Who here has gone on vacation entirely alone? No conference or professional meeting to take up your time, no friend waiting at the airport to whisk you off for a chat. Alone. Alone.
I’m asking about solo traveling. Sacajawea without the hangers-on, Lewis and Clarke. Amelia Earhart without the scary flying goals. Just you with your kit-bag and a smile.
I’m asking because I need tips.
A little backstory. I spend a lot of time alone. I am often on the road for speaking engagements, conferences, family, and more often than not, I’m alone. But, I usually know at least one person, often many people, as I move through my schedule. This time, I went on a trip all by myself. I needed to finish the book I am working on, and I needed to do it in the sunshine with no interruptions.
Also, and on purpose, I wanted to know no one. My goal was to get away from my dog, needs to pee every fifteen minutes, and is a major pain when I’m writing. And to see if I like me as a travel partner.
How did it go, you ask? I’ve transcribed my thoughts for you, so you can see inside my brain as I walked the beach alone, sipped my coffee with myself, nibbled an egg salad sandwich—party of me.
6:00 AM: Ohmygosh, this is awesome. I love this.
6:01 AM: Oh, look at that group of women traveling together in matching t-shirts.
6:02 AM: Why don’t I have any friends with t-shirts to travel with?
6:03 AM: Look at those lovers.
6:04 AM: Why don’t I have a lover?
6:05 AM: Oh, there’s a pretty seashell.
6:06 AM: Ohmygosh, this is awesome.
6:07 AM: Oh, look at that group of women traveling together in matching t-shirts.
6:08 AM: Why don’t I have any friends with t-shirts?
6:09 AM: Look at those lovers.
Repeat. and this is how I felt about it.
I was on a roller coaster of joy, self-consciousness, and introspection that bordered on manic.
It was so weird to feel insecure. I also felt obvious. Traveling with people you know is like having an overcoat that shields you from onlookers –if there are any onlookers—which honestly there isn’t. People are interested in themselves, not the random woman eating a grilled cheese at the bar.
As to my insecurity, I think it’s about—Am I still me, if the people who know me aren’t around?
If a tree falls in the forest and nobody hears it and all that.
You know how “they” say you should do one thing every day that scares you?
(for the record I think if you’re doing something every day that scares you, you might need medication). That said. I made myself do some things I didn’t want to do.
I went on a date. I don’t think this violates my alone experience-I wanted to see if I could do it.
Pretty sure this will be in the next letter to all of you. It was fascinating.
I sat under the stars at a bar alone and listened to a guitarist play really great music.
I ate dinner, in a restaurant with my phone in my purse.
I struck up a meaningful conversation with a woman on the beach who was also traveling alone. And, as we spoke, a dolphin swam into the shallow water near us and played for a full minute. Of course, I believe he was supporting us as only dolphins can.
I asked her for tips, and she gave me some.
Plan ahead, she said. Be open. Be flexible. Do not drink the water in the back of your Uber in case there is a roofie in it. (real talk, people).
When you want to stay in your room, get out.
Let your thoughts flow until they stop and try to think of nothing. If you meet someone who isn’t interesting, say, No, thank you. If you meet someone who looks interesting, say, Come sit by me.
I flew home after exchanging information with the woman on the beach. She lives in the UK, and I’m going to visit her sometime in the future. We might travel together.
Would I travel alone again? Absolutely. Will I accept all the tips and advice you offer? Yes, I will.
Tell me everything.
PS. I read about women traveling alone here and it really helped.
I think you are brave and wondrous.
Thanks sweetie. I was nervous mostly.
I go gambling by myself in Louisiana all the time. My friends have cancelled out too many times and I find that I am happy by myself. I recently went on a cruise with 2 other people. But I found that I went off by myself every day. My friend wasn’t too happy about it, but oh well! And I used to go to stay at a beach house with only my dog with me. I loved it!
You are well practiced at this art it seems. I’m such a newby. Such courage!
Solo Travel Tip: Pretend you’re being filmed for a movie (suspense, romance, comedy — your choice). It makes traveling alone a total blast!
Hahaha what a great idea. I love it. Be whoever you want to be. No one knows any different!
