Rachel Klein // Solo Female Traveller // Canadian // Currently in Cambodia
Tell me about yourself!
My name is Rachel, I’m first and foremost a nomadic soul who totally gets off on the adrenaline rush of travelling as a means of exploration in both an external and internal sense.
What was the first trip that you traveled solo?
My first big solo trip was a 2 month adventure through Nicaragua where I trained to become a yoga teacher and proceeded to backpack around the country.
What motivated you to travel solo?
I was drawn to solo travel as a means of accessing a deeper understanding of independence, and self-sufficiency. There’s so many benefits to travelling alone and I got hooked to travelling this way.
Favourite country that you have traveled to?
Tough question, I’ve still so many countries to explore but due to the life changing experiences that Thailand revealed to me I’m going to have to say that it remains my favourite.
When you travel do you plan each trip? Do you use any online tools?
I’m currently travelling indefinitely with no end-date, so my life has simply become one big trip. I plan nothing and just go with the flow. I follow my internal compass of what I’m in need of and travel based on that (down time vs. adventuring etc). The only online tools that I access to keep me going are flight booking websites and visa restrictions.
Where do you stay? (hostel, airbnb, couch surf, hotel, etc.)
I’ve stayed in hostels, hotels, condos, houses, couches, hammocks, busses, boats, airports, and sometimes just on the beach.
Some women are hesitant to travel alone because they feel that they will be alone during their trip. What is your experience?
First off, I love being alone and I’ve realized that when you’re travelling, you’re never alone unless you try to be. There’s endless seas of people and you get to choose where, when and who you choose to spend your time with.
One of the main concerns about traveling solo as a female is safety. Were there any times that you felt scared? What actions did you take?
Safety is always a big thing when you’re travelling alone, I hate to say that it is less safe to travel as a female, but that is most definitely the case (especially in the 3rd world). There’s been only a few times where I’ve been legitimately scared for my life but one memory sticks out in my mind the most.
I was in a private shuttle in Nicaragua during a torrential downpour at 4am into Managua to catch a flight. Managua is the least safe city in Nicaragua with an extremely high violent crime rate. I realized early on that the shuttle driver was intoxicated and drinking rum from a cup throughout the ride. After about 3 hours he took an unexpected detour through residential areas in Managua, stopping the car every few blocks, rolling down his window and sharing a few words in Spanish to random sketchy looking locals who happened to be hanging around on the streets in the middle of the night. I became incredibly suspicious very quickly and began agressively asserting our intended route to the airport. He began making turn after turn until I was totally disoriented and lost track of which direction we needed to go to get to the airport. I then found that we were driving through a remote industrial area with abandoned factories, no street lights, no people and barbed wire fences. This is when the shuttle driver stopped on the side of the road. My heart began racing and I looked through the windows realizing that this could very well be the location in which I die. As he opened his door to get out of the car I immediately launched myself into the trunk of the car to grab the knife out of my bag. I opened the blade and watched him walk around the car toward my door making it very obvious that I was holding a knife, with every step he took I began readying myself for a struggle, clutching the knife tighter in my fist. When he saw the knife as he came up to the door, he turned around and started walking toward the barbed wire fence. My heart was racing as I watched him, mentally preparing the location in which I would stab another human being if my life was in danger. He proceeded to stand at the fence and pee. My stomach dropped out of my throat and back to it’s proper location when I realized that the sight of the knife had possibly deterred him. He came back to the car and proceeded to drive me the rest of the way to the airport. I’ll never know what exactly was going on that night but I’m thankful that I never had to use the knife.
What did you learn about yourself during your travels?
Oh God. More than I’ve ever learned about anything ever. This is an incredibly loaded question and one that I’ve been attempting to share with the world on my blog. The biggest and most valuable and first thing I learned as a solo traveller is that I am in control of my own life, and I am responsible to take care of myself. This has build my sense of confidence, independence and self worth more than I ever knew possible.
Any tips for keeping travel costs low?
- Shop like a local, avoid tourist shit and hit the markets. Learn the local language enough to get you by and you’ll be integrated deeper into the culture as well as saving money.
- You can sleep anywhere if you travel with a hammock, obviously sussing out the safety of what location you choose for hammock installation is first and foremost. If you use your brain about and access your creativity, it’s not so hard to spend less.
- If you allow yourself to spend more time in one location, you can rent a room for a monthly rate and maybe even have access to a kitchen, this will save you tons of money with both food and accommodation.
- Travelling slow by hitchhiking and taking public transit will save you loads of money in regard to transportation. Again, obviously using common sense and putting safety first.
- Do your research before booking flights. Know the best time to go for a better price, and use an app which can track prices and notify you when they drop.
What advice would you give to gal who wants to travel solo?
Don’t over think it and just go. There’s really nothing to be afraid of.
// Connect with Rachel!
If you are a solo female traveler and would like to be featured in #SheTravelSolo please contact me.