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The Joys of Travelling Alone

The Joys of Travelling Alone: A Journey of Self-Discovery

I was speaking with someone yesterday who said, “I couldn’t do what you do, and travel the world by myself.”  I considered her words overnight, and here is my response.

In an increasingly connected world, the idea of solitude might seem anachronistic. Yet, there lies an unparalleled charm in travelling alone, a journey that is as much about the world outside as it is about the world within. The joys of solo travel are manifold, each trip becoming a personal narrative of adventure, introspection, and growth.

1. Unbridled Freedom: Travelling alone means setting your own pace. There’s no need to compromise on destinations or activities. Want to spend an entire day at a museum or linger at a café, watching the world go by? There’s no one to rush you. You become the sole author of your travel story, making spontaneous decisions without the need for consensus.

2. Self-Reflection: Solo travel provides a unique opportunity for introspection. Away from the familiar, with only your thoughts for company, you can dive deep into self-reflection. It’s a chance to understand your desires, confront your fears, and rediscover yourself. Every trip becomes a journey of personal growth.

3. Building Resilience: Travelling alone is not without its challenges (especially in my case when one has mobility challenges). From navigating foreign public transportation to overcoming language barriers, you’ll face situations that test your patience and resourcefulness. Yet, with each challenge overcome, you’ll find yourself becoming more resilient and adaptable.

4. Richer Interactions: When you travel with others, your interactions are often limited to your travel companions. Travelling alone, you become more approachable. Locals and fellow travellers are more likely to strike up a conversation, leading to richer cultural exchanges and unexpected friendships. (I actually, among my closest friends are people I met while travelling alone)

5. Increased Mindfulness: Travelling solo, you become more attuned to your surroundings. Every sight, sound, and scent is amplified. Whether it’s the rustling of leaves, the distant hum of a market, or the intricate patterns of architecture, you’ll find yourself observing and appreciating nuances that might be missed in company.

6. Empowerment: There’s an undeniable sense of achievement in successfully planning and executing a solo trip. From booking accommodations to making on-the-spot decisions, every aspect of the journey reinforces your sense of independence. You gain a new-found confidence in your abilities.

7. Flexibility: Without a fixed itinerary or the preferences of travel companions to consider, you can be truly flexible. If a place resonates with you, stay longer. If another doesn’t, move on. This flexibility allows you to truly immerse yourself in places and experiences that captivate you.

8. Personal Growth: Each solo trip pushes you out of your comfort zone, challenging your perceptions and biases. You return with a broader perspective, having learned not just about different cultures, but also about your own strengths and weaknesses.

If we choose to see it as such, travelling alone is a celebration of one’s own company. It’s an invitation to connect deeply with the world and oneself. While the idea might seem daunting to some, the rewards of solo travel are profound. It’s a transformative experience, one that leaves you with cherished memories and invaluable life lessons. So, the next time you think of taking a trip, consider going it alone. It might just be the journey you’ve been waiting for.

~ Bella

Ms Bella St John – aka Luxurious Nomad

solo travel

Solo Travel Tips to Stay Safe and Have Fun!

Many people are amazed when they learn that I journey around the world as a solo traveller – and even more than that, I do not have a family ‘back home’ who know my every whereabouts and activity.

I truly am the epitome of a solo traveller!

While friends have a general idea of which country I am currently visiting, rarely could anyone give an exact location as to where I am staying and for how long.

  • I could never do that!

  • Aren’t you scared?

  • I can’t go to a movie by myself, let alone travel solo

These are just some of the comments I have heard over the years.

Before I get into some of my top suggestions and tips for travelling by yourself, there is one thing I really must mention first – and that is,

To be a successful solo traveller, you need to enjoy your own company!

While this may sound obvious, the only time I have ever encountered anyone who didn’t enjoy their solo travel experience was when that person was an extreme extrovert who adored and thrived on the company of others.

Despite the fact that I have had a relatively public career, I am quite a strong introvert and I intensely dislike crowds.  I love being by myself (caveat, preferably if I have something to write on and with).  If I have a choice between going to a party or going for dinner with one friend, the one friend wins every time.  Even if you look at my media and speaking career, it was always me and a microphone.  Yes, there may have been tens of thousands of people listening at any one time, or a couple of thousand people in the audience – but I was connecting with the woman driving her children to school; or the man jogging along the beach; or the lady in the front row with a huge smile, or the man half-way back wearing purple…  I was never talking to a group of people – it was always just one person at a time.

I will often curl up somewhere wonderful and alive with people for the day and work, but while I may be surrounded by people, I have minimal interaction with them.  I am essentially by myself and only engaging when I feel like it (or when I need to order another glass of wine!)

If that describes you or your preferred style of communication – read on!

Follow your passion!

It can be a daunting task to decide where to go and what to do when you get there – whether by yourself or not.

