When I first started my solo travel journey, I had no idea that I would be writing this article 10 years on. I couldn’t have imagined that solo travel would spark something in me and that it would become my life’s mission to inspire and support other women to feel safe and confident to do the same. Solo travel has shaped who I am, it’s transformed my career and without it, I wouldn’t be in a relationship with my partner.

While I feel so grateful that I chose to prioritise solo travel and make it part of my life, it hasn’t been without its challenges. Travelling alone has been such a catalyst for my personal growth and I credit that to the experiences I have had along the way – the good, the bad and especially the ugly. One thing that is very important to me is sharing the real, raw experiences of solo travel, so don’t come to this blog for a shiny, Instagram-perfect view of travelling alone as a woman, because that’s just not reality.

My solo travel journey

For those who are new around here, I’m Lucy, a solo travel expert who has been travelling the world solo for 10 years to 50+ countries and I’m passionate about empowering women to feel confident to travel the world solo. I started my solo travel journey as a 25-year-old who was burnt out and overworked as a journalist, who had recently found out her boyfriend of nine-years had cheated on her, and who longed for more than just a small town life. My travelling dreams had been put on hold through university and when i found a job during the recession – I was one of the lucky ones! But as my life in my hometown crumbled around me, I started to question whether this was all I was meant for. Surely there had to be more?

My story isn’t unique, but the fact I decided to take action and completely up-end my life was. I took a risk by leaving all I knew to fly to the other side of the world alone when everyone thought it was too dangerous. And it turned out to be the best decision of my life. My travels took me to South-East Asia and Australia where I ended up living and travelling the breadth of the country for two years. I solo backpacked across Europe and road-tripped across Europe in a camper van with my partner at the time. I ended up moving to Hamburg, Germany, where I created a community of nearly 2,000 and hosted meet-ups for expats. Unfortunately, I was forced to leave Hamburg after an abusive relationship but it was the catalyst I needed to start travelling again. After taking some time to heal, I finally went on the solo adventure that I had dreamed of since I was at school. I spent the next six months backpacking from Mexico through Central America solo and had the time of my life in Guatemala, Costa Rica, Belize and many more. I made it as far as Colombia, South America, when this crazy virus shut down the world in 2020. 

While I was grounded for those wild two years, I decided to buy a camper van of my own and used it to road trip across Cornwall, Devon, Wales, Dorset and Norfolk. Spending that time at home made me realise how much I longed for a home base after 7 years of living nomadically. I am now based on the North-Norfolk Coast with my partner but continue to explore the world solo with recent trips to Marrakech, Austria, Germany and Cyprus. Keep reading for the lessons I’ve learned along the way…

Stay in a riad marrakech morocco, riad livia

10 Lessons I’ve Learned From 10 Years of Solo Travel

The media are SO WRONG about solo female travel

Solo travel is NOT too dangerous for women. As a journalist, I have a real problem with the media’s portrayal of the “danger” of other countries, the “risk” posed to women who choose to travel alone. There is no such thing as a dangerous country – I’m not talking about those at war or in serious political strife. I’ve travelled to countries deemed “too dangerous” for me as a woman and felt safer than I have walking the streets of London alone at night. Yes, women do face extra challenges when travelling solo, we will naturally face struggles that men won’t simply by existing – but is that any different to at home?

There’s no running away from your problems

There’s a real misconception around travelling being an escape from your problems – that those who choose to travel long-term are simply running away from their problems and reality. I can assure you that is not the case and I would advise anyone who is choosing solo travel for this reason to go into it with their eyes wide open. Solo travel is not a distraction or a cure for your problems, you don’t just leave them at the airport.

Whatever might be challenging you or happening in your life will follow you wherever you go. That’s not necessarily a bad thing – as I mentioned, solo travel has been a real catalyst for my personal growth and has forced me to deal with things head-on instead of burying my head in the sand as I might have done at home.

It’s so easy to make friends but you need to love your own company

One thing I always get asked is how to make friends when travelling solo – and I always reply that it’s easier than you think! When you open yourself up to the world, become friendly, approachable and start a conversation with anyone – you will naturally find your people. Even the most introverted of travellers will be able to meet people that align with them as they explore the world. One thing I have loved since travelling alone is how much easier it is to meet and connect with the locals than if you travel with a friend, partner or group.

However, I do also think it’s important to love your own company – there will be long travel days and times when you are alone and the more you are comfortable being present with yourself, the easier these will become. The more you thrive in your own company, the easier it becomes to set boundaries and ensure you’re only hanging out with people whose company you genuinely enjoy.

It’s cheaper to travel than to live in the UK

When I tell people that I’ve been travelling for the best part of 10 years, their jaw often hits the floor. But how can you afford it? I’ve had accusations of having a trust fund (I’m not American), a sugar daddy, or rich parents. But the truth is much simpler – I’m simply very good at managing my money, saving for travel and finding great travel hacks. You can’t compare how much the average person spends on a two-week summer holiday in peak season in Europe to how much a digital nomad, slow traveller who lives on a budget in Asia would spend.

It doesn’t cost much to live a life on the road, it actually costs so much more to have a home base and particularly to live in the UK. If you choose wisely which countries you travel, you will often find the lower living costs help to maintain your bank balance for longer. It’s the trade you make for being location-independent and not having a home. I travelled for years on less than £1,000 a month and still managed to live really well, meanwhile in the UK, I have to earn a lot more to maintain even half of that lifestyle.

