costa rica

5 tips for a successful first solo trip

As you guys know, last December one of the Scandaleuse boss ladies booked a flight to Costa Rica for her first solo trip. Let us tell you it was a blast… I can now say I actually prefer to travel by myself than with people, it was such an unforgettable experience!

It can be scary at first but like anything in life, if you have the desire to try then put your fears aside and do it!

 
 

When it comes to the topic of traveling solo, many fears appear mostly about safety. You hear it from the media, your friends and family: “It is unsafe to go travel by yourself!”. No it is not, but it can be if you are not careful. Here are few tips for a successful first solo trip:

Play it safe

As a first time you want to make sure you will enjoy it, especially if you are not an adventurous person. My suggestion is first to:

  • Choose a country which speak your language, not being able to communicate can make your trip a nightmare.

  • Don't go for too long, you don't have to leave for 3 weeks if you don't feel it (don't do like me neither, I made the mistake to go for only 5 days and that was way too short). I would suggest to go from one week to 10 days.

  • Make sure to stay close to civilization. One more time, if you are not adventurous chose the city over the wildness of nature. You want to make sure to have people around you in case of emergency.

  • You don't have to tell strangers you are traveling solo, especially as a woman. Pretend having friends or family with you if that can make you feel less like a target.

Don't act like a dummy

When you read about people's experience, you hear few nightmare stories that can be pretty scary. But most of the time bad things happened to people who put themselves in the worst situations. When you travel by yourself don’t take stupid risks, it is not worth it! Always have your ID with you, don't get wasted in the street or unsafe places and don't accept candies from strangers!

Be prepared for the worse

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You do have to think about what can badly happens but without scaring yourself off. Just be prepared to any possibility:

  • Have a photocopy of your travel documents and a virtual copy accessible through your phone.

  • Know the closest hospital in each of your locations.

  • Have a plan B for transportation and accommodation.

  • Give all your trip's details to your emergency contact.

Solo travel is not only for men

Get that idea inside head, yes women can solo travel too, we just have to be a little bit more careful than men. Follow your guts, do not trust too much and do not make yourself vulnerable.

Don't have expectation

Stop thinking your trip is going to be perfect, because it will not and it is fine! You have to accept little flaws which are going to happen during your trip.

Organization and safety are the keys for a successful first solo trip. I am not saying you have to be a control freak and stay in your hotel the all time, but just the minimum of care for yourself. I can promise you your trip is going to be unforgettable.

Open yourself to people and you will make new friends from all over the world. I can promise you, you will not get bored during your trip and you will never be really alone. Now go travel and make it incredible!

 
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Heidi, when strength meet kindness

Hello dear scandals,

We all feel how winter in Canada can be tough sometimes, the lack of heat and sun after few months starts to have a negative impact on our mood. So it can be a great idea to take few days out of the country: one of us went five days to Costa Rica and it was incredible. The goal of that short trip was to get away from Toronto and take some me-time… You guys know how hard workers we are and how it is difficult for us to disconnect from work. Well we have to confess, it was hard to not take the opportunity to do a boudoir shoot in paradise and work with a new lady… So we had to do it :)

We posted a message on a facebook group about a boudoir shoot idea and Heidi was one of the first to reply. Even though we did not know her, she was the one who stood out and we new from the start we wanted to shoot with her. What a meaningful encounter: her story was inspiring, we always love to hear about other business owner's experience and life. Plus she has an incredible personality, beauty… PERFECT COMBO!

 
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Meet Heidi

Everybody has a story, I think that’s one of the things I enjoy the most about meeting people in Costa Rica. Here we are in this little beautiful country, together, talking and forming friendships, discovering how much we have in common and yet we all have a different back story about what led us here.

Costa Rica, 5 years ago

I went there for the first time to celebrate my partner’s and my 50th birthdays.  We planned a double vacation – some skiing and boarding in Whistler for the first week, and then straight to Costa Rica to learn to surf. Tamarindo….such a neat place! My partner could already surf and had tried it in many other exotic locations, but this was a first for me and I don’t even skateboard or snowboard… Yikes! Well, I survived surf camp and could actually say I could surf afterwards!

That first trip led to another and another and another, at least twice a year, enjoying the beach, training every day, surfing and always pondering eventual retirement and speculating about what little business could be started here to fill a niche.

At first we thought about a coffee shop, or more specifically, a mobile coffee cart – because at that time there were only a couple in town. Needless to say in 5 years there are probably 14 now…. so that was a good pass!

How Gilliepops was born

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One thing that seemed to be lacking was treats of any sort that weren’t laden with sugar or milk and specifically cold frozen treats. Popsicles… Yes, that became the focus and ultimately Gilliepops was born, named after my late daughter, who passed away a few months after our first trip here.

Lots of brainstorming, creative thinking and marketing ideas, and in November 2017 I arrived in town with a bicycle, a cooler, my Vitamix and a couple of giant duffel bags filled with popsicles sticks, moulds, labels and packaging supplies. It was new and exciting, and at times very disappointing and stressful. I ate a lot of tuna and eggs that’s for sure but what an amazing experience! I even added gluten free baked goods to my repertoire and it seems the tourists and even locals can’t get enough of them. It’s awesome!!

Thanks to social media

Business here in Costa Rica is done differently that in North America.  It’s less formal and much of the communication is done either on Facebook or Whatsapp.

Because of the dependency on Facebook for business, I’m forced to check it daily and post often to encourage awareness of the availability of gluten free products here. This is when I saw Fanny's post about her visit to Tamarindo. I sent her a few suggestions, I think because I knew she was from Toronto. When she mentioned being a photographer and looking for someone to photograph while she was here, I jumped at the opportunity – there are almost no pictures of me here because I’m on my own. And what a beautiful place to be photographed.

Its been a couple of years since I’ve done a photo shoot and never when I wasn’t ready to compete (I’m a physique competitor), but I thought it would be nice to be captured as my regular self, my natural self, a little smoother and softer… tan lines and all…! The shoot was amazing – the view from the location we chose was so beautiful and the pictures she took are so flattering and beautiful.

I’m so grateful for the opportunity to have met one of the Scandaleuse's team, the time we got to spend together talking an sharing our stories.

 
 

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