Allie (co-mads C.O.O.) and I met while we were both traveling solo in Amsterdam, Netherlands. I love craft beer, so I stopped at one of the most highly acclaimed breweries in the city. Allie was traveling with her host family and was just about to sit down to brunch with them when she decided to leave the last minute because the brewery was offering a tour only one time that day. We say that the universe worked its magic to bring us together that day. Anyway, we were both sitting at the bar and in between us were two American men. I was chatting to the one on my right and she was chatting to the one on her left. Eventually, they had to leave and one of the guys said “hey, the two of you are traveling alone, you should hang out.” So, we did and the rest, as they say, is history. Fast forward months later and now Allie is living with me in Albany, NY, and helping to further develop co-mads.
This type of situation rarely occurs in the states, but it frequently happens in Europe. When’s the last time you saw a female foreigner sitting at your local bar with a beer in hand? Likely, never! Just a female sitting alone at a bar? Rarely. It’s just not part of the travel culture in the states. In Europe, it’s relatively cheap and easy to go from place to place. You’re able to see many different cities and countries within a very short period of time. Transportation is efficient and accessible. Europeans travel frequently because it’s much easier to do so, since there are so many tourists. When I was traveling solo in Europe, I felt very safe and met many other solo female travelers. Because of this, there is an enduring solo travel culture and community there.
My experience traveling solo in the states was very different. For one, unless you have a car and are willing to travel for hours, it can be quite difficult going from point A to B in an affordable manner. Whenever you meet someone new and tell them you’re traveling alone, they are typically surprised and question the safety in traveling this way as a single woman. Despite my stays in hostels, I never met another female who was traveling alone, so it was more difficult to meet people. I did meet a lovely couple in Santa Fe though…that’s a story for another blog post.
Solo travel can be intimidating and daunting if you’ve never had the opportunity before, especially if you’re not an experienced traveler. co-mads is a great first step to independent travel. With co-mads, you might sign up for a trip alone, but you’re traveling in the comfort of a group led by experienced travelers. It will give you the confidence and skills necessary for taking your first trip solo. Self-exploration and discovery start here. You just have to be willing to take the first step through the door and co-mads will be holding the door open for you. Let’s take the first step together.