stockpile of airline miles that will let me fly around the world for just pennies. It’s awesome. I also stay in hostels, cook my own meals, and take public transportation whenever possible. You have to make travel a priority in your life and you’ll be able to afford it too.
“Isn’t the world too dangerous for female solo travelers?”
If you spend your day watching the news and popular media you’ll probably never leave your house. The media loves blowing everything out of proportion. The world is not a dangerous place. Sure, there is crime, sickness, and disaster. But, not everyone in the world is out to get you. If you live with that mentality then you’re missing out on truly living.
When I told my coworkers I was going to Mexico City alone they thought I was crazy. Mexico City is super dangerous. You’re going to get killed. No. Statistically speaking, Mexico City is safer than Washington DC and Detriot. Many cities and countries that I have visited are safer than America. Less petty crime. Less murder. Less disease. Travel and you’ll be surprised how kind and safe the world and its people truly are.
“Do you have fun by yourself?”
Abso-fucking-lutely! My solo travels have allowed me to meet incredible people, experience stunning scenery, and challenge myself to become a better and stronger person. Here’s a sample of some of my favorite adventures over the past couple of years:
And so much more! Fun is what you make of it. If you have a positive attitude and open yourself up to new challenges and opportunities then you will have fun. Travel is all about pushing your limits and living outside your comfort zone.
I love solo travel and I don’t see myself changing that anytime soon. However, as I’m getting older I’m starting to slow down my travels a bit and prefer staying in one place for longer. And hopefully someday in the near future, I will have someone to share my travel adventures with. But, in the meantime, I’m going to continue to chase my dreams and see as much of the world while I can. The world is large and there is never enough time.