Indie Travel Podcast is producing The Art of Solo Travel: A Girls’ Guide, an eBook that launches on June 1. The over 40-page eBook is written by Stephanie Lee, a seasoned solo traveler. At age 30, Stephanie had a great career, a partner, and a house, but despite achieving the so-called American dream, she felt unfulfilled and couldn’t stand the rat race. She quit her job, left her relationship, and sold her house to take off on an open-ended solo journey. After traveling alone to more than 20 countries, Stephanie has created this book help inspire and guide other women to travel solo.
I was given the first chapter of the book by Indie Travel Podcast so I could review it. The book is beautifully designed, with pretty and modern graphics and an easy-to-read layout. I think Stephanie provides some incredible food for thought with her discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of traveling solo, though there are some things I disagree with, such as her suggestion for women to travel solo in Egypt. Read on for my more thorough review of the eBook.
1. Why travel alone
In this first chapter, Stephanie opens with an introduction that makes it clear why she’s writing this eBook. When preparing to “leave the rat-race indefinitely,” she heard of many women traveling solo, but had trouble finding people who documented it and good, up-to-date information about it.
Some people are petrified of traveling alone, while others have a totally romanticized view of it. Stephanie does a great job of outlining the major advantages and disadvantages of solo travel. Some of the pros: spiritual growth, openness to conversation, and flexibility. She also discusses how it can help you learn about yourself, and lists some of the things she learned about herself from her adventures.
Stephanie then realistically explains the cons–some include loneliness, eating alone, additional costs, and nobody to share the highlights with. This section really resonates with me; my first solo trip was in Paris, and I was plagued by loneliness, especially when it came to eating. I missed having someone to share the exciting sites and adventures with, and I hated sleeping in a crappy hotel because I had nobody to split costs with. Though looking back, I agree with her pros –it really did help me grow and get out of my comfort zone. I feel far more prepared to travel alone again next time.
She goes on to explain how she ‘quit her life’ and how you can, too. She talks about how left her life behind to travel and how you can follow in her footsteps. My problem with this is that she assumes every woman who wants to solo travel wants to do it long-term enough to quit their job and sell their house. I think there are many women who like traveling solo, but are happy to do it for just a week or two at a time and not have to ditch their job, house, or romantic partner for it. However, she does offer some good tips for how you can allay your family’s fears of you traveling alone.
Stephanie also discusses how hard it is to decide where to go and lists some ideas of where to travel. She starts off with Japan, which she says is one of the safest countries in the world for solo female travelers. What throws me off is the next place she mentions is Egpyt, which she concedes can be awkward for women and says it is full of people who harass you and honk at you. She said, “I didn’t really feel unsafe, but uncomfortable.” I’m confused why this would be the second place she would list as a place to visit–it doesn’t sound appealing at all for a solo female traveler, especially based on stories I’ve heard from other women. Her third mention is Western Europe, and that I really agree with, though I wish she had broken it down by country, as each country has different personalities and attitudes about women and Americans.
I was only given the first chapter, but I was able to see the full table of contents, so here is what else she discusses. Based on what I’ve read so far, I would definitely like to read more.
2. Preparing to go
Backpacking isn’t for everyone, and I’m glad to see that Stephanie addresses that. She helps readers decide whether to use a backpack or suitcase, how to find cheap flights, and she lists things you shouldn’t travel without, including handy gadgets.
3. Travel more spend less
International traveling is expensive, so Stephanie explains how to do financial planning and explore the world on a tight budget.
4. Flying, sleeping, eating living
In this section, she covers the day-to-day for a woman traveling alone.
5. Men, women, and other stuff
Here, Stephanie provides advice on meeting new people. She also provides a guide for how to eat and drink alone, in addition to some reminders about health and safety.
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