1. Okay, Miss Allison, what was the specific incident that got you to this interview?
I was scrolling through Facebook and noticed you were looking to interview women who have traveled solo before.
2. What has earned you the right to be an authority on this topic?
I started traveling quite young, but always with friends. It took me years to finally leap and take a true solo trip, which was life-changing. I want more women to gain the confidence and self-awareness that comes with traveling solo.
3. What is your brand, your topic exactly about?
I hope to inspire others to travel again once this global pandemic ends. On Ally Travels, I’ll share valuable tips, explore other cultures, and push my boundaries in far-off places. And, most shockingly, I’ll do all of this while living out of two suitcases!
4. Why is it important?
Travel is essential for the soul. I always learn so much about myself on these trips. I find every trip opens me up as a person and broadens my perception of the world. I think solo travel is an especially important experience to have. It really builds your confidence in having to rely only on yourself.
5. Now that I know what it is, now that I know why it’s important and relevant, how are you implementing this on your travels? I mean like, is there a process that you follow when traveling?
When traveling I like to research the location and come up with a few things that I’d love to do. I hate feeling too scheduled, so I choose a loose plan, then just see where the day takes me.
I try to say yes to as many things as safely possible. Journaling is something I also love to do. It’s so interesting to look back a year later and read it. I always realize how much personal growth I’ve had since the last entry.
Also, taking photos!
Solo travelers: Take as many selfies and photos as you can. I know it feels stupid, but trust me you’ll be so happy you have them later. Besides, you’ll likely never see these people again, so who cares if they judge you?
To avoid selfies, I try to spot another person trying to take a cute photo and offer to take a photo if they’ll take one of me. I’ve gotten such amazing photos this way (sometimes it takes a few tries).
6. What if people took advantage of your tips and steps you are providing? What will happen, how will their travels change?
They will likely have less stress, and make memories that will last a lifetime.
7. Now we would like to get just some general information about you and your travels:
(if not answered before) – When did you start traveling?
My first international trip was 5. My family moved to the island of Saba for 6 months. Then I to a summer acting program at Trinity College in Dublin for a month in high school. My first truly solo trip wasn’t until two years ago.
– Do you remember how you felt when you traveled alone for the first time?
It felt so freeing going off on an adventure. I love the anticipation of what lies ahead, anything could happen.
Personally, I had a really hard time dining alone before my first solo trip. I had so much anxiety about having to eat out alone so much on this trip. It always felt so awkward to me to be sitting there quietly playing on my phone or reading. Or doing the alternative of sitting silently staring into space.
That was a big leap for me. Being forced to face yourself can be daunting. We are always expected to be moving, to be doing something. We’re so busy that we rarely give ourselves time to reconnect with ourselves.
I walked away from that trip knowing more about myself and needs. For the first time in a long time, I felt really grounded and confident in myself.
– How did you, or do you deal with fears?
I remind myself that the reward is greater than the risk in most cases. Plus, the adrenaline feels so wonderful once you’re done facing down your fear.
In the dining alone case, I’d treat myself to a really delicious cocktail or glass of wine. Then order anything my heart desires on the menu with absolutely no guilt. I made it like a date night out with myself.
– Is there a place where you have been and you would definitely not recommend it for women on their own and why?
I’ve had really positive experiences on all my solo trips. While in Istanbul visiting a friend, he was very insistent that I shouldn’t go off alone. Personally, I felt safe but the fact he’s local and didn’t want me wandering off alone concerned me. I’d probably just try to be extra aware of my surroundings in Istanbul if I went back solo.
– Do you still have this excitement, when you go for a trip?
The anticipation and butterflies are my favorite part of the start of a trip. I love not knowing what adventures are ahead. I love how I feel traveling, there’s no greater high.
– What are your top 5 destinations and why?
Cote d’Azur: The South of France is stunning! I’ve been twice now, and I’m dying to go back again. There are a ton of tiny little beach towns to explore. It’s absolutely magical, and easily one of the most beautiful places that I’ve been to.
London: I am a big theater fan, so I love going to London to see shows. They also have an incredible restaurant scene. It’s great wandering around London, I find it to be really charming.
New York: New York is my home, and one of the greatest cities in the world. Plus, I can’t get enough of the theater scene there. The city has a really unique energy. There’s always something new to see. You’ll never be bored.
Nairobi: I haven’t been yet, but I’m dying to go. I know it’s a bit touristy now but I’d love to stay at Giraffe Manor. Between the giraffe encounters and elephant adoption, it’s every animal lovers’ dream. Africa itself is a continent that I still need to get to. I can’t wait to get over there.
Australia: This is another spot that I need to check off my list. Hopefully, I’ll be there with my boyfriend later this year (he’s Australian). I’m really excited to explore with him and especially thrilled about meeting kangaroos and koalas. Oh, and TimTams…they are these really delicious Australian biscuits covered in chocolate. My boyfriend has me addicted to them!
– The funniest story that happened to you when traveling?
While in St. Remy, France, I made friends with a horse that was tied up near the town. When the owner came back, he let me ride the horse all the way into the center of town to my dinner reservation with my dad. I should mention nobody else in this town had horses. It was an unusual sight.
We ended up parking the horse next to the outdoor section of the restaurant and all shared a few glasses of rose together. I should mention this man didn’t speak any English. My dad speaks no French, and I only have a limited high school level of French. There was a lot of miming and stifled laughter!
8. Call to action – what do you want people to do?
Take a leap, book that trip you’ve always dreamed of going on. I promise you’ll return feeling like a new person. Travel always changes you for the best.