The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.
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Solo trips are a lifestyle, the first time is always a big step, a step to take and for some, it is even a way to empower oneself or to go against the flow.
In order to understand the motivations behind solo travel, I have met women who have all been on a solo trip once or more times for a particular reason and who have explained to me the need that led them to take the leap.
They showed me that there are many good reasons to go on solo trips but what is the reason that pushes you to go again and again?
When I say you, finally, who are YOU?
<h2>A woman in search of freedom and empowerment through solo travel</h2>
Catherine, a mother of two who was both a parent and managing her job, confided to me: "I had so much to think about at the same time. It was quite stressful, I didn't have time for myself. Then one day I decided I had had enough. I brought the kids to my parents for the weekend and went on the first of my many solo trips. I didn't go far but I was alone and that was the main thing. It felt so good. When I came home everyone told me that I had changed and I noticed it, too. I was more serene, sure of myself, I was able to manage everything. Because, after all, this strength that I had found in my solo travels, I always had inside me so I had no reason to let myself be overwhelmed by my daily life".
Catherine is just one example of a woman who is looking how to get rid of this mental load that sticks to her mind. But she may also represent those women, mothers, tired students, who only wish to escape from their daily life and push their limits.
These women, who seek to empower themselves from the role of perfect mother or student that has been imposed on them without asking their opinion, and to regain their freedom.
Many of them may seem shy or reserved, having no say, but perhaps they are much less so once they are alone, finally realising the strength they have within them. No longer needing to listen to what they have always been told, they decide to be free, to empower themselves and find their freedom as a mother, student, woman.
But Catherine is one of those women, who have always been forced to obey strict rules dictated by their family, husbands or even the state. Women from countries where their rights are often contested and for whom solo journeys represent in themselves an act of rebellion against everything they have always followed to the letter, against their culture, their society.
These women who, despite everything, desire, deep down, to discover who they really are, what their path is, why they exist.
Catherine is also one of those women for whom solo trips are a way to get away from everyday life and discover or rediscover a bit of their freedom to come back changed.
But maybe you're not a Catherine, so what is your own need?
<h2>A woman in need of reconstruction</h2>
Whether they are part of my close friends, family or my travels, I have been able to meet many strong women. Françoise, retired, who couldn't see the future without Claude, her deceased husband, is one of them. She once confided a wise word to me: "It's not so much to realise that you're not going well, I knew that. It's more about deciding that you want to get out of it, change your sad everyday life and take the step. I have found this strength in my solo trips, where even when I'm alone, I know that Claude looks after me".
Françoise is a woman looking to reconstruct herself after a particular ordeal. She represents women who have gone through hard times, some of whom have suffered domestic violence, others who have had to overcome a death. There are many reasons that push these women to look for a way out, to rebuild themselves.
Like Françoise and Patricia, these women choose to take back control. They decide to believe in themselves and to stand up to face the harsh reality.
Through solo trips, they can find their true self again. Through them, they regain confidence in themselves but also in human beings. Friendships are made thanks to a safe and only for women couchsurfing platform, a hike in the snow-covered mountains, little things that they might not have seen themselves doing, but which once accomplished are a real source of pride. A proof of the will that they have and that they only need to accept to overcome the sadness or fear that could overwhelm them.
Little by little, one step at a time, these solo journeys that did not seem to be a priority for them finally allow them to gather their minds and to choose, this time, how them, and only them, wish to rebuild themselves.
These women sometimes even become the most seasoned adventurers in their circle of friends.
And you, is that why you travel? Or is it for another reason?
<h2>A woman in search of her true self - with a need to disconnect</h2>
Marie, a medical student, who felt a little lost and overwhelmed by her daily life, even if she still managed it. Then she went on a solo trip. When she came back, she told me: "I'm not made for medicine. I think in the end I only do it because of the image my parents and society have of it, but I don't like it. During my solo trip I had time to think a lot. About this, about myself, about my future and I haven't seen myself working in it all my life. I like meeting people, sharing, and dealing with clients for example. Without this trip I think I would have remained hidden in this false self. I might even have become a doctor. But this is clearly no longer my ideal."
Marie's case is her own, but it can represent, albeit in a different way, a whole lot of women. Women who feel tired or can’t stand the routine anymore and don't know where they are going or what to do next.
But Marie also represents simply those women who need to find themselves. These women who are tired of being overwhelmed by files and are looking for a way to disconnect.
