Home » I’ve explored 34 countries on my own; here’s why I always choose to travel solo

I’ve explored 34 countries on my own; here’s why I always choose to travel solo

written by Carla Powell July 3, 2018
Solo traveller Chobe

I am an introvert.

No one believes me when I say this because apparently introverts are supposed to be shy, awkward around people and potential serial killers. I am none…wait…no…I am none of these things.

People, however, make me tired. Getting to know people and suffering through the initial trappings of ‘small talk’ often sees me avoiding new situations or standing in front of a mirror saying, “You can do this Carla!” – like I’m going in to battle. I’m best around people I already know. Probably because I like the deeper part of people more than the surface.

So, when I found myself in Cape Town, at the welcome meeting for Intrepid’s Cape Town to Zanzibar tour, I thought, “Kill me now.” I was sitting in a room full of the total strangers that I was going to be trapped on an overland truck with for 40 days and 40 nights…it filled me with biblical levels of angst.

You would think I would be used to this by now. I have always travelled alone – 34 countries so far.

solo traveller Bolivia

Exploring La Paz, Bolivia solo

Travelling solo didn’t start as a choice. I tried, numerous times, to inspire friends or family to come with me on one of my journeys. And, although there were some that were almost at the tipping point, no one took me up on my offer. The reason is simple – I like to go where people don’t usually go. My first trip ever was to Cold War Russia. I’ve been to Syria five times. Slogged it up the Inca Trail. Slept rough in a Bedouin village in Jordan. Apparently, none of these things seem like ‘vacations’ to my nearest and dearest.


I still go.


It’s not actually hard to travel by myself, in many ways it’s easier. And, if I had to wait for someone to go with me, I would have never made it to the first country, let alone the 34th.

That’s okay though.

Because I learned a few things along the way, about myself, and about the world, that has made me enjoy travelling solo. Top of the list is, I like hanging out with myself.

solo traveller Namibia truck

With the Intrepid truck in Southern Africa


I have discovered that I am always, without fail, more myself when I am travelling. If I had someone with me, watching, I probably would never ‘let myself go’ as freely as when there are no witnesses. Travel can be hard and often not pretty. Sometimes you have to crumble. Sometimes you don’t want your friends posting that on Facebook. Sometimes the only person that needs to know something…is you.

I also know that the world is just about always safe for solo travellers. When you are on your own, you become a curiosity to locals and are more likely to have truly significant interactions with them because of it. My most vibrant travel memories have been at the hands of locals, whether it was climbing through the abandoned cave cities of Cappadocia or drinking too much Palinka with a toothless Romanian gypsy. People helping me, just because they could, has restored my faith in humanity more than once!

solo traveller local

Meeting a Herero woman in Namibia

On my return from Africa, someone asked me, “Were the people scary?” I laughed, “Um, yeah, at one point I thought I was going to suffocate from too many hugs.” (I’m lookin’ at you Malawi).

Lions are scary! But people? Nah.

I have faith that I will be okay while traipsing across the planet because arbitrary lines drawn in the sand may make a country, but people are people, no matter which border they sit behind.

I have also found a new tribe of travellers. They are out there, floating around the planet, with the same beating heart as me. These people are easiest to find the more I stray from the well-worn path.

I don’t mind the hard edges of a country, if those hard edges are inherent. I don’t think that I should necessarily have it better than the locals when I’m travelling through their world. I like to feel how people live, as close to their reality as I can. So do others.


homestay Lake Titicaca Peru solo traveller

Too tall for the homestay in Peru’s Lake Titicaca!

As I was sitting on our truck rambling towards Namibia, I found myself sitting across the aisle from Rob. It was day 2, otherwise known as ‘still in small talk hell’.

“Soooo, you’re from where again?”

“Eng-a-land,” he said, stressing every syllable like he was teaching me the word.


I hate small talk.

Apparently, so did Rob.

So we skipped that, and went straight to the deeper stuff, and in the process, I realized I had found Traveller #1. Yes!

And there were more. Our diverse (read: wacky) group consisted of 20 people, ages 18 to 82, from 7 different countries. 12 of us were solo.


solo traveller Namibia

My amazing Intrepid group in Namibia

We camped where lions roam, among the bugs and snakes, at the edge of crocodile waters. We slept on top of the rocks at Spitzkoppe and walked into the emptiness of the desert under starry skies. We sang Africa by Toto at least 200 times. We made meals together, we helped each other. We teased and poked and joked. We dared and encouraged. We shared our Pringles and chocolate and Imodium. We talked about our families, our lives, our childhood, our parents, our fears.

We became a family.

This isn’t the first time this has happened. 14 years ago, I overlanded from Istanbul to Cairo where I met Jeremy, who is still in my life. In 2016, I went with Intrepid to Bolivia where I met Paul and Cassie. They are trying to figure out how to get their newborn baby on a plane for a visit. I’m pretty sure, at some point, someone from this Africa tour is going to come live in my attic.

Back home in Canada, people have asked me what my favourite part of the trip was. I have answered, unwaveringly, “The people I travelled with.”

Life is too precious to wait for someone else to join your adventure.

Just go.

Inspired to take off on your very own solo adventure? Check out Intrepid’s range of group tours just for solo travellers.

(Image credits: first five c/o Carla Powell. Group shot c/o Danielle Harvey.)

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Jacqueline Flood March 11, 2019 - 6:06 am

I started traveling solo at the age of 20 years old. I went backpacking through Europe by myself and I didn’t even bring a cellphone or laptop with me, just a camera, journal and a map. I meet so many great people on my travels and spent a lot of time hiking and exploring with just a backpack. Everyday was a new day and never knew where i would sleep at night since i never booked anything ahead but i managed to always find a place. After that big trip every year i travel to a new country by myself. Last year was the first Intrepid tour I did in Georgia Europe and it was amazing! This year I will be turning 30 and i booked myself another tour with Intrepid The Best of Turkey 15 days.

Sona February 3, 2019 - 8:27 am

I fully concur with this article…each and every word. It’s like I am reading about myself! But as the author says there is a tribe of like-minded people floating around on this planet. Thank you for sharing this so eloquently.

Marilinne January 26, 2019 - 1:06 pm

Thank you for expressing the joys of solo travel so perfectly! I am a longtime solo traveler by choice, and I agree totally; the world is not a scary place, you will meet more people, you will learn to be good with yourself and everyone will take care of you. Embrace the possibilities!

Carla Schofield February 1, 2019 - 4:51 pm

I enjoyed reading carlas story with envy. I too have learned that solo travel is more my style with my adventurous soul. Ironically I too am a Carla born in Nova Scotia . I just returned from India…amazing. Vietnam another WOW. Travel is a blessing and should be enjoyed by everyone. Broaden your horizons…see the world in this one lifetime you have..time is ticking.

Suzanne January 6, 2019 - 12:33 pm

I’m a little confused as to what people mean by solo travel – travelling alone and doing your own planning, or joining a group tour by yourself?? I started travelling about 10 years ago, at the age of 60+, and I’ve visited about 35 countries in my 12 or so trips, plus 2 extensive and extended trips around Australia, my home country. I choose to go with Intrepid or similar companies because you don’t need to pay a single supplement, they are active and inclusive tours, there is a lot of choice and free time, you meet like minded people of all ages, and usually meals are not included which gives added choice and freedom! Joining a group tour is an easy way for timid or first time “solo” travellers, especially women, to travel within the security of a small group and not worry about arrangements. When friends ask me who I’m travelling with, I say “13 or 15 friends whom I haven’t yet met.” My non-travelling family and friends travel with me vicariously through my extensive blogs, which I’ll turn into a book if I ever stop travelling long enough to make the time.

Barb January 10, 2019 - 10:31 am

Thankyou for the passion of wanting to see, do, learn more and the independance of being yourself. I am just about to book my 2nd solo trip (my first was a few years ago) but it will be a yearly tradition now. Like so many others have said – if i had to wait for someone else to come along, i would never leave home. Ive even moved around Australia (my home country) on my own. I am looking forward to meeting new people, hearing their stories and sharing a room with a stranger doesnt worry me. A stranger is only a friend you havent met yet. Keep it up, you have inspired me to see so much more than my current travel list

Sakshi January 25, 2019 - 1:32 am

This is a beautiful article. I am going to share it with anyone I possibly know. I am a firm believer in travelling solo and not being afraid to do so. We come in this world alone, so we definitely have it in us to travel alone as well. Power to your my girl! Keep on Going

Kris January 5, 2019 - 9:01 am

Loved reading this ! I also travel solo and like you if I waited for someone i’d asked to come with me, I would still be sitting at home. I’ve been to 47 countries and counting. Going by yourself gives you the freedom to explore, stop, touch or look at what you want without someone you’ve brought along getting bored or complaining. And you always meet like minded people along the way! Would love to follow you on Instagram if your on there? Thanks for the smile you bought me today

Carla Powell January 20, 2019 - 7:42 pm

Thanks for reaching out! My Instagram is BedouinPrincess. It looks like you have a lot of travel experience under your belt. Yay!

Anonymous October 25, 2018 - 1:49 am

Carla, this was spot on! I went to Greece on a tour as a solo traveler in 2015 and decided traveling solo is the way to go. I’m also an introvert and if I’m with my peeps, I won’t take the chance to escape my comfort zone like I will if on my own. I’m planning a trip to Eastern Europe – though not on a tour. I’m going to travel by train from city to city. It’s probably a year or two down the road, but I the meantime, I’ll be reading about your adventures!