I love that idea, too! So playful.
hahah so fun.
I went to Scotland for 12 days totally alone. I got a whole lot of writing done. Went places, saw loads of things. But after a while, I realized the only people I was having conversations with were the hotel staff, the cab drivers, and the waitstaff. Which was fine. They were terrific. But I wanted to talk about more than the weather. There were also a few things I didn’t do because I was too timid to do them alone. When I went back to Scotland with a friend the next year, I went to the places I was scared to go alone and had more lengthy conversations than I did when I was alone.
It takes courage and practice I think. I definitely felt the same. Twelve days is a LONG time. That takes a lot of internal strength.
I’m newly on my own and would love to travel with you, in matching t-shirts, of course!
You are? Well…I think we’re starting some writing trips soon. Stay tuned!!
I travel by myself all the time, you know that about me. Well, I don’t travel alone ALL THE TIME because really…I do have some friends. We never wear matching T-shirts, though, and don’t ever ask me to do that.
I love traveling solo for so many reasons (watch for a blog post about that…you’ve inspired me!). 1. You can get everything in a carry-on no matter how long you’re gone because you can wear the same thing every day.
But let’s travel together!
I KNOW you do. I’m in awe of you. Let’s travel together. Definitely.
I have also traveled alone. I usually travel with my husband, but he couldn’t make it. It was strange at first, but then I started to relax, read a book, ate when i felt like it, went to the beach and read, it ended up being very relaxing.
This is what I tried. It was relaxing and was also terrified.
Thanks for telling me your experience.
Thank you Melissa!!
Are men allowed to respond here? I have spent YEARS traveling alone, so much so it is now hard to travel with others. The best part of doing it alone is YOU get to make all the decisions! go where you want, when you want. Being selfish is cathartic.
It’s true you are an expert on traveling alone. I’m such chat-ter that I don’t know who to talk to when I see a pretty bird.
It is nice to make all the decisions but I got sick of myself.
I do think it’s a little different for men and women but the safety aside, learning to listen to yourself and being okay with that…that’s what I’m working on.
I’ve been a loner all my life, and that has never stopped me from traveling. Even when I was young, I envisioned doing things and going places alone. I’ve enjoyed vacations with family and friends, and I treasure the memories of holidays with my husband. Even though I miss him terribly, I am comfortable with being alone again because that’s just the way it is.
After all, isn’t life a lonely journey? We choose whether we fill it with people and with those whom we love. Travel alone, Ann, and reach out to those whom you encounter with your warmth and your smile and you will never be lonely.
You are the loveliest person, Pam. Thank you for this. xoxoxo
Well, I am a travel advisor, so you know I’ve got opinions. Women should learn to travel on their own. I love it, but it’s not always easy, even for a seasoned, professional traveler like me. I find the dinners alone to be the toughest part, so I will sometimes eat in my room. In Paris I was across from a small grocery, so I bought wine, cheese, bread and fruit, that was my dinner most nights. I ate a nice, hearty lunch, so I was not starving. I agree with Chuck, the best part of solo travel is you go where you want and when you want. If we take time to get out of our own heads, we will find we enjoy solo travel. Part of it is the weird conversations we have with ourselves in our head! A good happy medium is traveling together with other solo travelers. I am putting together trips like that right now for my clients, established & new. I have a small group of ladies going on a European cruise in May and I will be leading a group of 20-30 to Northern Portugal at the end of Sept. Care to join me? I am thinking of getting matching t-shirts for Portugal, so we can do it up right!!
Honestly, we really need to talk more. I’ve never done a tour and I know you are a travel advisor. Pretty sure I’ll be in touch!
When I was living in Germany after dropping out of college (at first stayed with fellow college drop-out), I decided to leave Heidelberg and go on a 10 day bike ride to Switzerland and back through France all alone. On a very old Schwinn with 3 out of 10 gears working-no helmet (foolish). After living in Germany for 3 years, that 10 days sticks out now (25 years later) as the best thing I ever did for myself. It was like 24/7 meditation as I chose the smallest field roads I could find to ride on. I stayed in youth hostels and b and bs and accidentally rode for 2 k on the Autobahn!! I will never forget that amazing vacation. Thanks, Anne, for making me question why I haven’t repeated that all alone journey. Kids, husband, friends aside. You are an inspiration!
