In the tenth episode of our new season of Love Life, Live Well, the tables are turned on our host Emma Cartmell and she is the in the host seat talking about her top tips when preparing for and travelling alone.

What do you love about your life or life itself? 

What I love most about life is probably adventure, exploring new places, meeting people from different cultures, experiencing different foods. That’s what gets me out of bed in the morning and motivates me. I’ve had some amazing experiences, and that’s why I wanted to share some of that with you today in this episode.

How do you make sure that you look after yourself and live well?

In terms of living well, I guess the key thing for me is that I live on the beautiful island of Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands. I’ve always dreamt about living in a warm climate, and there’s just something magical about waking up every morning to the sun shining, and it just makes me want to live well. I’m fortunate enough to be able to go for long walks by the beach or up in the mountains every night after work and on weekends. I probably walk for about an hour or two every night and it just transitions me from the daytime to the evening in a healthy way. I don’t know about you but before the pandemic my transition day and night was a gin and tonic so I’m definitely living a healthier life now walking and just decompressing at the end of a day. I’m also quite partial to a spa break or a massage. I’m quite good at listening to my body and if I burn the candle at both ends or overindulge, it does tend to scream at me to slow down, rest and take a break. I have to remember to listen.

Why solo travel?

For me I find it really fulfilling if you want to know more about yourself and just how independent you are or what you can do on your own, then it’s a great opportunity to discover just how much you can do alone and just how much you can do in person. I find I get to experience the culture more. If I travel with friends, I tend to hang out with them. But if I’m on my own, I’ll seek out new people with different backgrounds, different cultures. So it’s a great way to learn more about the world. I must admit, I love it for selfish reasons. When you travel with others, you often start the day by saying, what shall we do today? Or what do you fancy doing? By traveling solo, you get to spend every minute doing exactly what you want to do without worrying if the other person is okay, or if they’re happy, it’s totally okay to indulge yourself into travel. It’s totally okay to indulge yourself in traveling your way on your terms. and doing what you want to do.

What are some myths about solo travel?

Myth number one, you need a reason to go. I’ve taken almost 20 solo travel trips. For some I’ve had a very specific reason. In other times there’s just been an opportunity that I didn’t want to miss out on or sometimes just for the hell of it. For instance, there was a time I went to Scotland, and it was a time when I really needed to just have some thinking time, a break from everyday life and just think about my future and I needed time to reflect in a real quiet zone. I booked a cottage on the East coast of Scotland by the beach and spent a week there just full of self-care, journaling, cooking, doing a bit of yoga, a bit of walking and the whole week I don’t think I really spoke to anybody, perhaps just a quick hello as I was passing them on the street.

Myth number two is that the only people who solo travel do so because they don’t have any friends to go with. I’d like to think that I have lots of friends and I do go on lots of trips, but it doesn’t have to be with other people and the reason why I say that is because some people want to do some crazy amazing things and number one, it might not be everyone’s cup of tea and if you wait to find someone to do a trip with you, you could be waiting forever and it could pass you by and you could get to you know, that story when you’re lying in your death bed and you have regrets.

Myth number three is that it’s dangerous and I’m not saying that travel on your own is without danger, but then nothing is. There are so many amazing, friendly, safe places in the world and there’s certainly things you can do to make your trip safe but solo travel does not need to be in any way dangerous. and just that bit of research into the friendliest places. Two places on my bucket list that I’ve heard are friendly for solo travel. One is Costa Rica and the other one is Laos in in the far east. They’re two places that I really want to want to explore and like I said it does not have to be dangerous. You just need to have your wits about you, be careful and make sure you’re doing things the right way.

Myth number four is that you must spend the whole time alone. One of the best things I find about sort of travel is making friends. It sounds a little bit counterintuitive to go alone and then spend your time surrounded by other people. But for me now, thanks to social media, it’s so easy to keep in touch with people if you choose to and I’ve got so many happy memories from meeting people in the strangest of places and from all walks of life. I’ve done the odd trip where it’s all been about well-being or giving myself some thinking time, where I’ve purposefully not spoken to anyone the whole time I’ve been away. So making friends certainly isn’t compulsory, but it’s also impossible to make your trip more enriching and memorable.

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