Adrianne Yzerman October 23, 2018 - 11:07 am

Love the description of what it’s like to travel when you’re an introvert and I also got fed up with friends and family just not wanting to go with me on the road less trodden, so took off on my own and indeed had the most amazing experiences. Also being an avid photographer I found the one time I did travel in a group such as this, which isn’t exactly alone, to be very constricting and more expensive. However, the group tours are great for those who want to travel to ‘difficult’ countries on a limited time frame.

JaneOfTheJungle October 22, 2018 - 2:15 am

Wow. I saw so much of myself in this! I just got back from an African safari some 30 years in the “dreaming!” After 30 years of “I’m going to go right after I….have every single penny saved up for it/see where the realationship with this guy (and this guy, and this guy, and this guy) goes/ when I can convince someone to come with me/when I lose 50 pounds/get settled into this new job/find a surrogate to have my baby/get over my fear of flying… finally, something snapped in me this year and it sounded an awful lot like “F#CK it I am GOING!” And I did! And it has had an effect on other things in my life that I’ve put off doing, too. Thanks SO MUCH for writing this!

Lena January 25, 2019 - 2:31 pm

Thank you so much for sharing this 🙂

Anonymous January 8, 2020 - 8:04 am


Rosi October 20, 2018 - 11:38 am

Loved reading this, Carla. And I’m sooooo envious you got to visit Syria! I waited and now sadly it’s probably too late. I’m hoping to do more of South America next year with my introverted friend, Scott. Two years ago he and his brother and me and my best friend drove to Mongolia from London. If you’re interested in other people’s travel too you may want to check out his podcast of our trip… https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/far-from-home-podcast/id1091969414?mt=2&i=1000368487918
Sending you good thoughts. Travel safe. Travel well.

Shona October 20, 2018 - 5:46 am

I love your story! I was in the same boat as you, before I decided to go solo. I haven’t been to 34 countries yet, but I hope I get the chance. I have met many lovely people on my travels and hope to meet many more to share my adventours with.

Mari October 15, 2018 - 6:07 am

I wish I was brave enough to travel alone. I also have the same problem trying to convince someone to come along with me!

Gail Webster October 21, 2018 - 5:52 am

You don’t have to be brave Mari.
After my husband of 49 years passed away my sons encouraged me to start traveling again.
I did my first solo trip for my 70th birthday. What started as a 3 week tour ended up being 8 weeks in Africa visiting 9 countries. I started in Rwanda doing a trek up to see the mountain gorillas. From there it was East Africa, a private 10 day visit to Madagascar and ending in Cape Town, South Africa. It was the trip of a lifetime that left me wanting more.
In November, 2017 I went to India for 3 weeks, again having a private piece arranged to Amritsar and the Golden Temple. In September 2018 I met my older son in Hong Kong for a 3 day whirlwind tour.
I have experienced nothing but friendliness from the local folks wherever I might be.
I found that once you decide on a destination you really want to see and experience, the excitement of planning and researching take over. Yes, you will have butterflies before you actually board the plane but once you do there is no turning back and you won’t want to. All the things you researched will now be a reality and before you get back home you will quite possibly be dreaming of your next destination.
Good luck!

Tameka limehouse October 11, 2018 - 1:19 am

I love, love, LOVE reading stories like that. So happy that you are “living your best life!” I started solo traveling last year. My first solo trip was to Canada and I did my own itinerary. Now I am enroute to Africa in November solo as well. I have the hardest time trying to convince family and friends to come along with me out of the country but it’s always one of two things that stops them..money and fear. I always ask them how are they in fear of something that they never even seen or read about? Let alone…never left the US for anything. Besides, I am like you…I find places to go that no one is interested in going or it does not have a “vacation”vibe to it. I like immersing in culture and the beauty of a place and not the busy touristic vibes. Thank you for sharing your story. Would love to read more of them.

Karen Mcginnis October 7, 2018 - 7:56 am

Wonderful. Thanks for sharing!

Jennifer Schultes October 1, 2018 - 8:02 pm

Loved reading this!!!! I’ve been a solo traveler for almost ten years, but stopped for a while. I’m going through a tough break up and planning my next adventure to Nepal, forging ahead, but love hearing the inspiring stories from others.

wayne edmison September 19, 2018 - 9:05 am

Hey Carla from a fellow solo traveler.I got the travel bug 10 years ago after a separation left me single.As you stated the single supplement applied to many trips pushed me to solo travel and the fact none of my friends have either money time or inclination to travel, there was no way I was going to wait.Life is short and one must use every minute on this planet to go out of the safe zone and explore different cultures and countries.December 5th I am off to Africa on a 57 day overland tour from Nairobi to Capetown .You have been on a similar trip I see and i have a question on Visas required,my research tells me Visas are avaliable at border crossings with fees payable, is there any issues or advice you can give me on this topic.I travel every winter as my job is seasonal and allows for 3 months to travel.Last winter Antarctica was my destination and was totally awesome brutally expensive but worth every penny ( nickel here in Canada) it is only money and I not taking it with me! At 63 yrs old I have covered Cuba,Costa Rico. Galapagos,Ecuador New Zealand,Cook Islands,Cambodia ,Vietnam Mexico,Roatan ,and more, Keep travelling, I am as long as I can afford to do so!

