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Am I BU? Travel alone

(109 Posts)
Goldenmilk Mon 04-May-15 09:09:28

The aftermath of a relationship ending and a bereavement led to some slightly zen-like thinking earlier this year and on something of a whim, I trilled 'travel!' as my cure-all solution to my life being rather aimless and (if I am to be entirely honest here) lonely.

As such, with flights booked - I am now finding myself in two minds about whether or not I want to go.

I'll try to explain. Since deciding on this as my goal in the short term I have been working flat out to fund it. Obviously, because we humans are contrary creatures and always want the opposite to what we have, I longed for quiet days filled with nothing but films, books, walks - my time was so busy that the thought of a 17 hour flight sounded great! grin I could picture myself doing the things I dreamed of.

It's as if reality has slapped me across the face. I now don't think I am being particularly zen-like or hippyish or whatever I thought I was being; I think I was being a massive twat hmm Here are my 'worries'.

Long stretches of time alone tend to make me feel down and depressed. Before anybody comments on this as being a personality failure on my part, I can assure you it isn't: I am used to being alone - have always lived alone since being 17 (bar a few times at university with housemates) and generally get on with things. That's the problem: it isn't anything new or different. It is just going to be me, on the other side of the world, alone. Why have I spent thousands on this? hmm

Then there's practical considerations. For instance, when I'm on the beach, I won't be able to swim as I'll have to leave my purse, phone, hotel key, whatever I needed to take out with me, on the sand. Where it may get swiped and leave me hotel-less, phone-less. I'll be surrounded by romantic couples and happy families. When I do the sightseeing bits I won't have anybody to talk about them with and marvel at and have conversations about. I'll look at them and then be - hmm.

A lot of the 'nice' stuff people do when away will be shut off to me. I will have to ask people to take photographs of me which I find deeply embarrassing - it seems very self obsessed and slightly narcissistic blush - failing that or endless selfies (worse?) I will have to rely on takeaway and the cuisine of local shops (I really don't feel comfortable eating alone, bizarrely - I'm fine with sitting with a coffee and a book alone but not having a 'meal" in a restaurant.)

I guess I'm looking for reassurance that this can be done and be enjoyable - although I'd be grateful if people who DO travel alone don't see this as in any way a judgement on them; I'm just not entirely convinced it's going to be for me. confused

twentyten Mon 04-May-15 09:13:51

Oh golden! I understand what you are saying- but please go for it!! You will be somewhere no one knows you so you can experiment and be who you want to be. Go for it.

DisappointedOne Mon 04-May-15 09:15:44

There are waterproof things you can buy so that you can keep phone and keys etc on you when you swim.

I think you'll regret not going more than going. wink

gloopygloop Mon 04-May-15 09:18:56

When I was single I went on holiday on my own to Tunisia, it was one of the best holidays I have ever had, I could do what I wanted when I wanted, I am not a particularly outgoing person but I made friends. I was worried about dining alone but I always took a book, when I went to the pool/beach I took minimal stuff with me so I could swim in the sea.

Do it and enjoy it!

trackydacks Mon 04-May-15 09:20:46

Exactly what twentyten says. Try not to fret, you will manage!

Although if it is really worrying you (this is meant to be enjoyable, after all), have you looked at tours offered by companies such as Imaginative, Intrepid, The Adventure Company? They're not as expensive as you might think, and not full of 18 year olds either.

HumptyDumptyBumpty Mon 04-May-15 09:21:13

I think you'll enjoy it when you get there - it's the usual pre-travel fear/regret kicking in. Plus, on holiday, it's easier to talk to strangers, so you may strike up a friendship. I love travelling alone!

cariadlet Mon 04-May-15 09:21:31

Loads of people travel alone and enjoy it. Have you booked a flight and accommodation for one place or are you travelling around? If you don't have accommodation booked, try staying in hostels where it's often easier to find people to chat to than in a hotel.

