Thinking of travelling solo? You’re making a great decision! Solo travel is becoming more popular with each passing year, perhaps because travel is now more accessible than ever, or perhaps because, in this tech-driven world, solo trips no longer isolate travellers by inhibiting them from connecting with friends and family back home. Despite this, many are still intimidated by the idea of travelling alone, afraid they might become bored and lonely, or convinced they are incapable of handling themselves in unfamiliar situations. Whatever your reason for putting off solo travel, we’re confident we have an abundance of counter reasons why you should take the plunge and book your first solo trip today. Here are our top five:
You’ll meet more people:
It might sound crazy, but it’s absolutely true! Every time I travel solo I stay in dorm rooms at hostels, take group day tours, and do everything I can to connect with other travellers, many of whom are also alone and searching for a friendly face to break the tedium of long, lonely days. Solo travellers, in my experience, put themselves out there a little more in order to make some like-minded friends who are eager to bond over their shared experience of independent travel. When I travel in pairs or groups, on the other hand, it’s much more common for me to turn inward, relying on my own party for conversation and making relatively few friends as a consequence. Solo travel, therefore, is a great way to push yourself out of your comfort zone and meet other individuals who are going through the same experience as you are.
You can tailor your trip to fit you perfectly:
Even if you travel with a very close friend, partner, or family member, you’ll realise extremely quickly that you’re going to disagree about certain aspects of your trip. Sometimes these disagreements are helpful, strengthening bonds through the art of compromise and pushing you to experience something new that, against all expectation, turned out to be one of your most valued memories. Other times, however, they cause disputes that result in a bucket-list activity being pushed to the gutter to make room for something else. Even if you and your travel partner have arranged to participate in separate activities and meet up afterwards, there are always going to be moments in which compromise is necessary, and in which you need to travel according to someone else’s timeline. Although the art of compromise is an important and necessary one to learn, solo travel is a great way to plan the ultimate itinerary.
You love this park and want to spend a little longer there? No problem!
You’re not as hungry as you anticipated and think you’ll push lunch back another hour? Too easy!
That train ticket’s a little expensive, why not walk instead? Let me just check with myself … I say it’s okay!
You can spend some quality time with yourself:
As great as solo travel can be for meeting new people, it also presents a perfect opportunity to check in with yourself and quietly reflect on your own travels, whilst developing your newfound confidence and independence. Just taking a moment alone with your own thoughts can entirely change your perspective of a certain monument or event, an experience that can then solidify into a profound memory that is free from other’s biases and opinions. It’s always important to think about the purposes behind your travels and what you’re ultimately hoping to achieve, be it new friends, new language or cooking skills, or a greater sense of human diversity and culture, and solo travel is one of the best ways to put yourself in touch with your own goals and to find the focus to achieve them.
It’s easier to stay within budget:
Just as solo trips simplify itineraries, so they often ease the financial side of travel. After all, even if people share finances and earn similar amounts of money, no two travellers are going to have exactly the same opinion regarding basic travel expenses such as accommodation and food. This can again cause minor rifts to appear between travel partners, and can even result in one or more members of the group exceeding the budget they set for themselves. Because solo travel places you entirely in control of what you see and where you stay and eat, it’s the easiest way to stick to your budget and to avoid the unforeseen expenses that often put people off the idea of travel in the first place.
You’ll gain some practical life skills that will come in handy in the future:
No matter where or how you travel, adjusting to new cultures, new languages, and new people is always going to present a challenge that will ultimately help you with your confidence and communication skills. However, there’s nothing quite like being able to tell people that you and you alone designed your trip from the bottom up, kept yourself safe whilst navigating unfamiliar territory, and managed to stay within budget despite the allure of new activities and the confusion of foreign currencies. This realisation not only fosters a more profound sense of your own capabilities, but is the kind of thing that can look great on resumes. Self-managed travel shows independence, confidence, flexibility, adaptability, resilience, autonomy, responsibility, apt research and problem-solving skills, a willingness to learn new skills and to challenge yourself, and an interest in the global world. Of course group travel is also a great indication of many of these skills, but solo travel is the perfect way to prove to yourself that you’re capable of taking control of a large-scale project without retreating into the shadows of your partners.
