Picture this – a world without people in it. Travelling to other countries without anybody to see or talk to. Sure there would still be art and beautiful beaches. But if there were either no people there, or everybody was the same, travel would simply be dull.
Culture or language would not exist without people. Some of my favourite experiences while travelling have only been brought to life because of the people that surrounded me, even if they were just…. strangers.
I love photographing strangers while I’m travelling. If I see people talking in a photograph, I imagine what they are talking about, or where they are walking to. Watching people celebrate festivals or even funerals in a different way than I have only known in my own, “normal” life, is magnificent.
Here are my favourite photographs of strangers that I have taken during my travels over the world.
I feel that photographing strangers is the best way to reflect on your travels and really discover the culture of the places you visit. You can learn so much from people you don’t know.
I have travelled solo on several occasions. It is different to travelling with companions because you connect more with your surroundings and the culture and really find yourself.
In developed or the western world, being female isn’t an issue. However, in some countries travelling alone as a woman can be a problem. I’ve lost count of the times locals asked me where my husband was when I was travelling alone. This doesn’t overly concern me but there are some destinations I would think twice about venturing to with just my backpack.
I have compiled a list of the top ten destinations recommended for solo female travellers, based on culture, shock factor, variety, personal experience and recommendations. These are also fantastic destinations for chaps too!
In fact all of the west coast of America including San Francisco, LA and Vegas. Seattle is popular with solo travellers because of the many tourist attractions which include the infamous space needle, Pike Place market, Ballard lochs, the great wheel and the many, many beautiful parks. It’s a fabulous city nestled next to incredibly beautiful forests, parks and ferry boats to take in the views.
2. New York City
New York, New York. What can I say? With Times Square, radio city hall, Madison square garden, shopping, theatres, sightseeing and architecture, Central Park and the Statue of Liberty, the city is your best friend when you are travelling there. You don’t need actual friends too.
3. Great Britan.
With places like London, the New Forest, Cornwall, Wales, the Peak and Lake districts, Scotland and Ireland, you don’t need travel companions, just a lot of time to see it all. Castles and countryside, cities and lakes.. We are a lovely welcoming bunch over here anyway, come and say hi!
Barcelona is one of my favourite European cities and I would travel months here by myself in a heartbeat. It’s got everything anybody could want in a city; charm, culture, impossibly beautiful buildings, a stunning beach, great nightlife, history and museums and a huge selection of music and food options.
5. Sri Lanka
A friend of mine lived in Sri Lanka for many months, volunteering in a turtle sanctuary. She loved it, felt very safe and made heaps of friends. Sri Lanka is beautiful, has loads of gorgeous beaches and bustling towns and the people are very welcoming.
Anyone who has been will know that Thailand is one of the friendliest and most welcoming countries in the world, not to mention luminous. It attracts backpackers from all over the world so you are sure to make friends to travel with. It’s vast landscape means much time can be spent city surfing or island hopping.
7. South America
This is very broad, I admit. But the countries recommended would be Peru (for Machu Picchu), Argentina and cross the border into Chile, Buenos Aires and Rio for the yearly famous carnival.
I had the most incredible experience of my life travelling Bali solo. It’s a magical place with beautiful people and indescribable landscapes. There is so much to see and do from white water rafting to cooking classes, riding a bike through Ubud, visiting markets or surfing.
Many Brits head over to Oz on a working visa and never return home. I can’t imagine why, with all of that sunshine, beer and beaches on offer.
10. New Zealand
National parks, waterfalls, movie sets. It’s one of the most ‘liveable’ places in the world and attracts backpackers worldwide.
1. The indescribably loud street noise. Drunken ramblings and shouting appear to occur 24/7, the odd song is broken into or words such as ‘Guinness!’ Randomly yelled out from every direction.
2. Many types of interesting guests – there’s the sweet and excitable American girls, moody solo girl, angry hairy leather guy, no spoken English guy who sits near you and smiles, but says nothing, drunken couple in love and hooking up on the staircase and Irish guys who are on a “why not” booze up.
3. It is apparently acceptable for the neighbours to crank up the electro house music randomly at 4am (walls are made of paper).
4. They have two plug sockets and one toilet for nearly 30 people to share on each floor. Oh, and it is unlikely you will have a locker.
5. Many different varieties of smells during the night. There is very noticeable garlic breath. Much vodka / beer breath and also vomit breath creeps in occasionally. You may be extra lucky and have smelly feet or wet shoes airing out in your room.
6. Everybody is drunk. This also means if you are on the bottom bunk then you stand a pretty good chance of being hurled on by your upstairs neighbour.
7. Literally constant sirens passing by all night… All day.
8. Instead of talking in their sleep, your room mates may be singing in their sleep.
9. People are the best of friends and happy at night. Not a word is spoken, nor eye contact made during breakfast.
10. Taking a shower will probably result in being less clean than before you went in.
Despite of all of these quirky traits, there is something so bewitching about this magical city. The locals have a spring in their step that I don’t see in England. (Probably the copious amounts of alcohol in their bloodstream, but still…) Hotels are overpriced in Dublin so staying in a hostel if you are travelling solo is a total no brainier.
Personally, I stayed at the Abbey Court Hostel by O’connell bridge / temple bar. The location is fab if you want central. It is extremely ‘no frills’ and If you are going for the party scene and a bed to crash on, it’s ideal. There are only two pubs on the road which is bloody noisy, but I understand some of the other hostels are actually louder. Basically, if you want to sleep during your visit to Dublin, either find a hostel that is not central, or pay for a hotel.