Ever wanted to know what the best thing is about being a solo female traveler? The freedom and adventure? Making money from the beach? The people you meet? The downsides? Find out all below.
People often ask me how I find being a solo female traveler. For some reason the question often surprises me as it’s not something I actually pay much thought to. I don’t feel it’s been an issue in any way, shape or form. Yet there have been times when it’s clearly been an advantage to be female (think Italy) and when it’s clearly been a disadvantage, where women are either objectified or aren’t held in high regard in society.
I struggle with the latter a lot. Being born in New Zealand, the first country in the world to allow women to vote, with two strong female Prime Ministers in a row for the majority of my childhood and into my 20s, a female Governor General and a female CEO of our largest telecommunications company, I felt empowered being surrounded by such strong role models.
I went to an all girls’ school where I was led to believe I could do anything I put my mind to. Nothing’s changed on that front. And yet travelling has helped me become aware of just how lucky I am to feel on an equal level with men and to have so much freedom.
I’m well aware that my experience growing up and travelling from such a young age differs a lot to others. So I wanted to get the opinion of other fabulous women leading a similar lifestyle to me, to find out what they love about traveling the world, and what they find most challenging. As well as how they earn their living and what their most memorable travel moments have been.
Meet The Female Nomads And Adventurers
This all started from a tweet actually. Prime Sarmiento put out a #followfriday to her favourite female travelers and as I clicked on their profiles, landed on their blogs and read their unique stories, I felt the need to share their stories with you. The idea sparked in my head to do a collaborative post. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Let me introduce you to…
Prime Sarmiento is a travel journalist who helps women craft their journeys via her blog www.solofemaletravel.net. You can follow her at twitter @prime_sarmiento
Nellie Huang is a freelance travel journalist who’s always on the go. During her quest for adventures, she has climbed an active volcano in Guatemala, skydived in Costa Brava and built a house in East Africa. She writes about her misadventures on WildJunket and nelliehuang.com. You can find her on Twitter @WildJunket
Rosemarie John is a Travel journalist contributing to local newspapers and magazines. Based in Singapore, her writings portray a kaleidoscope of all things travel related mixed with just the right dosage of history and culture. You can visit her websites travelandbeyond.org and rosemariejohn.com/ plus find her on Twitter at @TravelnBeyond and @GypsyScribbles
Lauren Rains is the creator of TheMadToLive.com and WildWorldCreative, a blog and a business all about showing people how to creatively turn their passions talents into their business and lifestyle. You can catch her creative and adventurous tweets on Twitter @LaurRAINS
What is the best thing about living a life of travel and adventure?
The freedom and the ability to combine work with passion! I love being able to jet off to some place every other week and earning an income as I’m on the road. ~ Nellie Huang
The obvious upside is getting to travel! I love exploring (and getting lost!) in new, unfamiliar places so this is one aspect of traveling that I really enjoy. ~ Nina Fuentes
The ultimate freedom to go anywhere in the world and (responsibly) “chase butterflies”. The world really is my oyster! ~ Nora Dunn
Hands down is the fact that it’s the most rewarding, eye-opening challenge out there. Living a life of travel and adventure is like living 10 lives at once. You see, do, feel, experience unique things so much more intensely. ~ Lauren Rains
Being able to live life based on my own terms, beliefs, needs and not based on what my society, family or friends expect me to do. When I’m in Manila, I sometimes feel confined within my society/family’s expectations. It’s like living inside a box. While I have redefined and crushed the box several times as I’m one feisty, rebellious gypsygal, when I’m outside Manila I’m free and I assume a different persona, leading life as I see fit. ~ Prime Sarmiento
The best thing would be experiencing new cultures and customs, meeting people you would never meet back home, and understanding how different the world can be when you view it with an open mind. ~ Rosemarie John
What is the most challenging thing about being a solo female traveler/ entrepreneur?
Work-life balanceis a challenge. Contrary to popular opinion, I’m not “on vacation” all the time (or really, any time!), despite having the luxury of working in various far-flung destinations. ~ Nora Dunn
Sometimes the most challenging part is the sense of security – the feeling that you’re all alone and there isn’t anybody else to rely on should an emergency arise or you find yourself in a bit of a fix. Even taxi drivers can try to be funny when they notice you’re going solo. ~ Rosemarie John
Having to be versatile and handle all aspects of my ‘business’ myself: from writing to social media to accounting and marketing. It’s hard to juggle that along with my personal life and a hectic travel schedule. ~ Nellie Huang
The first thing that popped into mind is that you’d have to battle with a lot of similar blogs to stand out and get the readers. On the other hand, being female and writing about solo female travel gives you an edge because there’s not nearly as many blogs dedicated to it (though the numbers are now steadily growing compared to a couple of years ago). ~ Nina Fuentes
Well, to be honest, sometimes it gets a little lonely. There’s something about sharing places or projects with others that makes the experience feel more real, if you will. Whenever I feel that way though, I remind myself there are fellow travelers, entrepreneurs, and friends right around the corner doing the same thing. ~ Lauren Rains
As a solo female traveler (and now a newbie entrepreneur who just set up a copy writing business), my biggest challenge is doing everything by myself, and that can be very difficult sometimes. I have to book my trips, plan my itinerary, figure out a way to keep safe and not go broke. I do ask for help, but being responsible for everything can be scary. ~ Prime Sarmiento
Your most memorable travel moment?
