On travelling alone

Travelling alone can be exciting, freeing, lonely and boring in equal measure. On one hand you can do whatever you like. No-one will know if you spend whole evenings watching The Apprentice on YouTube rather than doing something cultural or sociable. On the other hand, you’re at risk of spending whole evenings watching The Apprentice rather than doing something cultural or sociable. This is probably ok.

Travelling alone requires that you deal with certain potentially uncomfortable situations, such as going out to dinner alone. Many people have strategies for this, such as arming themselves with a book or a phone so they feel less awkward and block out the horror of the situation. Some write blog posts about being alone, thus convincing themselves that they’ve sidestepped the issue. Other people revel in the moment, gazing around confident and prop free as if to say, “Yes, I’m dining alone. I’m a free and competent human being”. I’ve never met any of this latter group.Image

Travelling alone also means you have fewer cool photos to impress people with on Facebook. Endless photos of scenery or temples with no-one in them quickly become boring, and so you start taking photos of food, which are worse.Image However, being alone provides the opportunity to use the timer function on your camera to set up arty selfies, so you can look cool and pretend to have friends.

A less fun part of travelling alone is when you get ill, which invariably happens. This lone traveller heartily recommends stockpiling plenty of bottled water to avert death due to dehydration, then resigning oneself to 36 hours of gazing at the ceiling fan.Image

Finally, an important part of travelling alone is meeting other people, which can make things more fun. Some people are good at this and manage to strike up easy conversations in bars or on buses. However, there is the risk of looking desperate or – worse still – ending up with a new companion who you find even more boring than your own company. For this reason it’s sometimes better to stick to travelling alone.

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4 thoughts on “On travelling alone

  1. Hah! I love this! I tend to have a good balance between traveling alone and traveling with others. When traveling with others I always set aside a few days for solitary exploration. It works well for me. People force me to do things I wouldn’t do unprompted, but traveling alone keeps me sane and adventurous in a different way.

    • That sounds sensible 🙂 I also like both – too little time alone makes me crazy, but too much the other way and I get bored of my own company. Actually, contrary to my facetious comment above, I’m always pretty inspired by people I meet when travelling. So many completely different world views.

  2. Hi Jo, and thanks for this insightful post. I can empathise – spent 10 years travelling as an English teacher. I really like your blog. Just put a link to your site from mine! Look forward to reading more of your posts

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