Whatever’s holding you back, it’s time to get out of your comfort zone and give solo travel a go. From lengthy trips abroad to weekend getaways, individual travel is an experience that brims with benefits and that must be tried at least once. Endorsed by innumerable travellers around the globe and offering a unique, unforgettable perspective of the world, we recommend grabbing your Scrubba wash bag, strapping on your pack, and taking the plunge. You won’t regret it!
The Wounded Pelicans is the name by which endurance duo, Christopher Evans and Antony Sedman, are better known. Hailing from the Gold Coast, Australia, the pair have made a name for themselves by participating in numerous endurance events – all in the name of charity and improving their own lifestyles! In exposing their bodies to the challenge of one gruelling endurance event after another, the pair hope to raise not only awareness for the importance of maintaining happy, healthy lifestyles, but also money to aid the disease research that is so desperately needed in today’s society. Having raised $20k for cancer research in 2016, the duo have now moved on to a new project, consisting of 10 extreme events that will see them raise money for various issues and conditions that affect the youth of today. In fulfilling the challenges they have set themselves, The Wounded Pelicans are hoping to motivate kids to achieve their fullest potential, and are thus wholly committed to helping fund research for the conditions that threaten to prevent them from doing so.
Although the name, ‘The Wounded Pelicans’, derives from their school years, the pair are confident that it has come to accurately represent their current journey, with the pelican that is capable of ‘holding more in its beak’ reflecting the depths of endurance displayed by a duo that consistently runs back-to-back events – including multiple 100km+ ultramarathons – and the ‘wounded’ alluding to the occasional injuries they’ve inevitably picked up along the way.
8 hours into their 24 hour track run - first event of 'The Big 10' project
Initially making the transformation from ‘avid party lovers’ to endurance athletes in order to focus on their health, the duo is now fully committed to challenging themselves to high levels of physical and mental endurance in order to help those who are fighting for their lives on a daily basis. Motivated by their enthusiasm and inspired by the fantastic cause behind it, the Scrubba wash bag recently sponsored The Wounded Pelicans for their upcoming ultramarathon in Nepal. We cherish our involvement in this great project, so were thrilled to get the opportunity to sit down with Christopher, one half of the duo, to find out a little more about his philosophy, aspirations, and motivations.
Tell us a bit about The Wounded Pelicans. Who are you and what are you all about?
We're an endurance duo from the Gold Coast. Our names are Christopher 'Tofes' Evans and Antony 'Ant' Sedman, but we're usually known as those 2 crazy kids that run hundreds of kilometres for charity. In 2016, we completed 40 endurance events to raise much needed funds for cancer research.
What inspires you to organise and participate in these sort of fundraising events?
Funny you mention that… I was never a runner to begin with actually. A few years ago I was in the peak of my party days when I decided to go travelling for a couple years and things got out of hand. My health was beyond degraded, and I was struggling with anxiety and depression at the time, which wasn’t helped by my partying like a rock star every day… It wasn’t until I came home early to focus on my health that I decided to train for a marathon, which quickly led to 8 events by the end of 2015. After Ant and I decided to continue running by participating in one event per month in 2016, we made the decision to run for charity. We knew we’d get some decent exposure, so it seemed obvious to try and raise money along the way. 13 events spiralled into 40, which was exhausting but very exciting at the same time. After our wild year competing in 40 events, it’s safe to say that pushing the limits and helping people along the way has become a newfound love!
Participating in their 24 hour treadmill challenge in 2016
What new challenges do you have planned for 2017 and what are you hoping to achieve by the end of the year?
This year we're continuing the endurance and altruism by putting our time and energy into a project called 'The BIG 10'. Instead of trying to top 40 events like last year, we'll be tackling 1 extreme endurance event a month from March to December, where each month correlates to a different cause for struggling youth. These events will require a great amount of physical, mental and emotional endurance, showing that 2 normal guys can push the limits and inspire youth along the way. Youth is our focus because they're the future creators and innovators of the world. Not only that, we also want to push their limits and teach them how to stay healthy, while showing them how important gratitude is.
Your upcoming challenge in May will see you run the world’s highest ultramarathon in Nepal to fund research toward a cure for cystic fibrosis. Can you tell us why it’s so important to work towards a cure for this disease?