For me, I focus in on my passions.  I know which countries and cultures are of interest, and then my other passions of history and photographing my journey come into play.

  • Do you like ancient buildings?
  • Do you adore museums and galleries?
  • Are festivals your thing?
  • Do you want to go hot air ballooning in several different countries?
  • Is tracing your family tree what drives you?
  • Speaking of driving, do you want to go to motor races all over the world?

Whatever it is, decide in advance where you want to go and why.


I will write a separate post on navigating visas around the world, but for now at least be aware that every country has different rules and regulations about how long you can stay and what you can do while you are there.

Once you have decided on your destination, do some research so you are certain your trip meets that country’s requirements.

…and it should go without saying that if you are travelling abroad, you need a valid passport – and again, different countries stipulate that it needs to have a certain number of months validity before they will allow you to enter (usually 3-6 months until your passport expires).

How to get there

While air travel is the default for most people, consider the myriad other ways of getting to your destination.

Depending upon geography, you could:

  • Travel by train – and even here there are options such as first-class and overnight sleepers
  • Drive – or be driven (for instance, I am being driven from Hungary to Slovakia on this upcoming trip – and it is ridiculously affordable!  One just needs to go hunting to find safe, reliable and cost-effective deals – or in my case, I asked a colleague for a referral)
  • Go by boat – ferries (that I think look like small ocean liners) are the usual, but again there are all types of floating options…
  • Kayak – yes, kayak!  I met a woman a few weeks ago who kayaked from Ireland to Romania!
  • Cycle, skateboard, walk…

The list is only limited by your imagination and passions!


Feeling safe and secure when travelling by yourself also means having all your documents etc in one place.

For me when it comes to accommodation, that means all my long-term accommodation I book on AirBnB and all my shorter stays are on Hotels.com.

That way, all my bookings are located in one place – if I get stuck there is only one number I need to call…

Also, remember that immigration officials will want the name of the hotel you are headed to when you get off the plan/train/automobile – so make sure you have that handy when you enter the country.

Plan Your Itinerary

This one comes with a caveat.  While I always know when I am entering and leaving a country, I do not always have a day by day itinerary planned out – hmmmm, make that I rarely have a day by day itinerary.

If there is a particular event on a specific day, that obviously goes into the calendar, but apart from that, I pretty much make my schedule as I go along.

This may be a little daunting for you – if so, there is a lot to be said for having a clear list of places to go and things to do mapped out day by day.  Just make sure you don’t over book yourself.  The purpose of your trip is to have fun, not to wear yourself out seeing seven countries in five days.

Stay in touch

OK, this is a case of do as I say, not do as I do.

Especially if you are new to travelling by yourself, it is a good idea to keep in touch with friends and relatives on your journey.

One idea is to have a set time each day to check in with someone – friend, mother, father, sister…

This not only makes them feel better, it might make you feel more secure as well.

Avoid over-packing

Hmmmmm, another ‘do as I say’ example.

When God was handing out the ‘packing light’ gene, I am fairly certain I was off having a glass of wine beside a lovely fire some place.

Regardless, the less ‘stuff’ (technical term) you take with you, the more you will thank yourself.


While it is wonderful to take photos and share them online, particularly when travelling by yourself, be conscious of how much information you are relaying in those photos.

Staying healthy

Here I am not talking about the obvious of not drinking brown water…  I am talking about eating well, exercising, making sure you drink enough (fresh) water.

These are elements that are often overlooked or forgotten completely when we travel.

Make sure you look at your diet and routine before you leave and build that into your trip.

For instance, if you know you get a caffeine headache if you don’t get your early morning brew, make sure you have that covered when you travel.  The last thing you want is to lose half a day of exploring because your head is splitting open because you cannot find a local Starbucks.

Meeting people

I have met people on my travels who have become life-long friends – and others who are part of an amusing story…

It’s a good idea to set up a special email address for when you are travelling.  You will want to give a number of people your email address – it’s a prudent tip, especially if you are travelling alone, to make sure they are who they say they are before you give them full access to your life and social media profiles!


It doesn’t matter whether you are heading across your own state or across the globe, keeping your valuables safe is a priority.

I tend to have a place for everything – for instance, each credit and debit card has its own slot so I can see instantly that they are all there.

When I am paying by card, I never close my wallet until the card is safely back in its home – that’s just my way of making sure I always have them with me when I leave.

My passport lives in my wallet.

Keep your bags zippered shut at all times – and always keep your wallet and passport on your person.


Another good tip is to at least know the number to dial emergency in the country you are visiting.  You never know when it might come in handy.

It is also a good idea to keep your emergency contacts (such as family members etc) on a card in your wallet.


Again, I will go into this in more detail in another post, but I tend to always have my main iPhone with me, but rarely (if ever) use global roaming.  I find it more cost-effective to put a local SIM card in my now out-dated and unlocked iPhone and use that as a wifi hotspot.

