Single Woman Travels! (SWT) is a place to inspire and motivate women (and men) around the world to travel. She did What?! is a monthly series of Q&A – asking women around the world to share their past travel experience. From this, I hope a few more women who are on the brink of expanding their world will be inspired and motivated to turn their dreams into reality.
Bio… Diane Chung www.drdianechung.com, Toronto. I’m living in the dream, baby… 😉
SWT: Where was the destination of your first solo trip?
DC: Europe (France, Switzerland, Italy, Netherlands)
SWT: How old were you?
SWT: Were you single or attached at the time?
SWT: What inspired the idea?
DC: A boy–that’s all I am saying…
SWT: What was your trip style? (backpack, tour group, comfort, meetup with family/friends)
DC: Urban backpacker. Wanderer/adventurer. Allergic to tour groups.
SWT: What type of accommodations? (family owned, B&B, tents, if a hotel, how many stars)
DC: Combo of backpack/hostel, staying with friends and 3 star hotels.
SWT: How long was your trip?
DC: 3 weeks
SWT: Who looked after the logistics?
DC: I did logistics when alone, friends handled some when staying in their cities.
SWT: If you planned and/or booked the itinerary, did you enjoy the process?
DC: Yes… fun and all part of the adventure, journey, experience… though it did take time.
SWT: If you worked with a travel agent, how was the experience?
SWT: Would you / have you booked subsequent trips yourself?
SWT: What would you do different – in hindsight?
DC: I wanted to make sure I got the “most” out of my trip and made up an itinerary that covered all the major sites, museums and galleries = tourist fatigue. In hindsight, I would’ve left more times open and fluid for spontaneous detours, surprises and discovery.
SWT: Did you feel comfortable traveling solo?
DC: Yes… though homesickness did start to set in after the 2 week mark.
SWT: How much research did you do in advance?
DC: The Lonely Planet guidebook was my bible—I poured over it, dog-earred and highlighted it for nearly 2 months. They didn’t have the interwebs back then…
SWT: What was the biggest surprise on the trip?
DC: How easy it was to travel on my own, that people tend to be helpful, and that I over-prepared. I realized afterward that I would’ve been fine with less prep, and even potentially could have had more spontaneous fun, had I not planned quite so much. That said, all that prep as a first time, single woman traveling did give me a lot of peace of mind.
SWT: What did you learn about yourself during the trip that you weren’t totally aware of beforehand?
DC: My own level of initiative and courage.
SWT: Was there any close calls or run-ins?
DC: Missed the last train to a relative’s house in the suburbs of Paris because I was out just a little too late. Had the giant Metro gate close right in front of me while I was changing trains somewhere in the outskirts. Had to take an expensive and dodgy cab ride the rest of the way.
SWT: Where is your next dream destination?
DC: Iceland…or Peru
Next time, we’ll hear from Bela who chose to travel on her own…
If you’d like to share your story, contact me! 🙂