Traveling alone can be intimidating, but a lot of Thomson guests take the leap to safari by themselves, and the feedback is overwhelmingly positive. Solo travel allows you to rediscover yourself, embrace empowerment and follow your passions!
Thomson trip manager Fiona just returned from her Founders’ Safari, and though she knows the ins and outs of planning the perfect trip, she was able to witness the magic of the Serengeti firsthand. We sat down with her to hear all about her adventure and how traveling brought her new friends, new experiences and newfound confidence!
Tell us about the group you traveled with.
There was another solo traveler named Joe; a family of three; two parents, their college-aged daughter and me! Even though I work with solo travelers all the time and they always have a great trip, I was unsure what to expect as I’ve historically traveled with friends or family. Now, I was sharing a once-in-a- lifetime experience with people I’d never met before, so I was as nervous as I was excited.
But my group was incredible. Of course, there were those inaugural awkward moments with small talk and trouble remembering names, but our amazing guides facilitated conversations and used humor to help us get to know each other. After a few days, we were a unit; helping each other get that perfect shot of a leopard, memorizing the names of innumerable bird species and enjoying lunch together in the sun.
I’m so grateful for my group, and I miss spending time with them already! My safari wouldn’t have been the same without them.
What were the highlights of your vacation?
I’m a trip manager at Thomson, so I thought I knew what to expect in all facets of the safari experience. But honestly, no amount of time and knowledge can prepare you for the feeling! No picture can capture the humbling beauty of the Serengeti plains. One highlight was spotting a mother rhino and her baby just as our land rover climbed the rim of Ngorongoro Crater!
The people of Tanzania also left a lasting impression. Everyone we met, from our guides to the Massai in the Eastern Serengeti, to the staff at the Nyumba Camps were so kind, generous and welcoming. My guide, Onesmo, kept a smile on my face from the time my plane touched down in Tanzania to the time I headed home!
What made you nervous about traveling solo?
Traveling alone always adds an extra layer of anxiety, especially when you’re visiting an unfamiliar destination. Guests always ask me, “Will it be hard to navigate the airport when I don’t know a word of Swahili?” but the Thomson staff guides you through every step.
What was something that surprised you about traveling solo?
What surprised me most was that even though I came alone, I never felt alone. In some ways, traveling independently allows you to be even more open to every experience and conversation (from locals and fellow travelers alike!). The experience is transformative; you’re sharing a once-in-a-lifetime journey and creating memories with a group of people you hadn’t known the week before!
What advice would you give someone who is thinking about traveling solo?
Go for it! The thought of going solo might be intimidating, but this is an experience that you can’t let pass by. Traveling by yourself gives you a new perspective and confidence. I was able to spend my downtime reading as well, something I never seem to have time for at home! You have your own beautiful Nyumba and ample time to relax on your own or with your newfound friend. A safari is the perfect opportunity to travel solo. I loved meeting new people, but I also learned a lot about myself.