I camped on one of the watch towers of The Great Wall of China once with 10 friends. Two days later I left Beijing after being there for 1 year. It was the best finale I could ask for. It was also one of the coldest nights of my entire life!!! ~ Lauren Rains
In the dramatic/scary category, top of my list was getting caught in the middle of the Victorian Bushfires in Australia – the country’s worst-ever natural disaster. But all’s well that ends well; I became instrumental in the relief efforts, and karma has a funny way of rewarding those who do good! ~ Nora Dunn
Plenty! The one I can think about at the moment is my experience at the War Museum in Siem Reap, Cambodia. I spoke to a local man in his early twenties, who was a victim of the war. As he was showing us the landmines and photos in the museum, he started crying as he recalled the day he lost his fingers in the war. It had a huge impact on me. ~ Nellie Huang
Most memorable travel experience was climbing up the ancient temple of Borobudur at 4am in complete darkness (only a small torchlight in hand) to find the best spot among the stupas right on top to photograph the sunrise. ~ Rosemarie John
Too many memorable moments, I don’t even know how to answer this question. But I think, one of the most memorable is when I did a movement meditation session in Ubud, Bali in 2005. It’s empowering, and taught me to let go, to just do my thing, and shed my inhibitions -on my body and with my sexuality. I wrote about that in How I got my groove back. ~ Prime Sarmiento
It was during my first time to travel solo. I was in Ko Samui in Thailand and I was supposed to take a boat to Ko Pha Ngan. The owner of the resort I was staying at said the boat docks just a couple of hundred meters down the resort. I wouldn’t miss it, he said.
Of course, I missed it and ended up walking to this travel agency. The two ladies sorted me out with a boat, but it wouldn’t be until 4pm (it was just before noon when I arrived). I settled myself outside their shop to wait, unsure how I’m going to get lunch since there’s no place to eat nearby. One of the ladies went out and asked me to join her for lunch. So we rode her scooter out to the main road (it was my first time riding one) and we stopped at this small place where she usually gets their lunch. It was just a simple meal of rice and vegetables, but it’s easily one of the best meals I’ve had in all the times I’ve been to Thailand. She wouldn’t even let me pay for the food — upon knowing that I was traveling solo, the two ladies took me under their wing and were intent to make sure I was okay. ~ Nina Fuentes
The coolest way you’ve made money doing your thang?
There was no money involved in this, but the most memorable thing I’ve got out of travel blogging would be my US Visa. Being a Filipino citizen, getting a US visa is not an easy thing: the fee is steep and you’d have to wait in line for hours for the interview and there is no guarantee that you will be granted a visa.
I don’t really have any intention of visiting the US and getting a visa, but I received an invitation from the Guam Visitors Bureau for a media familiarization tour. I told them that while I’m interested to attend, I would need a lot of help to get that visa. They assisted me the entire way, but on the day of the interview, it came down to just me and the consul.
The consul asked me why I was going to the US, and I said it was because of the GVB invitation. She then asked why they invited me. I have to say, never did I imagine that one day I would utter these words to a consul: “Because I’m a travel blogger.” ~ Nina Fuentes
Being recognised for my work through my blog and offered an opportunity to write on a freelance basis for the local newspaper in Indonesia when I was living there. ~ Rosemarie John
I’m not making money from blogging. For my bread and butter, I work as a copy editor for an international news agency. However, I have plans of being a location independent entrepreneur so I set up a “side hustle” (thank you Pam Slim for that lovely phrase). I’m using my blog as a showcase of my writing and blogging skills to get clients for my side business – blogging for entrepreneurs.
But more than money, my blog allowed me to feed my passion (travel writing) and connect with fabulous writers, entrepreneurs and traveling women (fellow gypsygals) like you ~ Prime Sarmiento
I love checking my emails, because I never know what opportunities lie in waiting. I’ve been contacted randomly by television producers and taken around the world having filmed two different shows in three countries, I’ve been given opportunities to travel crazy distances by train , and even more recently I’ve joined the Ultimate Train Challenge – again, all for just doing what I love, and writing about it. ~ Nora Dunn
Simply by writing The Mad To Live and giving 200% to every project I work on I was chosen to be part of
a 2 week sponsored road trip throughout the West Coast of the US. We went everywhere from San Diego to Vegas to Napa Valley and then some. ~ Lauren Rains
Just recently I was on a beach in Mauritius, checking my email and placing links on my site for advertisers and got paid $600 instantly. Just another day’s work! ~ Nellie Huang
Don’t you just love these ladies adventures? What are you some of yours? Go ahead and share them below.