Introduce yourself 🙂 Who are you? And which country do you come from or call home?
My name is Diane Miriam and the USA is home for me, I am from Milwaukee, WI, currently residing in Chicago, IL. I am a two time graduate of Florida A & M University (FAMU), lover of travel and music with a mean sweet tooth! My goal is to see as much of the world as possible and hopefully inspire others to do the same.
Where have you been?
I’ve been to Cuba (Havana), Canada (Toronto), South Africa (Cape Town), Indonesia (Bali), Vietnam (Da Nang), Australia (Sydney), Thailand (Bangkok & Chiang Mai), Colombia (Cartagena), and a few cities within the USA.
What has inspired you to start travelling solo?
I watched my aunt and sister travel when I was young, and I’ve been travelling since I was about 12yrs old. The school I attended made it a priority to travel and learn. We went everywhere and took an international trip to Europe by the time we graduated from high school. I’ve never lost that lust for travel, the people, the adventure, and learning about different cultures.
What was your family’s reaction to your travelling idea?
They are used to it, it’s more of a question of “where are you going now?” opposed to “why are you going?”. My family knows if anyone is going to go, it’s me.
Many people are reluctant to travel solo because they feel like they’ll be alone and won’t meet anyone. What’s your experience?
I meet people everywhere I go, it just happens naturally most times for me. From the people I’ve spent New Year’s Eve within Bali that I met during Karaoke and a lovely lady from Canada at a Bali beach club, to the person I met living in Cartagena from Atlanta, GA, you just say hello sometimes, ask a question, or meet people on excursions/tours that you are solo on. Let my sister tell it, I meet people everywhere I go. I do understand it’s not so easy for some, but a “hi, where are you from?” Can go a long way.
In how far do you think travelling has changed you and your view of the world?
Travelling has made me more aware of my surroundings, near and far. By relying on myself as a solo traveller, I’ve navigated situations differently, I have a lot more patience, increased my problem-solving skills, and my appreciation of the beauty of all that God has created come more and more to life with each place I visit. I view the world as a puzzle as well, there are so many places that I never knew I could fit in, but with each country, each city, I realize that there is some part of us all, across the world that is the same.
The biggest concern for travelling solo as a female is safety. What would you tell women who want to travel solo but worry about their safety?
Just do it, but don’t do it blindly, do your research! There are so many resources that you can find online, search travel groups, and follow the current news in your desired destination. I would recommend to not let the fears of others become yours, for example, a friend can tell you “oh, I’d never go there, I knew someone who went alone to (probably a place nowhere near your destination), and they were alone and (insert bad situation here)”; your journey isn’t anyone else’s, just be alert. There are a couple of things I am sure to do before I travel, and they include:
1. Register with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), this allows you to let the embassy know what dates you are there, they can alert you with current safety and security information, and it’s free
2. Download the map for my destination on and app called MAPS.ME. This app allows you to retrieve the map and information (including directions) offline. So if you are without cellphone reception, you can still find your way
3. Make a photocopy, or two, of my passport. I keep one on me and one in my room
4. Send your itinerary to someone reliable, and if you have a rolling itinerary (you may just be going with the flow), at the least send your arrival and departure info
5. Look behind you. Yes, sometimes we walk on our merry little way without looking behind you periodically to see if someone could be following you
6. Keep the lie alive! Don’t tell people you are solo, at least not everyone, use discernment. Sometimes people let you know their intentions are ill by the questions they ask or the way they ask them, their demeanour, etc, be wise!
7. Make sure your ride share (Uber/Lyft/Grab) is your ride; check pics and plates
8. Find out what the emergency number is for the city you are in
9. Set up a travel alert for your debit/credit cards
All this is to say have fun, don’t become overwhelmed with the expectation of things going wrong, just be ready and be aware.
What should every solo female traveller pack?
I pack light! However, this would possibly depend on where you are headed. I would say though have a mobile cell phone charger, flashlight, sunscreen, an extra credit card for emergencies, bug spray, and a first aid kit.
How do you afford your travels, and what tips can you share for keeping costs down while on the road?
My first choice for destinations is those that are reasonable for me or I catch a sale. I search for Google Flights religiously, and I am sure to keep my dates flexible which helps. I started a travel fund that I contribute to after my other responsibilities are taken care of, most times its small amounts. Also, have multiple streams of income if you can, remote work is great, I’ve also done focus groups and applied those gift cards to flights, and I also own property that I rent out. I also diversity my lodging arrangements, I am not too good for a hostel or Airbnb, I’ve also done hotels as well. Also, I like to use public transportation sometimes in other countries which can come out to be much less than the taxi’s. Lastly, take a look at where your money is going and where you can cut back; too many happy hours, trips to Target (we know how that goes), just frivolous spending in general all add up and could be funds used for travel.
What is the one thing you know now that you wish you knew before you started?
If I had known how much easier it is to travel solo, I would have gone internationally alone a lot sooner, my first international solo trip was in 2017.
Do you ever think to yourself, “Shit, what am I doing? Shouldn’t I be back home now and own a flat or house or something?”
This is tough to answer because I live a flat and I own a home. Even when I took a year off from work to travel here and there, I had both. My only thought was, “maybe I should give the flat up and just stay abroad”, I was able to maintain both financially.