Traveling alone as a woman: When solo travel is scary

Solo travel scary

At the bus station in Tallinn, I met a nice, orderly lady. She was in her late 50’s or early 60’s, gray-haired, tall and from Italy. While getting our bags from the bus, we talked about travel plans and I told her that I was heading to Russia. She stopped unloading the bags and looked straight at me:

“Alone? Is that a good idea?” she asked. But she could just as well have said: “Seriously, what are you thinking?”

I don’t know what I was thinking. But I had apparently decided to leave my democratic, free and open-minded home country to go to a place that was not those three adjectives. And there I suddenly was, standing in the middle of an Estonian bus station, trying to defend my decision.

The truth is that my choice to go to Russia was made on a whim. It was one of those in-the-spur-of -the-moment decisions so I didn’t exactly think it through when I decided to throw Russia into the mix.

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Alone in Russia. When solo travel is scary


Safety is a top priority when I travel. And it’s imperative when I’m on my own. When I travel solo, I always research the destination, read up on local scams, find a good hotel with excellent reviews and make sure that the destination is absolutely safe.

I love to go off the beaten track, but you won’t see me heading off to Nigeria or Syria anytime soon. My safety comes first so I only visit places that are super safe.

But is Russia super safe? Honestly?

No. No, it’s not. Although nothing happened to me while I was there and while I only went to Saint Petersburg, which is more European than Russian, I still feel like I crossed a personal line. And the consequence was that I worried. I worried sick throughout my trip to Riga and Tallinn, and instead of having the time of my life, I spent too much time going back and forth on my decision.

I’m a big fan of solo travel and in my heart I believe that everyone should travel solo at least once. Solo travel is scary for most people. But it’s important to listen to that inner voice and distinguish between fear and intuition.

We all get scared. I get scared all the time, but most times there’s nothing to it. It’s just the fear of the unknown. Other times though, it’s my intuition telling me that this is dangerous and that I shouldn’t do it. And that, I listen to.

I ended up having a great time in Saint Petersburg, and if you ask me today, I’m glad I went. But this whole experience has taught me that traveling solo to an off the path destination isn’t worth it if you spend more time being worried than happy.

A little worrying is fine – especially if it’s your first solo trip, but if you can’t enjoy your trip because of it, then it’s not worth it. You should either pick another destination or bring a friend.

Alone in Russia. When solo travel is scary


When I first became a solo traveler, I read all these inspirational blogs about how to overcome your fear and how solo travel never gets lonely. And I’m sure that’s true for some people.

But I’ve been traveling solo now for 2 years through 11 countries in Asia and Eastern Europe, and I’m about to embark on another solo journey in a month. And honestly, I have been feeling lonely and it has been daunting at times.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t travel solo! But I do want you to have a realistic idea of what it’s like. Solo travel isn’t always fun. Sometimes it’s scary and sometimes it gets awkward when you sit alone at a restaurant with no one to talk to.

The key is to find the right destination, a destination that works for you, and to be prepared. Bring a book or your phone to the restaurant, and only travel to places that are safe.

That’s what works for me. And that’s why I’m probably bringing a friend next time I’m going to Russia.

Alone in Russia. When solo travel is scary

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Solo travel is one of the most rewarding things you can do for yourself. But sometimes it's so scary that it's better not to go. Here's how to find the balance and know when you're ready and when it's safe to go.

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  1. We are planning a trip to Vilnius and Tallinn and had originally considered throwing St. Petersburg in the mix. We decided against it equally due to added cost, added travel time (it’s not easy to get there!) and safety concerns.

    I tend to be very cautious about travel destinations, particularly when I’m traveling solo, so I haven’t been too scared. The scariest thing that’s happened recently was on a train in Italy when a group of teenage boys stole the emergency hammer from over our heads, hitting me with the plastic guard that broke. Then they kept eyeing our bags over us and looking like they were going to try a grab and run. Thankfully they didn’t (the train was packed full of people so “running” would have been impossible.)

