25 Sep Solo Travel: Do you Savour or Suffer it?
My Take On Solo Travel
I never imagined I would come to love travelling alone as much as I do. Of course, I still thoroughly enjoy travelling with friends and family, but there is something about travelling alone that refreshes the soul. I have a very full but hectic life. I am a single mother to three teenage children and two boisterous kittens. I run my own business and a busy household and try to keep some kind of fitness routine going in between trying to cook healthy meals and stay chilled meditating. Sometimes it’s exhausting. It’s then that travelling alone calls to me.
I have to admit that I get nervous. That time just before I leave for the airport is the worst. I worry that I’m not going to make it on time, yet I worry equally about leaving the children in charge of the house. Do they have enough money? Will it still be here when I get back? But enough of that. There is a time when you just have to say “enough” and look forward to the trip.
Once I’m at the airport it’s then that the real pleasure kicks in. I can visit however many shops I want; try a myriad of different perfumes and people watch in Giraffe if I like. Slowly the fact that I can do whatever I want with my time starts to sink in: The delight of picking up trashy books I can leave when I finish; the pure joy of shopping for a new notebook; the decadence of an exquisitely chilled glass of Champagne I can sip at my own pace.
I didn’t always feel this way. I remember visiting Nepal with my boyfriend in my twenties and coming across an older man travelling on his own after a divorce and feeling sorry that he didn’t have a travel companion. Now, with experience, I can see that the trip, far from being sad, would have been a massive adventure for him.
I admit that travelling alone may be an acquired taste for some. There is a lot of responsibility if you’re just not used to the logistics of getting places on your own, and navigating a foreign country can be daunting. But these can be surmounted and even enjoyed with time.
Solo Moments I treasure:
- Leaving my hotel and making my way through the city to see the Acropolis floodlit at night. Just standing there for as long as I wanted, looking up and feeling how lucky I was to have come all this way and experience this moment in time. It almost brought me to tears
- Sitting on a balcony in Santorini, feeling the sun dissolve into my skin, right through the flesh beneath. Deciding to ignore all my plans for that day and just stay still and enjoy feeling alive
- Wandering around the necropolis in Glasgow, soaking up the atmosphere and taking the time to read any headstone that called to me, followed by a pot of tea and piece of warming coffee and walnut cake in a nearby café whilst I read my book for a couple of hours. There was no one to say that they were bored, or ask what we were going to do next. Bliss.
None of these moments sounds particularly mind-blowing I have to admit, but isn’t that the point about travel, and indeed our lives… that it is all a collection of moments and to really make it special we have to stop and savour as many of these as we can? I do not let being single stop me from travelling, and whilst I may miss out on those couple moments, who is to say that I have to share everything with someone else to make it feel “real”. However, if I ever do feel this, there’s always Instagram.