That trip was epic. Holy cow. I bet you do remember that as a pivotal time. What a fantastic memory.
Thank you for it.
I vacation alone once a year. I’ve camped alone, in a tent I struggle to set up by myself. I’ve stayed at really nice resorts too. I love being by myself, where I don’t have to be a wife, a mom, a sister, a friend. My advice, know that it takes a couple of days to settle in to the aloneness. To quiet the mind from the chatter of a busy life.
I wish you well on your next solo vacation!
It does take a day or two. I noticed that right away. I have a friend that doesn’t go longer than 3 days but I needed that time to get used to the idea.
Thank you so much for replying.
Having travelled alone extensively, mostly for business, I was struck with awe and a tinge of envy as I read the opening of your article. Ann Garvin has reached the pinnacle of adulthood – travelling alone without being lonely! And then I laughed out loud all the way down to 6:09 AM. Ann is still like the rest of us! Yay!!
I think the key to surviving single travel is to approach every trip as an adventure. Apparently you have mastered that concept.
Thanks for brightening my day!
Oh Bill, I am just like the rest of you.
I’m good at the adventure part but not always the zen/eating alone part. Still working on it.
Thanks for your thoughts!
Quite frankly, if I didn’t go places on my own, I’d never get there. My bffs are married and are not available for travel unless with another couple. Other single girlfriends are too afraid to travel because of their age. Seriously? I have been to Europe on my own as well as back and forth across the U.S. and seen the most interesting out-of-the-way places. I’ve eaten a variety of food (some good and some really bad) that I would not otherwise get to try. I went on a 3 day retreat to the beach and finished editing a manuscript while there. Life can be an adventure if you want it to be, and I’ve got the stories and photos to prove it.
Need a travel partner, Ann? Where would you like to go? 🙂
I think we’d be great travel partners. I’m thinking of putting together some writing salons all over the place.
Maybe we could start there…or anywhere actually. We should chat more.
Where would you like to go first?
We should definitely chat more. 🙂
That is a good question. I have a lot of travel scheduled to get out of the winter doldrums. I’ve never been to Portugal and surprisingly Mexico. Which is bananas. Let’s keep this conversation going.
A Not So Young Woman Abroad is a FB group that I joined to get a feel for traveling alone Ann. So far I’ve only traveled in a group–family on an Alaskan Cruise that I loved and now know that I want to cruise by myself with water all around me for as far as I can see AND I went to New Zealand to play in the World Master Games three years ago with a group of women who made up our team (and a few spouses). I went to Europe to spread some of Jim’s ashes with my children. I have taken my team to CA twice, Spokane, WA, Portland, OR and NY. I know that I love love love travel, BUT haven’t done it on my own. Traveling with a group, I’ve been with way more experienced people so I haven’t had to make many decisions. When traveling with my children, they have taken care of the details of train schedules, Uber, wi-fi, etc., and I am certain I will have to be way more versed in those areas to do it on my own. It looks as though you were in my home town of Manhattan Beach with the picture of the lifeguard stand…When retirement comes, I will call you and I would love to travel with you…DM
Please do Dana!
This post inspired me. I travel with one or two friends and always take one day to do my own thing for six to eight hours. When I visit my son, in NYC, I sightsee alone but have my meals with him at the end of the day. So, next is traveling alone and eating alone in restaurants, but I may take out my pocket journal and jot a few notes on how I’m feeling.
It was quite a time for me, however short it was. I felt all the things and it helped me finish my book. I’ve been lucky to travel with friends but I would do it all again that’s for sure!!
I went on a father daughter trip 2 summers ago to India and on the way back I stayed in England for 5 days. The first 2 days were with my dad in Canterbury. It was a surreal experience, to write in Canterbury, since my WIP is a recreation of the Canterbury Tales and I closely studied Chaucer in college. When my dad left, I traveled for 3 days alone, like very alone, in London with no itinerary. It was so nice to make decisions on the fly with no one else’s two cents. I explored the Tower of London, Camden Market, walked along the Thames for miles, rested in coffee shops, hiked through Hampstead Heath, and saw a play at the Globe (a bucket list experience). I wrote this poem afterward:
I stood in the yard,
A soul traveler, absorbed
In the final scenes.
