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Faith was thrown into a nomadic lifestyle by accident when she became a professional model at age nineteen. Faith was studying for a writing degree at the same time, she started a blog to talk about her life and job but grew to love travelling solo so much that ten years later she can’t sit still anymore!
These days, Faith spends most of my time exploring abandoned buildings, visiting the strangest bars and shops one can find, attending postapocalyptic events all over the world with the infamous “Wasteland Warriors” and writing about her adventures, travel tips and style on her blog “Life Out There”.
On the rare occasion that Faith is at home, she lives on a canal boat in England surrounded by notebooks with a neverending cup of coffee attached to her hand and several imaginary cats.
First and most important: you’re going to be okay.Tell us about your first trip alone overseas? What emotions you felt, scared, happy, excited, was it a mixture of everything? How old were you? Where did you go?
I used to model for a living and when I’d just turned 19, I was booked for my third ever photoshoot in Madrid. I’d never flown alone, had no idea what to do or how to get around but quickly learned to navigate public transport and found myself in the city centre with my giant suitcase.
I took myself to a beautiful courtyard and a teeny secret aquarium but otherwise, was content to sit in an outdoor cafe drinking the thickest hot chocolate I’ve ever had and people watching. These days, I know about public lockers for suitcases and would have looked online for some more attractions to visit but at the time I didn’t know any better and was a little overwhelmed. I was there for less than a day and spent that night on the airport floor (again, a first for me!) It was the first time I discovered the magic of an all-night airport cafe- now on my list of “dubious wonders of the world”. 🙂
How has your experiences travelling alone been compared to traveling with someone? Do you have a preference on alone or traveling with someone?
I recently posted some blogs about loneliness (and combatting it) after suffering a bout of it myself so this question may have come at a bad time, haha!
I think that the price you pay for some incredible adventures is the fact that you have to have them alone. I travel solo almost 100% of the time by circumstance rather than a conscious choice but traveling alone and in a group are such different experiences that I don’t think they can be compared.
Some experiences are heightened by being in a crowd but others are, in my opinion, better when on your own. For example, finding yourself alone at a festival is horrible when you’re surrounded by happy crowds and couples- even more so after hours if you haven’t yet found a ‘tribe’ to sit and put the world to rights with. An art gallery or exhibition on the other hand, is something I prefer to visit by myself so I can spend as much or little time on each piece as I want and form my own opinions. My one exception is the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition, which I always see with other people.
What are your thoughts on traveling alone as a women and the issue of safety?
In general, I’ve had no problem on the road that I would not have had at home in the UK but I haven’t been anywhere particularly dangerous for women- and probably won’t unless I am booked to visit and report there. My tendency to punch gropers and yell back at catcallers is more likely to land me in jail!
Though I think that the way rape and other similar crimes are treated needs to be overhauled
If anything happens, that is ALWAYS the fault of the perpetrator alone. That said, there are ways in which to make yourself seem like less of a target. Looking as though you know exactly where you’re going, being aware of your surroundings, not wearing headphones walking out at night, not accepting drinks from strangers, staying sober and drug free, and wearing shoes you can run or defend yourself in are ways in which to remain aware and on your guard.
Though I think that the way rape and other similar crimes are treated needs to be overhauled, I still save the emergency services number for any country that I am in just in case and if something did happen, there is no question that I would report it. I also think that women should look out for each other- it is time for the “woman against woman” culture to end. If I see somebody being harassed, I’ll physically stand by them and check on them because when it has happened to me, it has made a huge difference feeling that somebody has my back.
Tell us a story about your best travel experience (with or without someone else)
I also think that women should look out for each other- it is time for the “woman against woman” culture to end.
I once needed some peace and quiet so ran away to Sweden at 4am. Having spent all night in the airport practically mainlining coffee, I landed and went to my friends house in Gothenburg where I got some sleep under an affectionate blanket of her very fluffy cats. I was woken up by a message from a fellow blogger who had heard I was in the country, inviting me to watch a stage musical about HP Lovecraft (one of my favorite authors) in Swedish. Why not? I met a new group of friends, bought eight chocolate bars I hadn’t tried before, had an amazing time- even understood most of the musical- and headed North the next day (considerably better rested). I spent the next few days going from lake to lake, watching the sun rise and set, surrounded by birdsong and alone but for the occasional friendly hiker. When I arrived at the airport for my plane home, I instantly clicked with a fellow traveller who had spent the week doing extreme sports further North than I had been. We spent the entire flight talking and are still friends to this day!
What are your top 3 favourite countries you have traveled too?
