How did you get started traveling?
I think I was born to travel, but it took me a long time to figure out that I could travel how I wanted to. I was born in the Philippines and moved to Canada when I was two years old. I grew up living between Alberta and Arizona, and when I was eight I started traveling to help my family’s small business. By the time I was 16 I’d been all over the United States, visited China a dozen times, and across western Canada. All of these trips were for work, but the excitement of constantly moving around stuck.
Tell us about your first solo trip.
The first time I took a solo trip was to Australia when I was 20. I flew to Brisbane on a Working Holiday visa and stayed until the day my visa expired a year later. Australia was incredible, but it was trying. I was immediately forced out of my comfort zone and had to shed the shyness and naivety quickly. It was an amazing year, but looking back now, I hadn’t personally grown enough to experience it fully.
What have been your solo travel experiences since this first trip?
My next big solo trip was to Beijing for three weeks when I was 25. I consider this my first real solo trip because it was the first time I traveled alone since truly discovering myself. It was one of the biggest self-discoveries of my life. Read more about that life changing trip here.
Beijing was nine months ago, and my life has been one big solo trip since then! I’ve been to Croatia, Bali, Australia, Belize, Philippines, Bali (again!), US Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, and am writing this post from the Dominican Republic.
How have your solo travel experiences changed you?
I have never felt more like myself than I do now. I have gained confidence. I’m not afraid to try new things. I can strike up a conversation with a stranger anywhere. If you met me two years ago before traveling became such a big part of my life, you wouldn’t recognize me. Travel changes you. It will bring out your best and worst, and it’s up to you to find your true self amongst the madness!
Tell us a little bit about your inspiration to create a travel retreat for women.
While on an entrepreneurs sailing trip in Croatia, I met two absolutely incredible women who love to travel as much as I do. Our ideas for changing the world brought us together to create Reset Retreat: an exclusive women’s wellness and adventure retreat that combines personal growth with incredible experiences. It is a place where you disconnect from the world and reconnect with yourself. Our retreat is designed to help send you home as the best version of yourself.
How have your solo travel experiences shaped your work with Reset Retreat?
I’ve had some life changing moments that happened while traveling solo. Those experiences were what inspired Reset Retreat. We create a space where you can find your ‘reset’ switch and use that as a catalyst for change in your life. My partners and I have similar stories on how travel inspires us, and we created Reset Retreat to share this experience with our guests.
What recommendations do you have for women who are considering taking their first solo trip?
Remember that safety is important! Trust your instincts and always have a backup plan. I always recommend spending at least a few nights in a hostel upon arrival at a new destination. Meeting other travelers opens many adventure opportunities. If you leave a bit of flexibility in your plans, you never know what amazing things might happen! One of the most important things I’ve learned about traveling solo is it’s the people you meet who shape your experience.
Do you have anything else to add to inspire women solo travelers?
Be yourself. Own it!! Be proud that you made the difficult choice to face the world on your own and leave your insecurities at the airport. When you’re traveling solo, everything is up to you. You can go where you want, do what you want, and be 100% focused on your incredible experience. Keep a travel journal!! You won’t want to forget this!
About Crystal Veness
Crystal Veness is an adventurer, entrepreneur, and co-founder of Reset Retreat– a travel retreat for women. This luxury women’s retreat focuses on resetting your path through wellness, adventure, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. She looks at every day as an opportunity to try something new, learn from others, and share the inspiration she has found through traveling.
Women Who Travel Solo
Women Who Travel Solo is a weekly column that shares the stories of women’s solo travel adventures in hopes of spreading the message that traveling alone is not only safe, but wildly rewarding. Inspire other women to travel solo by sharing your story with Something In Her Ramblings. Email Lauren at firstname.lastname@example.org.