The benefit of retaining my main phone is that if ever I do get into trouble, I at least know I can flip over to international roaming and will most likely be able to get a signal.

I also use Skpe for all my calls – both video and voice.

Another gadget that is small and has saved me a lot of dollars is a Skyroam.  Again, that will be covered in another post, but you can Google it for yourself.

Aside from all the obvious things that I (hopefully) don’t need to tell you – like don’t go out walking alone at night – solo travel can be one of the most rewarding, empowering, uplifting and inspiring things you will ever do!

If you need any other info or ideas, drop me a line!

…and remember, above all…  Have fun!

~ Bella


international chauffeur blacklane

My International Chauffeur Service

international chauffeur blacklane

Ever wanted an international chauffeur?

An international chauffeur company who knows you, who operates all over the world, who is reliable, affordable and who also has ‘an app for that’?

I love my international chauffeur service, BlackLane.  They do all that and more!  …and especially as a woman travelling around the world alone, I love the feeling of safety and security that comes with knowing they are there to take me from A to B and sometimes Q!   🙂

For instance, just this morning (and what prompted me to write this post), I received a phone call from them letting me know that for my flight tomorrow from Exeter to Vienna via a one-hour stop in Paris, I had booked the limousine for the time I arrive in Paris, not the time I arrive in Vienna when I actually need them to take me to my hotel!  Blonde moment!

Peace of Mind

There is wonderful peace of mind that comes from being about to go online, enter where you want to be picked up, where you are going and when…  The next screen tells you how much for each type of vehicle, you pick the one you want and on the following page you book!

international chauffeur blacklane

No hassling with credit cards or cash with the driver – and the app even gives you directions for exactly where to go…

For instance, after my week in Vienna, I am off to Italy for three months and taking the overnight train from Vienna to Roma Termini.  My chauffeur is booked to pick me up at the train station and the app even gives me instructions of exactly where to go when I disembark the train.  This is such a God-send since I have never been to Roma Termini and imagine it is not exactly small!

international chauffeur blacklane


In case you are wondering, YES, they are very affordable.  For instance, when I first thought about using them, I compared their prices to journeys by taxi and while they are obviously more expensive than a taxi, the difference is negligible when you also take into account the other benefits.

Here is Your Voucher!

As a customer, I get to give friends a 10 EUR/USD/GBP voucher.  Just use this promo code:  2B263SS2

…and they operate in over 250 cities around the world!

OK, back to finishing everything that needs to get done on my last day in beloved England!

Catch you soon…

~ Bella


Luxurious Nomad Luxury Skin Care for Pennies!

I had a most delightful conversation yesterday with a lovely waitress at one of my ‘local watering holes’ where I eat, drink and work.

She is a beautiful young woman of twenty-five – and when we were joking about her being a quarter of a century, she was astonished when I told her I was in the second half of my century!

What ensued was a discussion on my skin care products and regime, and when I told her it involves basically two items – that are natural and affordable – she wanted to know more…  and she is not the only one.  I have had that almost identical conversation with at least a dozen people over the past six months or so…

So, here is my luxury skin care ‘secret’!

Bearing in mind that I travel all over the world, so I want to make sure I have the minimal amount of ‘stuff’ to cart around, given that I already have eight suitcases that my luggage concierge picks up and drops off when I move from one amazing location to the next.

Luxury Skin Care Cleanser

luxury skin care castile soapWhat surprises most women with whom I discuss this is that I use the same product for cleansing both face and body!

Kirk’s Soap has been produced without interruption for nearly 175 years – and being the Victorian-era-loving girl that I am, that adds to its appeal.

“Castile” originally referred to the highly-prized vegetable based soap produced in Castile, Spain. For centuries this soap was considered “the soap of royalty” because of its luxurious lather and gentleness to the skin.

luxury skin care face-scrubber-pad

I simply use a face scrubber pad (like the one in this image) and the soap for my face and upper body – and since I have mobility/flexibility challenges, I have a long-handled bath body brush that I use to exfoliate my legs – all with the castile soap!

You can find it on Amazon here:  http://amzn.to/2kwVfNC

Luxury Skin Care Moisturizer

luxury skin care argan-oilWhat is equally surprising for people, is that I also use the one product to moisturize both face and body AND the ends of my hair AND to do a deep treatment on my hair every few weeks!

You can read more about Argan Oil here:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argan_oil – it is quite fascinating!

You might think an ‘oil’ would be greasy, but this one is silky-smooth…

I love it! – and a little goes a long way.

Again, all natural ingredients, and this one is certified organic.

You can find it on Amazon here: http://amzn.to/2khiWIx

So, before you think you have to spend a fortune to get quality luxury skin care products that work, check out these two fabulous staples in my Luxurious Nomad life.

~ Bella