Cystic Fibrosis is currently an incurable disease. Around 3000 families are dealing with relatives with CF and the average life expectancy for those born with CF is 38.
Why have you chosen the ultramarathon to represent your fundraising work for cystic fibrosis?
A year ago a few friends sent me an article about the 10 most dangerous ultramarathons in the world, and this Mt Everest ultra was #1, which was my incentive to do it. It wasn't until October last year that I met Greg Jury, the founder of Bottlepops. He told me he'd like The Wounded Pelicans’ brand to collaborate sometime this year for our endurance project, 'The BIG 10', as his daughter, Ellie May, has CF. It was an easy decision to dedicate this event to finding a cure for CF - the penny dropped when I realised that I'll have around 9% oxygen during this ultramarathon, which correlates to what it's like being a CF patient on a day-to-day basis. Ellie May is also the ambassador of this Everest4CF project.
How are you preparing for your marathon at 17,600ft?
I'm currently training 6 days a week (sometimes twice a day). I'll get up at 4am and will either be running (road or trails) or doing TRX cable suspension training. Then, in the afternoons, I'll do strength work and altitude training in a chamber at my gym. At night I sleep in an altitude tent to get accustomed to high altitude.
Training in the altitude room
How much are you hoping to raise for this cause and how can people contribute?
We’re aiming for at least $65k and we’re currently accepting donations through our Go Fund Me page. It’s a bold goal for the amount of time I’ve set, but I’m willing to risk my life running the world’s highest ultramarathon to raise a substantial amount toward a cure for CF. Although I don’t have any family members with Cystic Fibrosis, I have many dear friends who are either struggling themselves or have children who are. It’s unfair for them.
Where can people go to learn more about you and keep up to date with your journeys?
Anyone can follow The Wounded Pelicans’ Journey below:
Website/ Blog: https://www.thewoundedpelicans.com/category/uncategorized/
A huge congratulations to 'Tofes' and ‘Ant’ for their inspiring work, and best of luck for what will surely be one of the most challenging events of their lives! We encourage everyone to support this event by making a donation to help fund a cure for CF here. Be sure to also visit the Cure4CF Foundation to learn more about the work being done to combat this incurable disease, along with the Wounded Pelicans’ website to find out more about ‘The BIG 10’ project and the inspiration behind it. You can also check out the video below to hear 'Tofes' himself talking about the upcoming venture. We know we’ll be following the journey with bated breath!
Travelling according to an environmentally-conscious blueprint isn’t always as easy as we’d like. Even in a world that is becoming increasingly attuned to global issues such as climate change and water pollution, it can be difficult, at times, to avoid falling back on the convenience of power-leaching resources. We here at the Scrubba, however, are wholly committed to environmentally-friendly lifestyles that can be implemented both at home and away. We’re lucky enough to have had ample experience with clean, light and free travel, and today we’re sharing our top tips for eco-friendly adventures, guaranteed to get your green juices flowing.
Weigh up your travel options:
Consider whether you could reach your destination by car, bus, or train, as these options, at least for relatively short distances and especially when full, produce fewer emissions than air travel. If you do need to fly, conduct some research on different companies to make the most informed decision about which airline is the best option, keeping in mind that newer planes are typically greener than their older counterparts, and that non-stop routes are better for the environment than lay-overs. Also keep an eye out for fuel-efficient planes flying along typically busy routes, as the fuller the plane, the less the impact on the environment. Budget airlines, although perhaps not quite as comfortable or luxurious as their fancier counterparts, are often a good option here, as many are relatively young companies with newer fleets that tend fill up quickly due to lower prices. Finally, downsizing your luggage will help to reduce the overall weight on board the aircraft, which, in turn, reduces the total fuel consumption for the flight. Not sure how to downsize? See my next point.
Wash on the go to lighten your load:
The easiest way to shed kilos off your pack is to minimise the amount of clothes you take along. If you’re thinking this sounds counter-intuitive because fewer clothes generally equal greater consumption of energy and water due to the increased need to wash, this is where the Scrubba wash bag comes in. Light, portable, power-free, and requiring only minimal water, the Scrubba bag is the easiest way to wash your clothes on the go without scarring the environment. So pack your Scrubba wash bag, lighten your load, and ensure that none of the footprints you leave behind are of the carbon variety.
