Candice is a full-time travel writer/blogger/copywriter based out of St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. She is the lead writing faculty at MatadorU, as well as a contributing editor at MatadorNetwork.com. Her blog, freecandie.com, is a cheeky personal narrative of her travels! Candice started travelling when she studied abroad in England a few years ago and made several trips to Ireland, Scotland, and Holland. Lately, she has been travelling around North America but did end up in Hungary, Czech Republic, and Austria last summer, as well as South America the year before that.
1. Why did you choose to be a solo female traveller?
I never CHOSE, it kinda just happened. This feels like an appropriate time to insert a “forever alone” meme.
2. Tell us about your first solo trip. Where did you go? What were your challenges/reward?
When I was 21, I wanted to study in England. Technically, I did a six-week program with a big group of students from Newfoundland, but I didn’t know any of them until the actual trip. It was my first time ever outside the province, I was absolutely petrified, but I knew I just HAD to take the golden opportunity of a study abroad program.
3. What destination was the most challenging? Why?
The only time I remember being absolutely terrified/exhausted while travelling was my first experience in London. It was my first time in a big city, having come from St. John’s where the population is something like 150k. I remember getting on the subway and an announcement making everyone clear the train because of a “suspicious package,” and I basically had a mental meltdown and ran to my hostel crying.
4. As a solo female traveller have you been in a situation where you felt unsafe? What did you do?
None. I got disoriented in Montreal once, after stepping off the Metro and not having a clue where I was. It was late at night, the streets were somewhat deserted, but there were a few rabble-rousers around. So I kept my phone out in case I needed to call someone and found a cab immediately. I know, I don’t exactly write drama.
5. How do you handle the curiosity/stares/leers/advances from local men when you travel?
That rarely happens. I scowl, and I’m a ginger, so people are wary by default.
6. Solo female travel has come under fire recently if you had everyone’s attention, what is the one thing you would tell them about being a solo female traveller?
I find this whole concept of female solo travel being “dangerous” absolutely hilarious. I’ll tell people I’m going off to jaunt around Ireland on my own, and my relatives start panicking. Yet I live in the crack ghetto of St. John’s, and within the past year, I’ve witnessed street fights, a truck set on fire, my roommate’s car being broken into, and numerous drug busts just outside my front door.
7. Have you ever been sick or injured while travelling? What did you do?
I picked up a nasty bug in Ireland that kept me bedridden for a week. Good insurance goes a long way, believe me. Just inform someone that you’re ill, and you’re not likely to suffer alone.
8. What is the BEST thing about being a solo female traveller?
Freedom, and flexibility. Chance encounters with handsome men.
9. What should EVERY girl pack before travelling the world solo?
Jodi Ettenberg of Legal Nomads convinced me that a whistle is a must-have item. So she gave me one!
10. How do you treat yourself (create a special ‘me’ day) when you’re travelling?
I have a lot of trouble sleeping on the road, so I’ll book a nice hotel room every now and then to get some needed sleep. It’s never a good thing to travel when you’re not alert and aware of your surroundings. Sleep is vital!
11. Name one guilty travel pleasure/indulgence you have.
Beer. So much beer.