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Solo Travelling- INTERVIEW

22th March 2016

Whether you want to find (or lose) yourself, Solo travelling is an experience that will stay with you forever. The thrill of buying a ticket and not planning a thing, before setting off to throw yourself into the unknown and just 'winging' it, is of such enormous satisfaction it becomes addictive: some kind of a Triumph of the Self. Roaming around the world is no extraordinary task, but what it does to you- that shift in your perception upon returning home- is priceless. You'll return with the obvious memories, selfies and sun tan. But somewhere along that solo trip, you'll also gain insight, mindfulness and a better understanding of the world, of your world. 

So go on, book it! Do it and do it alone, at least once in your life. It's a satisfying victory that's hard to beat. If you're still lacking motivation, read the interview below, where Boho Hostel Malta sat down with two very different women who share one common passion: Solo Backpacking

Meet Audrey. She's a 30 year old French journalist, writer and singer who lives in Paris. An Environmentalist at heart, Audrey has just had her second book published, and, whilst on her writing holiday in Malta for 3 weeks, her first rock album released. We sat down to have a chat with this woman of many talents, suspecting that the success behind her creativity and determination lies in her lust for Solo Adventure.


What does travel mean to you? Why do you travel? 


Since my work is creative I really need to travel to have new experiences and meet new people. It is not just about discovering new landscapes or other cultures; it’s about living spontaneously and being fuelled by adrenaline. As a writer, my inspiration came from the conversations I used to have with people I lived with. Today, travelling solo is what inspires me most- It's a very intimate and particular experience.


What's your ideal trip?


It's not so much the country. I'm after a place with good vibes and great people; somewhere I can drop my backpack off for a while and feel at home. Since I'm always creating in my mind, I can’t help moving around often while I write and compose, seeking new inspiration everywhere.


Your choice of lodging: Five-Star, Middle range or Hostels? Why?


Definitely hostels! I love to sleep with people around in the room because it gives me a deep feeling of security. It may sound strange, I know, but I have never slept as well as I've slept in dormitories.

I love the feel of community that hostels provide- waking up in the morning and talking to people, or sharing long discussions while having a few drinks at night in the hostels' common areas.  


Why did you choose Boho Hostel?


I found an article in a backpacker's blog about Boho, where I read it was the perfect place to be if you were looking for a bohemian way of life, a good feeling of community, great chill-out outdoor areas and friendly staff. I just thought: “that place is ideal for me to get inspired and start writing another book', so I booked through HostelWorld and here I am.


Who do you usually travel with?


Usually I travel alone, because I find it's easier to meet new people. I can’t bear to travel with people who complain all the time or who need a lot of taking care of.

What are the upsides and downsides of travelling solo?

Freedom and spontaneity, definitely are the up sides. Solo travel also makes your more adventurous, I feel, as you’re more open to do unexpected things with other travellers.

I also find solo travel to be very insightful.It helps you deal with loneliness and makes you reflect on any personal conflicts or doubts. It almost forces you to think, to face reality. However, sometimes you regret not sharing incredible memories or landscapes with someone you love- that would be the downside. 


What was your most memorable trip?


A three month backpacking trip in Argentina when I was 20. It completely changed my mind. I experienced so much more in those three months that I would have in three years. I also made many new friends who I'm still in touch with today.


Any bad travel experiences?


Yes, I ended up with no money while travelling in Argentina, and that was very hard. I also found myself in places which would normally be considered 'dangerous' for women. I just stayed positive and safe and got through them.


Which country would you never return to and why?


I would return to every country I have ever been! There are always new things to discover, and travelling is also about the way you feel in your life at a precise moment. It’s never the same, even if the place is.


Packing- any tips?


The lighter your backpack, the better your trip. You don’t need a lot of things to travel: it’s also a lesson to learn about what is really essential and what is superficial


Have you got any advice for women who are about to set out on their first solo trip?


Memorise your credit cards numbers so you’ll be able to pay on-line even without having your card on you. Carry a paper in your pocket with contact numbers to call in case of an emergency, and also write down your blood group. I also find carrying a whistle with you, just in case you're in trouble, is very helpful.

In conclusion, I would say that the best part of travelling alone is the excitement of the unknown, and how many unexpected situations you can find yourself living: whether they're good or risky, they are the salt of life…! There is a quote by Virginia Woolf I like: “Do not move, do not go. Sink within this moment. Hold it for ever.” I think travelling alone is all about that.


Kay walked into Boho wearing her backpack and a disarming smile and in doing so inspired many of the people she met. Some kind of seasoned travel guru/hippie, Kay's motto is 'I want to die living!' She's Scottish, 60+ and a semi-retired Social Worker and grandmother of two. She prefers backpacking over package holidays, and enjoys nothing more than travelling by herself. Three years ago, Kay bought a camper-van and has been travelling in it ever since. When we asked Kay what travel means to her, she summed it up in one word: freedom.


Tell us about the moment which propelled you to chose travel as a lifestyle?


Working in Social care and encouraging clients to live their lives the way they've always wanted to has encouraged me to do the same.Travel (not a weekend break, but a proper long trip around the world) was always something I dreamed of doing, but back in the days, my family was my priority. Now I'm retired and get to do all those things I didn't have a chance to do when I was younger.


What do family & friends think about your wanderlust?


It goes from one extreme to another. I get those who think it's fabulous and those who think I'm mad.....either way, everyone wants me at their table at weddings! When my family and friends try to convince me to stay put, and wonder how I'm not scared of getting into an accident in my camper, I always tell them I'd rather leave skid marks from screeching tires on the road than have them on my underwear in an old peoples' home!


Your choice of lodging: Five-Star, Middle range or Hostels? Why?


I wouldn't stay in 5 Star accommodation even if I could afford it. I choose hostels for company, atmosphere, flexibility and fun.


Why did you choose Boho Hostel?


My friend booked for me. She was looking at different options, including hotels, until she came across Boho on and said, 'Boho is so you! It's got your personality.'


What was your most memorable trip?


In the year 2000, the Camino De Santiago walk changed my life. It gave me my first experience of freedom.


Packing – Any tips?


Pack a couple of Sarongs. They're versatile, light and very comfortable. I also suggest packing three of everything: One is on you, one is being washed and one is drying. Overall I'd say, pack light, and put the heavy things up the middle part of your backpack, with the lighter things on the side to work with the shape of your spine.


Eating and Drinking. What's your style?


Definitely local street food and drink. My favourite meal was in a little village in Portugal, in a small BBQ shack by the sea. A local fisherman pulled up with his fresh catch and I had some beautiful fish grilled right in front of me.


As a woman travelling alone, are there any precautions you take?


Trust your gut. Really trust your gut. Then put your head and gut together.


Have you got any tips for women who are about to set out on their first solo trip?


Believe you can do this! What you think you will manifest. And remember, it's all about the journey (of the self), rather than the destination.


Has Solo Travel changed your life? Or maybe backpacking alone didn't work for you. We'd love you to share your stories below!