    1. That sounds frightening! Young boys can be so intimidating. I had a similar experience in Vietnam when a group of boys aged 8-10 flashed a knife in front of my friend and I on the beach. Nothing happened, but they did scare us. I guess we can’t protect ourselves against people like that. It can happen whether we’re alone or not.

  2. This is a really great article, Miriam! I read a lot about traveling solo, mostly inspiring everyone to do so. It’s good to hear the other side of things. Even if traveling alone is often recommended, we never hear about what to do when it’s not the best option. You know what I mean?
    Anyhow, I really enjoyed this post!

    1. Yes, I know what you mean! Solo travel is often glorified, but it comes with its ups and downs like everything else and we need to be prepared for that! It’s super motivating to hear that solo travel is never lonely, but I don’t find it to be true in my case.

  3. Hey Miriam, great article! I’m also a solo traveller and totally agree that sometimes it is daunting and lonely. I’m from New Zealand which is the safest little Utopia off the coast of nowhere, which has formed me into a very naïve traveller. To the point where there are times when I’m abroad the the locals seem more concerned about my safety and wellbeing than I am (because I forget that I need to be concerned about these things).
    I’m heading to Russia in August with a traveller friend, but ditching him after 2 weeks and heading to Kenya alone. As a curvaceous white woman, I have a few concerns about safety.
    The things people never talk about in their inspiring travel blogs is that for a solo traveller, the days are loooong! I usually give myself 1 night a week to stay in my hotel, order room service and catch up on Shortland St (NZ TV drama) just so that I can hear those kiwi accents and feel ‘normal’ for a little while.
    I tend not to research too much before going to a new country and rely heavily on instinct. There have been times when I’ve been terrified, and times where I’ve been so elated it feels like my feet barely touch the ground. But I figure that these feelings come whether you’re in a group or alone.
    At the end of the day, what you’re doing is ballsy and its not for everyone. But its all worth it though… 100% worth it!
    Thanks for your posts 🙂 I’ve been enjoying hearing your take on Russia 🙂


    1. I love that! Giving yourself a night a week to just cosy up and order room service 🙂 I did the same when I was in Finland last summer and it gave me energy for the rest of the trip. I’ll remember to do it on my upcoming trip as well!

      I’m glad you’ve been following my Russia posts. Come back any time, Erica 🙂

  4. This line: “But it’s important to listen to that inner voice and distinguish between fear and intuition.” PRECISELY. Traveling solo helps you better distinguish the nuanced difference between these two parts of your inner voice. This post was ~amazing~ in so many ways. I loved reading your insight and candid experiences in an environment that left you more worried than relaxed. This is such an important post, especially now when solo female travel is becoming more trendy and mainstream! Not everywhere is a good choice!

    1. Exactly! I’m so glad you liked it, Bailey. We all have different levels of experience and interests. So while some women are perfectly fine visiting Russia or say Venezuela alone, others are not. It’s important to listen to your own intuition and boundaries and not convince yourself to go just because other solo travelers can and do.

    1. Hi Leigh,
      Russia is not as common a destination for solo female travelers as Thailand or the rest of Europe. I wouldn’t say that Russia is unsafe to travel to, but as a woman traveling alone it seemed scary that many Russians don’t speak English, the police is notorious for being corrupt (especially towards tourists) and that they don’t practice freedom of speech. It’s very individual, and some women go there without breaking a sweat. After having been there, I felt totally safe in St. Petersburg, but I’m not sure I’d head to Moscow alone – it’s not as European/Western.

      1. Hi Miriam,

        I don’t usually comment on blogs but I wanted to comment on this post because I am from Moscow originally and was just there for a visit.

        I know there are a lot of misconceptions about Russia in general, especially now, so I really just wanted to comment and say that Moscow is a lovely city to visit!

        To me Moscow is as European as St Petersburg and a lot of money has been poured into its development over the last few years to make it a better place to both live in and visit (beautification of parks, bicycle tracks, new pedestrian strips, restoration of old buildings etc) . It also has a lot more going on in terms of culture, theatre, festivals, markets than St Petersburg. A lot of signs and street names are written in English as well as in Russian and people do have a grasp on English enough to help tourists find their way around. The issues of police corruption and freedom of speech are there but they are not issues tourists would have to deal with. It’s more about the relationships between the police and the locals (e.g. bribes to avoid parking fines and influential locals speaking out against the government).

