by Amanda Coggin
Article courtesy of Divine Caroline
I did the solo travel thing for two years—handed in my corporate badge, and replaced it with a traveler’s backpack. I wove my way around Asia, and at the time, I didn’t meet as many solo women travelers as I did men. When I returned from living overseas, I lived in a new state and traveled months out of the year with my boyfriend for two more years. So in my thirty-four years, according to one application on my Facebook profile, I’ve seen over 20 percent of the world, and for that I feel lucky.
I feel lucky and proud because women are out there exploring the world more than ever. Traveling women have guts, incredible chutzpah, a higher earning power to take the trips they desire (or the wherewithal to make them happen regardless of income), and a need to find themselves. Charting a new territory in the world is the side trip to discovering who we really want to be, because mostly the world will reflect that back on to us while we’re out there.
With my own need to have purpose in my travels from here on out, and not just wander aimlessly from bar to internet café to beach and back to bungalow, I did some research to find ten great trips to soothe the souls of all types of wandering women. Now, if I just had that six weeks vacation a year to actually take them …
Gutsy Woman: Unleashed Adventures
While in India, I used my left hand to wipe. I figured there was enough waste to go around, so I stopped buying toilet paper, dipped my left hand in a water bucket, and then washed it thoroughly. And yes, my family still speaks to me. My next gutsy trip will most definitely be to Africa. I have dreams of drumming in Mali, climbing Kilimanjaro, visiting Kenyan villages, and enjoying vanilla in Madagascar. I just hope I can do it all in one trip. Unleashed Adventures goes to India and Kenya, as well as Easter Island, taking a small group of other phenomenal women to go with you.
Active Woman: Surf Goddess Retreats
While on a secret surfing beach on the coast of Mexico, I watched my boyfriend at the time get out and try his board with a perfect point break. I was proud of him, but secretly jealous while I shot photos of his shit-eating grin from the shore. I think if I were to try surfing, it would have to be with other women, and some yoga to make sure my muscles bounced back from my expected falls.
Spiritual Woman: Journeys of the Spirit
The idea of having a spiritual quest while I journey abroad appeals to me. I like the way Journeys of the Spirit organize their trips offered, not only by region, but also by month, and with each trip connected to a spiritual quest. I think I’m about due for learning about forgiveness while in Bhutan.
Outdoorsy Woman: Adventures in Good Company
This company offers it all: hiking, canoeing, sea kayaking, dog sledding, cross-country skiing, rock climbing, backpacking, and horseback riding, and some include two activities to help travelers like me who can easily get bored if I’m not experiencing something new. With a wide age range of women, I’m thinking touring in Bulgaria and hiking in Slovenia might be next to get a flag on my personal travel map.
Creative Woman: Artista
One of the best trips I gave myself was a course in Oaxaca on how to teach photography and writing to children with the renowned photographer, Wendy Ewald. My next art trip needs to include another art form, like oil painting in Spain or watercolor in France. Artista trips are more about the art making than the destination, but think of it as art school in a week and you’ll finally have something to hang on those barren walls.
Solo Woman: Just Us Girls Travel
When I was in Asia, I wanted to travel alone, just not right away. Just Us Girls Travel is like online dating but the hunt is for the perfect travel mate. What an invaluable service for travelers like me who have an arm’s length list of must and must nots for a travel partner. MUST be laid back and MUST NOT shop the whole time.
Single Woman Looking: Bikini Boot Camp and Olivia
I’ve never met anyone while doing crunches, but maybe that would be different if I wore my bikini while pumping on my abs as the sweat glistens off my torso with a backdrop of white sand and crystal blue water. I’ve met men in stranger ways.
My gay male friends are always going on cruises, and they come back with wild stories and new boyfriends. Olivia, a travel company for lesbians, is celebrating thirty-five years with a cruise around the Caribbean with Margaret Cho comedy show and a kick-off concert with k.d. lang. Now that’s a cruise I would book, regardless of sexual orientation.
Adventure Woman: Patagonia Expedition
My personal bucket list includes a visit to Patagonia before the glaciers melt into the sea. Through Extremely Patagonia, women can take trips sea kayaking, trekking, glacier climbing, mountaineering, and packrafting in the company of other adventure nuts.
Biker Woman: Hug the Curve
Okay, so ever since my mother threw me on the back of her moped at the age of six with my own helmet, I’ve wanted my own motorcycle. I keep saying that I’ll get my license, and then I chicken out. But to ride the open road with a bunch of other Thelmas and Louises just might push me toward buying my hot leather jacket.
Philanthropic Woman: Cross-Cultural Solutions
My best moments in travel usually include chatting with a local or giving back in some capacity. It led me to Mother Teresa’s orphanage for girls in Calcutta for a morning and to my volunteer job teaching English in the slums of Bangkok. With Cross-Cultural Solutions, you work with local people to help them achieve programs already in place in their community. Now that’s a trip that keeps on giving.
I’d like to do each of these trips in my lifetime, maybe one a year, so that by the time I’m retired and ready to be a full-time traveler, I’ll already have a good start on reaching 100 percent on my Facebook travel application!
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