We interviews professional solo traveller Janice Waugh about when it all started, her best memories and essential advice for aspiring solo travellers. For more information, advice and insight head to solotravelerblog.com.
Tell us a bit about solotravelerblog.com and how it started?
I have been a traveller my entire life. I travelled with friends at first and later with my husband and family. It was after my husband passed away and my children left the nest that I decided to venture out solo. It’s been a fabulous experience, as has been sharing my journeys on Solo Traveler.
What do you think is the most important part of travelling on your own?
Two things. I meet more people travelling alone than I do when I’m with others and I gain more confidence by going alone and being responsible for everything than if I share the responsibilities with a companion. So, it’s both the travel experience – I love meeting new people, and the benefit of the experience – discovering just how capable I really am.
What inspires you to travel?
Curiosity. Travelling to new places stimulates my sense of curiosity and I don’t think anyone who is curious ever ages.
How do you travel the world and find time to pay the expenses of travel?
My blog is my job. It’s like being a small publisher so I have an editor and a sale’s person who make the blog a success.
What place would you say has been the most inspiring for you and why?
India. Seeing joy in people who have very little; seeing a real commitment to learning and education; seeing a rich history and traditions… it was absolutely inspiring.
Can you tell us one of your best memories from travelling?
I have so many “best” memories. They usually involve the people I meet and the times we share. For example, there was Paul in Liverpool who I met in the morning outside the Cavern Club where the Beatles used to play. He returned that night and saved the best seat in the house for me. Being cared for by strangers is a very common experience of solo travellers.
Which part do you find the hardest about solo travel and how do you overcome it?
I still find that the first day is difficult. I manage it by relaxing, studying maps and waiting for day two. Then all seems to fall into place.
How often do you travel throughout the year? Do you have any upcoming travel plans?
I go on six or seven trips in a year. In 2015 I’ll be going to Germany, Peru, Chile, Australia and possible New Zealand. At least, that’s the list so far.
Can you give us some insight into how someone can manage travelling and working combined?
It takes time to build a career that supports a travel habit. I’ve been blogging for over five years now. It wasn’t full time in the beginning but since year four it has been. It takes choosing a niche and developing a community for it then deterring what business model you want to pursue.
What are your top 5 tips for those looking to start travelling on their own?
- Start with a short trip that matches your travel experience. Never been out of the country before? Go just a couple of hours away where the culture is familiar but there is still plenty to learn about the place and yourself.
- Pack light so that you can manage all your things easily.
- Book your first night’s accommodation at minimum and arrive well before dark so that you can make a change if you wish.
- Stay in public places. Don’t go into private places such as cars or homes of people you don’t know.
- Plan around a passion. Take a cooking class or learn to sail – whatever is of interest to you. Doing so will ensure that at least part of your day is social.
The Solo Traveler’s Handbook provides all the information that a new solo traveller needs. It’s available at all online stores: http://solotravelerblog.com/solo-travelers-handbook/