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A Woman Alone: Travel Tales from Around the Globe

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  823 ratings  ·  72 reviews
The idea of a journey without companions is too daunting for most travelers. Not so the women of this collection. These contemporary pioneers savor the ultimate freedom of solo travel. Marybeth Bond discovers the dubious pleasures of desert camel-riding when she decides to follow an ancient Indian trading route. Faith Adiele, a black Buddhist nun, enters a deserted train s ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published November 2nd 2001 by Seal Press
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Average rating 3.86  · 
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 ·  823 ratings  ·  72 reviews

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May 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel, memoir
What a fun book! A Woman Alone is a compilation of short travel narratives...all by women, all of whom traveled alone. The authors are all extremely talented writers who transport the reader to India, Los Vegas, Brazil, Japan, and many places in between. Some authors emphasize the independence and freedom of solo travel, others the loneliness or the self-reflection or especially the self-discovery. At the end, whether or not you decide you want to travel solo, you'll CERTAINLY want to travel! Uz ...more
Nicki Hill
Aug 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
I realize now that travel is not just about physically going somewhere, but about conscious exploration. The physicality of aloneness pushes some people toward this conscious exploration of their surroundings and themselves. Being alone physically--not having someone to share your adventures with as they unfold, having to make every decision, big and little, being able to relax only by yourself or with strangers and never with a being able to relax only by yourself--does make you understand alon ...more
Feb 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Being a frequent solo female traveler across countries and continents I could relate to each and every story. The joys and challenges, aha moments, self-discovery and self-reflection are all captured really well. Given each story is by a different author the writing styles and narratives differ - therefore some accounts stood out a lot more than others.

Overall a great read and will be my go to book - when I am looking for inspiration for my next new adventure, when I am missing gallivanting acro
Jun 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
Twenty-nine women answer the question: "Why go solo?" That was enough for me to pick it up and give it a try. I toted this one around with me in my work bag. I bought it while waiting for Langley in DC a while ago. It was a good cafe book to spend time with while she worked. It then became my lunchtime read. I could usually get through at least one vignette during the hour. ...more
I'm not sure what I think.

On the plus, I got a couple of good ideas from this. I now want to go to the Seychelles and have bumped Senegal up to a place I really want to go. I also appreciate that several of the contributors were woman travelers of color, which in 2001 is pretty good.

But for most of the entries, I felt like no one actually enjoyed their trip very much? I know if I were asked to write something for a travel collection, I probably wouldn't include anything about beach fleas in Thai
Sep 20, 2011 rated it liked it
This is not a novel that you can get lost in, captivating you from beginning to end. Instead, it's a selection of short and totally unrelated travel adventures by different spunky women, traveling solo. Definitely, I had my favorite pieces, both in writing style and locale. The travel tales that I loved were so enthralling they made me want to read aloud to anyone who would listen, and I gave two copies of this book away to family members. Other selections were so-so. I'm sure readers will find ...more
May 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed reading the exploits of women who have been courageous to travel alone. This was also a great way for me to learn more geography so that I can feel confident when that category comes up in Jeopardy! :-)
Jun 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely loved the short memoirs from women traveling solo around the world. As one who has only traveled solo once, and then to an English speaking country, I have great admiration for the courage and attitudes of these women. Some of the stories are positive, uplifting and heart warming, others are difficult but each is inspiring. With travel restricted due to Covid it was a vicarious thrill to visit places, make treks and imagine being in these women’s shoes for a short time. It’s a book Yo ...more
Jeni Enjaian
Jan 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book much more than I thought I might. I received this book back in July of 2017 as a birthday present from my father. He thought that I might enjoy reading the book due to my love of travel and my past experience as a sometimes solo female traveler.

I have written a blog post about this book which will post soon on my personal blog, Once the post publishes, I will try to remember to update this review.