Bob October 8, 2018 - 10:04 am

Hey Dog I’m 74 and I went to Thailand 7 months ago and was so impressed I’m leaving for Vietnam in 3 weeks been to Europe four times Hawaii four times 90% solo I enjoy myself what do you suggest for Vietnam or Danang

Carla Powell October 17, 2018 - 7:36 pm

Hi Wayne! So excited you are heading to Africa. I looooooved every minute of it. I had no issues at the borders. Some were slow, especially the Tanzanian border. Zimbabwe was more pricey for me as a Canadian. As always, there’s an exit stamp required on one side and then a little walk through ‘no mans land’ to the other side where you get your entry. I got a Kaza visa for Zimbabwe and Zambia – cheaper. You have yo be a little aggressive at the borders in East Africa, or you will be there all day. People will jump the line. One guy butted right in front of me and I said, “Heeeeeeeeey…what did I ever do to to you?”, in a light-hearted way. I didn’t want to stand there any longer in the heat than he did. But there are rarely people there helping organize the chaos. But all in all…pretty easy passage at borders. Hint: always have a pen on you! Have great fun on your travels!

Csilla Moffat January 27, 2019 - 1:59 pm

Loved your writing Carla and reading your common sense comments and observations. I too am a solo traveler … and have been most of my life. My youngest daughter is a driver of a truck ( like the one you took in Africa) with a competitive British company … so much of what you say I have already either heard or experienced. Continue doing what you love and keep writing about it. ❤️

Barb Redmond September 8, 2018 - 10:57 am

Love your writing style, Carla. I am living vicariously through your amazing blogs.

Luz September 2, 2018 - 10:37 pm

I’m one of those who like to travel solo.
You are brave, I don’t think I can sleep in tne jungle.
I love you encourage

Gunjan August 23, 2018 - 3:16 pm

This was heart-touching and honest. The beauty of your heart reflects in the article. Thanks for this Carla. You inspire me!
Love from India 🙂 Do visit soon.

Andrea August 23, 2018 - 10:43 am

This post spoke right to my heart. Thank you it’s so hard to explain this to people ack home

Maritza Johnson August 16, 2018 - 1:45 am

I love to travel by myself too. There is a difference between being lonely and being alone.

Bernadette August 18, 2018 - 5:52 am

Love this encouraging article. Able to travel but too scared to do it alone! I did meet solo travellers on my tours. I envy them for having the courage to do it. Some even do volunteer work in foreign countries. One day I will travel solo!

Barb August 12, 2018 - 5:14 am

Fellow Canadian and solo traveller here! Love this article and really identify with it (small talk….ugh!). I’m at 40 countries and can’t wait for the next one. Peru I think, or Nepal or Latvia…..so many to choose from right? Anyway, thanks again – looking forward to your next article – if you’re ever in Calgary, look me up. I promise not to bore you with small talk!

Charlotte August 10, 2018 - 6:35 pm

Carla, this is truly the universes confirmation, time to move on.
I just stumbled upon your writings at 3am; an hour later I’m still reading. This could have been my story suffering through losses, no time for small talk, weight gain, nomadic life.

Your solo travels are inspiring. It has reignited my spark for solo travelling; I’m missing so much waiting on others. My first solo African trip was to Zambia, I had the coolest roommate whom I’m still in contact. The locals do embrace you when solo and you become like family along your foreign journey.

Continue your journey of exploration. Leave the best of you with those you encounter. Take the better of you into the next adventure.

From a fellow happily introverted, nomadic sister. Someday, may our paths cross.

Amanda Williams August 10, 2018 - 5:13 am

Reading this is so inspiring! I too have tried to convince people to join me in travels, but to my dismay no one seems to be as ready as I am. I turn thirty next year, and my goal has always been to travel to Italy (or India) for my 30th birthday. I have never been to a foreign country or traveled solo, but I think I have finally gotten the courage to give it a try. It is very overwhelming though trying to plan my first international trip as well as going at it alone. I’ll be traveling within my country alone at the end of this month to test out solo travel before I make a bigger trip. I’ve been searching for some kind of solo traveling community to bounce ideas off of, get advice from, become friends with, etc. So, reading this article and seeing all the comments has helped. I wish you well in all your travels! Maybe our paths will cross some day. 🙂

Carla Powell August 15, 2018 - 10:40 am

It is great to find other souls that have travelled solo to give you some confidence, especially if you’re new to the experience. But, honestly, the locals that live in the countries you go to may be your best allies. No one knows where you are going better than those that live there. There’s a bit of blind trust that is needed, and some super savvy intuition on who to reach out to for help, and a dash of street smarts — but the world is pretty awesome — and the people in it are usually pretty awesome too. Good luck – be brave – and have a wonderful adventure.

