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A Woman Alone: Travel Tales from Around the Globe

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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 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 station at 3:00 a.m. in a Thai village controlled by armed bandits. Ena Singh negotiates with Russian police to visit the blue-domed city of Samarkand. In A Woman Alone, these women and others tell their funny, thrilling, occasionally terrifying, ultimately transformative stories of navigating some of the most unusual destinations on the globe.


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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 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 station at 3:00 a.m. in a Thai village controlled by armed bandits. Ena Singh negotiates with Russian police to visit the blue-domed city of Samarkand. In A Woman Alone, these women and others tell their funny, thrilling, occasionally terrifying, ultimately transformative stories of navigating some of the most unusual destinations on the globe.

30 review for A Woman Alone: Travel Tales from Around the Globe

  1. 5 out of 5

    Allison

    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 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! Uzbekistan, anyone?

  2. 4 out of 5

    Nicki Hill

    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 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 aloneness, the freedom and the pain associated with it. I loved this paragraph written by Pramila Jayapal, the only story that took place in the U.S.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Chippiya

    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 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 across the globe backpack in tow, and especially when I want to revisit all the reasons why I love traveling solo and how it has shaped me.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ellen

    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.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Betsy

    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 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 Thailand (I now want to go to Thailand considerably less) or losing a passport in Brazil. But then I remembered that I, despite having gone much fewer places than anyone in this book, have managed to collect an array of impressive travel disasters myself, including: that time I nearly got hit by a bus in Rome the time our bus nearly fell off Mt. Vesuvius (going to Italy was wild, let me tell you) getting stranded in Aruba, including nearly missing my grandfather's funeral because of it getting stranded in Key West going to the Grand Canyon to see nothing but fog nearly breaking my ankle in Kyoto and subsequently spending two weeks hobbling around Japan with am umbrella for a cane getting caught in a downpour in downtown NYC and spending the rest of the week with a hideous sore throat that was aggravated every time I used the subway And not a single one of those actually made me enjoy the trip any less. So maybe I can get the idea of including a wild travel disaster as a way of saying "hey go do this anyway, you'll learn something about enjoying life and taking things in stride!" But what I can't get past is how unprepared nearly everyone was. Maybe it's the distance of nearly twenty years that makes that sort of "let me go somewhere with no hotel reservations and no idea what to do and no way to speak the language" attitude seem less adventurous and carefree than slightly disrespectful. I would never go ANYWHERE without hotel reservations, because if you turn up in a random town and there's nowhere to stay, are you supposed to just hope some local takes in the random tourist who didn't bother to take care of themselves? So, yeah, my takeaways? Don't go to Brazil without figuring out how your hotel works and then have to harass the embassy staff because your passport got stolen (which, yes, is a danger but also, know where you should be taking your passport with you because you need it and where you shouldn't be taking it at all because it'll get stolen). Don't go to Niger and refuse to wear the veil because you're a Western woman who doesn't want to get involved in the politics when really, your hosts are offering it to you because it's the Sahara and covering up is a great way not to get sunburned and the people who live there KNOW that better than you. Don't go to the Faroes without knowing that things close early and there are fewer amenities and then complain that people are rude because you keep getting annoyed that things don't work the way they do in the US (SUCH A PET PEEVE OF MINE). Probably most of this has to do with the difference in travel philosophy between 2001 and 2019, which is part of the reason I prefer to read more modern travel writing. Still, I liked the variety of places included and got some good ideas for future travels.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sandy

    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 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 plenty of tales to love, too, while vicariously experiencing the thrill of traveling to faraway lands.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    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! :-)

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jeni Enjaian

    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, pennythoughtful.com. Once the post publishes, I will try to remember to update this review.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    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.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kristen

    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.)

  11. 5 out of 5

    Adrianna

    Very insightful and inspiring stories of women who are adventurous.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    I LOVE this book!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Saurabh Gupta

    Loved it

  14. 4 out of 5

    Caroline

    I enjoyed all the essays

  15. 4 out of 5

    Cori Widen

    Incredibly inspiring, and a joy to read.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Courtney Jordan

    Great stories from ladies around the World!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Elisabeth

    Some essays better than others, but overall an interesting read.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Erica B

    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 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 given the increase in female travel and through people writing about it these issues will become more known and it will become easier to do so. I also enjoyed the variety in this book from women at various stages in their lives and how they continued to go off on adventures even when it wasn't the easiest thing to do.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

    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? 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? If so, where? What kind of adventures would I seek out?) and also quite a bit of admiration for these strong and independent women. Definitely a book worth taking a look at.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jill

    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 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 into perspective. Overall, this is an interesting, sometimes inspiring, collection that avoids stringing together expletives and trying-to-hard humor and sticks with telling solid stories.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Catherine

    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 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 it will help you dream a little too.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    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 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 mixed results. The stories were varied and interesting.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Laurel

    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.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Stringer

    I read this book because my 20 year old daughter read it to get inspired for her solo travels in Western Europe for a year. It is one of the most inspiring books of travel essays I have ever read. Each one is so different- different traveler, different place in the world--different ages and stages for each woman. I loved every story and want to write my own tale of traveling alone. I would recommend this book for any woman-- or anyone about to embark on a journey alone.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Emily Shenfield

    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.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    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.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Grace

    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.

  28. 4 out of 5

    'stina

    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.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Cheree Moore

    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 http://chereemoore.blogspot.com/2010/... 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 http://chereemoore.blogspot.com/2010/...

  30. 4 out of 5

    Robyn Ellis

    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

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