Remain conscious of your surroundings:
Stay on marked paths and leave native flora and fauna as untouched as possible. Dispose of all your litter appropriately, which includes recycling when you get the chance, and be mindful to switch off all lights and turn off all taps at your accommodation when you’re not using them. If possible, opt to walk rather than drive around your chosen travel destination, as this is great for not only your own health, but also the environment’s! If you can’t walk, consider whether public transport is a viable option.
Avoid plastic bottles if possible:
Obviously this isn’t always an option, but we should try to stay mindful of the fact that plastic bottles create a huge amount of waste. To circumvent this problem, try investing in a reusable filtration bottle. Although much pricier than a standard drink bottle, this purchase will undoubtedly save you money in the long run, and will certainly come in handy if you ever lack convenient access to supermarkets during your travels.
Eat and shop green:
Sampling local or organic produce is one of the best, greenest ways to support local industry whilst engaging with the culture and atmosphere of your chosen travel destination. Purchasing local produce is especially achievable when it comes to beers, wines, spices, and seafood, and is a great way to throw yourself out of your comfort zone and to broaden your culinary palette. When grocery shopping, be sure to take a reusable cloth bag to cut back on plastic. This move may even save you money in some locations, as a number of cities now charge a small fee for plastic bags as compensation for their negative impact on the environment. Finally, remain aware when shopping for local souvenirs, as some items may be composed of unethically sourced products obtained, for example, through illegal animal trades and black markets.
With these five basic steps, it’s simpler than ever to travel green without compromising your bucket list. So shed your baggage, expand your horizons, taste new food, see unique sites, experience new forms of transport, and travel in harmony with the lush, beautiful nature that surrounds you. It’s just some of the ways we here at the Scrubba ensure we’re always travelling clean, light and free.
Same great bag, with one new twist ...
Since the launch of the Scrubba wash bag on crowdfunding platform, Indiegogo, back in 2012, we’ve helped nearly 100,000 travellers, backpackers, campers, and hikers travel clean, light and free. Portable, environmentally-conscious, and highly durable, our wash bag is the best solution to the problem of doing laundry on the go, and now we’ve made it even better! You’ve spoken, we’ve listened, and the new Scrubba twist-valve wash bag is finally here!
BUY IT NOW
For the last few years, we’ve received feedback indicating that our wash bag could be even easier to use if we updated our squeeze valves:
When folding down the top of the bag I have to squeeze out the air manually as I go. Not a big deal, and I barely noticed it after a couple loads, but it sucked anyway.
Peak Mountaineering blog:
The only thing I think of that could be improved would be the air release valve (which is of the type you find on beach balls and similar inflatables). It is small, a bit fiddly to operate (particularly when your hands are wet and soapy) and generally feels like it could be a bit of a weak point on the bag. Having said that, the bag has held up to regular use over several weeks by a group of 14 without any problem so it should serve you well - I just feel like it should be possible to add some sort of more durable press release valve.
Gear Diary Blog:
What Needs Improvement: The “air valve” should be a bit larger as it seems not enough air came out of the bag itself.
As part of our eternal quest to make journeys of all shapes and sizes easier, we started compiling this feedback in order to develop an even more durable, less fiddly valve that would help to streamline the laundry process from start to finish. After all, the entire philosophy behind the Scrubba wash bag is one of freedom, our ultimate goal being to help people from all walks of life, on all kinds of journeys, shed their baggage. We absolutely refuse to let anything reduce the impact of this message, so we’ve spent the last year designing and testing a new valve to overcome the weaknesses of the former squeeze mechanism.
The new twist valve:
We’re confident that our new twist valve makes washing your clothes in the Scrubba wash bag even easier! Simply add clothes, water, and detergent, roll and clip the ends of the bag together, and then twist open the valve to release any excess air before rubbing the clothes against the internal washboard for 30 seconds – 3 minutes.
