Whether or not you choose to travel solo, or if it is out of necessity; here are my thoughts on the matter. As I write this, I am enjoying a layover in Dubai, on route to Toronto from Durban. Self-inflicted, solo travel. Do I wish that my family were with me? Of course! However, I will make the most of this time.
1. Do your research:
If like me, you are not a confident jet-setter, then reduce your own stress levels by doing some pre-work. Know where you are going, what your booking includes, what facilities you have access to, and of course – the weather. Your research should also include cultural norms and safety and security. And then – enjoy your trip. Use the gym, swim in the pool, go to the museum. After all, why not?
2. Be brave:
My son’s words to me. The truth is that it is not easy walking into a restaurant alone. Until you do it. Then it’s pretty awesome. You don’t often see people doing things alone. Solitude is rare nowadays, which is why we are all quite over-stimulated. Mentally and physically. There is something quite refreshing about not having to make conversation, or feel obliged to ‘entertain’ anybody. It’s just you, and if you are lucky, an excellent waiter. The same can be said about going to the theatre, a museum, the list goes on.
3. Be polite, friendly and curious:
It is reassuring to be surrounded by people who are eager to help you, and this is usually likely if you are polite, friendly and curious. I find it useful asking taxi drivers, porters, waiters, receptionist etc. about places you’re considering visiting. Their local intelligence is very valuable. Chatting to fellow travelers is also great – if they are receptive to connecting. (Avoid being ‘that’ person on the plane, in the breakfast room…).Keep it light, but be deliberate.
4. Embrace the solitude:
If you cannot be alone with yourself, then you really need to make time to be alone. Alone time can, and for me does include: quiet, reading, listening, writing, bathing, walking and doing nothing. I’ll be first to admit that I have to work very hard to give myself permission to do nothing, because it is such a foreign concept in my normally busy life. The notion that I get to choose what to do now is unusual and takes some adjustment. Consider how awesome it is to be on a long haul flight where you have no reason to connect or check your device? Think of it as a recharge for your mind. A digital detox.
I recognize that this post is written from a women’s perspective, however I believe it applies to many men too.
I recently read a quote which says ‘If you have the power to go alone to a restaurant and a movie, then you can do anything.’