I spent my early twenties obsessed with the idea of traveling abroad with a significant other. We would go to Rome, we would go to Greece, it would be the most romantic time of my life! And then I found myself turning 30… single and still desperately wanting to go to Europe! I was still waiting for someone because I was ashamed to travel alone.
For some reason I had it stuck in my head that going alone would signify that I was failing. Failing in my quest to make a connection with someone and have a romantic adventure. I was convinced that I needed someone to go with to make the trip special. It took me several more years to realize that I needed a stronger connection with myself. And that finding a connection with someone else would come second.
I Was Ashamed to Travel Alone | How to Get Over It
The Saying I Loathe The Most
We have all been told, “when you are least looking for it, you will meet someone”. This statement always bugged me…It made no sense! So I was supposed to try and forget about something so important to me in order to find it? I know now I was missing the bigger picture. Spending a lot of time living in my own pathetic views of what I didn’t have. All the while I was holding myself back from enjoying life in front of me.
It seemed not to matter how amazing things were going for me. The simple fact that I was alone, made me feel like a failure. I couldn’t seem to let go of a lack of relationship status and the shame and disappointment tied to it. This strong feeling was why I was ashamed to travel alone.
Are The Shows We Watch To Blame?
Looking back now, I do know where some of my fears of being alone are rooted. One of my tv show obsessions was Sex and the City. I loved this series so much, and still do! Sex and the City was a very provocative show exposing the realities of dating and being single after 30.
And even though I thought the overall message of the show was positive for women, I still saw all of their struggles being single as something I didn’t want. My goal was to be married by 30 and never become one of my beloved characters on this show.
Why Are You Single?
It wasn’t only the show Sex and the City that drilled this fear of being single after 30. The film Bridget Jones Diary had an impact as well. Bridget was a single, over 30-year-old woman, slightly overweight and drinking too much. The fact she was unmarried and over 30, her life was considered “tragic”, I feared that for myself.
Those are just 2 of my top examples, but several more shows I loved to watch had similar themes. I felt for years that I was being judged and pitied for being single. I would have to answer questions like: “why are you single?” Universally the worst question to have to answer.
The thought of having to answer that question was another reason I was ashamed to travel alone. Just thinking of a response would trigger the feeling of failure that was bottled up inside.
Overcoming the Shame
Now having revealed where my fear came from, let me tell you how to overcome it. Facing this fear head-on, was the only way forward for me. Having gone from being ashamed to travel alone, to openly encouraging others to do it! I won’t be writing about being single over 30, I will leave that to Carrie Bradshaw. Instead, I will write all about how to love traveling alone! And how I grew as a person from traveling as a single woman.
A Single Woman Traveling is not just for the “single” lady. This site is for anyone that needs inspiration, and great travel recommendations. I hope to spark some encouragement and offer support so you can travel alone and gain inner confidence.
After 10 years of traveling, I am now proud to say that I am no longer ashamed to travel alone. Going on these journeys has opened my mind and heart letting in so many opportunities I never dreamed possible.
How You Can Travel Alone Shamelessly
For all of you that are reading this thinking, I could never do it, I could never travel alone. I say to you, I understand, it doesn’t come naturally, but you can do this. Like anything worth doing, it does take practice and patience. Even though I now consider myself a professional traveler, I still make mistakes and have little setbacks. It’s all ok though, with every trip I learn how to do the next one better. Teaching yourself not to be ashamed to travel alone will really open up your world.
Just by taking yourself on a trip to explore a new city is giving yourself the ultimate gift. Even treating yourself to a nice dinner at a restaurant is something you should do often. Start practicing now, and in no time, you could be ready to eat alone in Italy.
Sitting by myself in a restaurant was one of my biggest hesitations about traveling alone. What will people think? Will they think I’m a big loser. How pathetic will I look? Now, I love eating alone. The trick is to have something to do. I edit pictures or start to dream up my next trip. It’s nice to have that quiet time for yourself.
You Don’t Always Need To Be Alone
If you want to avoid eating solo every night I would highly encourage a walking tour or bike tour. Tours are a great way to make a friend, which can turn into a dinner buddy at night. You will be amazed at how many people you can meet if you are open to it.
I’m hoping by writing out my experience that you can read it and gain confidence within. In my opinion, traveling alone is a great way to get to know yourself. Remember, it does take practice. I suggest starting with a short trip, preferably in the native language of your country.
I hope that all women will be inspired to do it, and never have to say they are ashamed to travel alone!
For more support and answers to common questions, read here.
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