Female Solo Travel in Santorini

Female solo travel is nothing to fear, especially on the enchanted little island of Santorini, Greece. At the age of 21 I spent my first solo travel here. Rumor had it that solo travel is a must if you’re into personal development and self-growth. I’ve aways been an experimental kind of person and so I knew it was time for some solo travel.

Santorini is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Greece, but my trip was during the off season in March. Hardly any tourists were around and some of the shops and restaurants were closed. I actually loved this because at the time I was seeking inner peace and did a lot of hiking, reading and meditation.

A simple and beautiful island like Santorini is a great place to do a female solo trip because it has a gentle and warm energy. It is welcoming, friendly, and won’t overwhelm you. The transportation is simple and most of the island is walkable.

In my short amount of time here I did see most of the island and I will share, in my opinion, the best things to do while staying 3 nights as well as my photo collection.

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flying into Santorini from Thessaloniki, Greece

Santorini is like walking into a dream. Strolling through the little winding walkways and viewing the white washed architectural theme of the island will give you plenty to do on with your first few hours on the island.img_7800img_7832img_7887

There are a million blue doors on this island! An Instagramers paradise. ūüėČimg_7815img_7806img_7883img_7830img_7884

You will see donkeys everywhere on the island. Sometimes a herd of them will come out of no where and block the narrow walking paths. I went on a donkey ride with two guys I met from Paris, but that was before I realized how poorly the donkeys are treated. I would not ride a donkey again in Greece but if you want to it is very doable all over the island.

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It is too common in tourism to see animals that are clearly sad and over-used. Be mindful of this and please don’t support it if you get the sense that the animals are being mistreated.

On to a happy note! Greek food:

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Greeks are known to have outstanding hospitality and cuisine to die for. This cute little roof top bar gave me free wine for dining with them. You have to try the Greek wine while you’re here! There are a lot of great traditional greek restaurants and frozen yogurt places to try as well.

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During this time of my life I was going through a major spiritual transformation. I spent alot of time in meditation, journaling, and reading. This book is Aleph by Paulo Coelho.

Santorini is known to have “the best sunset in the world,” and they are truly captivating. ¬†Take a walk to the highest point of the island and view the sunset over the caldera and the Aegean Sea. Although I was alone, I met 2 girls from Canada and watched the sunset with them. While solo traveling I totally recommend setting an intention to go out of your way to meet new people.

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Santorini has an active volcano mostly submerged by water. This is called the Caldera. On day two I met up with friends and took a boat to the Caldera to swim in the volcanic hot springs.

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Although I did a solo travel journey, some of my study abroad friends happened to be on the island at the same time and so it spent time adventuring them. I loved this because I did want to be more social on the island and it was hard with very little people around.

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Hiking around the volcano

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I highly recommend swimming in the volcanic hot springs, even if you’re there in March while the water is freezing! It’s an amazing experience. The water is so dense with minerals that you can almost float on top of it; this is associated with healing properties for your body. In some areas the water is very warm because it is heated by the volcano.

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To get up the cliff from the water toward the center of Fira, there is a lift you can take instead of riding a donkey or walking. It’s fun and gives you a great view from above.

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We all studied abroad at the American College of Thessaloniki in northern Greece.

The most empowering part of my solo travel was hiking the island alone on the cliffside of the Caldera, from Fira to Oia. This was a half day hike of 10.8 kilometers across the entire island. It takes 3 to 5 hours, depending on your speed. I had some major fear arise out of no where when I did this, but it turned out to be one of the highlights of my entire year. The views were out of this world.

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Once you leave Fira there are hiking signs to guide you toward Oia.

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For most of the hike you could view the Aegean Sea from both sides of the trail. It was peaceful and exhilarating all at once. I only encountered one other person and his dog the entire hike. img_7880

I stopped along the way to do some mini meditations and breathing techniques. I find that these easy practices majority enhance the experience.