        I guess what I am trying to say is if you felt safe in St Petersburg you would also be OK in Moscow! It is a bigger and more hectic city but I see that as a positive because there is always so much going on. So I do hope one day you come for a visit, if not by yourself then with someone else.

        1. Hi Irina,
          Thanks so much for pitching in and sharing your point of view as a local. I’m glad to hear your recommendation of Moscow because I really want to go there. I just honestly thought it would be more chaotic and unsafe. Your input means a lot – thank you!

      2. So why didn’t you learn some Russian before you went? You go to a foreign country and expect everyone to speak English? Get off your butt and get a Russian for beginners book and at least learn to read the Cyrillic alphabet and some basic words/phrases. No wonder Americans get a bad rep when they’re traveling.

        Anyway, you sound really biased against Russia — I wonder why you went there in the first place. They don’t practice freedom of speech pppfffft. Okay, don’t sing a blasphemous song in a church and you’ll be fine. You said nothing happened, but you felt unsafe. At least they have gun control and you can walk into a theater and not worry about getting shot.

        1. I’m Danish, not American. And I did learn basic Russian, but obviously I can’t speak every language fluently of all the countries I visit. Although that would be cool.

          Emilia, I hope you find some joy in your life today in a human interaction and not just in writing unkind and angry things to a stranger you’ve never met.

          Take care.

          1. Wow. That was completely unnecessary but obviously that’s a miserable person and her reply is no reflection on you at all. Anyway, I wanted to thank you for this post (although it’s about 6 months old) since I also going to Russia this year. I have a Russian friend who goes back home every year and she asked me to join her and also confirmed it’s a better idea for women to travel with someone when they go there. I give you a lot of credit for doing it on your own!

            1. Thank you, Pam. I’m glad you took the time to comment and that you get where I’m coming from.

              Have a great trip to Russia with your friend!

  5. This sentence: «But this whole experience has taught me that traveling solo to an off the path destination isn’t worth it if you spend more time being worried than happy.» has made me thinking about my first time in Rio. I was scared to death due to aaaall the stories we can hear about the city. I did not enjoy it. And now? I spend every Carnival there, accomodated in a slum, drinking and dancing a lot on the streets of the city 🙂 But that´s a different story. I speak Portuguese and I´m a tall man. I admire all of you, my beloved female solo travelers!

    1. What a postive experience! Although it does help to be a tall man who speaks the language, it’s sometimes only a question of where you are in life and your level of experience. The carnival in Rio is on my list of things to do – but I’ll probably bring a friend 🙂

  6. True that, solo traveling always gives us something new to learn from our experience. I usually prefer Russian DMC Moscow so that I get used to that place quickly so that next time when I travel their alone, I can find my fav spots easily.

  7. I’m currently traveling in Russia, and being on your own in a city where hardly anyone speaks your language is one of the most daunting things ever. When I finally did meet up with friends of a friend of a friend of a friend of mine, they wouldn’t let me go anywhere alone. The Russians are some of the most hospitable people I’ve met in the world!

    1. They are. I only met nice and warm people in Russia and I really liked what I saw of the country. I hope the rest of your trip will be just as good, Tricia!

  8. More clearly stated, your article is not about traveling alone in Russia, it is actually about traveling with fear and how you reacted to traveling solo in a country you state is, “But I had apparently decided to leave my safe, secure and open-minded home country to go to a place that was not those three adjectives…” Perhaps if you had an open mind you would see that Russians are no more closed-minded than you were about what their country is like….you yourself said it is unsafe, not secure and not open-minded. No wonder you were scared. And I am having a very fine day, thank you.

    1. Can you honestly say that Russia is openminded and safe for all its people? We’re talking about a government that prosecutes homosexuals and in general doesn’t practice freedom of speech. Of course I had concerns, which by the way were based on hardcore facts, not on narrow-mindedness. The Russians I met were lovely, but then again they were never my concern – corruption and extreme groups of racists and homophobes were.

