My Inspiration for Solo Travel

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Where did I find my inspiration for solo travel? In 1992 I hadn’t traveled very much yet. As a kid my family made an annual trip to Vancouver Island to visit my grandparents. I had taken a couple of trips to Europe for two or three weeks at a time and I always had a travel companion.


1993 passport stamps


Still living in my hometown of Calgary, Alberta and working at the same company for a number of years, now bored with my job. I enjoyed working there but the work wasn’t challenging anymore.

Recently divorced and living on my own for the first time in my life, I enjoyed living in the city center where there were always things to do and plenty of restaurants and bars.  Visiting nearby Prince’s Island Park I took time to relax and daydream while sitting by the Bow River.

READ: 10 Inspirational travel quotes about every day life


Solo travel spark of inspiration

One evening I happened to watch the National Geographic special Bali: Masterpiece of the Gods. The Hindu Dharma religion practiced in Bali is based on an intriguing blend of Hinduism, Buddhism and ancestor/spirit worship. I found the whole culture fascinating, the rituals, artwork, music, and dance performances. It seemed a utopia for artists. I was mesmerized. The overwhelming desire to go see this magical place had enveloped me. I couldn’t stop thinking about it.


Hand carved masks - Bali, Indonesia

Hand carved masks – Bali, Indonesia


The initial spark of inspiration struck and my mind couldn’t let go of the possibility that I could actually travel to Bali, Indonesia. I decided my next vacation would be my very first solo trip. I was extraordinarily excited.

Planning a solo trip

I had studied for a year at the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary and still had a keen interest in the arts. My favorite subjects in school included math and art, and since I decided that I couldn’t make it as an artist I veered back to math and enjoyed working in accounting. I enjoy planning and organizing and maybe that’s part of what appeals to me about accounting. Planning skills also come in handy when traveling.

READ: Traveling Alone Tips for Planning Solo Travel

My original plan was to take three weeks vacation to visit Bali. When I started telling my friends about my plans a few of them told me that I should instead go for a year and travel around since the cost of the airfare was so pricey but the cost of living once there would be so cheap. A few of my coworkers had traveled around the world before and their stories intrigued me.


Balinese dancers - Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Balinese dancers – Ubud


Researching travel guides

I scoured bookstores and the library for books about travel and the idea of traveling for more than just a few weeks became my new goal. I started to believe that this little dream could become a reality.

Everything seemed to fall into place. Replacing the boredom of my job with excitement over the idea of long term travel, I soon decided to quit my job in order to travel. I purchased the Lonely Planet guide Southeast Asia on a Shoestring and started saving my money.

At the time I had been exploring the Hindu and Buddhist religions on my own and I had seen the Glenbow Museum’s Many Faces, Many Paths: Art of Asia exhibit a few times already. The stone sculptures were impressive as were the stories of the many gods and goddesses and the rituals of their followers.

I became a frequent visitor to the exhibit, dreaming about viewing such stone carvings in the ancient temples that I would soon visit when I traveled to Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand.


Lion carving - Wat Pho in Bangkok, Thailand

Lion carving – Wat Pho in Bangkok, Thailand


From dream to reality

I began to make my travel plans and purchased my airline ticket for a January 1993 departure date. I didn’t make a complete itinerary for my travels but had a few places in mind that I wanted to see and the rest would be decided along the way. The buildup of anticipation before departure was an elixir.

The spark that inspired me was so simple, just a chance viewing of a TV show. I’ve since found inspiration to travel to Buenos Aires after going to see an art exhibit. And wanting to escape the summer heat of Texas I looked to the Southern hemisphere, I booked a trip to Rio de Janeiro to enjoy their winter.

Wherever and whenever the wanderlust spark strikes I hope you will embrace it.


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About the Author

Susan Moore spent 7 months traveling solo around Southeast Asia back in the 90's. Returning to Canada she found a job working on rotation in Siberia Russia. She later moved to Austin Texas where she started a bookkeeping business, allowing her to work remotely. Currently Susan is in year 5 of a solo road trip around the USA and Canada, living a nomadic life, and writing about her experiences with a focus on hiking and cultural encounters. Read all about Susan » You can reach Susan Moore at Facebook or Twitter or Instagram

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