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Oia is smaller than Fira and during the off-season it is quite dead. Many places were closed but it is still beautiful and worth seeing no matter what. Plus, you can take a bus back to Fira within minutes.

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Oia

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Journal entry: Do your desires spark your ego or your soul?

A MUST SEE in Oia is the Atlantis book store. This is a famous book store and the second most interesting collection of books I’ve seen, next to the Trinity Library in Dublin.

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Like all places in Greece, cute little stray cats and dogs are everything. While I hiked around the island a little dog followed me around for hours. So adorable!

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Another great thing to do is to visit the Museum of Prehistoric Thera. There is also a wine museum, a Maritime museum, an archeological museum and more.

I recommend staying in an airbnb in Fira if you go in the off season. My trip was actually very affordable and the best things to do in Santorini don’t cost that much. There are many luxurious stays on the island, and some budget hostels and hotels as well. Never let money stop you ¬†from traveling when you’re young, there is always a way to make it happen.

Overall, solo travel is not something I want to do all the time but I HIGHLY recommend everyone to do it in their lifetime. I find it very different than traveling with others. You have to be more vigilant and self-aware. It encourages confidence and self-empowerment, especially as a young female. It gets you out of your comfort zone and makes you more self-reliable and efficient.

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If you area considering solo travel or Greek travel I hoped this inspired you to make it happen. I have been to over 30 countries and Greece is my favorite place in the world.

I believe that solo travel and travel in general is not just about pleasure. It is about self-transformation and learning. Please comment below if you have ever traveled solo and name one thing you learned along the way!

Malta – The City of Valetta, Gozo and the Mediterranean Sea

I spent 10 days on the ancient island of Malta, located under Italy, in the Mediterranean Sea. My favorite city was Valetta, the countries capital. I also loved the island of Gozo, which has the worlds oldest standing ‘building.’ As you’ll see below, this ancient ‘building’ is a collection of stacked rocks from the neolithic era.

In this post I’m sharing my journey through photos. Enjoy!

P.S. If you like the way I edit my photos, you can shop the Lightroom presets I use here. It’s the most simple and effective way to boost your photography skills that I know of.

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Entrance to the city of Valetta

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Valetta walking tour – Always a great way to see any city as a tourist

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Inside a 17th century cathedral

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The oldest standing building in the world – neolithic era ruins

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drinking mulled wine with my dad and brother – literally SO delicious

 

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5 Things I Learned From a Balinese Healer

This is my account of spending a day with a Balinese healer where I did a private consultation and afterward a Hindu purification ritual in the sacred holy springs of Ubud, Bali. It was nothing less than magical and transformative.

If you’ve seen the movie and/ or read the book Eat Pray Love then you’ll appreciate this post a little extra. I adorned that novel for years (still do) and I also have an affinity toward ancient healing techniques so seeing this healer was a no brainer.

This tour was booked through Bali Agung Tours.

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Inside the Balinese Healers Living Quarters – Our local tour guide was adorable and full of knowledge

I am writing this over a week after the tour and can say that with time I do feel the consultation with this Balinese healer has increased the quality of my life in a positive and noticeable way.

The moment I sat down with this Indonesian medicine man he said, “you have backpain.” And I did. It’s been a problem for a year. And then he said, “why you no have no boyfriend?” Lol…

Longstory sort he was totally psychic, believe it or not. He knew a lot of my deepest desires and repetitive thoughts I had been pondering in the last year, a lot of which I have never even spoken of out loud. I’m not going into the details of this because it’s extremely personal… but I can say he offered me reassurance and guidance that I have been implementing into my life and the outcome has been very positive.

Here are 5 things I learned from the Balinese medicine man. Although this is tailored to my own self, I believe we are all interconnected and share similar experiences, so I hope that it will offer you value in some way. 