“Pardon, goddess of the night,
Those that slew thy virgin knight.”
The actors formed a circle in the yard,
Singing on either side of me,
And, for a brief moment,
I was part of the performance.
They returned to the stage
Just before the thunder applauded.
Moments later, liquid moonlight
Fell upon my right shoulder,
But not my left.
I looked up at the moon-shaped sky,
A yin-yang of dark blue and clouds.
The actors danced, some wet, some dry,
The audience watched, some wet, some dry,
And I marveled at this unlikely end,
The rain falling on one side only.
I stood there in the middle, for a brief moment,
A part of night’s sublime performance.
Wow, this is the stuff of life.
What a night you had. What a poem. Thank you so much for sharing. I can only hope for an experience like this one.
I spent 30 days walking Manhattan and Paris mostly alone as well as Shanghai and Istanbul. Honestly, I prefer to travel alone.
It seems that you are not alone. People LOVE traveling alone. I loved it (and sometimes did not:).
I traveled to Europe alone for several weeks when I was about 30. I suffered intense loneliness at times–so much so that I did not know who I was and became totally depressed and bewildered at one point, and began balling my head off when a friendly Scottish man on a train began talking to me whom I could not understand whatsoever though supposedly we both spoke English–but at other times, I experienced intense highs and encounters that I would never have had if I’d been traveling with someone else, including accumulating traveling companions at times (from Israel, from California, and once a former classmate from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop). For all the rest of my long life, that trip has stood as a metaphor for the difference between being single and being married.
Fascinating. And, I understand your loneliness. I am an extrovert and I find it particularly difficult. I talk to everyone and that helps but I know exactly what you mean.
I went to Paris for 3 months on my own to write and visit art galleries. Before I went, I downloaded 90-days to write your novel (and then I did it daily) and TIP: I joined a MeetUp group to get on their waitlist (about 6 months in advance) so I could interact with them before going via comments and then I when I made it on the active list prior to arriving it meant I could join in to draw with them for the 3 months I was there. There are lots of different types of MeetUp groups to join prior to going somewhere.
Also there’s a group I follow on FaceBook called Journeywomen. I met Evelyn Hannon who started it when she spoke at a solo women’s travel MeetUp with Janice. Evelyn recently died but her friend has taken the group on along with Evelyn’s daughter.
I’ve only just now started to explore Meet-ups and it never occurred to me to join one for over seas travel.
Thank you and for the Journeywomen website. This is gold!
I have. Several times. If I didn’t travel alone I’d never leave home. I went to Italy for a month. Traveled completely alone. Didn’t know anyone prior to the trip. I did spend one week at a watercolor class with a group but I didn’t know them prior. The rest of the time I was on my own.
I’ve done it before but meeting people I knew at the other end. This time I landed in Milan and traveled to Florence by train. Got a city pass and spent five days there. Then a week at the watercolor class. Then left for three days in Siena, two in Bologna, five in Venice and back to Milan for another five days.
The best part about traveling alone is you set your own itinerary and your own schedule. I did a group tour to the Steiff factory in Germany once and went nuts with all of the time we spent on the bus criss crossing Germany and how little time we got to spend actually seeing anything. When I planned my trip to the watercolor class in Tuscany I started almost a year in advance and revised my itinerary every few months, buying the tickets, making the reservations. I did not get my first choice of monasteries in Venice when I decided to extend my stay but it worked out fine.
Pre-planning relieves a lot of the stress. Read blogs, look at photos, watch YouTubes and you’ll familiarize yourself with what you will be seeing when you arrive. I studied a lot of city maps and had them on my phone just in case.
Plan your transportation in advance. I had city passes for Venice and Florence so had use of public transportation. I had a Trenitalia app on my phone for the train. I splurged for business class and it was worth it.
