Encouraging Women to Live Beyond The Empty Nest

Solo Female Traveler

Solo Female Traveler. 

That’s me! A solo female traveler AKA the uprooted adventurer!

I thought the brave thing was the “uprooting”. Selling the house, leaving everything behind. Somehow I thought that once I uprooted I would have all the courage in the world, no more fears or worries. Who knew it would be so daunting to go “out” on my own in a new city. 

My best friend joined me the second day in Chattanooga and when she left I found myself using Tink as an excuse to not get out and explore. Oh sure we hiked, we walked through town alone but actually going out on my own and chatting with people literally had me paralyzed in my airbnb. I could easily claim I couldn’t leave Tink because she was having anxiety issues (ironic I know). I worked at the kitchen table, then moved to the couch, then walked up the street with Tink to watch the sunset (gorgeous). And that was my day. 

I expressed my fear to my Friday morning coaching group. They challenged me to leave the house without the dog. My first task was to leave during the work day to write at a local coffee shop. From there I signed up for a Yoga class, then I went to a couple of restaurants and met some lovely people.

Who the hell thought that after uprooting my whole life, my real challenge would be getting out of my head and going out to meet people?

I met another digital nomad this week. As a male, he has less difficulty sitting at a bar and meeting new people. We talked about how difficult it can be for a woman. I’m viewed differently sitting at a bar on my own. The thought is that I’m trying to get hit on or perhaps a crazy woman. I am neither (well most of the time). And furthermore striking up a conversation with male or female is fraught with angst. Women don’t like to engage with other women at a bar, not sure what the reasoning is, but it can be painful to sit at a busy bar alone. And as mentioned guys think I am there to get hit on.

Once I am out, I am not one to sit idly by and let people talk around me. I tend to strike up conversation out of thin air (or perhaps listening to their conversation or their order). And since I am new at this I only have a few stories but I have met some great people so far. The digital nomad is one. I met another couple last week and it turned out one of his college-aged daughter’s mentors was my college roommate. What a small world!

In my short time roaming the country I have discovered a freedom and love of the new that makes me feel alive! I have also discovered that I actually have a fear of meeting people and allowing myself to be vulnerable enough to risk humiliation trying to strike up a conversation. For a short time I allowed that fear to dictate my activities. But I also realized that fear was holding me back from my entire purpose of this adventure, which is to get OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE.

Turns out that the zone isn’t where I live, it’s in my head. 

I thought I would share a 5 tips to help you go out solo, if you are having the same fear I am.

  1. See what the person beside you ordered. Ask what they got and if they liked it. (if they are local they love to share what they like to eat)
  2. If the folks near you are local, ask what you should do before you leave the area, they will likely have unique ideas for you. 
  3. Trivia NIGHT!! What? It can be really fun and a good way to connect with people near you at the bar. ( and i have never done a trivia night before, I was actually pretty good at it!))
  4. Try a local networking event. It’s such a great way to meet the local business folks and find out more about the community.
  5. The question I ask everyone (literally everyone) is “what are you reading that you love”. It’s a great way to find common ground (for me anyway) and to share your current loves as well. 

I hope that helps next time you want to go somewhere on your own and fear humiliation or vulnerability or both. 

If you have any ideas for me, I would love to hear from you!

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