Why a Solo Vacation Might Be The Answer
Nomad Leyla Giray Alyanak, who runs Women on the Road, a website for women who travel solo, took her first trip alone from Spain to Morocco when she was 15. Since then, she’s traveled the world and now calls rural Eastern France home. Today, she is also helping empower women who want to travel alone figure out how to do it safely and efficiently.
Leyla says there are many benefits for women to travel by themselves.
“Solo travel can have many benefits, but these stand out: independence – you can make up your mind about where to go, what to do, and when; meeting people – yes, believe it or not, solo travel can help you meet others (when you travel with a partner you’re focused on that partner, but when you travel solo you’re more open to what’s around you); if you’re shy or fearful, solo travel will push you beyond your boundaries – after all, you have to help yourself because you have no one else to fall back upon…”
She does say that she is more alert as a solo woman traveler and believes that women should always be alert when traveling and should educate themselves on the importance of following basic safety skills – even in supposed “safe” areas. “There is no such thing as a ‘safest’ place because things happen, everywhere. They can happen outside your front door or down your street,” Leyla said.
She added that there are countries that are more “female-friendly,” “…where gender equality is more entrenched,” citing examples like Western Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand.
Leyla said someone should evaluate a few things before determining whether a destination might be a fit, such as ease of transportation, language barriers and applying common sense. The common sense approach seems to be one that should be applied to solo travel especially.
“Places I would not recommend are places that are dangerous for everyone – countries in conflict, where terrorism is rife, or where violence is a way of life,” she said.
But even for someone who has seen a great deal of the world, choosing her favorite place to go is not an easy choice.
“I can try to narrow it down to a few… Sabah, the Malaysian province on the island of Borneo, was a favorite all-time trip, because of the wildlife and natural environment; I loved Albania, because it was both beautiful and quirky; and I love anything to do with Spain – the food, the people, the atmosphere.”
Leyla maintains a positive attitude through her journeys. For a woman who has visited 79 countries, she’s found something to like everywhere she has traveled.
“I love many places but I could go on because even in places I didn’t love, I found something to like. Even the least likeable place has at least a nook of charm you can wheedle out of it,” she said.
For more information about Leyla’s projects, visit her blog Women on the Road.