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Soul-Searching Solo Trip for 33yo Female. Advice Appreciated

Tampa, Florida
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Soul-Searching Solo Trip for 33yo Female. Advice Appreciated

Hi! I recently lost my unemployment and have some extra time and money to do something really crazy. I want to find a great trip idea where I can be alone, see some amazing cities and scenery, and just escape for a while during either December, January or February (most likely). I am not looking for a trip to meet other travelers or singles so I'd like to do something that is great for a completely solo traveler and doesn't require sharing time with others or meeting people to have a good time.

I'd like to see some of the most amazing places the world has to offer. I'm not afraid of getting dirty, being very physically active, or staying in safe hostiles or possibly camping to save on money. I don't really like being cold so a southern hemisphere trip might be the best way to go for the time I have, but I'm open to suggestion.

Some ideas/areas I've considered: Japan is my #1 destination although I suppose that's not the best place to go for now, an Australian walkabout, Machu Picchu, Greece perhaps, Egypt, Thailand. Really I'm not sure. If I could only take one trip ever, what is the best experience to have? Maybe something that includes a little of many different things? I love the idea of culture, beautiful vast mind-blowing scenery, rich, lively, culturally abundant cities, and even smaller lesser known peasant towns. Either way I want to plan the most amazing trip possible where I can get the most from it. I have about $6k saved up.

Side note: I am 100% vegetarian (no fish or poultry either) so an area I can eat in would be great. I might do fish if I absolutely need to get by, but definitely not land grazing animals.

I realize this is quite a bit to take in so I really appreciate any helpful input from the experienced world travelers out there.

Cheers!

England, United...
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1. Re: Soul-Searching Solo Trip for 33yo Female. Advice Appreciated

Is there a place you have always wanted to see since childhood? If you could only choose only one place to go or something you hav always wanted to do/see in your life where would it be? Japan seems to be it. Why not go there now?

Australia is very easy to do as it is geared up to people travelling as their weather is conducive to it. I loved it and found I could find info on trains, ferries, coaches etc online. Whale watching in Hervey Bay is an incredible experience, it has rainforest and reefs too. I went to a little private island right on the reef and just walked out of the door to swim with the fish & turtles. It was the cheapest too. It has a huge variety of climates & scenery.

Egypt is very different but if you want to wander it would be best to wait until after the elections I would think.

Greece & Turkey are amazing places. Thailand beautiful, and so much in South America. Only you can decide.

I wouldn't worry about your diet, it is easy to find foods to suit wherever you are. People are amazingly accommodating.

Tampa, Florida
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2. Re: Soul-Searching Solo Trip for 33yo Female. Advice Appreciated

Thank you Suebovington. I'll give it some more thought. It's good to know my diet won't be an issue :)

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3. Re: Soul-Searching Solo Trip for 33yo Female. Advice Appreciated

I know Japan and a little bit of Greece (Athens).

Japan is a fantastic destination for solo travellers, and it's an amazing country.

London, England
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4. Re: Soul-Searching Solo Trip for 33yo Female. Advice Appreciated

Have a look at insidejapantours.com/self-guided-japan-holid… for great ideas for visiting Japan.

I took their self guided garden tour a few years ago, but they let me stretch the 2 weeks to 3 1/2 weeks, drop one destination, add a couple more and have one of the most wonderful holiday I have ever had.

A couple of the itineraries seem to be especially designed for winter.

The second time I went to Japan, I just gave them a list of places I thought sounded interesting and we talked through (by email) the best ones to visit.

Inside Japan then organises all the acommodation and transport (including tickets for buses and ferries!) and provides a customised booklet setting out the intinerary, including photos of your hotels, the address in Japanese and in English and directions on how to get there from the railway station. They also will organise a day or two with a private guide or special experiences. (I'm going to a Sumo match this summer and, if I have the courage, a drumming lesson on Sado Island)

They can give you the information about where to get vegetarian food (and pre-order it for you during any stay at a ryoken)

Some of the Buddhist monasteries on Mount Koya are very comfortable, take visitors and serve fantastic vegetarian food. You can stay for a night , a few nights or a week.

On the right side of the IJ website, there is an interactive map which lets you find out about all sorts of places you might not have thought about.

