Travel the World with Trip
As everyone knows International Women’s Day (IWD) is an annual event to celebrate women’s achievements and spread the message of female empowerment across the world.
As part of our celebrations of the #IWD21, we’ve invited Wonji Lee to share with us her solo travel story. To get to know her a little bit, she is a travel blogger from Korea and she delivers her travel experience and stories through various forms of content - Youtube, Blog (Wonji Daily Life/원지의 하루). She is also the writer behind the inspirational travel book 제 마음대로 살아보겠습니다 (I will live my own way).
She believes that sharing her journeys will help inspire other women and let them know that the world is theirs to explore.
We’ve asked a few questions about her 10 years journey as a solo female traveler and how traveling helped her unlocked strengths to get out of her comfort zone.
What was your reason or motivation to start traveling solo?
My first solo trip was a cross-continent trip in Africa in 2011. It wasn't easy to find a travel buddy because at that time there were no smartphones, and it was a destination that felt much more unfamiliar than it does now. So I decided to go alone.
I worked part-time to save money for travel and went to 8 African countries in 3 months. As it was my first time traveling alone in my early 20s, I was a bit scared, but any preconceived notions I had about Africa disappeared during the trip.
That’s when I discovered the true meaning of travel. I don't think there’s anything like it. It allowed me to expand my narrow world by directly encountering a new world I wasn’t familiar with before. After that, I started to save money for travel and went whenever I had the chance.
We imagine that there might be a lot of difficulties when it comes to being a solo female traveler. Do you have any tips for traveling alone?
I think the biggest difficulty for a solo female traveler is safety, though of course every type of traveler should be cautious. While traveling, I always make sure to keep safety as a priority.
Most safety-related accidents can be prevented by following basic rules, such as not going out alone after dark, keeping your valuables hidden when possible, no jaywalking, and not taking drinks from strangers.
This is actually the 10th year that I’ve been traveled around the world as a solo traveler, but I’ve never experienced any incidents related to pickpocketing. When traveling, it’s important to be careful and not let your guard down even when you’re sure everything is safe.
What was the most impressive place you traveled to by yourself and why?
The place that left the deepest impression on me is Uganda. I learned about the country while planning a trip to Africa, but it’s a country where I lived and worked afterwards. I also started my YouTube channel there at the same time, so it’s a very special place for me and I think of it often. This year marks the 10th year since I first visited Uganda. I really want to go back once again, but I'm putting it off for a while because of the pandemic.
I miss Uganda a lot because it’s a place where I met many local friends, and I was also able to experience their daily life as opposed to just traveling. After my trip to Uganda, I started to prefer taking relaxing trips that were at least a month long instead of short ones. It’s a place that I’m thankful I visited and it made a difference in the way I travel as well!
Out of the places you’ve been, please recommend somewhere that’s good for women to travel to alone?
I love traveling in Southeast Asia. Out of the places I’ve been, I highly recommend Dumaguete in thePhilippines where I lived for a month! This city isn’t well-known in Korea, but after I traveled there with my YouTube subscribers, I became fascinated by the city, so I ended up living there for a month by myself.
There are so many reasons I would recommend this place, like the cheap prices and the fact that it’s a relatively safe city in the Philippines. It’s also a diver’s paradise with nice weather, kind people, and more. I'm sure people who like taking simple and relaxed trips would love this place.
Lastly, is there anything you’d like to tell women who are preparing to travel alone?
I'm glad that more and more people are interested in traveling solo. It's also nice to be able to meet other solo female travelers during trips. I hope more solo travelers will share their travel stories through photos, writings, videos, etc. I get inspiration and positive energy for traveling when I see them. It’ll also encourage more solo travelers, so I hope that they share their stories.
I also hope the borders reopen soon because I'm looking forward to meeting even more travelers in a new place!