How A Trip Of A Lifetime Turned Into My First Solo Trip

Solo Traveler Snapshot

Deborah Ives on a train in Sri Lanka

Deborah on a train in Sri Lanka

Photo credit: Deborah Ives

  • Name: Deborah I.
  • Age: 62
  • Location: London
  • Marital Status: Divorced
  • Favorite Solo Trip: Sri Lanka

Deborah has always loved to travel. An unexpected divorce forced her to view travel differently. Now she’s helping other women solo travelers. She started a Facebook group aimed at women over 50. To date, more than 150,000 members check in and share stories. Deborah explains some of her favorite trips and tips for getting out and traveling!

First Solo Trip

TravelAwaits: What was your first solo trip?

Deborah: I remember my first solo trip as if it was yesterday! Coming out of an unexpected divorce, there was no way I was prepared to lose the deposit already paid on a trip of a lifetime to Borneo for two, so I decided to go alone. There were some moments of sheer panic — instances of sadness at being in such a fabulous place on my own. But the fantastic and rewarding experiences gave me the confidence to continue my solo travels and to really embrace the freedom and enjoyment that it brings.

Favorite Aspect Of Solo Travel

TravelAwaits: What is your favorite part of traveling solo?

Deborah: I enjoy traveling with friends and family but, for me, one of the joys of being solo later in life is that I can be utterly selfish when it comes to my holiday. It’s all about choosing the trip that I really want to go on and making my own travel memories, one experience at a time.

My style of travel is to go independently, booking most of it in advance. I like the security and peace of mind this gives me and I absolutely need to know that someone will be waiting for me at the end of a very long journey!

Favorite Solo Trip

TravelAwaits: What was your favorite solo trip and why?

Deborah: With so many wonderful solo trips, it’s hard to choose my favorite. I think I would say Sri Lanka. I have been there on a couple of occasions. My last trip was my favorite because I combined it with a week on a local island in the Maldives.

Sri Lanka is stunningly beautiful, has the most amazing culture and food, the friendliest people, incredible beaches, wonderful wildlife, and is very safe. It checked all of my boxes. I am a keen scuba diver and added a week to go diving with whale sharks on the island of Dhigurah. Being a local island, I stayed in a small hotel, no frills and right on the beach. But everything was on the beach because it was such a small island. I had the time of my life. I saw whale sharks, which is still one of the most stand-out moments of my life, and had such a relaxing stay, without the trappings of the larger resorts. In fact, I have also stayed solo in one of those but prefer the local island any day of the week. 

Biggest Solo Travel Concern 

TravelAwaits: What was your biggest concern before your first solo trip and how did you overcome it?

Deborah: I had so many concerns when I first set off. I suppose safety was the biggest one. I told all my friends where I was going, kept in touch along the way, had my itinerary all planned and re-confirmed. In the end, I just went for it! It took a while for me to really relax, but my first solo trip to Borneo was incredible and probably changed my life. 

Group Or Independent Travel

TravelAwaits: Do you travel with a group or independently and why?

Deborah: I do both depending on where I’m going and for how long. Mostly, I go independently, but I always have everything booked and I know exactly where I’m going.

A huge help for me is to always have pick-ups at the airports when I arrive in a new place.

I always meet people along the way and one of the biggest things I hear about solo travel is that people always end up making new friends. I have recently booked a group tour to Jordan because it is an area where I would appreciate some expert guidance along the way. I also join diving group holidays, which end up being amazing. 

TravelAwaits: Do you have a favorite group tour company for solo travelers?

Deborah: I don’t use that many, but I always look for companies that travel in an eco-friendly way and support local communities, companies, and individuals. 

Favorite Travel Product

TravelAwaits: What is one product you cannot live without on your trips?

Deborah: A lovely friend of mine has her own brand of organic, natural skincare, Alexandra Soveral. Her first-ever product was Angel Balm. To this day, I cannot leave without it. It is a perfect product to take on a trip as it is multifunctional, serving as a cleanser, moisturizer, balm for burns or dry skin, and regenerative facial treatment. Plus it smells heavenly!

I Wish I Would Have Joined A Group For This Trip…

TravelAwaits: Is there a solo location/destination that would have been better in a group and why?

Name of traveler: My second solo trip was to Argentina and it wasn’t a huge success. I started in Buenos Aires and chose a hotel a little out of the city that was small and had no bar or restaurant. I didn’t speak a word of Spanish and I felt uncomfortable walking alone. I really didn’t see that much as I hung around one area where I felt safe. I recently saw a documentary about the city and it looked fabulous. I thought, Oh my goodness, I didn’t see any of that! I would love to go back and really explore with a guide in the safety of a group.

Best Advice For Solo Travelers

TravelAwaits: What advice would you give someone who is considering solo travel?

Name of traveler: Do it. Plan well, be brave but sensible, be open to every experience, and enjoy! 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *