lifestyle
I'd always wanted to travel on my own, but my lack of confidence usually got in the way, until recently when I've been embracing solo travel trips. From Day trips alone to weekend breaks in European cities, I've done a few trips now and already I've learned so much. 

So what exactly have I learned from solo travelling as a woman?



Taking a selfie in Derry on one of my solo trips
When solo traveling you will end up with more selfies than you could ever want.
This was taken in Derry in front of the Bogside on a very windy February day.


1. I actually have the confidence to do whatever I want. The number one thing stopping me from solo travelling in the past was not having the guts to just go for it, but now I know I can do whatever I want whenever I want!

2. Everyone wants to know why you're on your own. For some reason, a woman choosing to travel alone is a strange concept for some people. Every trip I've been on when I've spoken to someone for more than 5 minutes they've asked why I'd want to do a trip on my own. 

3. You make friends very easily. When solo travelling it's super easy to make new friends. I always meet people, on tours, or at bars, so I'm never actually lonely when I'm alone. If all else fails I can always hop onto Bumble and get myself a date with a cute local so I don't have to drink alone.

4. Solo travel as a woman is mostly safe however, there are always predators lurking. Although I've not had any major incidents on any of my solo trips yet, I did have a close call with a stranger who followed me down a dark road late at night. Whilst nothing like this has happened before, or since, I always make sure I'm aware of my surroundings and steer clear of any suspicious-looking characters.


The modern looking Peace Bridge in Derry on a solo trip
The Peace Bridge in Derry, Northern Ireland


5. Solo travel is more expensive than travelling as a couple or in a group. Unfortunately when you travel alone you cop for the cost of the whole hotel room so I've had to learn to be much more flexible when it comes to travel. I don't usually pick a specific destination when I look at travelling, I just see where is most affordable at that time. I also take late-night flights as much as possible as these are usually the cheapest flights to catch.

6. I can easily adapt when things don't go to plan. As someone who's lived with anxiety for most of their adult life, I can sometimes struggle when things don't go to plan, especially when I'm travelling alone. But after a few mishaps, I feel I can now adapt pretty well when things go pear-shaped.

7. Along similar lines, I think I'm pretty good at solving problems when solo travelling. On my first night in Krakow, I arrived at my apartment at around 1 am after coming straight from the airport to find I couldn't access my apartment. You'd think I would be quite stressed about this considering I was in a new city, alone, at night, and on an empty road, but I managed to stay incredibly calm (for me) and called my host for help. I was safely in my apartment no more than an hour later.


Myself standing in front of Free Derry Corner. I had to ask a strange to take this photograph as I was travelling solo
When travelling alone I often ask strangers to take my photo if I don't feel confident setting my tripod up.
This photo was taken at the Free Derry Corner, Derry Northern Ireland

8. I can probably overcome my fear of the dark - speaking of Polish apartments - although my apartment was lovely once inside, the walk up to the room was terrifying. I was staying in one of those old city centre apartments which have been standing since before the turn of the last century. They can be lovely but my god, can they also be scary. To access my apartment I had to walk through the bottom of one apartment block, across a pitch-black courtyard, into a second apartment block, and up 7 flight of stairs. Oh, and did I mention that the lighting system for both apartment blocks worked on a sensor which meant you had to walk around a considerable amount before the lights were activated. This system is great for the environment however, trying to walk up several flights of stairs in a creepy apartment building alone in the dark is an experience I wouldn't like to have again. That being said I reckon I could eventually overcome my fear of the dark if I had to do this enough.

9. Sometimes you have to be a bitch. When someone you've just met asks to share a taxi with you from the airport to the city centre is okay to say no. When the same person spots you the following morning on a group tour and tries to make conversation with you, it's okay to be a little cold if you're getting bad vibes from them. Most people are likely harmless but when you're solo travelling, especially as a woman, sometimes it pays to trust your gut and be a bitch.

10. Having internet access can be invaluable. When I'm travelling alone my phone is my best friend. I use google maps to easily find my way around new cities, and I leave 'find my friends' active for as long as possible so that my family back home can see my location. Without internet access I could still have successful solo trips however, I feel more confident and safe knowing I have the resources I need in my pocket.

Looking down from the medieval Derry city walls over the Bogside which is a residential area with many murals on the sides of houses
The Bogside, Derry, Northern Ireland

11. You don't have to drink to have a good holiday. Yes, you read that correctly - You can have an amazing trip without ingesting one drop of alcohol! I know this because I was actually on antibiotics for one of my trips which sadly meant that I couldn't have a little bev at the bar. I don't drink much on my solo trips anyway as I feel safer and more in control if I limit my alcohol consumption when I'm alone.

12. There are SO many benefits of solo travelling. From doing whatever you want on your terms, to making new friends, and even just taking a break from people in general, there are so many perks to solo travelling. Although I will always take trips with my friends and family, I hope I'll never give up travelling alone as my solo trips are just so special to me.

So those were the 12 things I've learned from solo travelling as a woman!

I've love to hear about your experiences travelling alone, let's have a chat over on twitter or leave a comment below 😊


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12 THINGS I'VE LEARNED FROM SOLO TRAVELLING AS A WOMAN

2020 is already a year for the history books, and we are only 6 months in. There are a lot of things happening around us right now, and whilst it might seem very doom and gloom, I think many of us can already see the light at the end of the tunnel. 