  9. Hi Miriam

    Phew – even though your original post is now old, it has been very interesting reading it and the comments that have been posted! I am 61 years old and have just booked a trip to St Petersburg and Moscow in June 2017.

    I can really identify with what you say about solo travel. I have done a few trips solo to UK and Europe over the past 10 years. The last one was to Paris, Bratislava, Vienna and Brussels (I ‘chase’ Ballet and Opera every few years!) Whilst there are incredible highs to be experienced when you are doing something you love, I always experience serious lows when travelling alone – usually when I am in bed at night, missing my family and thinking about the six thousand miles between home and me.

    I especially hate eating alone in the evenings and have almost stopped it completely! I eat during the day!

    I swore during my last trip that it was to be my last solo trip!

    But when I got home and I thought back on the trip, I realised just how richer my life was for doing it. I truly believe that, as you say, if you choose a destination that really suits your interests, the highs will make up for the lows (by ‘lows’ I am not referring to traumatic travel experiences – which can happen to anyone, not only solo travellers!)

    Having said all this, I am experiencing exactly what you experienced before your trip! Now when I lie in bed at night and imagine myself alone in Russia I am terrified – what am I thinking going there all alone at my age!!!!!! But then I wake up the next morning and become excited again – well kinda!! But it is all booked and paid for and there is no going back!

    The more I read about Moscow and Saint Petersburg, the more I do agree with many of the above posts, that these cities get an unfair rap – perhaps I can call it an ‘outdated’ rap. I do believe that in terms of safety, they are as safe as any western European city and the precautions you must take there are the same as for any city.

    After extensive research I am not worried about my safety on this trip at all. And unless you are a very nervous person, you can’t exclude a city because you are worried about how the healthcare system will stand up in an emergency – so many of the really amazing places in the world I have been to have poor emergency healthcare!!!! And you can’t exclude a city because of language – you just need to prepare more carefully (which is sooooo much easier these days with the internet!). Generally, solo travel is definitely not for nervous people!

    But travelling alone has many advantages – the most important being that you are entirely free to do what you want, when you want, as you want! It is a rare thing in life to experience this – to think of no-one else other than yourself!

    Despite all this, I know, that even though this trip is only two and a half weeks long, I will feel moments of extreme loneliness during my time there. But yes, you have to live through these times and these emotions to experience moments of grace.

    Thanks for the post!

    1. Hi Liz,
      First, I think you’re brave for following your dreams even though they scare you. I can definitely sympathize with that! From my experience, the things and experiences that really matter in life never come easy, but they are always worth fighting for. I’m sure you will have a great trip to Russia and you should be proud of yourself for doing this!

      1. Hi Miriam, I came across to your post since I am planning to visit Moscow and I was very happy to see so many solo travelers like me commenting here. I am 35 and so far I´ve been to 44 countries (and counting!). Of course some countries, due to the lack of safety, are not on my wish list right now. But others, like Russia, I just try to plan a different kind of trip. Of course more expensive, since you end up staying in a better hotel, hiring a tour guide, or transport, but those are the ways I found to enjoy my experience on its best meanwhile I keep the “sensation” of safety… I am saying sensation because of course bad things can happen anywhere in the world. I am sure is gonna be a different experience if I compare with my trip to Denmark, for example, but also with its beauty and grace. The other thing I would like to mention to some of your readers: don´t feel lonely or afraid! I´ve been alone to places like Maldives where you are surrounded by couples and the sea only! Felt uncomfortable sometimes being the only solo traveler around? yes! If this would stop me to see all the beauty in this world? never!! So give yourself a chance! Book a nice dinner, a concert, go to the cinema, a museum and enjoy your own company, your own thoughts…

        1. Thank you so much for your input, Marcela! I absolutely agree with you. It’s all about treating yourself and doing small things every day that make you feel good – like a nice massage, a trip to the museum, etc. For me, solo traveling always equals self pampering.

  10. I’m Italian and I find myself much safer in Moscow than Milan. I’m living actually alone in Moscow for an internship, one month has passed and I can just say I love here, first of all because even taking the metro at night you see a lot of policemen checking what’s going on (they are young now and the turn over is exactly made to try to get less corrupted personnel, did’t have any problem) and a lot of girls alone too.

