Before travelling I find myself googling if the country is safe for a woman to travel solo. After that I google to see if its safe for a black woman. I know I'm not alone in being thorough in my research prior, as there is nothing worse than going on a trip where you feel uncomfortable the whole time.
My experiences will differ from others, but I would like to explain why I feel comfortable with travelling solo. It is an exhilarating experience, which gives you time to learn more about yourself. For the most part I haven't had many issues because of the colour of my skin, although there have been instances where it has been evident that it was causing interest. So rather than just giving out advice which may or may not be beneficial, I want to reminisce on my past experiences and how fulfilling a single moment can be.
Where have I been solo?
Hanoi, Vietnam, this was not meant to be a solo trip but my friend I was meeting out there wasn't arriving for another couple of days. This meant I would be venturing out onto the busy streets on my own.
My first encounter I remember was when I was looking for an ATM. I'm not sure if I looked flustered, but without me even asking an older Vietnamese man came up to me offering his help. He also told me places I could check out nearby and this set the tone for the rest of the trip. Everyone else I came across was nothing more than friendly and it incredibly warming. Except for the part where I almost lost my card in a machine. (That's a story for another day.)
In Hong Kong, it was less people saying something and more-so taking pictures of you or laughing at you in their groups. At first I tried to ignore it but the number of times someone pulled out their cameras to take a picture the more it got annoying. This gave me fast reflexes I would always turn around, block my face or occasionally tell the person I would appreciate if you didn't do that.
Brussels, Belgium was my first solo travel to Europe strangely, as I'm based in Europe it would have made sense to have done that first! I took a 72 hour city break here as I needed a detox from social media and all things London. The one strange interaction I had was a couple of guys following me but other than that it was a really good trip.
What do I do to ensure I feel safe?
I share my itinerary with my a friend or family member.
I choose a centrally located accommodation.
I trust my gut.
I sometimes join group tours, especially in the evening.
Don’t go out super late.
How should you start out travelling solo?
Start with somewhere close to home, this could be a city in the country you live in. A country close by that doesn't have too long a journey and build up from there. I also believe whilst taking on advice from others, you should also think for yourself as not every ones experiences will be the same. One person could have an incredible time and rave about it but another could have had a terrible time. Therefore remember to keep an open mind and think about what interests you about a place. Rather than a decision being shaped by someone else's opinion.
I wanted to hear from other black women on their perspectives when it came to solo travel. In order to do that, I reached out to my black female instagram followers to find out about their experiences travelling solo. And if they haven't travelled solo if there was a particular reason. These are a few of the responses I received.
"I went to Paris, France for a months internship during my university course and I loved it so much I have now moved there."
"I've only travelled solo once and that was to Brussels, Belgium and it was a good experience."
"I travelled around south East Asia on my own for four months and I now live in Australia going on two years. This has been the most amazing experience"
For those who responded that haven't travelled solo.