Out of all the different relationships there are to have throughout life, the relationship one has with the world around them can be the most important. Travelling, especially alone, is just one of the ways to build this relationship. There’s a plethora of reasons that someone would decide to embark on a solo travel journey. Whether it be to achieve a goal, explore a new place, or embark on an expedition of self-discovery, travelling alone is refreshing for the mind and soul. We come into the world alone, and we leave the world alone, what matters is the stories we can create along the way. Read more in It’s Time to Book; A Venturer Uniuquely & Powerfully Solo
There are many examples of solo travel in literature, below, feel free to explore a few books on the subject, each describing a different solo voyager, ranging from the 1800s to the modern day. Every person in these stories overcomes their obstacles in a different manner, each is certain to entertain but also inspire readers to get up and take the leap to embark into the world and create their own story.
Unbeaten Tracks in Japan is a book by Isabella Lucy Bird, who was one of the first Westerners to travel to Japan during her trip from Tokyo to Hokkaido in 1878. The book takes the form of letters, written from Isabella to her sister, describing the journey she took alone with the exception of her translator Ito.
Very much a book of its time, it can be shocking to see how the Ainu people were spoken about in these letters. Sometimes referring to them as savages, and sometimes remarking with admiration for their kindness and customs, the language used is fickle, and some parts are deeply offensive in today’s terms. The book does tell a remarkable story, taking place during a time period when it wasn’t normal for a woman to travel in their own city alone, much less in a foreign country.
Kristin Newman found herself surrounded by friends too busy to travel with her. As she states, everyone was either “too married or too pregnant”. With her background in sitcom writing, Kristin hilariously tells the tales of her solo journeys as she has whirlwind “vacationships” with the likes of poker players, bartenders, and priests from all over the world.
She not only had wild experiences with men across the globe, but she gained a new relationship between herself and the planet. A journey of self-discovery, she becomes a new version of herself, named “Kristin-Adjacent”. A creature who is softer, more open, and definitely sluttier than the Kristin who started these adventures.
In Alone Time: Four Seasons, Four Cities, and the Pleasures of Solitude, Stephanie Rosenbloom teaches the reader about the joys of being alone while sharing her own journeys. Some experiences one can only have by themselves, and the act of being alone creates an environment where savoring the hidden gems that being alone has to offer is easy. Being able to solely concentrate on your surroundings, and using all of your senses to immerse yourself into the richness of foreign food, architecture, and landscapes.
Stephanie relishes in travelling alone, making her time away even more delicious as she can focus fully on making her experiences her own while doing exactly as she pleases. She touches on the good, and the bad that comes along with being exclusively by yourself in an unknown place, but more importantly it’s her mission to show her readers how one can turn unfortunate events and loneliness into adventures most people can only dream of having.
Around the World, a graphic novel by Matt Phelan, tells three separate stories, each about a solo traveller, in a way that grabs your attention and leaves you on the edge of your seat wondering if and how each voyager will make it to the end of their journeys. Thomas Stevens, Nelly Bly, and Joshua Slocum are the three subjects of these tales, each adventure is based on real people, with some historical fiction mixed in.
Thomas Stevens, a miner in 1884, attempts to cycle around the world on an old-fashioned bicycle, the kind with one large wheel. Nelly Bly gave herself the goal of beating Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days in 1889. The final story is about Joshua Slocum, who went on to become the first person to sail around the world alone in 1895.
Each story is truly its own, with different tones and moods, some being fun and zippy, while others may be slightly dreary, but each story enforces the ideals of resourcefulness and independence. The colors change throughout the book as well, journey to journey, with the vibrancy and hues reflecting each situation. This book is for people of all ages, with everyone being able to enjoy the beautiful imagery and writing from Matt Phelan.
The odds of a successful solo trip are slim when it comes to Lauren Juliff, an anxiety-ridden, accident-prone, and heartbroken woman from the UK. Lauren’s day-to-day life was filled with anxieties, so when she decided to take a leap and travel the world, people around her were skeptical. Turns out they were partly right, as her travels started out a little rocky. She got scammed, punched said scammer in the face, broke her phone, got lost endlessly, and endured many, many, more misfortunes.
As she traveled from country to country and fell in love, the disasters kept coming, she got stuck next to a dead body while on a boat, ran from a tsunami, and was attacked by monkeys. She goes on to express how she overcame her fears and dealt with her streaks of bad luck. This book is perfect for anyone who struggles with intense day-to-day anxieties and will show you that even if something is scary, that doesn’t mean it isn’t achievable.
Giving up the luxury of company isn’t making a sacrifice, it opens one up to experience more of themselves. Go on the journey, make the mistakes, and try not to end up next to a dead body, but if it does happen write it down and create a best seller! Whatever happens during an adventure, there’s always a story to share at the end, and there are always new experiences to be had.
There is something so purposeful about planning a trip just for yourself, and you may be alone but never lonely as in the end you’re joining these authors on their journeys while creating one that is totally and completely yours.
If you enjoyed reading Time to Book; A Venture Uniuqely & Powerfully Solo, then why not try Monochrome Piece of Art: From One Colour to Another
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