This week Essential Travel Magazine was lucky enough to catch up with Janice Waugh and ask a few key questions about her craft, her schedule and for some pointers. Janice Waugh is known as Solotraveller, a globe trotter with a busy schedule who publishes the Solo Traveler blog and is author of The Solo Traveler's Handbook. She is also co-founder of the Global Bloggers Network, the Toronto host for Meet Plan Go and a freelance writer. Solo Traveller is a treasure trove of stories, advice and information for people who travel alone.
ET: What is it about travelling solo that keeps things interesting for you?
Janice Waugh: The element of surprise. Because I'm on my own, people tend to approach me more often than when I travel with others. They want to make sure that I have a great time in their city. They take me places and we do things that are a complete surprise. And, because I can change plans without consulting anyone, I can take advantage of the many surprise opportunities that come my way. It keeps things interesting.
ET: You wrote on your website that solo travel to you means "confidence". Is that how you approach a big trip by yourself? What advice would you give people who are thinking about embarking on a solo holiday?
Janice Waugh: There are many, many tips that I offer people as they go off solo. From a safety perspective, I have five principles to live by which are outlined in this post. As for fun, I suggest many ways to meet people and explore the world. I suggest that people check out the "Travel Alone - where and how" resource page.
ET: You travelled solo in your twenties - what was it like back then, compared to today? How do you feel the world of travel and people's perceptions towards it have changed?
Janice Waugh: The solo traveller is much more accepted now that it was in the 80s. There are people travelling solo all the time and, fortunately, the travel industry is starting to catch up and create products that really take into account the needs of solo travellers.
ET: Have you ever gotten into a tight situation where you've just really wished you had someone travelling alongside you?
Janice Waugh: Ah, that is a very long story. It is also an important story and the reason why I have a whole section on Solo Traveler dedicated to safety. I can't give you the story in short here but, suffice to say, I was caught in a very dangerous con game in Paris. Fortunately, I made it out. Here's a link to the story.
ET: What has been your favourite destination on your solo journeys?
Janice Waugh: That is a very difficult question. Picking favorites has been a challenge to me my entire life. I would say the Lake District in England as it was the first place that I discovered a love of hiking. But Chile is a wonderful destination with great cities, communities and, of course, Patagonia. And I must mention Canada - from Newfoundland to British Columbia, it's a fantastic experience.
ET: Have you got anything exciting planned for 2012?
Janice Waugh: I haven't finalised my plans as yet but high on my list are Iceland, South Africa and Hawaii.more blog posts