Our new valve is super lightweight and easy to twist open and closed, eliminating the need to manually and forcefully push air from a sometimes stiff, inflexible mechanism that can become slippery and fiddly, especially when wet. A sleek blue that matches the wash bag’s revised colour scheme, our new valve is not only more effective and practical, but also better suits the overall aesthetic of the wash bag, fulfilling the high standards that we demand from all of our products. We're pleased to announce that our new twist-valve wash bag will be superseding the old squeeze valve model, meaning that all "2017" wash bags purchased from our online store will carry the update*. However, a very small number of the "2016" squeeze-valve models are still available through our web-store at heavily discounted prices, so be sure to check them out if you're interested in snapping up a great deal!
We’re proud to continue evolving our products in accordance with our supporters' needs, and will continue to innovate in the future to ensure that the Scrubba wash bag remains the easiest to use, most practical washing solution available to travellers.
The Scrubba twist-valve is here, and now you can travel even cleaner, lighter, and freer.
BUY IT NOW
* This excludes the Scrubba W Pack.
The Mongol Rally is an approximately 13,000-16,000km adventure that takes participants from the Gothic architecture of Western Europe, across the sparse landscapes of Russia and Central Asia, and finally to the remote capital of Ulan Bator, Mongolia. Participating teams choose their own route to Mongolia, and indeed the aim of the rally is not simply to make it to Ulan Bator, but to do so in a rather dilapidated, obsolete car that seems hardly sufficient to make it across one country on well-paved roads, let alone the sometimes 30-40 nations with their often rough, unsurfaced terrain, that must be traversed during the typically 4-week event.
For most people, the Mongol Rally would well and truly whet the appetite for adventure. Not so for Maximillian and Richard! Having completed the Rally as part of separate teams in 2015, the UK-based pair, together with their friend, Joel, began to nurture the concept of the Global Convoy. A mutation of the Mongol rally, the Convoy, like the event from which it has drawn its inspiration, sees its participants travel across rough, yet beautiful landscapes in a worn out, scrapyard of a car that threatens to break down at the most inopportune of moments. The ultimate goal of Global Convoy participants is to circumnavigate the globe with minimal research, on an impractically small budget.
The Convoy enjoys a private, beach-side campsite in Montenegro (Photo by Convoy photographer, Andre Correia)
Crossing more than simply international borders, Rich, Max, Joel, and their team, by completing the greatest of journeys on the smallest of budgets, hope to also thwart some of the typical boundaries that hold young, would-be travellers back. Their aim is to highlight the accessibility of travel when potential restrictions are viewed through an opportunistic lens. It is for this reason that they seek to inspire creativity, critical thinking, resourcefulness, and a positive, team-driven attitude: the attributes that have enabled them to work so successfully within their limitations. In addition to spreading the gift of travel, the Global Convoy also takes every opportunity to give back to charity and get involved in local community projects.
This passion for travel both inspires and excites us here at the Scrubba wash bag, so we were thrilled when we had the opportunity to interrupt the Global Convoy’s whirlwind adventures for just long enough to chat about the team’s vision, inspiration, and plans for the future!
The Italian Alps (Photo by Convoy photographer, Andre Correia)
1. Tell us a bit about yourself and the Global Convoy.
Me and some friends had previously travelled overland in seriously cheap cars, without access to proper equipment, as part of the Mongol Rally – just for the adventure and to see what happened! It was the best trip of our lives, and once it was over we couldn't wait for our next chance to do something similar. We then thought up the idea of the Global Convoy – a round the world trip by any means necessary, with the cheapest cars we could find … minimal money, minimal planning, figuring out equipment as we went!
To help save money, we invited any other avid travellers to join us and chip in for gas. This means we’ve been able to travel with different groups as they have heard about our journey! We've had 10 different vehicles come and go throughout this trip, with 70+ different people joining us from across the globe for various stretches, from anything as short as a day, right up to half a year!
2. Where have you gone and what have you seen?
In the space of 6 months we've been across 3 continents and 37 countries in the same 2 terrible cars, and have seen some truly awe-inspiring sights! So far we’ve covered most of Europe, Russia, and a few of the 'Stans' in Central Asia. We’ve also hitchhiked Japan and South Korea, and have recently moved across to Canada to make our way down to Guatemala, our current location.
We've stopped off at any interesting sights we've come across along the way, visiting anywhere that’s been recommended by the people we've met!
We plan to cross another 2 continents and 30 or more countries on our route back to where we started, and can't wait to see what sights and experiences the remainder of the trip brings.
