BOOK REVIEW: Women traveling solo are never lonely


McClatchy Interactive

Most books I've read on travel fail to tantalize or even inspire me beyond thumbing through the introduction and a page or two. You know the routine … you dogear a few pages and later stash the book away for future reference. In your heart of hearts, you know one day, some day, you'll take that dream trip.

Well, that day has arrived, inspired by a little, encouraging guidebook titled, "Wanderlust and Lipstick."

"Wanderlust and Lipstick" provides a unique look at travel. It's a travel guide written by a woman, especially for women traveling alone. Author Beth Whitman's travel diaries began with a solo motorcycle ride from Seattle to Panama. She takes a leap of faith (or insanity) and experiences the trip of a lifetime!

Her hot tips on travel range from immunizations to packing lists. But what sets this guide apart from all the others are the entertaining anecdotes from several courageous women. Every traveler has a story, and the author includes her very own humorous, but sometimes risky adventures.

"When I was riding on the back of my friend Kim's motorbike in Saigon, a man on a large motorcycle flashed me. This happened not once, but three times, as he rode alongside us …"

A motorcycle ride, to even the closest destination, is a stretch for me - a nice, quiet plane ride will suffice. I often dream of visiting towering cathedrals in France; cold, dark castles in Germany; and vast archaeological sites in Greece.

Wherever your travel dreams take you, get there. Get rid of the excuses and make it happen!

Take the first step. Begin with the author's "Dream Trip Worksheet."

First, list a few places you've always longed to visit … one day. Next, estimate the cost of your trip by listing expenses.

Finally, find ways to save or earn extra money - lack of money is one of the most common complaints for grounding travel plans.

Another common excuse for not venturing out alone is the popular question, "But, what if I get lost?" For a first-timer, getting lost is a major concern when traveling solo.

Whitman addresses this very dilemma by providing hot tips and numerous websites with essential travel information.

She suggests careful planning which includes carrying emergency names, contact numbers and, of course, a cell phone or calling card. She also adds, "If you're not lost, you're not being adventurous."

Another real fear for most is the possibility of becoming ill while traveling. A list of first-aid essentials is an important reminder that being sick on the road can be prevented. Medical emergencies can also be less traumatic with a little planning. The author notes a variety of health scare issues one may encounter while on the road and provides solutions to keep you moving.

One of many important lessons shared by the author is you will never feel lonely, even while traveling alone. Once aboard that plane, train or ship, and even astride that cool motorcycle, you'll meet tons of strangers, strangers that might become friends.

"Wanderlust and Lipstick" … finally … a travel guide worth reading!

"Wanderlust and Lipstick"
The Essential Guide For Women Traveling Solo
by Beth Whitman
Globe Trekker Press

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