November 2, 2017
Laura Austin goes SOLO
Self-proclaimed professional problem solver, Laura Austin is perpetually inspired by the changing cultural and physical landscapes of travel photography. With a goal to continue progressing and following her passions, Austin keeps an open mind, ready for the next journey, whatever it may be. After tucking a few wild adventures under her belt, Austin has just released her first printed publication entitled SOLO: A Guidebook to Traveling Alone. The 76-page book is full of photographs from Laura’s solo travels with the addition of thoughtful insights and lessons learned from roads travelled. We caught up with Laura to get some insight into her travel process and why she thinks you should ditch your friends for your next road trip.
Hey, Laura. First off, who is SOLO written for?
This book is for everyone, particularly those who may have never considered solo travel. It is less of a solo travel guidebook in a sense of “these are the places you should visit”, but a cerebral approach explaining what a person can get out of travelling alone. My hope is to inspire people to set out on their own adventures.
What are your 3 favourite things about travelling alone?
- Being able to do exactly what YOU want to do. When you’re not worried about pleasing others you can completely dictate the trip to fit your interests without feeling guilty.
- The clarity it provides. When you spend so much time by yourself without distractions you are forced to confront whatever is on your mind.
- Presence. When you are not consumed by the company and conversation of a travel companion you are more attuned to what is going on around you. Whether it is noticing beautiful things on the side of the road you pass while driving or the intriguing conversation 2 bar flies are having next to you at the strange dive bar you ended up in.
Where is your favourite place to go to be still?
Iceland would be up there, but the most accessible place for me is Big Sur, which is a 5-hour drive from LA. There is a magic about that place that can’t be explained until you go for yourself. Redwood forests exist alongside a dramatic rocky coastline making it an incredible place to be still and appreciate the beauty around you. I’ve had a few transformative experiences visiting that place.
What are some solo travel bucket list locations?
Oh man. I’ve explored most of the west coast of the US and I really want to spend some time exploring the south. It seems like a whole different world there. And outside the US, I really want to go to Nepal and/or Tibet for a spiritual experience. Also, Japan has been at the top of my list for quite some time now and my Swedish heritage has been calling me to Scandinavia forever.
“…travel can have its trials and tribulations, but when you overcome those things, especially when travelling alone, you gain a whole new level of confidence.”
When you go travelling, what’s your favourite obligation to leave behind?
I guess it would be the self-imposed obligation to sit in front of a computer all day when I’m at home and not on shoots…which frankly is probably a terrible waste of time that could have been spent doing something far more worthwhile. Travel forces me to finish the day-to-day work that I need to do on a computer quicker so I can get out and experience as much as possible while I am in a new place.
If you could choose one piece of advice to bestow on a solo traveller, what would it be?
Fear kills more dreams than failure ever will. If you’re scared to do something simply because you are scared to fail, you will never grow. Sure, solo travel can have its trials and tribulations, but it is when you overcome those things, especially when you are alone, that you gain a whole new level of confidence. So stop thinking about all the things that could potentially go wrong and just GO!
Los Angeles based travel and landscape photographer Laura Austin is always up to the challenge. Problem solver, photographer, traveller and hustler, Laura lets her camera guide her to keep progressing, driven by passion and curiosity. Connect with Laura at Stocksy >>