Welcome back to Women Who Wander. This series focuses encouraging women to seek out solo travel. Empowering and inspiring both seasoned Solo Travellers and those who have yet to venture out on their own. The response to this series has been amazing and I just want to thank you all for embracing it. Hopefully many more Solo Travel stories to come

Next up is Lauren with her reasons for why solo travel just isn’t for her.

Meet Lauren:Women Who Wander

 

Lauren is a Yorkshire born, Mexico City based blogger (for now anyway) who’s headed for South America in September. Unsurprisingly she won’t be travelling solo. Her favourite things to blog about are food, feminism and cultural quirks. Check out her blog www.northernlauren.com

You can also find her:

Facebook; Twitter; Instagram

Solo Travel Isn’t For Me

Solo travel is considered by many to be the pinnacle of travelling. If you aren’t going it alone in this big, wide world then why are you even bothering? However, I’ve tried solo travel – believe me I’ve tried – and I’ve come to the conclusion that Solo Travel isn’t for me. Even though I fit the mould of the ‘perfect’ solo traveller – I’m naturally solitary, a big fan of my own company, as well as bossy and organized by nature – it just doesn’t seem to work for me, and here’s why.

I’m throwing perhaps the most controversial point in early, so hear me out – I don’t want to make new friends. I think a huge part of travelling alone is wanting to meet people and have travel buddies along the way to share your experiences with. While I totally agree that this is one of the most important aspects of travelling, I just prefer to make my memories with pre-approved friends who I know can take great not-candid-candid shots of me at the drop of a hat and, most importantly, without judgment. And don’t even get me started on the forced conviviality and seemingly interminable small talk you have to endure with people you meet in hostels. Half of whom you share nothing in common with other than current geographical location.


I also find that, and excuse the upcoming sweeping generalisation, the stereotype of the traveller you find in the type of cheap hostels I’m inclined to stay in (because, budget) is generally pretty reliable. That’s to say, sleep all day, party all night and repeat. It’s just not a world that interests me. So I’m not particularly interested in getting to know those people. It’s clear we have such wildly different ideas of how best to experience a place.

Is It Safe?

The safety aspect of travelling solo also puts me off at times too. When I was travelling alone in Havana I never felt I could really experience the place. I felt I was too much of an easy target wandering around alone. (As a sidenote, you always hear just how safe Cuba is and I believe it, but that didn’t stop me feeling intimidated by leering men). Plus, going out at night was off the table because I had no one to go with (see previous controversy-making point). I know, I know, I can’t have my anti-social cake and eat it too, but still…sometimes having no one with you puts a dampener on what are crucial travel experiences.
Furthermore, as a solitary female and former cripplingly self-conscious teenager, I always have a complex about wandering around alone. Perhaps living in Mexico has something to do with it, but I’m always convinced people are looking at me. Logically, I know I blend into the background. However,  these overwhelming remnants of teenage self-consciousness still lead me to rush through things and never properly take anything in. I feel too awkward to walk into a café and sit alone with a drink.  I hate to order from food stalls alone when I’m in a new place.

Find more Women Who Wander entries here

Navigating a New Place Solo is Hard

Admittedly, I’ve definitely got over this in recent years. However, I remember when I first moved to Guadalajara I couldn’t bring myself to enter shops for about six months. Which is just ridiculous looking back. Every time I go somewhere new that same weird feeling creeps up on me again and I become unbearably self-conscious. Basically, I need accompaniment to help me get out of my own head. To take everything in and really appreciate the place I’m visiting. After all, and as the old saying goes, the people make the place.

Finally, to fully expose all my vices and flaws for the internet to see, I also tend towards being sinfully lazy if given half a chance. If I don’t have a motivation (in the form of a travel partner) to get up and go, I’d happily lounge around in the hostel reading or messing with my phone. Which isn’t the ideal way to spend a holiday to say the least. I’m almost certain this reluctance to do stuff is also related to the previous point. I spent some time over Christmas 2014 in Playa del Carmen. I was so guilty of this that I don’t actually remember what I did in the time that I was there. My memory of that stopover isn’t littered with great parties or experiences, but with the lobby of the hostel I was at and an unfortunate sexual harassment incident.

It’s Just Easier with a Travel Buddy

For all these reasons, solo travel isn’t for me. That’s not to say I don’t like going off on my own for hours at a time and having some time for myself. But I need the comfort of knowing that there’ll be someone else waiting for me when I get back. And, arguably the most important reason of all, only your nearest and dearest know how to take that perfect not-candid-candid of you.