  1. Focus on positive thinking and stop worrying!! When we worry, we don‚Äôt trust ourselves. Trust yourself. Love yourself. Live more from your heart space, not your head. Stop overthinking and ease up. Have patience. Learn everything and do everything. Be grateful for what you have now and this will accelerate your growth toward achieving your goals. The healer predicted my future to an extent that sends shivers down my spine. He described my dream life in detail without me telling him anything at all, and so this made me trust the universe/ the process more than ever. Are we really that in control of our lives? I believe we are born with our unique desires and it is our job to live them out while we’re here on earth.
  2. He encouraged me to meditate daily, exercise more, and stay away from sugar. This is a practical one but sometimes its nice to be told what we know we need to do. If you know me, I am a huge advocate for meditation. I believe meditation is the holy grail of healing and thriving.
  3. He said while I wait for my largest manifestations to come, to create good karma and to learn everything I can until the middle of next year. In the middle of next year I will be delivered the “job” that I have been seeking. What I am learning now is preparing me, he claims.
  4. Get your energy right before all else. Things fall into place effortlessly when we are in a flow state. Take right action to stay in energetic alignment; everything is energy after all, and we attract what we are on an energetic level.
  5. Be happy and grateful, even when things don’t go as planned. Enjoy the journey.¬†This healer seriously made me live¬†in a more positive state of being that I have maintained every day since then. I’m sure¬†being in a¬†beautiful place like Bali is a major factor but still…

He then did a ritual to ‘detox my heart,’ because he is ‘preparing me for my future husband.’ This ritual was intended to rid me of my back pain, which it honestly has. I am writing this over a week later and have had little to no back pain.

I have implemented all of his advice and have honestly been smiling ALL the time lately. 

After the consultation with the healer, we did a purification ritual in the holy springs and then had lunch surrounded by rice terraces.

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The Holy Springs

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The Holy Springs where the purification ritual is performed
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A stop for lunch in the rice terraces

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Vegan Indonesian mystery meal

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I got to spend the day three other women from Canada and Greece. All three of them practice minimalism and live a zero waste life which was very inspiring to me.

I have met some highly conscious friends while staying in Bali, and many of them practice a zero waste lifestyle. They encouraged me to watch this TEDx talk on the subject and so I will keep their message going by sharing the video below.

Until next time,

Much love,

Alaina

Why I Moved to Southeast Asia Alone At the Age of 22

I have recently moved to Bali, Indonesia from the United States (Michigan) and I feel inspired to share why I chose to make this move across the world alone at the age of 22.

Before the age of 25 I am highly prioritizing world travel and self-education. After age 25 our brains neuroplasticty declines, and our minds belief systems become more set in stone. I am going to places with drastically different values, cultures and lifestyles than my own so that I can learn from them and expand myself. I live with the belief that our environments greatly affect who we are. Becoming the best version of myself while having a high quality of life is why I moved to Ubud, the cultural and spiritual hub of Bali. It’s very important to me that I prioritize my self-education, my quality of life, my happiness, and my life’s purpose over anything else on earth.

While in Southeast Asia I am finishing my degree online part time and also making an income online through multiple streams.

I believe in an education system that helps people learn to make an income for themselves and then travel the world, rather than staying inside a few buildings for 4 years (just what works for me!:). I see many great people in my life who get a college degree and then don’t know what to do after graduation. I believe universities should place more of an emphasis on making an income in a practical way so that people can explore more freely while they are young. The world is the best teacher. I believe if you want to learn Spanish, go to Spain. If you want to learn ancient Egyptian history, go to Egypt. If you want to learn geography, travel. That’s real life to me. Thats my message. I moved to Southeast Asia because if I didn’t follow what I believe I would be a hypocrite. ūüôā

I am also moving because I believe procrastination kills dreams. Conditions are never perfect. Do it anyway. I’ve been wanting to travel around Southeast Asia for a while but I still have 20 credits left at Michigan State University to graduate. I told my university my situation and they are making accommodations for me to finish online.