Above all I didn’t dress like a tourist and when I walked I walked with purpose, like I was familiar with my surroundings and knew where I was going. I actually had people asking me if I spoke English and asking for directions. Once in Italian. So I guess I blended in.
Leave the fancy clothes and jewelry at home. Don’t wear a camera around your neck. Take a pair of comfortable, already broken in, walking shoes. One pair is all you will need. Wear them on the plane, no need to pack them. Try to keep your luggage minimal and light and on wheels. Yes, they don’t roll so well on cobblestones but you won’t be able to carry them very far and often you can’t be dropped off at the door of wherever you’re staying, especially if you are in the older part of town…or Venice.
Pack early and every day remove some things. Then a day or two before you leave, go through it again just to be sure you absolutely need everything. Be sure to bring an appropriate plug and converter for charging your electronics. bring a back up battery for charging just in case. That is my only just in case. You can buy shampoo, soap, toothpaste, etc wherever you go unless you’re heading to Antartica or the Himalayas. Pack your meds, plus a few extra in case you are delayed. Be sure to take an extra folding bag that can be expanded and used as carry-on. You may swear you will not be bringing anything back or more than will fit in your suitcase but you will. Mine was filled with two bottles of Crema di Melone from the Milan airport duty free and Mozart kugeln from the Frankfurt duty free.
Always be aware of your surroundings. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out places you shouldn’t be going.
I didn’t go out at night looking for adventure. I had my dinner and then went back to my….well…monastery. I stayed in monasteries almost throughout my stay in Italy as they were secure and very economical, plus they were almost always in the heart of the city within walking distance of where I wanted to be. Even my watercolor class was in a renovated monastery.
If you want adventure, eat lunch and dinner in a different place every day. Use that time to slow down and take in the surroundings. Watch the people. Don’t rush your meal.
I didn’t use an Uber or Lyft. I wouldn’t in the U.S. either but not for the reasons given. Sorry, but I support the taxi services just like I support union workers. I did use a MySixt once in Milan to take me back to the airport. It was the most economical and efficient way to get there. It is a car service. My drive wore a suit and was very professional. No tipping but I slipped him some euros anyway.
Phone apps are great for travel. I used them to confirm my plane reservations, file my customs declarations and check in my passport. Really sped things up and moved me along quickly. ATT did away with the international plan I used the last time but I would spend the money on whatever plan they have now. You can’t get WiFi everywhere you go, nor can you get ATT but it was still worth having.
If you are going to travel a lot, I would suggest applying for the trusted traveler thing with the TSA so you can skip through the security lines. It’s not cheap and there are a lot of hoops to jump through but if you read up and are prepared it doesn’t take all that long and is good for 6-7 years I think and renewal is much easier.
This is choc full of tips. Thank you so much. Seems like you are a pro at this traveling alone. I do have the TSA and Global Entry so I love that!
I never thought of a Monastery stay before. So smart. I’ll be saving your response for my future travel!
Great advice. I’m also a frequent solo traveler and like to go local tours which I organize once I arrive. They help to bring you in contact with other solos. Do remember to buy travel insurance before you leave. If you travel a lot most companies offer annual policies that are more economical.
Thank you, I’ve never bought travel insurance…I will consider this.
Local tours…another thing I haven’t done but will do. Thank you!
First of all, may I say how refreshing it was to read your blog post. It was in my email inbox today which is usually exploding with info on workshops, how to market, conferences, it’s renewal time, it’s your last day to save, save, save … blah, blah, blah. I usually spend most of the time hitting delete, delete, delete but not today. I clicked on you and am so glad. Interesting enough, I was talking to my daughter this morning about this exact topic. She is going to Prague all by herself. She said she was a bit nervous but that she is looking forward to the experience. She called me before hitting the send button. She said she needed that “Just Do It” kick in the butt like mom’s can give. I confessed to her that I had never done that before and then … I gave her the kick. After reading your experience, and after talking with my daughter about it, maybe I’ll give it a try sometime, too. That’s something to ponder in 2020. Thanks for sharing.