Tulum, Mexico (Photo by Convoy photographer, Andre Correia)
3. What do you think the value of travel is, and what inspires you when you travel?
We all share the same feeling that the world is becoming more and more fearful of 'the unknown'. It's easy to sit back, listen to the news, and think the world is slowly tearing itself apart and that your best bet is to never leave the house!
We want to prove that not only is travel fun and interesting, but that the act of experiencing other cultures helps you to appreciate humanity and other countries so much more. It's almost impossible to brand an entire group/culture as 'bad' or 'dangerous' once you've broken bread with them and seen that they are really just like you!
We LOVE travelling and just can't get enough, so it's important for us to let as many people as possible know that the world is an amazing place with incredible people!
4. Tell us about your charity work/community projects, or any projects that you're hoping to undertake.
We've just finished our work on a Belizean orphanage, and as with most of our projects, there wasn't much organising happening ahead of time. We simply start making arrangements to get involved when we come across a suitable project. We’re currently looking to help build a playground for a school in the Nicaraguan jungle while we wait for our cars to be shipped to Colombia - past the impenetrable Darién Gap!
We're super open to ideas, so if anyone knows of any charity/community projects in Central and South America or Western Africa, please message our Facebook group!
The night sky in Georgeville, Belize, while volunteering to build an orphanage (Photo by Convoy photographer, Andre Correia)
5. What has been the hardest part of your trip or the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome?
Our biggest challenge by far was a road in Kazakhstan that we've dubbed 'Fury Road'! Google maps estimated 14 hours to cover the stretch of road to reach the Uzbekistan border... It took us 3 days! We had to seek refuge in an oil refinery at one point because there was literally nothing around! We were fortunate, as the crew who lived and worked there seemed to like our journey and offered to patch up some damage the cars had taken for free. It was a really lucky break for us!
Kazakhstan, on the way to Uzbekistan via 'Fury Road' (Photo by Convoy photographer, Andre Correia)
6. We gave you a Scrubba wash bag to test throughout your journey. How did it hold up and what are your lasting impressions of it?
First and foremost, it has saved us a ton of money, as we haven't had to fork out for laundry over the 6 months we've been on the road! As we're trying to look towards the long term, it's also awesome to know we use no electricity and much less water when washing our clothes! You can check out a video we made documenting our use of the Scrubba in Uzbekistan, here.
The Scrubba wash bag gets a thermal bath near El Estor, Guatemala (Photo by Convoy photographer, Andre Correia)
7. What are your travel goals for the future?
Our immediate goal is to make it back to London having completed our loop of the world! After that, we're hoping the public support and connections we've made will allow us to turn our travel documenting into a full time job so that we can see more amazing places in crazy manners! If you're interested to see our plans or support us, check out our Patreon.
8. Do you have any awesome travel tips that will help people to explore the world?
I guess the main thing we've learnt is that the best travel experiences are found when you end up off the beaten path. It's just amazing to see how generous people can be when you're the first tourist they've seen in a long time - or even the first ever! You get a much more authentic taste of the place you're staying and a more genuine interaction with the local people!
Having arrived at the Kazakhstan/Kyrgyzstan border after closing time, the team shelters in a Yurt usually reserved for the border guards (Photo by Convoy photographer, Andre Correia)
9. Do you have any advice for others hoping to embark on these kind of challenging trips in the future?
Without trying to simplify, we think that just heading out there and throwing yourself into unusual places is one of the best ways to see the world! Learning by doing is one of the most underrated ways to travel, although you should always have a backup plan or some way to get to somewhere safe and secure in case anything unfortunate happens.
Scrubba action on the active Pacaya Volcano, Guatemala (Photo by Convoy photographer, Andre Correia)
10. Where can people go to follow your future journeys and learn about your past ones?
We're mostly active on Facebook and document our currents adventures at: https://www.facebook.com/globalconvoy/. Older, Rally-related videos are covered by Youtube.com/c/ConquerEarthTravel. We hope you enjoy them!
A huge thanks to Max, Rich, and Joel for taking the time to share their unique travelling experiences, and to Andre for passing along some beautiful photos! Remember to head over to the Global Convoy’s Facebook page to keep up to date with their once-in-a-lifetime journey. Who knows? You may even find a little inspiration yourself!