The First Time Solo Travel Empowered Me

Q. When did you first feel empowered when traveling?

A. I was dead scared of traveling alone for the first time. This was when I was 15. I had lived in the U.S. As an undocumented immigrant from age 3-14, and I would be traveling back to Mexico, alone to visit (and basically meet) my family in León, Guanajuato and Morelia, Michoacan. I had always flown with my family, but this was the first time I’d fly alone.

I told a family friend about how scared I was to navigate an airport alone. She assuredly me that I’d be fine, and she told me to “just follow the signs”. She was right. The experience was so worth it.

I remember flying into Mexico on Christmas Eve. Then going to a family gathering, where we would wait until midnight to eat beans, rice, tacos, codfish, and meat marinated in coca cola. Right at midnight, everyone got up to kiss each other on the cheek. I was in such shock to have strangers hug and kiss me- they treated me so much more differently from the Anglo, libertarian, reserved people I grew up with in rural Washington state.

Visiting my family in León, Guanajuato, as a teenager empowered me to travel alone.
Visiting my family in León, Guanajuato, as a teenager empowered me to travel alone. Photo by Flickr user Rodolfo Ramos

Since then, I’ve always “just followed the signs”. It’s true, if do this, you will be a more confident traveler.

If you can’t, then you ask for help. For every person who hasn’t helped me, there have been 1,000 who have.

What was your first solo travel experience like?

This excerpt is from an interview with E. Manville.
Featured image by Flickr user George Lezenby

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6 thoughts on “The First Time Solo Travel Empowered Me

  1. The first time solo traveling is always somewhet strange. Nevertheless, the experience is unique and definitely helps you in life! It’s great to hear that you learned a lot out of it, too 🙂

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      1. Oh wow it was so long ago… But yes that’s a great idea. Would most likely have been the trip to the holyland. Lots more to come from me this week so check out my blog when you can… And keep writing

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