Muay Thai fighter Yolanda Schmidt travels Thailand alone
Muay Thai fighter out of Australia, Yolanda Schmidt in Thailand

Travelling solo is actually quite amazing.

With the right amount of alertness and preparation, travelling solo can be an epic adventure. Travelling solo is not quite as frightening as you might think, as it doesn’t always mean “alone”.

Media portrays solo female travelers as risky. The world is not quite as bad all that bad, when you use common sense. Although common sense is not always that common, I would advise you trust your gut too. Research the place you will be travelling to and respect the culture.

Let’s take Thailand as a destination example, as it has greeted me on many occasions. Most importantly on a solo trip, trust your instincts, be street smart and make sensible choices. Basics such as keep your money secure. Avoid taking drinks from strangers and if you have had one too many, don’t walk home alone. Be vigilant, act like you know where you are going and keep a business card of your accommodation on you, for in case you get lost.

It is wise to research the country regardless if you are planning a solo or group trip. Have names and addresses of your destinations written in Thai, this will be a great help if your driver does not speak English. Generally taxi drivers will up their price if you are a foreigner, so grab a metred taxi or use your bartering skills with a tuk tuk. On that note, this is their living so battering them out of what is 50c to you, is a lot more to them.

MapsMe is a very handy app to download.

You are able to use MapsMe without internet access. You will need to download the destination within the app first and plan your travels. It’s great when using public transport as it shows your GPS location, allowing you to follow your travels on the map. It is peace of mind, if you are weary of being taken on the wrong route in a taxi.

The culture might be very different to your own. Keep in mind the expectations regarding women, their behaviour and dress sense. Your dress choice can be seen as socially unacceptable and dangerous too. When entering a temple, ensure your shoulders are covered in particular. You should respect customs and beliefs, particularly when you do not understand them.

I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to see things through the local’s eyes. Make friends with the locals, so that your solo travels are left with remarkable moments. I have been invited for home cooked meals, been shown beautiful parts of the country that are not filled with tourists and even attended a hidden yoga class with a lady I met at the temple. With that said, be mindful of not being too friendly to the men, as it can be easily misinterpreted.

Explore, live a little and use this solidarity to really get to know yourself. Solo travelling fosters personal growth and builds character. Everyone can do it, some simply don’t take the opportunity and make the best of it.

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Yolanda Schmidt

Yolanda Schmidt, from Sydney, NSW is the Australian national champion in Muay Thai. In addition, she is a two-time bronze medalist at IFMA world championships. She is also a teacher at Menai High School in Illawong, NSW. Schmidt is a regular contributor to FIGHTMAG, where she covers women’s kickboxing and Muay Thai.

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