THE EYE OF THE VAGABOND - Shannon Sorg, a teenage solo backpacker

Shannon is a 19 year-old Canadian and a full-time solo traveller. She has been doing long-term travelling since she is 17 years old and has almost visited 40 countries. She agreed to share her adventures with us. Discover her story !

How did you decide to start travelling ?

I decided to start long term travelling because I wasn’t 100% sure what exactly I wanted to do with my life and I was having doubts about if I really wanted to study what I was enrolled in. I thought travelling would help bring me clarity about life and I would begin studying the next year. I ended up enjoying travelling way too much to hear back to school the next year. My first big trip was 9 months in Southeast Asia when I was 17. 

How do you feel about travelling alone that young ?

At first travelling by myself was definitely very intimidating but I was extremely lucky to meet so many amazing people along the way, that helped me out so much and gave me so much advice around solo travel. This really helped build my confidence up and now I feel really great travelling alone. 

What are you favorite things about travelling ?

My favourite thing about travelling (especially solo) would have to be the freedom. Being able to go wherever you want, whenever you want and do whatever you want when you get there just feels amazing. I love being able to wake up and decide to do anything that day. I also really love how easy it is to meet extremely likeminded, fun people from all over the world. Some of my favourite days have been just going on random adventures with people that were strangers until I met them at the hostel breakfast that morning.  I’ve made so many life long friends while travelling. 

Can you tell us a bit about your current trip ?

My current trip is a year long backpacking trip. The primary focus of this trip was Africa where I spent the first 6 months. I mainly focused on Southern Africa while also visiting Madagascar and a little bit of Eastern Africa. The cheapest flight I could find from Tanzania towards Europe was to Azerbaidjan so after Africa I ended up flying there and spending a few weeks exploring the caucuses. From there I headed into Eastern Europe where I am currently, 8 months into my trip. After Europe I plan on heading to the Middle East. 

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What advices would you give to girls who are afraid to travel alone ?

I would tell any girl afraid to travel by herself to just go for it. I know it can seem intimidating but the best way to overcome the fear is to just jump right in. Most people in the world want nothing but to help you. I bought a motorcycle in Vietnam and spent a couple months riding it across the country solo when I was 17 and I’ve never encountered so many people that were so willing to help me. As soon as they realized I was a girl travelling alone their instincts just kicked in and instantly they wanted to help with any mechanical issues I was having, offer me a meal or even host me in their homes for the night, if I didn’t already have a place to stay. There definitely is the odd bad person you meet travelling, but there are so many more good ones.