    I was astonished by these fears, I had something too before leaving, but I immediately understood that where I come from is indeed less safe and I will miss this fantastic feeling of getting metro at 23.30 without being alone in the train when I will be back home, as well as never being alone in metro stations thanks to at least one official surveillant and often even young policewomen just standing and checking, love it – love it – love it.

    (It can be indeed a nightmare probably if someone stays a short time and doesn’t manage to get in touch with people and to understamd what signals say because of Russian)

    1. Hi Chiara,
      I’m glad you’re feeling safe in your new hometown and that you like Moscow so much. I hope this positive development you’re mentioning will continue!

      All the best from Denmark

  11. Hello. one more comment from native Moscovite 🙂 Found your blog via Pinterest. It’s always very interesting (and little bit amusing) to read reviews from foreigners)
    And your photos are really stunning!
    As to safety issues I can totally assure that staying in Moscow is pretty safe. I mean, normally safe as in any other country. I was on the Red square several days ago at night (I’m young woman and was alone), it’s packed with crowds of tourists and nothing happens to anybody. Also do other parts of central area. Most shops work till 22.00; imagine 10 people queuing in Zara at 21.15. Metro closes at 00.30 and it’s always full of passengers, and so on. Police don’t take money from tourists, no 🙂
    Moscow is rather different than St.Petersbourg, it’s right, but it’s because of different atmosphere, architecture etc. But it’s also european and normal. We have some problems but they are internal and don’t refer to tourists.

    I myself cannot imagine, how you are not afraid of going solo in Thailand! It’s so far, exotic and speaking it’s language – I would be really embarrassed with all this.

    1. Hi Helen,
      I’m so sorry for my late reply.

      It’s good to hear from a local, especially because of the positive things you mention about Moscow. I’ve heard from several Moscovites now that it’s safe and more easy to visit than I imagined, which is really great. Thank you for taking the time to share this!

      As for Thailand.. It makes me feel safe that it’s touristy. The country is used to tourists and they speak English. Assault of travelers is relatively rare, and when they do happen, we hear about it in the news. Another thing is that you always meet other travelers, which makes you feel like you’re never alone. That last point helps a lot when you’re on your own.

  12. Hi Miriam,
    I am currently on a trip in SPB with my partner. He is here for work and I am spending time alone in the city when he is at work. I am Britsh and my partenr is Russian so I do have the advantage of his support if i ever need him. I can understand and relate to your post about solo travel as a woman as I do at times feel a bit afraid. but I can also assure you that Moscow is safe. It has a completely different atmosphere. I personally love Moscow more than SPB even in the winter it is beautiful. people are open, welcoming and diverse. I met people of diffrent nationalities who lived and worked there. For example a Russian woman who I met on my trip to Moscow at the time, came with me to help me find a wedding dress. She brought along snacks, we had coffee and long conversations with the women in the shop. My spoken Russian is very basic and I am quite shy to speak, but that did not stop me or them in comunication. SO DON’T BE AFRAID TO TRAVEL TO MOSCOW SOLO. 🙂
    I personaly love seeing parts of Russia that are away from the big citys. The forests that go as far as the eye can see. Rivers that are so big, I feel like I am at the coast line. To stand at a place where 100, 000s of normal Russian men with familys and loved ones never returned from during the war, that is still scatterd with shrapnel and the scars still show on the landscape, it all takes your breath away. But I would not recommend traveling to smaller arears alone not just because of saftey but also language barrers, knowlage of the local area and so on. which I think could be applied to all countries.

    1. Steph, thanks for your in-depth comment and insight about Moscow and Russia in general. It’s good to hear the positive remarks! I had a really good impression of the Russian people when I was in St. Petersburg; everyone was helpful and nice to me. Although I probably wouldn’t visit alone, I’d love to explore Moscow at some point.

      Thanks for your two cents!