I met a new group of friends, bought eight chocolate bars I hadn’t tried before, had an amazing time.
– I have an ongoing love affair with Germany where some of my best memories have been made, so that’s at the top. Now I just need to find someone to practise German with! 😉 – Though I live in England, I was born in Scotland and part of me still feels as though I’m coming home each time I visit. I don’t care about the cold and rain- I love the crumbling castles, the seals and porpoises, the mountains, the legends, the views and the hostels! – Technically it’s a state but I have loved every time that I have visited California. There is such a range of beauty from desert to woodland to beach, independent and strange places to hang out and if I owned a motorbike, I think I’d want to live there for a while and go exploring.
What is your least favorite experience or country traveled too?
Oooooohhh… last year I went on a ten-day visit around Europe that has forever been dubbed “the tour that went wrong”. You name it, it failed or went spectacularly to pieces, beginning with a hostel room mix-up which resulted in me sharing a bed with a strange and smelly man who apparently suffered from night terrors, middling with Donald Trump being president while my computer died a sad death and ending with me being stranded in Dusseldorf. Not to mention every other little thing that could (and did) go wrong. I don’t know what I did to annoy the god of travel but I won’t do it again! 😛 I can laugh about it now but at the time it was awful and very frightening.
Travel is a part of my life that grew insidiously until I woke up one day and realised I couldn’t stay still.
Let’s play a game, give us the first word or sentence that pops into your head around these words. (Think experiences on the road).
FUN is a mix of friends and strangers in a dark and dirty rock club with spilled beer, Harley Davidson posters on the walls and really loud music, that is open until I crash out!
TRAVEL is a part of my life that grew insidiously until I woke up one day and realised I couldn’t stay still.
FOOD gives me issues as I have a severe phobia of food poisoning! It’s one of the only things that makes me nervous when I’m on the road.
MEN are often intimidated by my independence. It’s a pretty good filter for potential encounters… 😉
EXERCISE falls by the wayside when I travel- I’m a bit of a gym bunny at home though!
INDIA seems to be at the top of so many bucket lists but not mine. If I were to go, I’d want to be in the countryside rather than the city.
AMERICA is getting a little scary but I’m returning to film some mini documentaries this year and I’m very excited to see more of the country!
PACKING sucks- I carry a large suitcase for work but often wish I could have the freedom that comes with a single backpack!
JOB. What’s one of those? 😛 I’m joking- I’m a writer and blogger, though I still do some modelling and am looking for more presenting work! Who knows what I’ll end up doing- I once considered learning to drive and training as a bike mechanic!
ALCOHOL is not for me, unless you count my one Baileys coffee at Christmas. I’m 99.9% straight-edge.
DANGER can be fun depending on the situation… and person. 😉
TAXIS are a lifesaver!
BED BUGS are something I hope never to meet. Along with ticks and leeches.
“LOVE is noise, love is pain, love is these blues that I’m singing again, again, again”
FAMILY are the people you choose to share your life with and not necessarily your biological relations. People often misquote “blood is thicker than water” but the full quote is actually “the blood of comradeship is thicker than the water of the womb”
NEW FRIENDS are good to make.
OLD FRIENDS know that I’m horrendous at replying to messages but that I love them and I promise to try harder to stay in regular touch!
SWITZERLAND contains my hideout, my safe place, my sanctuary- I can’t wait to return.
That I can do anything. There are few things as empowering as travelling alone, especially as a woman. I’ve learned to solve problems I never thought I’d encounter- to think outside the box in order to go somewhere or get the hell out of a place or situation. I’ve learned that I don’t need to have a partner or companion to be happy. I’ve learned that although it is heartbreaking, some experiences are isolated moments in time; people can come into your life and leave nothing but the time you shared- but I’ve also learned that you can find friends, shelter and kindness in the strangest of places.
That I can do anything.
Lastly what advice would you give to someone who is looking to travel alone but is too scared?
First and most important: you’re going to be okay.
Then, know yourself. Are you worried about missing your flight? Not speaking the language? Getting stranded? Whatever is scaring you the most, find a way to work around it. If you’re concerned about being lost, write down your schedule with all the numbers and hostel addresses that you will need along with your documents, and don’t lose it! That’s your lifeline. If you’re afraid of getting into trouble, make sure you check in with somebody regularly and consider using airbnb rather than a hostel so you can stay with and get to know a local person or family. You know what will make you feel more secure so make sure you take those steps, built yourself a safety net and then push yourself!
This is not an irreparable decision. If you don’t like it, you never have to do it again so what have you got to lose by giving it a go?
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