Solo Traveler Snapshot
- Name: Teresa W.
- Age: 51
- Location: St. Louis
- Marital Status: Single
- Favorite Solo Trip: Motorcycle Camping at Taum Sauk Mountain State Park
Teresa has done most things on her own. When she had kids, they became her adventure partners. Now that her kids are grown, she travels solo again but also loves to travel with friends too.
She is the chapter director for Wanderful, an international community of women who love to travel. She loves to help women travel solo through her companies Sparkle Adventures and Sparkle RV Services.
Solo Traveler Inspiration
TravelAwaits: What inspired you to travel solo?
Teresa: I have always been adventurous. After I divorced and my kids were big and had their own lives, I had more time to travel and if I wanted to go, I often had to go solo.
First Solo Trip
TravelAwaits: What was your first solo trip?
Teresa: My first solo trip was to New York City. I was starting up a not-for-profit, Missouri Women In Trades, and was invited to a conference there. I was really lucky and was offered lodging with one of the conference organizer’s staff members — an apartment right across from Central Park. I hung out with other conference attendees a little bit, but otherwise, I spent my personal time exploring the city on my own. I felt so free and so happy to be someplace new and different on my own. I returned for my 50th birthday! It was even better than I remembered.
Favorite Aspect Of Solo Travel
TravelAwaits: What is your favorite part of traveling solo?
Teresa: I loved being in New York City alone and not being confined by other people’s preferences. When I got off the airplane, I asked the information desk how to get to my lodging on public transit. I loved the subway and by the time I left, I was giving other tourists directions. Since this trip, it is my favorite thing to use public transportation wherever I go. I love figuring out where I am going and I love the people watching.
My last trip was to Mexico City; that was a whole new level of using public transportation. Not only is English not the primary language, Mexico City is the most populous city in North America, so the buses and subway were packed with people. I had to let several buses go by because they were too crowded to get on. Fortunately, they have a women’s area on the trains that are much less crowded.
Favorite Solo Trip
TravelAwaits: What is your favorite solo trip so far and why?
Teresa: My favorite solo trip was camping at Taum Sauk Mountain State Park on my motorcycle. I have been camping since my kids were little but it was my first solo camping trip and my first solo motorcycle camping trip.
Motorcycle camping is a little like backpacking because you have to pack light. My first motorcycle trip was to Nashville but I stayed in a hotel for one night, so I didn’t need as much gear. This trip was my first time camping completely alone. I really enjoyed the time alone to daydream and explore and I loved the challenge of going on a motorcycle by myself.
You can read more about this trip on Teresa’s blog.
Biggest Solo Travel Concern
TravelAwaits: What was your biggest concern before your first solo trip and how did you overcome it?
Teresa: I don’t recall having any concerns before New York City but I had lots of concerns before my first motorcycle camping trip. Securing my gear and being safe on my motorcycle with all that gear were my greatest concerns. I was definitely keeping an eye on things as I drove. I learned a lot about securing gear on a motorcycle on those first trips.
Group Or Independent Travel
TravelAwaits: Do you travel with a group or independently and why?
Teresa: I have traveled both ways. Sometimes being solo is divine and then other times you feel lonely and wish you had company. Sometimes I love being completely alone, and other times, I enjoy having friends around.
Recommended Tour Company
TravelAwaits: Do you have a favorite group tour company for solo travelers?
Teresa: It is not a tour company but there are tour companies that are members and lots of resources for solo travel; I love the Wanderful travel community. I have made tons of friends being part of Wanderful. Mexico City was a global meet-up hosted by our Wanderful Mexico City chapter.
Favorite Travel Product
TravelAwaits: What is one product you cannot live without on your trips?
Teresa: I have quite a few “one products” I cannot live without on trips. If I have my phone and lipstick — LA Colors Matte Charmed — I can probably manage most anything.
I Wish I Would Have Joined A Group For This Trip…
TravelAwaits: Is there a solo location/destination that would have been better in a group and why?
Teresa: I can’t think of any place in particular that would be better in a group, but I can think about times. Sometimes being solo is divine and then other times you feel lonely and wish you had company. I think it has more to do with expectations and moods than a place I have been.
Best Advice For Solo Travelers
TravelAwaits: What advice would you give someone who is considering solo travel?
Teresa: If you feel anxious about going solo, start with smaller steps. Go out to dinner locally alone. Do other things you enjoy alone. Be curious about the place and people. Make plans but be spontaneous. The beauty of solo travel is that it is all up to you, you can change your mind anytime you want. Everything we are good at takes practice.
For more solo travel inspiration, check out these articles: