An adventure of my life time!

Ever since I decided to travel to Alaska all by myself, I have heard lots of worries from my family and friends. I understand their concerns and I do appreciate the kindness very much! After all, it is a long journey, and needless to say, I am, besides extremely happy and excited, also a little scared. However, as I wrote in the first blog, I have been preparing for this journey for years, even without truly realizing it at the time. This is obviously not my very first solo trip!

Actually, believe or not, it took me a long time to start travel solo and enjoy the solitude!

As I mentioned in my previous blogs, I have always loved travel. However, I didn’t start travel by myself until about 8 years ago. By that time, I have hiked with a local hiking group and became an organizer of the group for a year or so. Hiking with other people and organizing my own events of leading others gave me experiences and encouraged me to venture out of my comfort zone, little by little.

My very first step of “solo travel” was only driving 3 hours to a state park, hiking there for 3-4 hours by myself and then driving back! It seems so trivial nowadays, but it was a big deal to someone who has never done it before. It was the first step toward the right direction.

The next trip wasn’t so impressive, either. After all, even though I drove 4 hours to South Carolina to attend a dance weekend, I stayed with a friend there. So “technical speaking”, it wasn’t a solo trip. However, it was a weekend trip out of town, driving back and forth by myself.

The one after is a “semi-solo trip”: I went to California for a week long dance workshop, and I spent extra 3-4 days traveling and hiking on my own beforehand. So, I had the freedom of traveling on my own and then the comfort of being with other people, the best of both worlds. J

The real solo trip came 2006 when I went to Whistler in Canada and Washington State for about 10 days! This trip changed my life, or at least changed my way of travel. I had been single for a couple of years by that time, but I wasn’t truly alone without even a friend for more than a couple of days. Spending ten days without someone by my side, without anyone to talk to, without a person to share the beauty of nature or the trouble of travel seemed, even to me, quite uncomfortable and a little worrisome. “How could I go on 10 days without speaking to anyone?” I asked a friend of mine, concernedly.

Little did I know that how much I would enjoy the freedom of traveling on my own! The beauty of the nature consumed me and my time. I had no time for loneliness. Instead, I was “racing” with time to go further and to see more. Oh, no worries about no one to talk to! As long as you are open and friendly, there are plenty like-minded people to start a conversation, on the trail or off trail.

On day two of my trip, I met a Chinese family from California. We had a short but nice conversation when we passed by each other on a remote trail. And believe or not, we ran into each other again the next day in another very remote area (I didn’t see anyone beside them)! The mother was so impressed with me that she actually tried to “hook” me up with her son who was a medical student at the time. Guess what? He was probably 15 years younger than I was! J This story always brought a smile on my face. In another words, ladies, traveling solo would make you seem much younger! How cool will that be? Certainly beats all the makeup and plastic surgeries.

From this trip on, I become a “solo traveler” – have been to UT, NV, CA, AZ, NM, OR, ID, WA, MT, WY, CO, TX, Australia, New Zealand, Yunnan (in China) all by myself.

The reason I am telling you the “history” of my solo travel, first of all, is to reassure my friends and everyone cares about me that I will be okay, that I didn’t wake up one day and decided to take this long journey. Secondly, I also want to share my experience of solo travel with anyone who has a small voice in her head telling her to try something new and urging her to travel on her own. Well, you can do it, if you want to. Just take one small step at a time. I hope, in time, you will enjoy solo travel as much as I do!

PS. my photo website: http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/qing-yang.html

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Comments on: "5. My Solo Travel History" (9)

  1. Ching, I’m with you. If you wait for someone else to go with you, there are a lot of things you won’t do that you want to do. I’ve been alone all my life. It has it’s perks. I’ve learned to make a friend out of the person in front of me, then continue on. And Nature doesn’t mind if you speak to her critters either.
    I’ve had friends worry because I’d go to a lake and swim alone. Well, would they go with me? No. So I wasn’t going to give up swimming in the lake.
    In 1979, I traveled 15,000 miles around the American West, mostly on my own. The canyons were spectacular. My favorite, Capital Reef, the campground surronded by ripe apricot trees
    Have a wonderful experience and simply ‘be aware.’
    Hugs,
    Sharon Graham

    • Thank you, Sharon! I love Capital Reef as well. In 2009, I took a trip to UT again, after visiting it several times already. In the late afternoon of the last day, I saw a perfect rainbow in Capital Reef National Park which was the perfect finish of the trip. 🙂

  2. Xiaoying said:

    Qing:
    We are all inspirited by your action. All of us wish you have a happy and safe trip and waiting for good picture and good news from you!
    Go, Qing

    • Thank you, Xiaoying, for your kind words! I am just doing what I love to do and lucky enough to be able to do it! I can’t wait to take good pictures from Alaska! Hopefully I will have plenty to share with you and everyone!

  3. Your trip to Whistler in 2006 sounds like quite a breakthrough for you. Being alone in wilderness is a pleasure that has to be experienced to be truly understood. It sounds like you’re having a great time now that you’re comfortable with being alone at times.

  4. Hey there-

    My name is KC Owens; I’m a college student who loves to travel! While cruising the Internet, I found Solo Travel to Alaska and really enjoyed reading your posts. Personally, I think traveling is a necessary part of life as you’re exposed to all sorts of new cultures and experiences. While enjoying time abroad, I’ve found it’s crucial to fully understand the dangers that you might encounter along the way. These mishaps are part of life and certainly part of travel but it’s always a great idea to take preventive measures to help ensure your safety while abroad.

    I was hoping that you would allow me to write a post for your site to share my travel safety tips with your readers? I put a lot of time and passion into my traveling and I would love to help others by offering safety advice as a result of the mistakes and triumphs I’ve had. I look forward to hearing from you!

    Best,

    KC Owens

    • Thank you for writing to me, KC Owens. I would love to hear from you, but I don’t know how to let you post on my blog. I guess, if you like, you can write a comment like this – others will read comments, for sure!

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