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Why a solo vacation is the best self-care a woman can give herself

Why I think solo travel is a great form of self-care for women.

Unless you’ve lived under a rock the last couple of years, at some point you’ve heard (or even used) the term self-care.

If you’re not familiar with it, here’s one of the better definitions I was able to find on the internet:

“Self-care is a very active and powerful choice to engage in the activities that are required to gain or maintain an optimal level of overall health. And in this case, overall health includes not just the physical, but the psychological, emotional, social, and spiritual components of an individual’s well-being.” Source

In theory self-care is simple;  it’s about taking care of yourself and being intentional about ensuring your well-being. However, it’s not nearly as easy to put into practice.

Especially for women.

On my solo trip to Mongolia last year

Us members of the “fairer sex” get the short end of the stick on so many levels.  We work more than men, yet get paid less; we’re constantly judged for our looks, marital status, and reproductive choices; and even when we’re more educated and capable than our male counterparts, we still lose elections (sorry Hillary), face, and are scrutinized unfairly.

We’re expected to be nurturers and provide emotional support, often at the expense of our own mental and emotional health.

And while more of us are becoming breadwinners within our families, many of us are still expected to, well, bake the bread, buy the groceries, and burp the baby once we get home.

But while it’s difficult to practice self-care when you’re consumed by work, cowed by societal expectations, and expected to care for others, I think it’s necessary and something we should implement on a regular basis.

Moreover, while nourishing your well-being can be as simple as treating yourself to a bubble bath or a long, uninterrupted session with your favourite novel,  I want to share why I think a solo vacation is the best self-care a woman can administer.

It’s all about you

One of the reasons I love and advocate female solo travel is that it gives us the ability to be selfish. So often we are expected to be selfless and are defined by our status(es) of sister/wife/mother/daughter– we take care of everyone else except ourselves.

But when you travel solo, there’s nobody to answer to but you. The beauty of a solo vacation lies in the ability to structure your days as you see fit: there are no quibbles about where to go to eat in the evening, or objections about visiting that obscure museum you’ve had your eye on since your arrival. You are free to experience your destination as you like and without having to cater to someone’s wants and desires. You make the decisions, you call the shots. It’s empowering.

Rolling solo dolo in India

You can recharge your batteries without interruption

Whether you’re a 12 hour flight or a 30 minute bus ride from home, separation from your daily routine– and those who “need” you– can give you space to relax and recharge. You’d be surprised how little people actually need you when you consciously make yourself unavailable and put yourself first: problems get solved without your input and disasters that normally require your assistance suddenly aren’t nearly as catastrophic.

This leaves you with the mental, emotional, and physical energy to discover your surroundings at your leisure without extra “noise” or “baggage”.  You can relinquish the job of nurturer and take on the job of explorer, fully engaging in activities (like yoga, hikes, etc.) that give you pleasure and bring you back to center.

You can be who you want to be

I enjoy travelling on my own not only because I can do what I want when I want, but also because I’m not limited or hampered by the opinions or expectations of friends, family, or colleagues who purport to “know me”.

So often us women conform to certain expectations or stereotypes in our social and professional circles for fear of coming off “too strong” (read: bitchy), amongst other things. In short, we have to “play the game” to be accepted, and it’s ridiculous and exhausting.

All by my lonesome in Chile’s Atacama Desert

When I travel solo, I can be who I want to be– whether that’s the wacky extroverted daredevil who dances on tables at the bar, or the introvert who retreats to her hotel room with a good book after a long day of solo sightseeing.

My point is that we can change identities like we change our t-shirts– a solo vacation away from the watchful eyes of friends and acquaintances gives us the chance to explore aspects of ourselves we wouldn’t explore back home for fear of being judged.  As our overall health hinges on our mental and emotional well-being, the ability to figure out who we are and/or reinvent ourselves is important.

Solo travel = great self-care for women

No matter your age, income level, marital status or reproductive status, a solo trip is something that every woman should do at some point.  It’s the ultimate form of self-care: a fantastic way to refocus on our unique needs and desires, a great way to build confidence, independence, and resilience, and necessary to shaping who we are as individuals.

