Solo Traveler Extraordinaire!
I am a 39-year-old Black married woman living in the Chicago metropolitan area. As a professional, I work in a work-release center helping currently incarcerated women find employment, reconnect with their families, and hopefully become independent, law-abiding, and productive citizens.
I was raised as an Army “brat” which allowed me to live in many different states in the U.S., as well as in The Netherlands for a few years. My love of travel came about from moving around when I was younger and experiencing different people, places, and things. As I grew older, I noticed that my desire to travel became even stronger. I always jokingly say that I travel just enough not to get fired from my job.
My solo trips don’t always start out that way. At the planning stages, I always encourage others to join me. However, it often turns out that we don’t have the same appetite for trying new things or our calendars simply don’t align. Nevertheless, I move forward with my plans undeterred. As a matter of fact, I encourage women to experience traveling alone. I’ve found that solo travel has increased my overall confidence and has given me opportunities to interact with people who I probably would not have engaged if my friends and family were around. To me, all of this leads to new fun experiences. If you can navigate through a country where you don’t know a single person or speak the official language – trust me – you can do anything! Yes, we women need to be aware of our surroundings on an everyday basis, but we need to do that anyway, so why not do it on a fun trip abroad?
Before I set out on my solo trips, I hear the same old comments: “You’re Black and there are no Black people there”, “You’re a woman and you shouldn’t travel alone”, “You’re small”, “What would you do if you were accosted?”, etc. I’m not one to take on other’s ideologies or fears and I certainly don’t let them restrict my adventures. I thoroughly research my destinations and take as many safety precautions as possible. Admittedly, I’m always a little nervous before I travel, but I embrace that feeling and it soon turns into nervous excitement.
With this outlook on traveling, I’ve been able to venture all around the world on my own terms whenever I find an opening in my calendar. In fact, last year I ended up traveling to Iceland alone after all my invited guests were unable to make it. I’m so glad I kept my plans. Iceland’s breathtaking landscapes, spectacular waterfalls, and blue lagoon are not to be missed. I was so inspired by my trip to Iceland that this past September I traveled solo Antalya, Turkey. It was unforgettable. The food, people, and culture there are simply amazing.
I believe, promote, and live by the Dare Divas’ mission. In that same vein, my personal advice is to never short-change yourself based on other people’s fears. Live your best life and take plenty of pictures to show the naysayers how much fun they missed out on when you get back!