What is your favorite travel memory of 2016?
I posed this question to the members of the Solo Travel Society, our community of well over 200,000 travelers on Facebook. Many people responded, from all over the world, sharing their most treasured experiences of the last year.
While 2016 has been a tough year generally, it was really wonderful to hear from so many readers who had traveled solo and gathered inspiring new stories, and who will exit this year with many new and beautiful travel memories.
Here are a few of the Solo Travel Society’s best solo travel memories of 2016.
Gary Sitting at The Pilgrims Mass in Santiago de Compostela after a long month of walking.
Catherine Going to Thailand alone, at the age of 68. Volunteering, teaching English, living in a very rustic compound, with a one-inch mattress cot, cold showers, lots of dust, sharing everything…I loved every minute. At 40-50 years older than other volunteers, I found my inner self is quite an amazing soul.
Patricia A few months ago, I decided to quit my job and do what really makes me happy: travel! As a bit of a planning freak, I drew a plan, packed 14 kg of luggage, and didn’t look back. Naturally, I went right and left of my plan and there are things I haven’t done (that’s okay, I’ll do it next time!) but there were also things I didn’t plan because I hadn’t even imagined them! The more I see the more I want to see. Thank you world!
James For me, it was a toss up between freezing my butt off (three nights in a row) to see the Northern Lights in Iceland and sitting around the small kitchen table sharing a grocery store dinner and wine, laughs, and high fives with great people I met at my guesthouse in Kyoto.
Vé While backpacking in South Korea in October, I randomly met a local family at a bus stop in Daegu. They were so sweet, they asked me where I came from and offered me a city tour with them. They also invited me to a Korean BBQ. I had no place to sleep for the night so they invited me to their amazing apartment. It was super fancy and on top of a huge building. The view was amazing. The next morning they cooked breakfast and drove me to the bus station so I could continue my trip to Busan. They were amazing !
Eduardo Travelling in Iran – a place I had dreamt of going for a long time. Amazing experience, beautiful sights, mosques, ruins, great people. It was surreal!
Tommy I ran the 2016 Paris Marathon and had a lovely visit to Paris, London, and Amsterdam. The timing was not long after the Brussels terrorist bombing, and it was a reminder that we travel NOT to escape life, but for life not to escape us.
Cathy This year it would be my trip above the arctic circle in Abisko, Sweden. (My tour didn’t charge me anything extra for being a single traveler.) Included was a helicopter ride, a trip to a reindeer farm, and hiking. I got some great shots of the northern lights too!
Yolanda I hiked down the Swiss Alps from Almendhubel – Blumental Valley – Murren – Gimmewald – Lauterbrunnen Switzerland. June 29th, 2016… I will never forget this place. The views were breathtaking and the people were very nice.
Gi My best solo travel memories of 2016 took place in Khao Yai national park, discovering wild elephants in the Thailand jungle, toucans and monkeys everywhere. I met a great woman from La Reunion in Bangkok and decided to follow her up there. In the park jeep we were five women traveling alone sharing tips and joyful laughter. I wouldn’t do it differently!
Linda Spending my birthday, October 4th, the feast day of St Francis, in Assisi! The day started off well with cake for breakfast courtesy of my Airbnb hosts and though I didn’t do anything extra special, just sitting in the Italian sun and looking at the festivities was great! (It helps that Assisi is an absolutely charming town, I completely fell in love with it.)
Nancy I had an unprecedented travel experience this year. After a break-up in February I went alone to a romantic 5-star Cuban resort on its own island. It was spectacular–and I was miserable. I have traveled solo all my life and always enjoyed it, but perhaps going alone to a romantic beach destination on Valentine’s Day wasn’t the best choice. Since then, I have bought a 1974 Volkswagen Van which I am having restored and will be embarking on a big solo adventure in the spring.
Diana My first trip to Japan in November. I went alone, and planned it all for months in advance. Some of the plans panned out, some things were improvised at the time, and sometimes there were intense moments where I’d be standing somewhere saying, “Oh, this is not good.” But over all, it was absolutely wonderful and amazing–the most ambitious solo travel adventure I’ve had so far. I can’t wait for the next one.
Nicola Landing in Auckland after traveling for two days to get there from England (with half a day in Hong Kong), it was the best feeling seeing the palm trees and sunshine. The whole trip was a dream come true, an experience I will keep with me. I have done smaller solo trips abroad before but have never gone that far on my own. It was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. I met some amazing people from all over the world, seeing beautiful sights every day! Well worth every second of the journey time
Angela I spent 2 1/2 weeks traveling through Andalucía, Spain. I loved that distinct moment I got to Cadiz, just before midnight. I could smell the ocean and feel the “I’m in a different world” vibe resonating off the very buildings. I took a midnight stroll and soaked it all in.
Stephanie In July, I went to Johor Bahru, Malaysia and tried to go to Singapore traveling solo by train. But when I wanted to go back to Johor Bahru I was late getting to the rail station so I had to return by bus. When I arrived at the bus station I suddenly realized that I didn’t have Malaysian Ringgit to pay for the ticket. I almost cried, but suddenly two French men came and gave me money. I could go back to Johor Bahru because of them. Hello to those men, wherever you are now: I want to say thank you very much once again.
Karla Walking around Lake Bled in Slovenia, hearing a band in the distance, finally realizing that I was heading right that way. The band played, in Slovenian, “Those Were the Days,” and everyone danced and cheered. A couple of songs later, the concert ended with a traditional Slovenian ballad, and the entire audience sang along. Just thinking of this makes me smile fondly!
Caitlin My best travel day/memory of 2016 was from taking a boat tour from Hvar, Croatia through the beautiful Adriatic Sea to visit the islands of Vis and Biševo. This included cliff jumping, swimming underwater and popping up into hidden caves, swimming in regular caves, seeing a cave that was pitch black and the water glowed blue, visiting an island with a population of 8 and having lunch at their beach restaurant, eating fresh-caught seafood, seeing a pod of dolphins swim around our boat, getting to see spectacular natural sights of the islands, stopping at a city to try local wine and have gelato, and finishing at what was rated the best beach of 2016 for its exclusivity where motorized boats aren’t allowed into the inlet and you must swim in.
What are your best solo travel memories of 2016? Please share your stories below.