This year is going to be a year of big changes. Millions of us have already seen our lives turned upside down because of the pandemic, and now we have more change on the way due to the massive surge in support for the Black Lives Matter movement. But these events have accidentally caused a mini-revolution within the online world, I believe they've triggered the demise of the influencer.


Photograph of a computer screen showing the definition of an influencer
 Definition of an influencer 

Influencers will always be around, the very definition of an influencer is ''a person or thing that influences another'' so for that reason we will always have an influencer of some sort. However, the influencer as we know them are running the risk of extinction, and I'm not mad about it.

Instagram is full of the typical influencer, you know the 'do it for the gram' crowd, and if I'm honest I've fallen into this category myself one too many times. We've all taken a photo, or shared some content purely because we knew it would get likes. I mean I still do it, I'll spend hours getting ready just to take a couple of cute shots and whilst there is absolutely nothing wrong with this, I think the world is starting to getting bored of it. My generation, in particular, is getting tired of empty Instagram posts and a lot of us have already abandoned celebrity culture for this exact reason.


Photograph of a phone screen showing the instagram page of Stephanie Yeboah
Stephanie Yeboah

I've followed bloggers and influencers for years on many different platforms, and whilst my favourites have changed over time, there are certain people I have always kept around. I didn't realise the reason for this until last week when it hit me that some of the 'influencers' I've followed the longest are the ones with a voice. People such as Stephanie Yeboah, Grace Victory, Leanne Woodful, they've all spoke up on important issues, and I've always admired them for that, whether I realised it or not.

This certain type of influencer offers the world so much more than a pretty face. They share important information and opinions, they unapologetically advocate for change, and they give us hope of a better world. As much as these women can influence others to purchase the latest skincare products, they also have the power to inspire a revolution, and that is what I believe my generation is now looking for.

So how are current events causing the demise of the current top influencers? I think it's been very clear over the last couple of weeks just how fragile this industry is, and how shallow some of the most popular influencers are. With the murder of George Floyd and the disgust that followed both on and offline, it was obvious that many of us looked to our favourite influencers to speak up. And many of them did. Our feeds were filled with information and acts of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, but disappointingly many influencers chose to stay silent.

Photograph of a phone screen showing the instagram page of Grace Victory
Grace Victory

Influencers with huge followings seemed to ignore the disgusting acts of police brutality and everyday racism that was being shown on all platforms, and this simply wasn't good enough. Staying silent when the most important civil rights movement of our generation is battling on around us is not good enough. If you're not using your voice for good, what are you using it for?

I think maybe some influencers, especially those with a smaller following may have felt they didn't have anything of value to add to the conversation, especially after the controversy around the black square on Instagram. But I also think more and more of us are waking up to the fact that with a following of any kind comes responsibility, and it is our job to at the very least amplify voices of change, which in this case was the Black community.


Photograph of a phone screen showing the instagram page of Leanne Woodfull
Leanne Woodfull

"Influencers" won't be going anywhere just yet, but influencers, as we know them, will soon find themselves dying out if they don't shape up and find a voice. People are tired of nothing but empty Instagram posts and they are tired of influencers, especially those with a large following, staying silent on important issues. In the coming weeks and months, we are going to see a surge of people looking for leaders and I'm not sorry to say if that if you're not with the movement publically, your silence suggests you're against it.

The way is currently being paved for influencers who have the power to change things for the better, and that is something I can get behind.


While you're here, have you had a chance to donate to the Black Minds Matter fund? The fund aims to provide mental health services for Black people in need. If you would like to make a donation you can do so on the Black Minds Matter Go Fund Me page.

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Birmingham, UK

WHY THE DAYS OF THE 'INFLUENCER' ARE NUMBERED

The last few weeks have been a real wake up call for so many of us. While I imagine a lot of us think of ourselves as nice people, just being nice isn't enough anymore. As well as being nice we need to be actively doing better and use our platforms for good. So many of us have a decent following, and it's only right that we use that to help make the world a better place.

So with that in mind, I'd like to introduce a new series I'm going to be starting on the blog. Each month I will be picking a charity to support and promote. I'm not a big blogger and I won't be able to afford to make massive donations each month either, but if I can help to share important charities to just a few of my followers then it will be worth it.

Black Lives Matter sign in my front garden


This month's chosen charity: Black Minds Matter


Black Minds Matter is a charity started to ensure that Black people have access to mental health professionals who can help them in their time of need.

Why is this so important?

We are currently in the midst of the most important civil rights movement of our lifetime, and whilst this is uncomfortable for white people to watch and be a part of, the scenes we are seeing each day in the media can be seriously harmful to Black people's mental wellbeing. As a white person, I can only imagine the pain of having to see people who look like myself murdered and injured on a daily basis. The fund also aims to connect Black people with Black therapists who will be able to understand their situation much more.

What can I do to help?

You can donate to Black Minds Matter on their Go Fund Me page. As of 10th June 2020 they have reached their goal of raising £300,000 to cover the cost of therapy sessions for both individuals and families in need, but the fundraising doesn't need to end here. 

I know not everyone can afford to donate, so if you can't please share the Black Minds Matter Go Fund Me page to help this amazing charity supply vital mental health services to those who require them.

You can also follow Black Minds Matter on instagram to see updates on the fund.


Thanks for reading!


If you liked this post don't forget to click here to follow me on Bloglovin!

Birmingham, UK

BLACK MINDS MATTER

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