Apr 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Pretty typical reading experience for an anthology - there are some stories I really liked and some I really disliked. The ones I disliked have the same issues as NOTHING TO DECLARE - namely that of privilege and underlying racism. This book did introduce me to TRACKS though, which I'm going to read next. The narrator's voice in that is HILARIOUS and I'm glad I've been introduced to a sample. ...more
Jun 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Looking for inspiration for a trip so I picked this book up at the library. Many good stories by brave and adventurous women. (And one really stupid story, lol.)
Jul 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very insightful and inspiring stories of women who are adventurous.
Sep 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I LOVE this book!
Saurabh Gupta
Oct 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved it
Nov 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed all the essays
Cori Widen
Jan 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Incredibly inspiring, and a joy to read.
Courtney Jordan
Apr 28, 2020 rated it liked it
Great stories from ladies around the World!
Sep 14, 2016 rated it liked it
Some essays better than others, but overall an interesting read.
Erica B
Jan 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
A good collections of travel stories. I enjoyed as it gave me some ideas for next trips, and expounded on the various issues involved with female solo travel. I often do travel myself for the same reasons these authors did - hard to find someone with the same schedule, want of place to go, actually willing to go, also if by oneself you get to set the itinerary, etc. But then there are the drawbacks, can't go have a drink at the local bar as easily as men, always costs more, etc. So hopefully giv ...more
Oct 02, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
The essays in this book vary dramatically in both the quality of the writing and the impact of the various women's experiences. There were some that were very interesting and well done, while others were lackluster at best.
Arranged by geographical location, each essay is only a few pages long, and so not a big investment of time. I didn't read all of them, but I did have fun skipping around, and reading this book definitely gave me some things to think about (would I be willing to travel alone?
May 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011
While some of the stories in this collection are written better than others, as a whole this book helped me better appreciate my own solo travel ventures. While before I may have looked at a trip to a strange grocery store as a mundane chore, as I read this book I began to see value in these smaller experiences and to validate the range of emotions experienced while traveling. My biggest complaint with the book is the lack of dates attached to each story. Knowing the year helps put the events in ...more
Oct 01, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: travelling spirits
Traveling at its best offers a level of reflection and realization that can't be captured in the everyday of home life. This book was both a wonderful way to be part of the writers' journeys - of both the foot and the heart. I recommend this to anyone looking for a something light but not of the romantic comedy genre; and of course, to anyone trying to decide on their next vacation! This book actually has me considering camel racing in the desert or 1,000 mile hiking pilgrimages in Japan. Maybe ...more
Aug 10, 2016 rated it liked it
Travel essays written by women traveling alone, for a variety of reasons. I enjoyed the different locales and different rationales for traveling alone. Some women were super gung-ho and intentional about it, but others were somewhat wistful and not entirely enthusiastic about it. Some had just gotten out of relationships or were otherwise alone not entirely by choice. Most had to room with, go on tours with, or otherwise get themselves entangled with strangers for practical purposes and this has ...more
Oct 11, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: travellers of all kinds
A book of short essays by women, of all ages and types, who have travelled by themselves in all sorts of places - the stories range from Central American jungles to Japanese temple pilgrimages to flamenco concerts in Morocco to a camel race in the Middle Eastern desert.
Most of the women are braver than I, but their reports of self-discovery and the joys and challenges of single travel are tempting! An inspiring collection of stories.
Emily Shenfield
Jul 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Of course, as this is a collection of short essays, some were remarkable and some were just all right, but this book was one of the most inspiring I've read. Hearing tales of women travelling solo, bravely and for a variety of reasons pushed me to try it myself. The locales range from exotic to close to home, and then women are not all inherently adventurous and outgoing. It serves to paint a lovely portrait of the kind of woman who CAN travel alone...which is really almost anyone. ...more
Mar 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book, as any good book should it made me reflect on my own travels and made me thing of things I should work on to he able to enjoy my solo adventures more, and of course made me want to drop everything and travel anywhere and everywhere. As this book is made up of essays by a number of different writters, I enjoyed some more that others, but all in all a very good read for any solo traveller.
Aug 24, 2008 rated it liked it
I'm enjoying this book. It's really nice for someone like me who tends to have difficulty finishing books because every chapter is a different story, written by a different lone woman traveler so you can pick it up and put it down really easily. The stories are from all around the world too so I'm enjoying dreaming about traveling in so many different countries. ...more
Nov 18, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2009
I read this over the course of a year and a half. Like many collections, there are strong points and weak points, but on the whole, I found it to be quite enjoyable. It's a great book to read in bits and pieces, and I found myself hit with the travel bug when I read it. Having travelled solo in the past, I found myself agreeing with many of the women's accounts: freedom vs. loneliness. ...more
Cheree Moore
May 10, 2010 rated it liked it
A Woman Alone: Travel Tales from Around the Globe is a compilation of short stories written by women traveling the world alone. Edited by Christina Henry De Tessan, Faith Conlon and Ingrid Emerick, these stories take us remote deserts, lush islands, and a variety of exotic locals.

More at
Robyn Ellis
Jul 17, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Certainly a fun little read. I brought it with me while I was traveling myself and the authors' thoughts helped me think about the impact of my own experiences. All the stories of these women, not only traveling to exotic places, but traveling alone (something I had always thought of as categorically stupid) even inspired me to go outside my comfort zone every now and again on my own adventure ...more
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