That's where solo trips will help them. Through them, they can rediscover themselves, bring out the woman they really are. Taking a meditative walk through the forest trails would not have occurred to them and yet it is a good way for them to refocus on the moment and feel at peace.
No more work, no more phone calls, on these solo trips the important thing is to pause everything and enjoy the moment. Their moment, these women who are there, alone, in the new place, without anyone to disturb them, or to tell them what to do.
In this solo journey there is them, and only them, who are present. Their minds are freer, they can wander and think or rethink about new perspectives. The silence that surrounds them, which in the past could blur their minds, is today a sign of the peace and calm that they have regained, of the control they have, of their total disconnection.
These women are finally at peace thanks to these solo trips that have allowed them to refocus and find their real selves. Find the woman who is not afraid of anything, who is ready to give up this job that wears her down for something she likes, to transform her daily life and enjoy the moment a little more.
So, are you one of these women? Are you looking for your true self through solo trips? Maybe it's still not your reason to travel.
<h2>A woman looking for meeting new friends, for discovery</h2>
Myriam, a host I met, confided to me: "I am also a great traveller, but I chose to do hosting as well because it’s how I get to meet other inspiring women. Women who are going to teach me through their travel stories and give me the desire to try it, too. In the end, I have as much to learn from them as they have to learn from me. That's the beauty of travelling, whether you do it or you host someone who does it, for me, you learn from both. Differently, but you always learn."
Myriam has her vision of the solo trips. She knows what she is looking for through them.
Myriam is all these women who love above all to share, who are looking for new encounters, new cultures. These women who have already tried to travel with buddies and who want to try something new.
On road-trips for some of them, in a hotel for others, they try different types of trips but what interests them all is meeting new people and for that nothing better than couchsurfing.
All these solo trips they do, they will do them again for a good reason: the human aspect.
Maybe some of them didn't even think about it before trying the adventure but their trips have opened their eyes and the way. Through the solo trips and especially thanks to the couchsurfing platforms, they met authentic people who shared their love of the region, but also their knowledge, their experience, their point of view. This is what they love about travelling, this constant learning through new encounters which makes them grow up much more than they imagine without even realising it.
This is what pushes them to take the plunge again and again: this uncontrollable desire to know more about this unknown world and all the riches that make it up, whether material or intellectual. An incredible landscape, an imposing monument, a lively conversation, different profiles from the four corners of the world. They are passionate and travelling makes them feel happy and free.
So, are you like Myriam? Do you have an unquenchable thirst for discovery?
<h2>A woman who wants to inspire others</h2>
Finally, I met Carole, a young woman in her thirties who shared this to me: "You know, I used to work for the accounting department of a big company. But one day, after a trip, I realised that it didn't do me any good. I had enjoyed my trip so much, I knew I wanted to make a career out of it. I knew it was going to be hard, but I wanted to try because I wanted to share my love of travel with everyone and give them the desire to go out and discover the world. That's why in 2017 I created my blog. Since then, I animate it every time I travel with stories of my adventures and photos that maybe inspire some of them out there".
Carole has decided to go on solo trips a priority in her life even if it could be difficult.
Carole is one of those women who has always loved traveling. Or those who have decided to embark on this project of creating a blog, to share their stories and make a living from them, who want to become great bloggers like The Blonde Abroad, Lili’s Travel Plans or A Broken Backpack.
Women who have travelled through many countries in search of sensations and something to impress their readers. Those who always see further in terms of the perfect photo, the photo that will make everyone want to follow them in this adventure. This resplendent sunset, this campfire on the beach, this horse ride in the mountains, everything is a pretext to represent the happiness of solo trips at its best.
A new destination, a new culture, a new activity, these women certainly love meeting and sharing but their goal, beyond that, is to inspire. To inspire their readers, to transmit to them the passion they have developed.
More than anything else, they want to give them a taste for knowledge and self-discovery through travel.
Maybe these women are you. Maybe you are looking to make others want to follow you and discover their reasons and needs to go on solo trips.
<h2>A woman with a universal need:</h2>
In the end, perhaps it is you who manages to bring together all these motivations that drive you to go on solo trips. Maybe it is you who help these women take the step. Because in the end, maybe it is you too, the woman in search of freedom, reconstruction, disconnection and discovery.
Whatever your motivations, whatever your needs, the simple act of taking the step and coming back changed can inspire many, whether they know your story or not.
So share your experiences, your knowledge, your goal and help all these women come out of it as great as you are. Because, whether you travel to Paris, Bulgaria or the neighbouring region, you will have lived a new adventure that will have transformed your daily life.