Kate August 3, 2018 - 6:17 am

34! Me too!!! 34 in 34 years of my life. Keep on trekkin’, girl! You are killin it. (Also, yea. Traveling alone is the best).

Denise August 2, 2018 - 6:48 am

I enjoyed reading about your experience with Intrepid. I recently took my 15 yr old grandson to Europe and we had a blast. I will probably try to do a few more trips before he leaves the nest, but your article encourages me to not wait on a friend to go with and just start planning my next adventure!

Vikki August 1, 2018 - 1:47 pm

I’ve been feeling this exact way lately. I have a schedule that allows me a lot of time off and I want to take advantage of that and travel! I just don’t have someone to go with a lot of the time. How do you manage to afford traveling solo? One of the bigger reasons I like someone to travel with is having someone to split all the costs with. Any advice on the financial portion of being a solo traveler? Thanks!

Carla Powell August 6, 2018 - 12:46 pm

Hiya Vikki — group travel actually helps with costs if you are willing to share a room with a fellow traveller. When I join up with a group, I never know who I am going to be bunking with, but I’ve had some great roomies. If you are going without a group, local means of transportation is the cheapest. Anything geared toward ‘tourists’ is usually more expensive. Local food is cheaper than going to a restaurant geared toward tourists. The more local the better. Obviously, there are some countries that are super cheap to travel in and others that cost a lot. Choosing wisely will allow you more time on the road in certain places where you can stretch your dollars farther. I do save my pennies for travel though. I don’t go as often as I like. It took me 7 years to save for Peru and Bolivia. But, it was so worth it. I’m a single girl – so my dollars are split 100 different ways – but time and patience and goals will get you there. I still waiting for a Sugar Daddy to come galloping to my door with a bucket of money for fun things – but ALAS, no go. Sigh. HA. I don’t know if that helps, but if it does, I hope you get on a plane and get yourself somewhere amazing. Happy travels!

Wendy August 1, 2018 - 12:41 am

Carla Powell,

Good for you. We should get together as I did 26 countries in 6 months.

You can e-mail me at bm471@yahoo.com

Elizabeth Zezima July 31, 2018 - 1:36 am

What a precious find you are, Carla! Sounds like I need to plan my next trip around wherever you’re going! Love my own company as well and something tells me I’d love yours. I’ll keep an eye on your posts in the hopes you’ll give us an idea of where you’re heading next. To your future adventures and much happiness to you on the journey!

Bess July 30, 2018 - 4:17 am

I am so happy you wrote this. I have felt that way so much unfortunately being low on money I cannot journey right now but God you sound like me and it’s good to know I’m not crazy. People think it’s strange that I enjoy myself and I love traveling alone but if I had the money and if I met someone like you that gets it I would enjoy that kind of friendship so much. So please keep traveling and using all of those miraculous senses to take it all in!!!!!!!

Rachel Krause July 30, 2018 - 2:32 am

It’s weird to read someone else’s writing and go…HEY! DID I WRITE THIS? Just know that you have a spiritual twin in the states. Thanks for sharing!

Mary July 29, 2018 - 8:20 am

Thanks Carla! You’ve inspired me to get back on the road again. I’ve done a lot of solo traveling for the same reasons you give, but have been much too sedantary for the last few years. Totally have itchy feet now!

Bryan July 28, 2018 - 2:26 pm

WE were definitely separated at birth. Love this article.

Carla Powell July 31, 2018 - 9:11 am

Hey my brother from another mother! One can never have enough ‘siblings’. Love the love!

Mehreen Rizwan July 26, 2018 - 6:40 am

Thank you for sharing your story.

Anonymous July 25, 2018 - 8:26 am

I am a new solo traveler as money and family commitments don’t allow me to stray far. In 2017 I went to Israel/Palestine to celebrate my 50th birthday and you are right- the people you encounter and their homeland does become a part of our spirit. It’s also amusing that traveling solo attracts a crowd! Haha

Shelley Hiebert July 24, 2018 - 2:13 pm

Hi from Drumheller, Carla! I knew that looked like you and your writing is just like you’re here in person (I will never forget your cemetery tour here and and the ‘back stories’ whole holding the love letter in archivist-gloved hands….)
You are both brave and talented! Love your work.

