Vulnerability and courage in solo travel

Posted by on Sep 27, 2013 in Courage for travel, Inspiring Women, Solo Travel | 9 comments

Vulnerability and courage in solo travel

I love Brene Brown’s TED talk quote “vulnerability is our most accurate measure of courage”.

I believe travel requires both vulnerability and courage.


What do you think?
Does it take a lot of courage to undertake a big journey (or any journey)?
Have you felt vulnerable, alone or afraid in a foreign country (or your own)?
Does your courage grow as you allow yourself to be vulnerable?
Is it vulnerability, fear or both that prevents you from going after your dreams?

I have certainly felt frightened and vulnerable.  The following paragraph is what I wrote in my journal just before I set off to ride my motorbike around the world.

“I found a picture of a group of penguins standing in front of a crevasse and one was leaping over.  That feels like me.  I feel as though I’m taking an enormous, risky leap while everyone else watches from a secure place.  I could cry with fear but I guess that’s natural and good.”

Getting to that place of having the courage to set off indefinitely around the world on a bike didn’t happen overnight.  I built up to it over several years.  I remember the very first business trip I took while I was still married. I’d never spent a night away from my husband and I was so excited about being paid to travel to the north of Australia. When I arrived and put my bag down in the hotel room, the realisation suddenly hit me….”Now what?  I’m all alone in a strange city – I have to go into the street and eat dinner alone – Maybe this isn’t quite so much fun after all.” I can’t remember whether I even ate dinner that night!


I believe that we can stretch our courage boundaries bit by bit, like eating the elephant (so to speak). Just take very small steps. Start by going to a movie alone, eating lunch alone (busy lunch cafes often have a selection of magazines and some even have big ‘shared’ tables for singles). Practice interacting with people wherever you go – start a conversation and have a laugh with the shop assistant, the waiter, someone in the street. Sit next to someone on a park bench or a bus and start chatting. Ask them about themselves and look for common ground.

Recently, a few women have told me of their travel fears and I am preparing another post to address some of those fears. Do you have any travel fears or trepidation about undertaking your next trip.

Please share here or on Facebook at It could be that you’re frightened of eating alone in a restaurant or you might be a little uncertain about travelling around the world. The size of the challenge doesn’t matter.  Let’s discuss it and I’ll help you get on the road to your dream destination.

(PS. The photo is taken at the end of the road in the Polynesian island nation, Tuvalu, the fourth smallest country in the world and the little boy is in northern Thailand.)


  1. I’m wondering why the comments section says it’s closed and trying to fix it. If you can’t comment here, please visit my facebook page at Thanks, Jane


    I took my first “serious” alone trip in June 2012, to Tofo, Mozambique. Truthfully, after a couple of days of “oh no, what if I cannot do this” I felt absolutely exhilarated to be doing it!
    Travels with Tam recently posted…A Message from RandyMy Profile

    • Hi Tam, Thanks so much for your response. I know exactly what you mean. Once you get over that initial trepidation, there’s no going back. The benefits of solo travel are huge and life-changing. Jane


    I’ve done a little bit of solo travelling, but even then I never felt alone because there was always someone close by to chat with and you know that old saying….everyone has a story.
    Tracey recently posted…Afghanistan: Why Go?My Profile

    • That’s so true Tracey. All friends were strangers before we met them. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.


    Traveling with a group is great. Traveling alone is even more awesome. You just have to be vigilant. Danger is everywhere.
    James Robinson recently posted…wish for psychicMy Profile

    • I totally agree with you, James. Thanks for your comment and the reminder to be vigilant, especially when travelling solo.


    I travel alone most of the time. It feels so awesome.
    Christopher James recently posted…Joshua Pellicer TaoMy Profile

    • Absolutely true, Christopher.

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