Ohhh this is the most wonderful of replies. It seems my note came to you at the perfect moment. Don’t you love the universe.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. Thank you for kicking your daughter’s butt, just enough.
Back in 1989 I decided to do an autumn road trip through the Appalachians/Blue Ridge. I hadn’t traveled much and never alone. No GPS, no cell phones. Paper maps and pay phones. I got off the interstates and found 2-lane roads, one-lane mountain trails that led to amazing vistas, found an elderly gentleman who made dulcimers and who played and sang “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” for me, stayed at delightful B&Bs, found kind people who helped when my car malfunctioned. I agree with those who say dinner alone is a little weird; I solve that by having a book with me. But then I always have a book with me. Travel with friends/family is great. Solo travel lets me do my thing when I want, let my thoughts meander. I recommend it!
Just reading this story made me want to take that trip. What a wonderful time that sounds like.
Also, thank God for books.
I used to travel by myself a lot. Now I get an Airbnb once a year to just write for a weekend. It’s in the same town I live in but the apartment has a kitchen so I very seldom have to go anywhere except for the occasional walk. It’s awesome and like you it is mostly to prevent the dog’s interruption to open the door. Next year I think I will repeat the escape although I will probably have to venture further than downtown. My books have put me on the map locally.
Good luck next adventure.
You’re so smart to do that. I probably over use my coffee shops for that purpose.
I’m so glad for you,
About 25 years ago, I went to Paris on my own. The last of my week there, a friend came over from England and she showed me the rest of the museums I had not visited and we ate together. However, the 5 days before she cameI learned how to master where to go when I traveled on the metro. My day began with breakfast served in my hotel. After my day of adventure, going back to the hotel meant a stop at a bakery for a pastry. To tide me over until dinner. After a rest, I’d stop at the Internet pub for emailing time home to my family. I’d meander down to the restaurant I had found that had a sigh stating their menus were in French and English. Had the sweetest waiter each evening. One evening I even ventured to eat outside. Then amazed my friend by showing her my place to eat. The next day, she treated me to a meal at an outdoor bistro. Then coffee while watching mimes Many great memories alone and with her. Could I do it now 15 years later, probably not. My knee wants to hinder, I’m too tired to contemplate such. But given a chance, maybe a trip closer to home would be tempting. Lol. (71 yrs old).
What a wonderful memory you have. Thank you for sharing it with me.
71 years young.
I have traveled alone my whole career and it has made the time at home with friends and family all the better. Less small talk, more intensity. I do wish I had engaged more with the people I came across like my current hero on YouTube “Itchy Boots”. I’m sure you would enjoy her video blog.
I will look for her!
I need to branch out, even more, when I travel. Thank you for your take,
I traveled alone through Uruguay in 2014, and I loved the freedom and sense of self that came from knowing I was as far as I’ve ever been from home with no one at my side.
The one exception? The pack of wild dogs I encountered while out on a morning run.
Pro tip: ask locals if there are packs of wild dogs in the neighborhood. Worst case scenario? They look confused and say no. Best case scenario? You keep yourself from getting mauled.
Granted, I left the encounter with as many limbs as I started with, but there were some *nervy* moments while the dogs and I engaged in an exchange of severe looks and mutual growling.
severe looks and mutual growling.
You said it!
I had to loo where Uruguay is….
I am very backwards and would be way too self-conscious to travel on my own. I would end up staying in my room, talking to no one. I have never even eaten in a restaurant by myself before.
It is so intimidating! It really is, so I totally understand.
Also, definitely not for everyone!
What an amazing adventure! I hope I can have one of my own someday. Traveling alone seems frightening but also terrifically liberating all at the same time.
I think I’ve already started taking baby steps by coming to Writers’ Institute year after year. All the possibilities of traveling for a completely work-free trip are so much fun to consider!
Good for you, Ann!
You definitely are taking baby steps. I took baby steps for sure.
Also, if I could have found someone to go with me, I would have gone with someone else.
I’m glad I did it, I learned so much about myself.
I’ve never traveled alone quite in that way. Kudos to you! The couple of times I’ve traveled alone, there was a purpose. The first time flying alone was really strange. I’ve only flown a handful of times in my life.
