What do you do after a break up? Watch Bridget Jones’ Diary and cry along as she listens to ‘All By Myself’? Cut off all your hair in the bathroom with a picture of Carey Mulligan taped to the mirror? Or do you make like Ash Griffiths and book a holiday that will transform you into a serial solo traveler?
In a period of big changes, Ash wanted to have something in the future to work towards. So she took inspiration from her Mum (and Irish travel fanatic who worked for two years waitressing in Boston and backpacked Australia in her early 20s) and her friend and travel guru Hayley (who has visited countless places and created a new life for herself in London) and decided travel was the answer. Hayley pointed Ash in the direction of Trek America, a company specialising in tours across the United States, and Ash was hooked.
“I asked around my friendship groups to see if anyone was interested in going to America but everyone had commitments for the time frame I wanted to go in. I never considered going alone until I found Trek America and saw I could put a 10% deposit down for a tour.”
The excitement and adrenalin kicked in straight away until finally the departure date arrived and she was off on the trip of a lifetime.
“I always knew I wanted to see the world, its funny how such a hard time can push you into creating the best memories you’ve ever had.”
The biggest thing this experience taught Ash?
“That I can do it! That anyone can do it! You need to have your smarts about you at all times but if you are care free but careful you can travel alone.”
She recommends ladies interested in solo travel should take Nike/Shia LeBeouf’s advice and just do it.
“Take the plunge. Buy a ticket. Put a deposit down for a tour. Don’t make excuses for not going,” she says. “It is important to travel but it is even more important to travel by yourself. There is nothing like the nervous adrenalin rush of leaving your family and friends at the departure gate and realising you are now alone.”
But social butterflies, fear not! While Ash admits you’ll be alone on the flight (but are you really alone if you have Friends re-runs on the tiny airplane TV?) once you get to your destination the people and adventures will start rolling in.
“For instance, when I was staying in Waikiki last year I intentionally booked a hostel to make sure I would be mingling with people. If I had booked a nice 5-star resort I wouldn’t have skydived, completed the Haiku stairs or toured the island in a jeep.”
By now you’re probably wondering how Ash has the time to fit in adventures around the world. Do you have to be an Instagram model who gets whisked away to Morocco to advertise toothpaste? Not exactly. Ash is currently studying her Masters online and working full-time. She explains that if you plan in advance, the uni holidays can line up pretty nicely with periods of annual leave.
“You just need to be smart about it and make sure you give ample notice.”
She’s seemingly seen it all; visited her roots in England and Ireland, travelled on a Harry Potter style train through Austria, stayed a German sky lodge on a school trip, and snapped photographs in iconic destinations like Venice and Paris. So what’s next for Ash?
“Hopefully Canada but I’m not 100% sure… I like to keep an eye out on flight sales so that can really determine where I will go next. There are a lot of places on the bucket list.”
But one thing this kick-ass solo explorer is absolutely sure of is the fact travel is the only thing that makes you richer.
Feature image by Luca Bravo on Unsplash: https://unsplash.com/search/grand-canyon?photo=1eAbNB7NWEw