Try going onto the Lonely Planet website's Thorn Tree Forum for reassurance that loads of people travel on their own and have a good time. There's even a Travel Companions section for people looking for company for part of their trip.

ssd Mon 04-May-15 09:24:40

maybe contact a specialist holiday company that offers single person holidays and ask if they have a way for single travellers to contact like minded travellers abroad? what you're feeling must be common to single travellers and there will be solutions for it out there.

maybe repost on a travelling board?

good luck op, and FWIW I think your concerns and fears are entirely legitimate and most of us would feel the same.

but dont let you apprehension cloud your trip, try to seize it and enjoy as much as you can x

MiamiBound Mon 04-May-15 09:25:55

you should go - you'll have fun

if you are worried about being alone and depressed, sign up for some tours when you are out there

How close is the holiday? i always get really excited the week before, and then a few days before i go in to the "dont really want to go" which really suprises my friends as they are "why arent you more excited"

I started working for an airline last year and since my concessions kicked in I've been to the US 3 times and Barbados - all of those dead excited until 3 or so days before and then its been "oh god this is going to be such hard work"

(first world problems i know!!)

NormaStits Mon 04-May-15 09:33:09

Are you travelling around as in backpacking? If so, you will meet others to go out to meals with etc.

I travelled alone for 9 months but made friends along the way, mostly temporary ones, but a few that I still keep in touch with nearly 15 years later.

Minisoksmakehardwork Mon 04-May-15 09:37:13

I bit the bullet and booked my dream holiday as a solo traveller. I loved every minute of my week away. It was also the first time I had flown and had been abroad. Such an adventure! I dined out alone too. And thoroughly enjoyed myself. The restaurant staff were so friendly to me as a lone diner, always popping by to make sure I was fine - I enjoyed eating at my own pace and took a book to read too.

I also booked several excursions on top of my pre-arranged package. I met some lovely people on these. Some where we were just content to chat, others where they actively encouraged me to join their group to participate in certain activities.

I absolutely don't regret a moment of it. It was a wonderful thing to experience a holiday without having to compromise with someone else. I did the same holiday a couple of years later but with a friend. It was a hugely stressful experience. But I'm glad I had that first holiday otherwise I might never have done it again.

Sandinmyshoes Mon 04-May-15 09:37:24

How long are you travelling for? I often find that I feel very conscious of being alone at the start of travels (exactly as you described sometimes(, but that this eases off eventually. I actually have come to the view that those feelings are an important part of why I love travelling alone so much. At first I feel awkward and a bit down at feeling so alone, then I gradually get used to it, and corny as it sounds I come to like myself and fall in love with myself a little again.

Practical tips: Until I feel more comfortable with myself I tend to eat in restaurants with a nice view to look at or a sports bar with a match to watch to take my focus away from feeling self conscious. Lots of places do free food/wine tours which are a great way of filling a mealtime without having to eat alone.

Oh and in terms of photos, when you travel alone you focus more on the places your visiting so it becomes less important (or it does to me) to have myself in the pictures. I always look crap after a sweaty day sightseeing anyway.

Hope that helps. If you give more clues about what type of place you are visiting I'm sure I can come up with more... I have anxiety so find solo travel incredibly important to remind me that I am stronger than "it".

ilovesooty Mon 04-May-15 09:40:39

I've been holidaying alone for more than 10 years. The upside really is being able to do what you want without deferring to other people. I'm currently sitting on a sunny terrace resting after pounding round the Old Town yesterday. Once you've done a few meals on your own it will seem quite normal. I've been on a singles holiday and while it was an interesting experience I'm not sure it's one I want to make a habit of.
On the odd occasion where I holiday with a friend now I get irritated by having to compromise.
Imagine how you'll feel if you waste all that money having paid for the flights.

PamDooveOrangeJoof Mon 04-May-15 09:42:20

I went travelling around the world on my own for 7 months at 28. Best thing I ever did and still keep in touch with some of the people I met 7 years later.

It was by far the best thing I ever did. I too was grieving and felt stuck in a rut with my life. I rented out my flat and booked an 'intrepid' tour for first bit where I met loads of fab people. Then carried on to another country with a couple of them.

