As part of the MHE Inspiration Series our topic of the fortnight is Solo Travel.
HERE'S PRESENTING OUR INTERVIEW WITH SOLO TRAVELLER & ADVENTURE LOVER: JUDY SMITH.
Judy is an inspiration for any one looking to travel solo and is full of stories. She's been caught in a riot in Pakistan, attended festivals across the globe & even found love whilst on the road. Stay tuned for lots more coming up as part of our Inspiration Series.
Q1. What do you love about Solo Travel?
A. I love the freedom to go where I want, when I want. I can wake up in the morning in a place and stay longer, or just pack up and go somewhere else. I can spend all day staring at the scenery without hearing “I wanna go somewhere else.” The downside is when you see something amazing, and wish there was someone there with you so you could turn to them and say ‘Wow!’
Q2. What were your fears before you started Traveling Solo and how did you overcome them?
A. I was never worried about my safety, only about being bored with my own company, or being able to find people to chat to or spend time with. When I started it was before the internet and cell phones, and back then everybody talked to each other in hotels and restaurants. I was never short of company if I needed it. I believe that if you come across as open and friendly, and stay away from well known ‘danger spots’ you are as safe travelling as you are in your hometown.
Q3. What's your best tip for first time Solo Travelers?
A. Don’t bury your head in guidebooks, your laptop or phone. Go into a restaurant, bar, hotel and say hi to someone else on their own, ask them about the place, where they have been, or if you hear a few people from your country chatting introduce yourself. Don’t be afraid to say hi and start a conversation.
Q4. What is your favourite Solo Travel Destination? Why?
A. Kathmandu. Because it’s so small, it’s easy to find interesting people every day who are on their own and ready to strike up conversation and perhaps a friendship. I’ve gone trekking with people I only met a few days before, and had a blast.
Q5. What's your advice for Female Solo Travelers in particular?
A. Don’t advertise that you are on travelling on your own when you check in to a place. I used to have an imaginary husband who was just off on a trip somewhere in the country I was in and I even carried a photo of a friend and I which I put on the table in the room I stayed in. I even wore a cheap wedding band, especially in some countries where it was deemed unseemly for ladies to travel alone. I never had a problem.Don’t be afraid to make friends with local people – they may invite you to their home, or out for a meal. Use your judgement wisely. Research your destination’s culture then put the guidebook down and go experience it.
Q6. How do you deal with boredom when you're by yourself?
A. I don’t often get the chance to be bored – but if I did I would always read a book I've been dying to read, or just go sightseeing. And there is always laundry to do! Writing a diary or blog is a great way to save those travel memories and center your mind.
Q7. How do you stay connected with friends and family when on the road Solo?
A. In the old days it was aerogrammes, postcards and poste restante. Now with the net it is easy to stay in touch by email, Facebook and Twitter. It’s certainly easier than booking a trunk call through the old telephone exchange in Lahore!
Q8. Your favourite Solo Travel Memory?
A. I was in Darjeeling and was told to travel to Sikkim, so off I went in a crappy jeep which kept breaking down. When I got to Pemayangtse I walked into a hotel and there was a British guy whose leg was bleeding. I made a smart comment, we sat together and had dinner and some beer and then went sightseeing the next day. We spent the next 19 years together travelling. We finally split a few years ago but it is still a great memory of a wonderful chance encounter!
Thank you so much for the interview Judy. Travellers and members of the MHE community like you make MHE what all that it is today. We love you!
We love travel and we love to share our experiences.
If you have a travel story that you'd like to share, please drop in a message to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll be happy to publish it here!
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