Carla Powell July 25, 2018 - 7:28 am

Omg! Hi! Hahaha….I loved that cemetery tour. I forgot about those love letters. Thanks for reminding me of such a special time. I do remember hauling around my dad’s Perry Como sweater too …I think it is because he bought it at Toshach’s store and I took you to the Toshach’s grave. Good times in the grave yard. Lol Thanks for following along and reading. Nice to hear from my ‘homies’!

Anne-Louise July 23, 2018 - 8:03 am

Hi Carla loved your story & could definitely relate. Started my first solo trip after a divorce at 52 & have been traveling alone or with Intrepid for years through Asia, South & Central America & through most of the Middle East. I always connect with people all around the world while my friends at home travel through my blogs. I just turned 70 on July 21 & spent my birthday in Belgrade Serbia. Still young at heart & traveling solo. Thanks for sharing your story.

Deana Rasberry July 19, 2018 - 6:36 am

I ran across your article and read the whole thing. I have been traveling solo since 2002. I also get asked where is my favorite place so far? Well it’s a difficult question, places I have visited now have a connection of spirit and become a part of you. Each place I’ve met wonderful people who make that place unique and you leave a lasting imprint on them as well. Traveling solo is a choice most tend to avoid because they think it wouldn’t be as fun. I ageee that traveling solo allows you to free yourself and explore without limitations. Another part I enjoy is you have learned you don’t need more stuff to tote around.
Keep on traveling and continue best of luck. The most rewarding thing is places you have seen and you keep them in your mind and shut your eyes and your there again. I’ve seen about 31 countries and most have been solo adventures. I’m the only one in my family that has a passport or has been out of the country.
Thanks for the story, solo travelers are not alone, we look forward to the people to meet along the way. Even some of the people I’ve met 10 years ago have come over to visit me in America. They are my family

Jeannine July 18, 2018 - 9:51 am

Thank you for sharing your adventures and enjoying being a solo traveller. I’m 71 and have been a traveller for almost 30 years, most of it solo. I enjoy it so much more as I can do what strikes in the moment and there is zero resistance. I just completed the camino de santiago de Compostela and had a fantastic experience. Keep on the path.

Victoria August 6, 2018 - 7:29 am

You all give me confidence by traveling solo. Love all your comments, tips and insight✌️

Monica dija July 17, 2018 - 2:39 pm

Loved your article…you speak my mind and are a woman of my own heart.
My only concern in solo traveling, is the solo fees I run into every time I find a great deal on a place I want to go. And then I hate it when I am landed with at many times with a companion I convinced to go with me, but who doesn’t share the same pleasures.
How do you work around that…thr solo fees?

Carla Powell July 18, 2018 - 12:02 pm

Hiya Monica… I personally have never paid solo fees. I go with the intent to share with a fellow traveller. On all the trips I have gone on, I only had to pay them if I wanted a room/tent to myself. When I get to my destination, I meet my roomie, and away we go. My tent mate on my Africa trip was an amazing girl from New Zealand (Hi Danielle!) and I was happy to have her with me when random things started digging at our tent. Ha! You honestly will probably find more in common with the people that chose the trip than the people you coerce into a trip. I’m still in touch with my roomies from a decade ago. Life long connections. I’m not sure if that helps…but sharing with a fellow traveller is the option I choose…so, no solo fees for this girl.

Connie July 16, 2018 - 10:36 am

Much of my travel and the best has been on my own. Locals in Mexico were the best at helping me out. Will check out Intrepid.

Jennifer July 16, 2018 - 1:37 am

I read this with a giant smile on my face! You are … me. I have a disability that doesn’t allow me to travel, but this is my heart. Really glad to have found this.

Debi Miles July 15, 2018 - 10:36 pm

Thank you so much for leaving your story. I love to travel & find it very difficult to find ppl who want to travel also. I have always been scared to travel alone, but with your encouragement, you have inspired me!!! Thank you for sharing! Debi

Greta July 14, 2018 - 10:34 pm

“Sometimes the only person that needs to know something…is you.” This wise little sentence stopped me in my tracks! I love your approach to travel, people, life…very inspiring. Thank you Carla!

Anonymous July 11, 2018 - 2:49 pm

great Carla Knew you could do it

Patricia Giles July 9, 2018 - 9:46 am

Carla Powell, this is the second one of your blogs that I have read on Intrepid. You are my inspiration! Your trip to Africa was my dream trip ! I am soon embarking on my first ever solo trip to SE Asia. Because of you, I know I can do this ! I am also a large stature woman. And at the good age of 66! I no longer have the flexibility that I once had. But reading your stories – I am so inspired! I’ve lost a few pounds and am working on my stamina. I want to be just like you! Take that as a compliment! And keep on writing- you write beautifully!