I found sometimes I was desperate for time alone! So many people travel alone or are with friends they are getting tired of snd want new company, it was hard to shake people off sometimes!

Where are you going and for how long?

PamDooveOrangeJoof Mon 04-May-15 09:43:27

If I did eat alone i used to go somewhere with nice view like pp said, or I would take a book to read.

HemanOrSheRa Mon 04-May-15 09:44:40

Please go! You'll regret it if you don't. I went to a Greek island for a holiday on my own when I was single. I had an amazing time.

I bought a waterproof pouch thingy which I was able to put my phone, keys and a small amount of cash in when I went to the beach. I was a bit worried about eating alone at first. I found it easier to have a long, leisurely, late lunch rather than eat out in the evening. But after a few days I really didn't care. I went on day trips on my own and it was great. Different but fun.

People will chat to you. You'll probably find people will be a bit envious of you! And it is very unlikely you will be the only person travelling and holidaying alone.

You'll be able to do exactly what you want, when you want. It'll be fabulous.

PamDooveOrangeJoof Mon 04-May-15 09:46:02

The Intrepid tour I did had people from 21-67! Singles and couples. The 67 year old was put later than the rest of us, he put us all to shame.

It was amazing honestly.

shattered77 Mon 04-May-15 09:47:41

It will be fine. There will be lots of single travellers looking for companions, but you really must stay in hostels. You can get private rooms, you don't have to do bunks in dorms. They arrange trips and meals etc. I've travelled a lot, and you can feel like best friends with someone in one day, but then you can move to the next destination and not meet anyone. I'm excited for you. Where are you going?

SomewhereIBelong Mon 04-May-15 09:49:01

My second stepmum (how do you describe your late dad's third wife of 4??)

is 73 and travels alone all over the world - just back from a road and rail trip down the pacific coast of Mexico - she lives in sheltered housing at home, but travels the world on a wing and a prayer.

NannyR Mon 04-May-15 09:49:39

Definitely go for it! I've travelled all over the world on my own, and whilst there are difficult times, the good times out weigh them tenfold.

I would recommend staying in hostels/backpacker type places rather than hotels. I'm at a stage now where I don't "do" dormitory sleeping anymore! but hostels usually have single rooms to book. You have the advantage of having a kitchen and communal living areas where you can chat and meet people.

In places like Australia and new Zealand, even if you don't book a tour, you will find that a lot of travellers are following the same tourist trail, so you will keep bumping into the same people and strike up friendships.

At the end of the day you don't know if it's going to be the right thing for you until you've actually been there and tried it. Worst case scenario, if your hate it you can come home early, but you will probably regret not trying it in the first place.

You don't mention where you are going, but if you want any specific advice on travelling solo in a particular country please feel free to pm me.

Penfold007 Mon 04-May-15 09:50:09

Buy a waterproof little carry case you can swim with and take just enough cash for snacks. Leave your purse and phone in the room safe and the keys at reception. Go and have an amazing time.

Magmatic80 Mon 04-May-15 09:50:15

Please do it! I went for a year alone when I was 27. You'll be amazed at how not lonely you'll be. Being alone does force you to talk to people and you'll find yourself having much more of an adventure as you're not 'safely' in a group already. You'll regret it SO much if you don't go.

sonjadog Mon 04-May-15 09:50:20

All the things you mention are the natural nerves of someone facing travelling alone for the first time. Don't be ruled by your fears. Go.

Aprilday Mon 04-May-15 09:50:26

The sign up for tours advice is spot on.A solitary holiday in Italy came alive when I went on a food tour.Had me chatting to random strangers wherever I went after that. So many people go on their own, and even (especially !) couples like to chat to other folk. Couples can feel isolated from other travellers just as much as single folk do.

You'll have no-one saying " can we go now? " when you are still savouring something, or wanting to tarry when you're bored witless.

Do eat out alone, take your camera, you can sit looking at the day's photos while you wait for dishes. Less preoccupying than a book and gives more opportunity to look interested in what's going on around.

Have a wonderful time.

Magmatic80 Mon 04-May-15 09:51:00

And what Penfold said

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