JourneyWoman LIVE: Life Lessons from OG Solo Travellers: April 28 Panel Discussion

by | Apr 27, 2020

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Last updated on November 14th, 2021

Taking the First Step to Solo Travel

Whether you are thinking about taking a solo journey or have several under your belt, there is much to be learned from the pioneering women solo travellers who started out at a time when women venturing off on their own was unheard of. 

Join us at 8 pm EST tomorrow for a lively panel discussion “Life Lessons from the OG Solo Travellers” on Zoom and Facebook Live with three amazing JourneyWomen. 

Meet them in this post. Sign up for the session. Walk away inspired and informed.

To get you primed for the discussion, here are a few questions for you to ponder. If you feel inspired, answer them in the comments!

  • When was your first solo trip? How old were you? Where did you go? What do you remember most?
  • Where’s somewhere you’d go back to right now if you could?
  • What advice do you have for women looking to get out and seek the world by themselves?

Meet our panelists

A bit about Marillee C. – California, US

Marillee took her first solo journey at age 35 to celebrate her independence following a divorce. In the summer of 1984, she backpacked across Europe with a Europass in hand. Her 10-country trip kicked off in England, and along the way, she gained courage, empowerment, many friends and saw spectacular scenery. Since then, she has taken more than 20 trips, visiting more than 120 countries.

“It’s challenging to pinpoint my best travel memory – they were all memorable in their own way. Certainly, I’d suggest my Semester at Sea voyages, my Antarctica and Arctic voyages, and the country of Bhutan were momentous.” – Marillee C.

A blonde 35-year-old woman sitting at an outdoor restaurant in Europe on her first post-divorce solo journey

Marillee C. at an outdoor restaurant on her first post-divorce solo adventure; a 10-country tour through Europe in 1984.

A bit about Marti S. – Illinois, US

Marti took her first solo journey in 1967, travelling by bus from Ohio to Mexico city for a semester at university. Since then, she’s travelled to 40 countries – a mix of solo adventures, travel with her late husband, and small group tours. Her most memorable adventure was a day on the SkyTrain in Bangkok. She bought a day pass and got on and off wherever struck her fancy – temples, street markets, canals. She says the found the same souvenir scarves, shawls and costume jewelry at a quarter of the price that way. Plus, she has an impressive collection of shopping bags.

“You have to get creative when you try to tell a pharmacist in the former Yugoslavia, still behind the iron curtain, that you need sanitary napkins. But if you really want to get a convo going with kids anywhere, even girls, learn about REAL football and don’t call it soccer.” – Marti S.


My earliest travels were too long ago to have surviving photos. But I found this one that shows I was born to travel.  This is a Pan-Am flight attendant uniform! Both of my parents worked for airlines.” Marti S.

A bit about Brenda M. – Toronto, Canada

Brenda M. recently took a FaceBook travel quiz and counted 44 places she’d been on their list – highlights among these include South America, Mexico, the US, Cuba, England, France, Italy, Portugal, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan and Hong Kong. Over the years, she’s packed up and gone on solo writing trips to Montreal, Cuba (Varadero/Havana) and Mexico (Oaxaca). Her favourite solo writing trip in 2012 when she was on sabbatical in Paris for three months to draw/paint and write, with side trips to Avignon, Venice and Florence.

“My best travel memories are when I have time to settle in and live with the locals, again, as when I lived in Paris for three months and when I worked in Singapore for six months acting as a Foundation Arts Curriculum Consultant at Nanyang Polytechnic while they set up their Animation and Computer Animation Programs.” – Brenda M.

One of many live international author talks Brenda M. attended during her three-month stay in Paris.

Didn’t get a chance to catch the Live? Find a transcript and video here


Amanda Burgess is a Toronto-based writer and creative strategist whose bags are always packed for her next adventure. She is a Certified Cancer Journey Coach who creates a safe space for cancer patients and caregivers to design their dream lives – while living with cancer, and on the other side of it. Amanda freelanced for JourneyWoman until December 2021.


We always strive to use real photos from our own adventures, provided by the guest writer or from our personal travels. However, in some cases, due to photo quality, we must use stock photography. If you have any questions about the photography please let us know.

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