Traveling solo sounds amazing and gives a lot of us Eat. Pray. Love. vibes of freedom and indulgence. However, the reality of traveling alone can be scary and nerve-wracking. Many mature women are deterred from traveling solo due to finances, safety concerns, or the fear of being lonely. That is not the case for Big Travel Nut, Marie.
Marie has been traveling solo for years and, in 2013, started Big Travel Nut as a means to give the 40+ solo traveler the means and inspiration to safely travel on your own, to stay off the beaten path, and have unusual adventures without breaking the bank.
The Big Travel Nut site gives solo travelers advice on planning, how to save money, where to eat, and other tips and stories from fellow solo travelers. We spoke to Marie about what she loves about solo travel and why you should give it a go!
What inspired you to take the plunge to start traveling solo?
Marie: As far back as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to see what’s out there. As a kid, I was getting in trouble for riding my bike
further than I was allowed to, always wanting to see what was up that road and across that bridge.
As a teen, my dream trip was going to Europe, specifically to Paris. It took me a long time to get there though. First, I had to study, find a good-paying job, save money and vacation days, and then try to convince someone to go with me.
Overseas travel wasn’t as common back then, and it seemed like everyone I knew had other priorities. Finally, I made the decision to go solo. It was either travel alone or not at all vand I had already waited too long! I was 29 when I went on that first solo trip across the pond.
You’ve visited a lot of places! What has been your favorite?
Marie: The most stunning and mesmerising place I’ve ever visited is Antarctica! It was a once-in-a-lifetime trip with fantastic wildlife and breathtaking landscapes in an untouched and wild, natural environment.
In terms of more accessible regions, I have soft spots for both Southeast Asia and Mediterranean countries. I like to vary my destinations and types of activities since I have many interests—from architecture to art to history, music, food, wildlife, and more.
I like to explore places with very different cultures as well as similar cultures. On a given trip, I also like to alternate between busy cities and quiet towns and beaches.
The countries I enjoy the most always have a few things in common: sunny weather, friendly locals, good food, good coffee, and affordable prices.
Are there any places you think best suit solo travelers?
Marie: My three criterias for best solo destinations are: safe, affordable and social. You want a place to where you feel relatively safe and where you can afford comfortable accommodation in good areas. You also need good public transportation, because many solo travelers don’t want to rent a
car. And you want the locals to be helpful, friendly, and respectful – even if they don’t speak your language!