Carla Powell July 9, 2018 - 1:49 pm

Awwww Patricia! You’re my hero. Go show SE Asia your wonderful self and try the world on for size…it will expand with you, and because of you. Enjoy!

Carole July 8, 2018 - 6:42 pm

Loved your story Carla…thankfully my husband follows me in my off the beaten path adventures…but I always wondered what I would do is he didn’t!! Because like you, my friends and family would not be interested in this no matter how passionately I would talk about it…truly an article that a lot of people can relate to!! Cheers from New Brunswick and happy travels!

Kayleigh July 8, 2018 - 5:47 pm

I love this article! I go places by myself as my friends either can’t or don’t want to go anywhere. I’d love to do more travelling but worry more if something went wrong with my Type 1 Diabetes and of course having the finances to do so! Thank you for this inspirational article! Kx

Janelle July 8, 2018 - 4:47 pm

Hells yeah! I once went on a holiday with a couple of friends, it turned out to be my least holiday-ish trip ever. So I went back to going off to wherever, whenever I liked and loving it, so about 50 countries solo, one with friends (and a couple where I met up with a friend I’d met on a previous trip on the opposite side of the world) best way ever! Going to be interesting to see what happens when I get my boyfriend to leave the country and come with me…

NURI July 9, 2018 - 3:54 am

Janelle, I just returned from a girl’s trip and it turned out to be one of my least favorite trips as well. I normally travel solo or with my boyfriend. Our style of travel is adventure and exploration. I haven’t been on vacation with these particular friends in almost 20 years. Our style of travel was just completely different and we just didn’t have much in common anymore. So I’m back to what I prefer. Solo travel or with the significant other.

Anonymous July 19, 2018 - 12:34 pm

You mean leaving home solo to travel with a group. This is what you mean correct ?

Nuri August 7, 2018 - 11:48 am

I prefer to travel solo on my own or with my boyfriend. I plan my own trips and I enjoy using public transportation to get around especially in Europe. I’ve never used a tour company, but I do sometimes go to their web site (intrepid or gadventures) to get ideas for an adventure trip. I’m 43 and I’m from the states. I’ve been to about 20 countries and I’ve traveled throughout the states. Last year we rented a campervan and did a road trip out west. Next year I’ll be doing my first group tour. I know, breaking my own rule. I’ll be going to Egypt and Jordan with either gadventures or intrepid. I’ll be in Costa Rica and Panama in the fall. I love travelling with my boyfriend. But, I also enjoy travelling solo. Travelling with a tour company will be a new experience for me and it’s something that I’ll be looking forward too.

Leah King July 8, 2018 - 3:05 pm

I loved reading of your Solo adventures, I became a widow 8 years ago and it is hard finding someone to go with me, do I want to travel alone, I think so, you inspired me to try it, Thanks Carla

Carla Powell July 9, 2018 - 2:44 am

Hi Leah – so sorry about your hubby. You know, I have a friend who lost her husband and after a few years decided that she was just going to do it and went to India! It was a soulful and fulfilling, life-affirming trip for her. It reminded her that even when those we love are gone, we’re still here, and there’s a lot of life to live. I’ve lost a lot of people and I ‘take them with me’ on every trip I go on. When I was in Africa, staring down a lion, I whispered, “Oh my god Craig, would you look at that!” — Craig is my brother, and he’s been gone for 22 years. They all go with us. Go, go, go! Hugs.

Jo July 8, 2018 - 12:22 pm

I too have and do travel the world alone. Much like you those I have ask to join either wasn’t interested, or couldn’t. Sometimes is a little lonely, but really it’s a blessing to go where you like and see what you want.
Happy travels.

Alison July 8, 2018 - 10:24 am

Oh I think I love you Carla. What a wonderful article, as is your article about hiking Machu Picchu. Your writing inspires me to be a better writer (somehow!), and your first paragraph is exactly me though I’ve had a few years practice now at the initial small talk so I’m better at it. You’re in Canada. Me too. Maybe we can meet one day.
Happy travels!

Carla Powell July 8, 2018 - 12:27 pm

Aw — thanks for the LOVE! I love, love! Little known fact that has made me a better writer: I start with pen and paper. On this trip, there were a few that were entirely bemused that I would write in an old-fashioned journal, especially as we thundered down bumpy roads. HA! But hand-writing slows the brain down and allows the details and the feelings to percolate in. Or, at least, that’s what works for me. On this Southern Africa trip, I wrote 400 pages — so, at some point, that is going to turn into more stories. Keep your eyes peeled. (PS: I’m in Nova Scotia — and you can never go wrong with a Maritime visit!)

Alison July 8, 2018 - 1:09 pm

Oh you’re in the Maritimes! We couldn’t be further apart as I’m in Vancouver. But I’ve never been to the Maritimes . . . . .
I often find that I’ll be inspired while I’m out sightseeing and I’ll always write that down, but I know what you mean. I don’t write by hand nearly enough. I never was a journal writer. It’s only since I started traveling and blogging about it that I got into it.
Looking forward to your stories. I’ll be writing a few of my own about the China trip which was amazing!

