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female solo travel: behind the myths

female solo travel: behind the myths

not too long ago, someone hit me with a question: honestly, what is the best part of traveling alone? I get a lot of questions regarding solo travel but for some reason this one stood out. “don’t you feel lonely?, “do you have any friends?”, “I would never be able to go out and have dinner alone”; I’ve heard it all. mind you, I do have friends - li furtado - co-founder of CINCO being one of them - and yes, you are perfectly capable of having dinner by yourself and... have a great time.

but before we go further, I few disclaimers. I’m far from being a travel influencer and to be honest I don’t really like to plan my trips. I stick to the bare minimum: I book the flight - I fly most of the time with industry tickets which gives me enough freedom to change plans within minutes - and 3 nights at a hotel. unless it’s a destination that requires extra planning, that’s it. after those three nights, I just go with the flow and do whatever I’m feeling at the moment, whether that means staying longer or fly back home.


traveling solo isn’t something every female must do in her 20’s, 30’s and so on. you don’t need to channel your inner elizabeth “liz" gilbert, the character played by julia roberts on the autobiographical romantic drama “eat, pray, love”, if you don’t feel like doing it. you won’t be less of an independent woman if you don’t do so. also, it’s okay to quit and have a change of heart in the process. It has happened to me before. there was this one time I packed my bags and when the day came, I realized I was not in the mood to be by myself for a week or two and cancelled the whole thing. trust your timing.


if anything, traveling on my own has helped me restore my faith in people. people will talk to you, people will ask you if you don’t mind if they seat next to you at a restaurant. let people in. I’m not saying you should do it if you don’t feel comfortable with it but you might end up crossing paths with many interesting people. I was in Kyoto a few years ago, when this young woman asked me if she could join me for dinner to practice her english. I immediately said yes and we had a great conversation over some ramen. also, people will be there for you and help you beyond means. they will take you to the next gas station when you’re in the middle of nowhere, with no-signal, they will book you the best table at a restaurant on your birthday, you will get chef’s treats for no reason. people will help you and won’t expect nothing in return. I am not saying you will make friends for life. I haven’t. but take those conversations and moments for what they are and be present.


there is this saying: if you can walk you can dance, if you can talk you can sing. that’s how I approach solo traveling. I’m not looking for an epiphany or an event that will change my life forever. again, it has never happened to me - it may happen to you - but that was never the goal. as much as I try to demystify the myths behind female solo traveling, there are some things you should keep in mind. the year is 2023 and women are still targets. for that reason, safety should be your number one priority. to me, that means staying at nice hotels and having someone back home who knows my exact location at all times. it may sound cliche but use your common sense and always be aware of your surroundings and belongings. I know social media plays a huge role in our lives - instagram, tiktok, bereal, you name it - but don’t overshare information.


when I first started back in 2016, my main goal was to keep myself busy. I was at the atacama desert in chile doing activities from 4 am until late hours and on a sunday morning I decided to take some time off and get some rest and that was the first time I cried from happiness. I was overwhelmed with joy and gratitude. I realized I was more into nature and outdoor activities than I could have ever imagined.
over the years, and although I try to keep my mind as open as possible to new experiences, I know exactly what I do and what I don’t enjoy doing and because I’m all by myself in a di
fferent country I get the chance to do so for a few days even if that means setting my alarm to watch the sunrise, skipping a top 10 attraction to have a drink (or two), spending four hours inside a museum or just spending time doing nothing.

I have never for a moment felt lonely while traveling alone. in fact, I fall in love with me a little more every time I travel alone and I love this version of myself: independent, practical, experimental and, ultimately, free.



cátia santos reis 
the world is yours but greece is mine” could be her mantra as cátia santos reis is yet to find a greek island she hasn’t fallen in love with. in the meantime, she keeps traveling the world. for CINCO editorial, the 34 year-old, will share her favorite things to do, visit and eat in every destination.


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