People can be so good, so kind and so generous

We’re stuck in a constant news cycle of negativity in the UK and you don’t realise how much it impacts your brain and causes you to live in “fear”. Earlier I touched on how we’re led to think the world is a dangerous place, but what about the people? There are good and bad people everywhere you go – I will never deny that. But what I’ve learned from travelling solo for 10 years is that people are inherently good. That they are kind, generous and will stop what they’re doing to help a stranger find their way or help them if they need it. As a solo female traveller, it can be a worry that you might go somewhere and become a target for the ne’er-do-wells. But in my experience, travelling alone as a woman has shown me how curious and gentle people are, how the locals want to know my story, to proudly show me their home and country, to look after me and help me.

It IS possible to maintain friendships when you travel full-time

My friendships mean a lot to me and when I’ve spent so many years away travelling, I’ve had to make extra time to nurture and build those relationships no matter what the distance between us. I know this is a big challenge for a lot of travellers and it’s important to acknowledge that not all friendships will survive long-distance. I’m a big believer that some people come into our lives for a reason, a season or for a lifetime. I’ve definitely had my fair share of those who were here for a reason and I’ve learned the lessons from those. The ones that were here for a season have equally brought so much to my life at that time and point in my journey. I’ve been lucky to make so many more lifetime friendships on my travels while strengthening the relationships I have with those who have been with me from the beginning.

My two best friends are women I’ve known since I was 11 years old and I have now the “fairy godmother” to their children. My biggest group of mates are the ones I have known since high school and have grown up with, the ones who have known me through all relationships and stages of life. I think it’s so important to maintain these friendships – they ground me and are what made me want to stay and have a home in the UK. It will always take more work to maintain friendships when you’re in different timezones and on different continents, but friendship is a two-way street and if you both want to make it work, you will.

It’s easy than you think to keep travelling solo

I always thought before I travelled that I would simply go on a “gap year” and then return to my hometown and find another job. I was so naive and had no idea the opportunities in this world. There are SO MANY ways to keep travelling long-term from digital nomad jobs, special visas for digital nomads and life-changing working holiday visas. You don’t have to give up your job to travel – you can easily find ways to maximise your annual leave, or find a career that gives you the opportunity to travel, you could even buy a camper van and work seasonal jobs. There are some amazing opportunities for travel scholarships and study abroad programmes, volunteering and so much more.

The world really is your oyster. So if you’re dreaming of travel but are led to believe you can’t because you need to go to university, or find a job, or settle down etc – just know that there are a million ways to live your life and it doesn’t have to follow the path that is expected of you.

There are SO many ways to fund your solo travels

Yes it always helps to have a chunk of money saved before you go off on your travels but it’s not always possible for everyone. While I always advise having a safety net of cash in case things don’t go to plan, there are so many ways to make money while travelling and to fund your solo travels. Before I first went travelling, I saved HARD and worked 5+ jobs to ensure I could take as long off work as possible to just enjoy. Since then, I started to work online as a freelance writer, influencer, travel blogger, marketing manager, photographer, journalist and many more. 

But as I’ve learned along the way, there are so many more ways to fund your travels. I’ve met app designers, coders, videographers, accountants, life coaches, yoga teachers, hairdressers, electricians, builders.. the list is endless. You can work online and stay nomadic moving from one place to another, or you could travel slower and stay in places longer picking up work like I did when I waitressed and worked as a hostess in Australia. You could move abroad and base yourself somewhere with a job or study abroad and then use your time off to travel solo. You could choose shorter trips and instead of quitting a job, take a sabbatical or maximise your annual leave. There are so many options, so don’t limit yourself.

A heavy dose of perspective

It is so easy to get swept up in the everyday worries and stresses of life – I know I am guilty of it particularly since living back in the UK. But when travelling (and I know this will sound very Gap Yahh), it is so much easier to remember that we’re all just flying through space on a giant rock and that there are literally billions of people around the globe who are existing and figuring their shit out and making mistakes every single day. I don’t know about you, but that reminder makes me feel a lot better that I’m not doing all the things. Solo travel has really helped to remind me that I am a human being, not a human doing – and for someone who has always been an overachiever, that is a lesson well-learned.


Not everyone is on the same path

I’ve met travellers who were fresh from school and had a lifetime ahead of them, just figuring out whether to go to university or stressing about exams. Other travellers have been seeking a new life abroad or wanting to meet a different version of themselves. I’ve met travellers coping with divorce, grief, abandonment, trauma, abuse. I’ve met travellers who have taken a single solo trip, some who have taken a career break and others who live life full time on the road. Some have businesses, others pick up odd jobs and some haven’t got a clue what to do with their lives. Some travellers spend their time partying, others wake up early to hike mountains. Some travellers chase adventures before planning to settle down in a job, with a house, husband and baby. Others chase a life outside the norm. And all of these, and a million other paths, are good and right and healthy.

I can’t believe where the last 10 years has taken me – I’m in awe of the way solo travel has impacted my life. I’m so excited to see where it will take me in the next decade – bring on the adventures I say! If you’re thinking of travelling solo – trust me, just do it.