Paula July 8, 2018 - 4:01 pm

Love your story – hit close to home- not a ppl person/ love to travel lol!! Are you in Insta or FB for us all to follow? I want to solo travel more and you’re an inspiration

Carla Powell July 9, 2018 - 2:38 am

Hi Paula — I’m on instagram as bedouinprincess. Follow along, but be prepared for lots of cat photos. LOL I do have bunches of my trip to Africa to though!

Anonymous July 24, 2018 - 6:44 am

I just need to chime in here somewhere, yes! you are a wonderful writer!

Deb July 8, 2018 - 1:10 pm

Great writing. Ive done 10 Intrepid trips and awaiting my 11th in December. Apart from the 1st 2 I’ve done the others alone. Fist 2 were eith my Mum. Meeting like minded travellers is almost the best part. Making friends and staying in contact is incredible. I can’t wait for the next journey to begin.

Claire July 8, 2018 - 9:54 am

Such beautiful writing, I’ve loved your pieces so far Carla and can’t wait for more. I’m also a lover of solo travel, and hate small talk! Ha finding a great tribe is wonderful

Leanne July 8, 2018 - 9:42 am

Wonderful read. Congratulations Carla!

Angela Sanguino July 8, 2018 - 9:13 am

Carla…I think you are my traveling twin! I loved to travel when I was single and now that I’m married (to a Bolivian) and have a daughter, I take them with me on my adventures! I’ve been to 17 out of 195 countries and they’ve been to 9. We’ve been to 14 states out of the 50. We still have many more adventures to go!! Keep going my friend! Sending a big hug from Ohio.

Carla Powell July 9, 2018 - 2:51 am

Angela – the fact that you travel with children makes you my own personal hero! Not because kids can sometimes be a challenge, but because we make better kids when we show them something outside of their 5 block radius. They tend to be more tolerant and accepting of people and situations that are different than them. I love this! The world has much to teach us. Your kids are well on their way. YAY!
PS: Hug received!

Lindsay July 8, 2018 - 8:43 am

You’re awesome Carla! I have traveled with Intrepid 3 times and about to do Costa Rica with them for my 4th! I know exactly how you feel about not waiting for people to travel with you especially since I love going off the beaten path!

Marg July 8, 2018 - 8:11 am

Great read Carla. Couldn’t agree more about waiting for others to go away somewhere. it would never happen half the time if you did! The Intrepid tour sounds like a good way of doing some of those off the beaten track places!

Barb Snarby July 4, 2018 - 10:31 am

Fantastic writing Carla! You take us all along on your adventures with your wonderful, expressive writing. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences in Africa. You make travel to exotic places seem possible for everyone!

Sheila July 4, 2018 - 12:57 am

Beautiful Carla!
Can’t wait to read more!

Wayne Emde July 3, 2018 - 12:29 pm

I’ve travelled with family (Shikoku Pilgrimage), with friends (Camino twice, European battlefields, Berlin, Paris, London, Rome, Florence, Quebec City, much of Western Canada, Offa’s Dyke Path, West Highland Way, and a river cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam and alone (Hadrian’s Wall and much of Japan. Sharing the day’s events with companions is a bonus. Having to negotiate even the smallest things is sometimes problematic – where and when do we eat, sleep or rest? Travelling alone negates these things. Also, one meets and connects better with the locals when you are alone. Two people having lunch or dinner doesn’t generally invite others into the conversation. That said, I made my first group tour of Southern India with Intrepid – twelve of us from Canada, England, Australia, the US and new Zealand and we had a great time. I think my next trip will be a solo hike from Lucca to Rome.

Anonymous July 3, 2018 - 12:11 pm

Great solo story Carla !

Cassie Stirling July 3, 2018 - 3:03 am

Always a pleasure to read from this amazing lady! Pure joy!

Elizabeth Fraelic July 3, 2018 - 2:14 am

Again, a travel writing to read again, and again, and yet again. I could hear the insects and animals, and feel the bumpy bus ride. And the way Carla brings people into her world, and shares them with us is so interesting. Intrepid Travel really is for the curious world seeker. I love her writing, and the generous sharing of her travels. May I have some more, please?

Carla Powell July 4, 2018 - 11:05 am

You can definitely have MORE. Keep your eyes peeled to the blog. The next article coming down the pipe is about Zambia. Thank you for the lovely words…I feel so privileged to be able to bring little bits of the world to you. This planet is really such an beautiful place – the stories are endless. I’m so happy that you connect with my writing, and that you can enjoy a little “armchair travel” to Africa with me!


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