Ask the “WanderWoman”

Elaine Lee

Reader questions with answers by Elaine Lee; world traveler, author and adventurer.


What’s the scoop on traveling alone?

For my first and second trip around the world, I tried to find a travel partner but it was hard to find someone with time and money as well as interests similar to mine. So I decided to go it alone and much to my surprise I was never alone longer than 24 hours. Traveling alone is not an issue for me because I always meet people – fellow travelers, locals, etc. When I’m alone I’m much more approachable than in a group, so it’s quite easy to make new friends.

As a solo traveler, I always dress modestly and I don’t wear fancy jewelry or expensive clothes, unless I’m in Paris, of course.

Before I leave home, I always take time to learn the basics of the place I’m traveling to, such as rudimentary elements of the local language, customs, phones, money and public transportation. Those things always make solo travel much easier and safer.

I belong to an international hospitality exchange club so when I travel abroad I often stay in the homes of club members. I also take names and numbers of people in the countries I plan to visit who have been referred to me by mutual friends.

Often I contact them before I leave to find out if they’ll be at home when I’m in their country and their willingness to show me around for a few hours. Sometimes I wait to call when I arrive. I was never bored or lonely. If I found myself stuck in a train station or airport, there were interesting folks to talk with. I always kept a book, a journal, my needlepoint, portable music and a small travel game to entertain myself if company was unavailable or undesired.

Traveling alone led to some very intense personal encounters. Many people feel safe sharing their innermost secrets with strangers they may never meet again. I was continually amazed by the deep connections and openness I experienced with other travelers and locals during my seven-month sojourn. So, while I ventured out into my odyssey solo, I was never alone for long.

If you’ve got a travel question for Elaine Lee, submit it to and look for the answer in upcoming issues.

elee Ask the WanderWomanAbout Elaine Lee:   Elaine is an avid world traveler, travel writer and media maven. She is the author/editor of “Go Girl: The Black Woman’s Book of Travel and Adventure” as well as a freelance travel writer who has contributed to the numerous national and local magazines, newspapers and webzines. Her travel stories generally address subjects such as African American travel trends, adventure, women’s travel issues, spirituality, solo travel, health, budget travel and travel planning. She has also contributed stories to five anthologies and two books. To learn more about Elaine visit her at

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