Great advice about the water in the Uber!
The Uber water is key. I had no idea.
I will say, I was nervous when I traveled because in the evenings, I really noticed that I was alone, if that makes sense.
Thanks Denise, I hope we run into each other in the future!
My first (only?) trip alone was to Corpus Christi, Texas. I went to a flea market and I think I got food poisoning. Later in the trip, on Valentine’s Day, I ate alone in a diner that was decorated to look like a train. But still, it was marvelous. When my sister picked me up at the airport I was sad because I couldn’t explain everything to her. Thank you for helping me remember this. I’m going to have to write more about this.
I’m so glad. I love how memories long forgotten are brought back to us with a little nudge.
I think that for women, there is a lot of anxiety regarding traveling alone. There is the obvious physical vulnerability … are your lodgings safe? Are you camouflaged, or do you stand out like a flamingo in a train station? Will people try and take advantage of you because you have no one to protect you but yourself? And the social vulnerability…will people think you have to travel alone because you are unattractive and unappealing and no one wants to travel with you?
I have traveled alone several times and found it both isolating and freeing. Amazing to set my own schedule and not be required to talk, or compromise, or negotiate with another person. Also, how lonely it can be to be the only person in front of the roaring fire at the ski lodge with a book, instead of a companion.
However, when you are open to anything happening as you must be when you are flying solo, things have a way of happening. On one trip, I found myself falling into a group of folk musicians who were performing at a the National Park lodge at which I was staying. The zither player and I developed the kind of intense friendship that occurs when you only have 2 or 3 days to start, enjoy and end a relationship.
On another trip, I had enough time and focus to do the deep soul searching that made me finally admit to myself what everyone else already knew…my husband was an ass and I needed to move on with my life.
I am planning to walk (probably stroll, in my case) part of the Camino de Santiago next fall. Some time alone to ponder my own life and spiritual growth, and some time spent celebrating with people I meet along the way.
That is surely the ideal situation for any writer… set the scene and then wait for the plot twist to reveal itself.
I travel alone. I attack each trip like it is my last day on earth. No stone is left unturned. I could not bear to drag some one along like pants wrapped around my anchor. In October, I ran the acropolis, the acropolis museam, and the restaurant in 7 hours. That was the only time I had free.
Now I am leaving after the Holidays for South Asia to SCUBA dive and rehab an orphanage.
I always multi-task with a teaching trip such as at a Dairy Cooperative in The Dominican Republic, or with veterinary students learning surgery in Ecuador (after SCUBA in the Galapagos), or painting a home and lecturing in Lima.
In the Galapagos they have Kioskos. The restorantes drag out tables, connect them and it is one humungous family meal. I always pester every one on either side to tell me their story (You are Rapanui from Easter Island, Really??. Can I bum a cigarette? This really gets them talking, even if my mouth tastes like an ash tray )
In Athens I was told that ‘I talk too much. I am a beautiful lady, but please stop asking questions.’ Then he placed his thumb and finger together and squeezed his lips shut.
hahaha you are a wonder!
You are amazing. I LOVE this so much. hahaha. It’s so filled with life.
Such a fascinating topic and, as always, I love hearing your thoughts (and would adore traveling with you). I have traveled alone for work a bunch (too much). But never for pleasure. I think it might be nice for a day or two, but then I’d feel too self conscious or something? Food for thought…
I’d adore traveling with you! We have time.
I felt so self-conscious. I think it may have been one of the best things I’ve ever done.
Congratulations! I envy you, Ann. I love traveling alone, but have seldom done it in many years. I’d like to do it again soon. You (and others) might find my friend’s solo travel blog interesting and also useful. Solo travel is her thing and she’s brilliant at it. https://www.solotravelz.com/ I was always a fairly fearless solo traveler, but i think some of my friend’s wise advise is worth considering. You can be lucky or you can be smart. And once you’ve taken the precautions, there’s nothing more freeing than solo travel.
Thank you so much for this link. I will read the your friend’s words. I need brilliance where travel is concerned. I really like the idea lucky v smart. Smart wins out.
You just solo travel and I will follow you!!!!!!