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solo traveler

As an elder millennial, geriatric really (but who is counting?), and the first daughter born to Colombian immigrants in the US, there were a TON of rules growing up in my home that were very restrictive. 

Millennial girl screaming into wired phones


As an adult, I now understand that these restrictions were meant to protect me from the world’s dangers.  

I started solo traveling for business purposes in 2007. At some point, I was traveling every week of the month. While on these business trips, I quickly realized that I did not feel comfortable enough to explore the cities I was traveling to. I would finish work early and then run to the hotel to lock myself in my room until the next day. I was even afraid of sitting at the hotel’s restaurant or bar. 

I always felt this growing curiosity to see these cities I was being paid to travel to. But, I  constantly held back because of my fear of the unknown. I was so afraid of the many things that could go wrong. It didn’t help that eating alone while traveling embarrassed me… I thought eating alone was sad and depressing (as if I had never had a solo meal in my entire life). And I  was 100% sure that a serial killer would somehow know to come get me, out of millions of people, if I was out exploring a city alone. I felt like easy prey.  



I missed many opportunities because I did not take the plunge to experience these cities on my own. Remember, the internet in 2007 was not what it is today. Blogging or reading a blog was not a predominant thing to do, so there were few resources for solo traveling women. I also spent too much time watching Forensic Files and other True Crime TV shows, and simply put, Latinas did not travel solo. 
 

Growing up with strict rules and restrictions significantly impacted my willingness to travel and explore the world. I always had a deep desire to travel but would hold back due to fear of danger,  fear of unknown situations, and because frequent travel for pleasure seemed unattainable to someone who looked like me. All of these rules led to anxiety and apprehension about stepping outside of my comfort zone to venture into unfamiliar territory in many aspects of my life. God forbid that something terrible would happen, and it would cause my parents to utter the most dreaded words that no one wants to hear: “Te lo dije,” I told you so! 

I can’t tell you how many times I begged friends and past boyfriends to accompany me on my travels. But few people had the time, money, or willingness to travel. And so I hid in my hotel rooms for about six months.  

One day, while on a business trip to NYC, I decided to not let fear get the best of me. Surely the serial killer would take a day or two off and not get me on the exact day I decided to venture out on my own.  

I sat at the bar of a restaurant in midtown Manhattan and ordered my meal… I brought a book just in case I wanted to hide my face from the awkwardness of my solo meal behind its pages. I  was mortified that someone would look at me with pity for eating by myself. Within 2 minutes of sitting at the bar, I was chatting with the bartender. By the end of my meal, I had made acquaintances with most of the people sitting at the bar. I was so lucky that a dancer for one of the plays on Broadway was also seated at the bar that evening. By the end of the night, she had offered to leave me tickets at will-call to see what would be my first Broadway show.  

The more I traveled alone for work, the more I gained the courage to step out of my comfort zone. I would push myself with each business trip. Finally, I was done with asking a boyfriend at the time to travel with me; I booked that first trip alone, with no purpose other than to enjoy the heck out of it.

Woman in a pink tshirt and sunglasses in Central Park, NYC


My first solo trip for pleasure happened to be to NYC as well. The exhilaration of doing whatever I wanted without compromising with someone else was seductive. (Yo hice lo que me  dio la gana), and I was hooked! I had the power to make all of the decisions. I didn’t have to wake up or go to sleep on someone else’s schedule, spend according to someone else’s budget,  miss out on things I wanted to see or do, compromise on a restaurant or cuisine that I wanted to try, or wait on someone else’s pace. That feeling of independence was my drug, and I wanted all of it.  

There are so many benefits to solo travel. Still, there are many things that hold Latinas back from living these experiences. And that’s why I created this guide. My goal is to dispel stereotypes and other barriers surrounding Latina/first-gen solo travelers so that you can create memorable and fulfilling travel experiences. 

Read this guide entirely if you want to go on your first solo trip. Here’s how the guide will help  you: 

  • This guide will provide practical tips on preparing for your trip, what to pack, and how to stay safe while on the road. 
  • This guide will provide you with strategies for finding affordable flights,  accommodations, and activities and tips on managing your expenses while on the road.
  • This guide will provide you with tools to cultivate self-confidence, including tips on meeting new people and building relationships while on the road. Traveling alone does not mean being lonely. 
  • This guide will empower you to embrace solo travel as a transformative journey of self-discovery and personal growth. It will encourage you to embrace your unique story,  celebrate your heritage, and inspire others with your journey.

Solo travel is not just about exploring new destinations; it’s about embracing your own strength,  resilience, and independence. It’s about breaking free from the limitations that once held you back and discovering the boundless possibilities that await you.  

So, if you’ve ever dreamed of embarking on a solo adventure but felt unsure or held back by your upbringing, fear not. This guide supports and empowers you every step of the way.  

Join me as we navigate the world of solo travel together, defying stereotypes, breaking barriers,  and creating a new narrative for first-gen Latina women and female-identifying persons. It’s time to reclaim our freedom, embrace our wanderlust, and embark on the adventure of a lifetime. 

The Guide is an ever-growing sequence of posts that will help you with everything from Changing your mindset about Solo Travel, Building your Confidence to Solo Travel by Self Dating, and Learning how to Afford To Travel More. Make sure to subscribe to the blog for the next post in the guide. Soon enough you will be embarking on your own solo journey!

¡Vamonos!!!


Meet Maribel, The Queen of Trips, a survivor who turned her cancer journey into a source of inspiration for fellow travelers. Join her as she fearlessly explores the world, showing that life after cancer is a testament to resilience and the power of living fully.

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