The company is based in Bristol, England but can work by email anywhere in the world.

I have always organised my own trips, but this company is so competant, efficient,and fun to deal with that I am a complete convert.

Japan is perfect for the solo traveller. It is so clean you could eat off the pavements and not get sick, things run efficiently so you don't find yourself stranded at 2 in the morning because the bus has broken down and with a modicum of wit, it is incredibly safe.

(Inside Japan also provides a 24 hour number in Japan to ring in an emergency.)

This is a very good time to travel to Japan, unless Fukishima is your number one destination.

Most of the country is unaffected by the sunami and meltdown. Visitor numbers are down a bit, so you are especially welcome. IJ seems to be able to get good prices and can get around the difficulties a woman can have trying to reserve a place at a ryoken as a single woman.

The country is also less expensive to travel in than you might think (although more than the countries in Souteast Asia). I found it a bit less expensive to travel in than the USA.

It took me far too long to get to Japan, a country I dreamed of for years. (I had a cat named Basho at university) I wish I had started early enough to go for a couple of years and really start to learn Japanese.

Edited: 4:08 pm, November 24, 2011
England, United...
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5. Re: Soul-Searching Solo Trip for 33yo Female. Advice Appreciated

Reading Legals post reminded me, though it's not on your list, I met a young girl in India who had a hired car that took her to the places she wanted to visit and was there to wait for her when she wanted to move on. This was done through a travel company and should be otherwise the driver will take you to places he will get a commission on and not necessarily nice ones.

Indias food is largely vegetarian. The same can be done in Sri Lanka and is somewhat cheaper. I also have the name of a very good and reliable travel agent there should you need it. He has been highly praised on TA and when I met him turned out to be aquainted with one of my neighbours! Its a small world.

Edited: 6:44 pm, November 24, 2011
Houston, Texas
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6. Re: Soul-Searching Solo Trip for 33yo Female. Advice Appreciated

I agree with the others. If Japan is your #1 destination, then go for it and make it work. Just do it and make it happen.

Victoria, Canada
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7. Re: Soul-Searching Solo Trip for 33yo Female. Advice Appreciated

Japan will not be warm in jan-feb,, neither will greece they are not southern hemisphere...plus I do not agree that this is a time to visit Japan,, unless you like radiation.. ok,, realize mainstream media is making it seem like everything is contained to one area but many do not believe it,, and I am one of them.

Greece , while not warm is a great place,, but right now they are having a bit of unrest,, that and the weather may steer you away from there right now.

I know timing is a tough one,, since you have to go in winter,, and both those places will not be warm.

I think you are considering hostels,, ( not hostiles,, which do not sound safe at all,, lol ) so perhaps you should check out some posts on the Lonely Planet Forums,, many younger or young at heart posters there and slightly more budget friendly suggestions then you may find here.

Hong Kong, China
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8. Re: Soul-Searching Solo Trip for 33yo Female. Advice Appreciated

Just a quick, off the top suggestion!

For stunning beauty - Go to New Zealand

For amazing wildlife - Go to South Africa or Kenya/Tanzania and/or India

For traditional culture - Go to Europe

For cheap, beaches and culture - Go to SE Asia and India

For food - Go to Thailand, India, Italy and France (among others).

For a great time, do them all as a RTW trip.

Sydney/Melbourne
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9. Re: Soul-Searching Solo Trip for 33yo Female. Advice Appreciated

Sometimes if you think about others you find out a lot about yourself.

How about going someplace and doing volunteer work for a couple of months?

http://www.rovolunteers.com/

www.globalvolunteernetwork.org/?ref=ganza

http://www.workingabroad.com/

There are lots of others in almost every country in the world.

O'Fallon, Illinois
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10. Re: Soul-Searching Solo Trip for 33yo Female. Advice Appreciated

You said Japan is your number one and I agree with you. Go! I went to Japan for a week and it was honestly the best week of my life. Explored Tokyo, rode the Shinkansen to Kyoto and explored temples/bamboo forests, ate a lot of amazing food, rode all the way north to Hachinohe and explored the rural parts up there. Lots to see and it's amazing. I can't wait to go back. Of all the places I've been, Japan was and will always be the best. BTW I'm pretty sure it's safe now.