What are your thoughts on the matter?

 

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32 Comments

  • Reply
    Alissa
    January 5, 2017 at 7:01 pm

    I love this article, Oneika. Really well said, and a topic that really can’t be discussed enough. Thanks for sharing this piece!

    • Reply
      Mentha
      June 26, 2017 at 11:23 pm

      I have been traveling solo since I was 23. I just celebrated my 60th BIRTHDAY solo in Bali. While I too celebrate women traveling solo I don’t travel to be free of the opinions of others. IMNSHO self care is for everyday and living authentically is rule number one. What other people think of me is none of my business. : )

  • Reply
    Meghan
    January 5, 2017 at 7:54 pm

    Yes I love solo traveling! Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Reply
    Lolita
    January 6, 2017 at 3:14 am

    I recently took a 13-day solo vacation for the first time and it was life changing. I learned so much about myself and can’t wait until the next one!

  • Reply
    Nina Frambuesa
    January 6, 2017 at 7:39 am

    I full agree! I haven’t traveled solo in about three years, but I will do it again whenever I want to go somewhere and don’t find anyone to go with. My boyfriend is not such an avid traveler, so there’s really no need to talk him into it as much as I would like to. 🙂

  • Reply
    Lisa Smith
    January 6, 2017 at 11:03 am

    Wooww !
    Your article is really so so important for me. i have read your totally article carefullly and learnt a lot of tips and trics.
    I also love solo travelling, because i also think solo travell is not risky for woman. 🙂
    Thanks a lot for sharing this awesome article.

  • Reply
    Amadia Rosebud
    January 6, 2017 at 6:45 pm

    I love this article. It’s right on time for me, as I have planned a solo trip to Cambodia as a birthday gift to myself. You are such an inspiration for woman who want to explore the world. Thank you for continuing to share your experiences.

  • Reply
    Caroline Achieng Otieno
    January 7, 2017 at 8:21 pm

    I’ve done a good share of soło travel, and it was very refreshing I must admit..just the ability to be in a faraway place unencumbered by my little one or schedules was something special..every woman needs that once in a while!

  • Reply
    Jacqline
    January 9, 2017 at 4:43 pm

    I have solo travelled across different cities in the US. I am however, taking my very first solo travel outside of the states. You can(actually yes you can) not imagine the fear and worries I have. But i will say that binge reading articles on female solo travel is putting me at ease. I’m still very nervous(which is okay) but i am more excited than ever. I will be going to Aruba then Spain. I can’t even control my emotions anymore lol

    • Reply
      C. Jay
      May 31, 2017 at 2:01 pm

      Great that Aruba is your 1st solo trip abroad. It’s one of my faves; I’ve been 3 times in the last 2 years.. one
      time was solo.. the people are very friendly, and to be such a small island, you can do as much or as little as you like. You’ll have a great time. Btw, I’m currently in St Maarten, solo! I love to travel…and just BC no one else can make it…well, you get the picture.

  • Reply
    Dazella Battle
    January 9, 2017 at 11:49 pm

    Oneika, I’ve never traveled alone but I desire to do so now that my children are grown. I’m a travel agent with a host agency. It’s a home based business that allows me to book travel for myself and others. I receive commissions and deduct my travel off my taxes. I’m also able to travel the world for less.
    I would love to share this with you.

  • Reply
    Albert Nesmith
    January 13, 2017 at 11:10 am

    To give yourself a pleasure to enjoy life and discover more about you.

  • Reply
    Francine Mends
    January 18, 2017 at 5:18 am

    I agree with your thoughts in this article. I’m on my first solo trip ever- 2 months in Thailand and Myanmar. I’m just 13 days in but so far its been incredibly freeing and a ton of fun. I had a fair amount of anxiety about travelling solo as a female before I started but its so far its been entirely safe. Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      Oneika
      January 31, 2017 at 2:22 pm

      I hope you had a great time!

  • Reply
    Jules
    January 25, 2017 at 4:43 am

    Going on my first faraway solo trip to Panama next month and while I am looking forward to it, I am still a bit nervous. My Spanish sucks, but I am looking forward to being away alone.