If you want something, ask;)

I had a strong intuitive pull to come to Bali with a one way ticket and so far it has been an amazing journey. I have met a lot of great people and have learned more about myself and the world. Indonesian people are the happiest people I have ever met; I think it’s rubbing off on me (I hope).

Until next time, much love.

Alaina

 

Travel camera: Sony Alpha a6000

Lens: Sigma 30mm F2.8 DN Lens for Sony E-mount Cameras (black)

Disclosure: Some of the links on this page are affiliate links that I may receive a small commission from. This is at no additional cost to you. By clicking and/or booking through affiliate links found on this site you are helping to support this website and helping make it even better.

 

My first Day Around Ubud, Bali – Travel Vlog and Photos

I have finally arrived from Michigan to Bali after much anticipation. So far I am in love with Ubud, located in the heart of the island. Ubud is the spiritual and cultural center of Bali and I can certainly see that everywhere I look. Seriously great vibes all around. I am one happy girl!

Check out my first ever travel vlog and photos, both taken with my favorite camera, the Sony Alpha a6000. This is a great travel camera for vlogging and photography.

Here is my itinerary of a day tour around Ubud, Bali, which I booked through the Pillow Inn Hostel.

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The Bali Swing (There are TONS of swings all over the place in many different rice terraces. The price is around $15, and yes they strap you in.)

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balicooledit56Kopi Luwak-¬†Next to the swings was a coffee plantation where we tried the famous Balinese Coffee called¬†kopi luwak, which means asian palm civet; a type of Balinese cat. The coffee is made by the digested coffee beans of the cat. Gross right. ¬†Kopi Luwak is known as the worlds most expensive coffee, although we got it for free while visiting this business. It tastes like normal coffee to me…

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Rice Terraces –¬†Ubud is covered in rice terraces and wow, they are stunning. We hiked all over these babies and got quite lost. Local venders are ready to serve you fresh coconuts to drink on your hike. The views are spectacular.

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The Holy Springs – These springs are where sacred rituals are done for purification of mind, body and soul. We had to wear a sarong to enter. Women on their periods are not allowed to enter the temples. I am doing a full day healing ritual with a Balinese healer here next week so stay tuned.

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Waterfalls РWe were taken to see two waterfalls on this tour and they were both very accessible and swimmable.

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Ubud has my heart – In 2 weeks I will move onto Canguu, the Balinese surfing town. I am in no rush to travel. For now I am enjoying a slow paced life here with new friends from around the world. Until next time, much love.

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The Meteora Monasteries of Greece – UNESCO World Heritage Site in Nature & Art

Meteora is the second most important site in Greece, next to the Acropolis. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site under both nature and art. Only a few UNESCO sites in the world qualify for two categories.

Meteora means¬†suspended in space. It is home to six mountaintop monasteries. Even if you’re not religious they are so worth the visit. They literally took my breath away the second I saw them; pictures do not do this place justice. My entire family was left in awe from the sites here. It feels otherworldly.

The reason the monasteries were built suspended on these mountains were to keep monks safe, beginning in the 14th century. They had to rock climb or be carried up in a basket just to access the monasteries. It wasn’t until the 1920s that stairs were built.

There are two types of monasteries in Meteora ‚Äď ¬†communal and living as a hermit. Only one of the monasteries today houses female nuns. A typical day for the monks and nuns involves waking at 4am for three hours of prayer, and them carrying out their assigned duties.

Women who enter the monasteries must wear a skirt to enter; they offer tie on skirts at the door if you need one.

Cats are everywhere in Greece, even the monasteries

Fun fact: Meteora appeared in the James Bond film, For Your Eyes Only.

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The little charming town of Kalambaka is right behind the monasteries.

My family and I rented a car from Thessaloniki and drove here for the day. I highly recommend getting a tour here since there is so much to know and see. Some of the best places are actually quite hidden. Check out tours to book here.

Although the Meteora monasteries are not as popular for tourists as other places in Greece, this is such a special place that you don’t want to miss. There is no place like this on Earth.

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