  13. Hi,
    Thanks for the article, just stumbled across it while planning my own trip 🙂

    I have been dreaming of visiting Russia for years! And my Russian friend visited last December, and im planning a trip there next year. Ive recently ended up travelling alone (unexpectedly, due to changes in my boat from St Helena!!) through South Africa, a country I love dearly, but never thought id travel through alone. As it was….I had no choice. Although I was scared at times, I shall admit it (!), I always tried to never show it, and took precautions such as dressing like a tramp, and avoiding certain areas, and blending in. I tend to have a lot of trust in certain people, more than others have, and any trip to SA is bound to come with safety concerns – I knew what I was doing was potentially dangerous, but at the same time just accepted that there was nothing I could do more than what I had done to protect myself, and that some risks are worth taking. Accepting I was in a dangerous place, sometimes having no choice but to be alone after dark, meant I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, instead of constantly worrying. Also people who show a lot of fear tend to be those targeted – a vicious cycle 🙂 As I said, there were times when my heart was in my mouth…..I was drawing unwanted attention from people on beaches in Durban…..and having already been seriously attacked before (on my tiny island in the middle of the Atlantic….not a dangerous place whatsoever), that was daunting. I put it down to the fact I was in South Africa….what was I to expect?! 🙂 Anyway, I ended my trip back in my little spot of paradise, which for a lot of people is their idea of some sort of hell – the township of Soweto, in Johannesburg. And suffice to say…..I was not “Shot, stabbed, and killed” !! A lot of people were shocked that I would set foot in Jo’burg, let alone as a lone female, and venture into Soweto 🙂 I would not change any of it for the world, the good or the bad. Its all part of the adventure, and on my last night in Soweto I cried into my dinner 🙂

    I am writing a book mainly for myself called “3000 miles in the wrong direction” which documents my travels from St Helena to Cape Town, then onto Johannesburg alone. Someone suggested I could do a blog, but I honestly dont think its blogworthy – so many other people will have done it (!). So a self published book it is….

    I hope my next book will be called “Moscow – the long way! ” as im planning to get a boat from Newcastle to Amsterdam, then bus it to Copenhagen, then onto Stockholm before boarding a boat to Riga and a train to Moscow 🙂

    Perhaps I will come back via Kiev and Warsaw…not sure yet. Forgot to mention – flight phobia 🙂 And the long distance train from Paris is very expensive 🙂

    Thanks again 🙂

  14. Hi Miriam,
    Such an interesting article. I travelled solo to Moscow a few years ago. It was my first solo trip in 15 years at the age of 44 after a divorce and I have to say I was nervous waiting at customs but soon as I’d navigated ton the train and metro to my hotel I felt fine. I felt totally comfortable in Moscow it’s an amazing city and the people always helped me when I did get lost. Since then I’ve taken Russian classes it inspired me so much and now I can sort of hold a conversation!
    This year I hope to travel maybe to Georgia or to the south of Russia solo again. I think sometimes it’s other people’s reactions to you travelling alone which bothers me more and I mean colleagues etc not at your destination and having to explain yourself?! I’m like “do you never walk around London alone?!”
    Anyway all the best in your travels!

    1. Wow, Catherine, Russian classes? Well done! A lot of people don’t understand the need for solo travel. And honestly, I can’t help but think these people don’t feel comfortable in their own company – because why else would it be a problem to travel somewhere alone and spend time by yourself?

      Keep doing what you do, keep following those dreams. So many (women especially) end up not going although they want to, so I’m genuinely happy every time I hear from someone who went for it!

      All the best in your travels!

  15. Hi, Miriam
    Very interesting post and conversation. I´ll be travelling to Russia (Moscu, Saint Petersburg, Sochi and others) in june for three weeks. And found the conversation so interesting.
    Could you please give me any advice? Thank you and greetings