    • Reply
      Oneika
      January 31, 2017 at 1:05 pm

      Bravo!!! I think you’ll really like it!

  • Reply
    Terri
    January 27, 2017 at 7:56 pm

    Nice post.

    • Reply
      Oneika
      January 31, 2017 at 12:48 pm

      Thanks!

  • Reply
    Tiffany
    May 4, 2017 at 11:38 pm

    Thanks so much for this article !!! , I’ve been contemplating on traveling alone for sometime now , you just inspired me to take that leap of faith 🙂

  • Reply
    Diam
    May 25, 2017 at 3:37 am

    Awesome! I never considered traveling as self care, but this post definitely changed my perspective. Travel, especially solo travel, is literally the most perfect self care. It allows you to disconnect, reconnect, and truly focus on yourself and your needs, just like you said. great post!

    -Diam
    http://www.fromdiamwithlove.com

  • Reply
    Godfrey Coppinger
    May 30, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    I hitchhiked around Ireland by myself in 1984. I spend a week in the mountains in a cabin all alone whenever I can. I love my own company. I love the company of others, too, but only if I have my alone time.

    • Reply
      Godfrey Coppinger
      May 30, 2017 at 1:46 pm

      I’m replying to my own comment because of my name. I AM a woman. Godfrey is a name I chose for myself. Not only do I reserve the right to travel alone, I also reserve the right to name myself.

  • Reply
    Paula Bracey
    May 31, 2017 at 4:13 pm

    I enjoyed reading this post. It inspired me to take a “Solo Journey “, when I turn #52. It will be me, my camera & my four legged son Peppa who I simply adore.

  • Reply
    Dana
    June 2, 2017 at 6:29 am

    I love this article. And will really adapt this mindset. It’s amazing and uplifting for one to have the courage to travel alone. I do wonder. Who takes all the great photos of you from Your amazing self love trip?

    Should we sacrifice good photo documentation from our trip in the name of peace and individuality ?

  • Reply
    Val
    June 3, 2017 at 11:40 pm

    I really enjoyed reading this article. It caused me to really think about myself and all the trips I used to take prior to being married and having kids. Now the only vacations I take also revolve around the kids or my husband which results in me returning more exhausted. I think it might be time to institute solo trips again!

    Thanks

  • Reply
    Dez
    June 4, 2017 at 1:35 pm

    Excellent article. Solo travel is the best travel for me.

  • Reply
    Gae
    June 23, 2017 at 2:21 pm

    Just got back from a 5 day solo trip to Paris. Best time of my life. My husband of 20 years did not want me to go. He was concerned for my safety. Ha! I felt safer there then I do at home in the U.S. I would never travel to Oklahoma or Texas by myself as a AA female, but Europe, no problem.

  • Reply
    Suzy
    June 26, 2017 at 11:19 pm

    Your article couldn’t have come at a better time. I just told my husband the other day that I am needing this. I’ve been researching on where to go (retreats? Beach?) for the past 3 days!

  • Reply
    Amy K.
    June 27, 2017 at 2:17 am

    I would love to travel alone. It suits my nature, for sure. But I worry about safety. Doesn’t anyone else worry about safety? Also, it’s so much more expensive to travel alone, isn’t it!

  • Reply
    Debbie
    June 29, 2017 at 7:27 pm

    I’m seriously considering solo travel. I’m getting older and taking more risks. Life is short and fleeting! Where will I go?

  • Reply
    Cindy
    June 30, 2017 at 5:36 pm

    A good friend of mine recently traveled solo on a ten day Mediterranean cruise and I was so impressed with her boldness. I used to travel more often in my twenties but as my friends/family got married and had children, my circle of travel buddies got smaller and smaller. This year, I’m determined to make a trip by myself; whether it’s overseas or to a nearby city I’ve never been.

  • Reply
    Marsha
    July 23, 2017 at 12:37 am

    I turn 30 this year and created a 30 things to do before turning thirty list. Solo travel was on the top of my list. It was so much fun! You learn so much about yourself and have total control of what you want to do. There’s also something about solo travel that pushes you comfort zone.
    Thanks for inspiring and encouraging fellow women to get out there.

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