Heidi Sohdy: Personally speaking, I believe that traveling can rescue me from depression or from any negative feelings I might be experiencing. When I decided to travel alone for the first time, I had quit my job due to some problems at work. I decided to go to Turkey and make an online clothes sale there, even though this had nothing to do with my usual field of work. To be honest, whenever I feel sad I just do something I love doing, something I’m passionate about; it’s how I always fight back in life. There were two challenges I faced: to travel alone and to succeed in what I was going to do and I believe that I have succeeded in both!
BSH: What is your favorite thing about traveling solo? And your least favorite thing?
HS: What I love most about traveling alone is that there is nothing else in the world that can make me feel as strong and as capable of doing anything, anytime, anywhere. Traveling alone is like saying: “Yes, I can!” It just gets that pesky word impossible out of my life’s dictionary. And to answer your second question, actually I don’t hate anything about traveling alone, but this doesn’t mean that I don’t love traveling with my family or friends. It simply means that I happen to also love discovering and enjoying things on my own.
BSH: You visited France, England, Spain, Turkey, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Belgium, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Malaysia in just four short years. What are your plans for the future? Any particular countries you wish to visit?
HS: I dream to see the whole world; but I would really love to visit Moscow. It is my dream to be there on my 30th birthday, but I don’t think that can happen because I’ve already traveled so much lately. I will keep dreaming, who knows, maybe it’s going to happen!
BSH: You mentioned that Switzerland is the favorite country you’ve visited so far, can you please share why?
HS: Switzerland is just so fancy! It is a special place in Europe, so unique! It is like a dream! It’s as if you are living inside a sliver of history.
BSH: How do you prepare for your solo trips?
HS: Like everyone else does! Nothing special, I just get my documents ready, I make appointments for the embassy and after I am granted the visa, I start searching for the best flight possible using applications such as Skyscanner and Expedia. After that, I book my accommodation online and start to search information on Google about the places I can visit there. Then, I try to find out how to move around that country, I search for buses, trains and even internal flights. I also check the time period of every trip, such as the number of hours each trip lasts, and also the price, the means of transportation and the departure and arrival cities for buses and trains. With the help of Google Maps I learn how to get to my hotel; I simply print the map or even take a screenshot and that’s it!
BSH: Is your safety, as a solo woman traveler, something that is always at the back of your mind? Or do you simply forget that it might be an issue and enjoy your trip?
HS: Honestly, I never thought of it that way; of course I think about my safety but not as a woman, I think of it as a person, in general, because I think that dangerous situations won't differentiate women from men. A dangerous situation is just a dangerous situation and the only thing that can be different is how a person deals with that situation.
BSH: What reaction do you elicit from people you meet during your travels?
HS: The word I have heard the most while traveling is brave. “Oh, are you traveling alone? Oh, what a brave girl!”
BSH: You mentioned that one of the main challenges that women who love to travel face in our society is to get the parents’ permission. What do your parents have to say about your travels and have they always been supportive of you?
HS: I always say that without my family's understanding, I would not be able to do anything. They have always encouraged me and they have been so proud of me from the beginning. This is such a blessing to have!
BSH: Please share with our readers a few of your favorite activities when traveling. What do you love to do for fun?
HS: I would love to skydive, but unfortunately every time I try, it just doesn't work out. I’m sure that one day I will do it! In general, I enjoy the nature of the place I’m in. Besides, every destination always has something special about it.
BSH: And lastly, what advice would you have for solo women travelers?
HS: The most important thing in my opinion is that they should realize that they can do it. They must have a fair amount of self-confidence and they need to know that in the end, everything will be okay. I believe that everything happens just the way you want it to happen, if you believe in it. I also think that they should always be calm and not try to save money by sacrificing their safety when it comes to choosing a hotel. Also, always keep your family aware about where you are at, always keep your hotel card and your identity papers on you, wherever you go.
So, has Heidi’s insatiable positivity rub off on you? Are you going to give solo travel a try this year? Check out what our 259 organizers have to offer right here! Find out more about Heidy by visiting her Facebook community page, I Travel, and her website, I Travel by Heidi Sohdy.