  16. I travel solo all the time and I didn’t need to read articles to get me to do it, I did it out of my intuition when I was 19 for first time (I’m a woman by the way 26 years old now). I say if you are reading articles about solo travel and are scared then you probably shouldn’t solo travel. Solo travel is for people that feel comfortable being by themselves no matter where they are or who they are around. These individuals are extremely confident and secure in themselves. If you feel uncomfortable at times to eat in restaurant alone then you are not a “true” solo traveler. I feel confident being anywhere and eating by myself no matter how many stares I get and no I don’t need a phone or a book to make me feel more comfortable. That’s another thing. If you need anything to get you distracted from feeling uncomfortable then you don’t really understand the point of solo traveling. The whole idea to travel by yourself is to be able to reflect on your thoughts and experiences. I mostly travel by myself for two main reasons: I don’t like to negotiate with anyone on places to see and where to stay and another biggest reason is that traveling with friends gets me distracted from truly experiencing the culture which is the whole point of going there (I can’t reflect on my experience when I am with someone). I traveled with my friends once and the whole trip we were fighting about where we would stay and where we would go. Not fun and a waste of time and money. Anyways, my point is if you need to read article to get you to solo travel then you are not ready for it nor are you really a solo traveler, that’s mostly ego instead of true intuition. I didn’t even have a term for it until I stumbled upon this article now. For me it was just traveling, apparently for you it’s solo travel loll. Nor are you supposed to dare yourself to go against your comfort zone, that’s ego too. I travel by myself but I want all the comfort I need no matter where I am. My comfort zone defines who I am and since I like who I am I have no intention of going against it, unless it’s for making me better. But that wouldn’t be going against my comfort zone, that would be increasing it. I don’t travel to unsafe countries either mostly because I’m not interested in them. Like India for example. If I wanted to see waste ridden land all I have to do is go look at sewage disposal instead of flying for 20 hours somewhere. Also, I’m Ukrainian and I find it so amusing that you consider Eastern European countries unsafe though lol. It’s good to know how Western Europeans view Eastern Europeans truthfully. Unfortunately, you are right. For me it’s not that they are unsafe, I just don’t find them as scenic as Mid Europe and Western Europe. However, in places like St. Petersberg you should be more worried about getting robbed than hurt. Money scams are very prevalent in Russia. Such money hungry people there, it’s gross. I feel gross for much of “my” people (I don’t really consider them my people I feel closer to United Kingdom cultures).

    1. Hi Irene,
      I think it’s great that you’re confident enough to travel on your own without being scared or stepping out of your comfort zone. Unfortunately, that’s not the reality for many women (or men). Traveling solo can be a very frightening experience, and sometimes you need a little encouragement and reassurance that you’ll be all right. That’s what I hope to do with my blog. Maybe you can do the same one day for someone who wants to travel alone, but is afraid to.

      All the best.

  17. Hey Miriam,
    of course it’s always okay to write about personal experience, but I get the impression that yours is based on prejudice. Was there actually something scary that happened to you, or was is just that “the russian” is generally depicted as someone to be afraid of? I’m a girl and I travelled Russia from east to west (took me three months), and I think there are no more or less safety concerns than there are in Europe. And especially public transport is so easy and safe to use! When you arrive at a train station at night, for example, they have guarded dorms where you can rest, and in the nigth trains there are always employees looking out for the travellers, asking if everything is okay etc. I spent days in busses and trains, always found someone to chat at share meals on the way… I went out, I roamed the streets at night in different cities, and never experienced anything that made me feel uneasy. That doesn’t mean it never happens happen, of course, but just let me say that I get verbally harrassed in Berlin quite often, and that kind of thing never happened to me in Russia. If you meet people with a relaxed and open attitude, they will most probably react to you in the same way.

  18. My mom and I traveled together to Russia in 2013. I was forty-six at the time and my mom almost seventy. It was my first international trip and we decided to forgo traveling with group, mainly because we like to drink coffee leisurely in the morning. It was insanely intimidating, especially Moscow. We started in St Petersburg then took the night train to Moscow. After a few days in Moscow we traveled by train to Nab Chelny in Tatarstan to meet up with my sister in law and her family. I loved it but can relate to the sensation of always feeling a little on edge. It was an adventure not a vacation. That said, I’m aching to return to St Petersburg. There was too much to see and so little time.

    1. Thank you, Janet. You described the feeling we shared perfectly!

      I, too, would love to return (and see much more of Russia), but I’ll bring someone next time 🙂

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