Finally, If you are interested in writing for Women Who Wander, you can contact me at youngandundecidedblog@gmail.com. Can’t wait to share your stories

Solo Travel isn't for me

  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

37 thoughts on “Women Who Wander: Solo Travel Isn’t For Me”

  1. So much of what you wrote resonated with me. I travelled solo for five weeks many years ago and decided then that I did not love it. These days I go with my partner on most trips, but I do like the occasional city holiday alone.

  2. I completely get this! Although I have never travelled by myself I still can’t get on with the whole having to make new friends with anyone I coincidentally happen to be staying in the same hostel as – it’s just not in my nature to need that! Although I always travel with someone, I’m generally pretty solitary and those who I chose to travel with get it! Such a refreshing and reassuring post!

  3. I love Northern Lauren´s blog <3 I really liked reading this perspective! I enjoy traveling on my own, but I´ve discovered I actually also love traveling with my couple (actually even more than alone) and friends – they are all different ways to travel and although I used to think I only want to travel alone, now I changed my mind quite a bit.

  4. Me too, it’s just not as enjoyable as travelling with people you love. If I was still single I’d do it, I HAVE done it, but no, being with my husband and kids, having people to share it with, is just lovely.

  5. I do not find the hostel stereotypes to be quite as true, although maybe half true. I myself prefer hostels and I am a 50-something professional who is a non-drinker. I don’t love some of the drawbacks to solo travel, sure, but I really hate the drawbacks to team travel! Waiting on others, deal with either whiny or bossy travel partners, debating how to spend the money (since one is usually budget-minded and the other is more spendy), compromising on everything so that the trip I am still paying quite a bit for doesn’t turn out to be the trip I wanted, etc. I am glad there is room in the world for all of us to travel however we’d like. P.S. I live in Monterrey, MX. Happy trails to you!

  6. How do you write about cultural quirks (see description) considering that you only seem to be interested in your approved travel buddy’s company?
    As in: how do you learn about culture when you won’t even speak to people you share a room with? Will you go out of your way to meet locals and speak to them? Sorry but you dont sound like you would.

    I appreciate the honesty but it’s nonsense to me.

    Safe travels gal x

  7. I do resonate with all you said about solo travel is hard and it is not for everyone, but there are some points I do not agree. About meeting people at hostels, I actually do not feel the need to talk to everyone and make friends with everyone I share a room with. I can chat with whoever I want, but I can also share a room with strangers without talking to them. There are people I met at the hostel I still keep in touch with, but that is just very few. Friendships built in hostels can be flicker and this is reality. About safety, I feel it is more safe to travel alone as you have nobody to rely on but yourself. If you have a company, you both will feel “safe” among each other and hence lost alerts about your surroundings. Lastly, I see you blogging about your travels, you either need extensive period to explore a place and get to know it, or you need a travel company who “gets” it – the fellow travel bloggers.

  8. I haven’t been travelling alone for a while now, but I did find it built my confidence a lot with many of the above issues. I totally respect that you don’t enjoy it though. Who is anyone else to judge?!

  9. Loving the honesty and its not for everyone to travel solo. I find when you traveling all the time, you find the real you, your strengths, your weaknesses, what you love doing, what you hate doing. If you prefer to travel with others, nothing wrong with that, as long as you get along with them 😀

  10. Thank you for sharing your take on this! Everyone has different travel styles and preferences and I think that’s perfectly ok. No 1 travel style is better than another. Personally I can travel alone and I can enjoy myself, but my preference is to travel with a friend or family 🙂

    1. I absolutely agree with you Flo.
      Even I feel the same, but that doesn’t matter that they can so why can’t I . Even I love travelling solo, sometimes it becomes pathetic but this is the situation where we realize about ourselves its just about the tendency of person to person.
      Appreciate your honesty. 🙂

  11. Your post was really interesting to read and I related to some of the points you made. I’ve travelled extensively with and without travel partners. Whilst I’ve made some great friends over the years travelling solo, I’ve also had some difficult times – travelling India solo out of season. I think it does vary from country to country and from person to person. What I love is that you know yourself completely and you’re not ashamed of your feelings or who you are. Brutal honesty. Respect!

  12. Traveling solo does have its pros and cons. But, yes, ultimately it is an individual preference. Solo travel does afford a great opportunity to introspect and retrospect while the same may not be true of traveling with a partner. But this is counterbalanced by the joy of shared experiences.

  13. I can relate to your point of view. Often, the thought of safety and convenience regarding solo travel put solo trip under negative lens. I live in India and I go for solo trips. I won’t deny that these issues don’t crop up into my mind while travelling but then if you move about being careful and watchful, stay at safe and reputed places etc., then it becomes easier. Of course, having a travel buddy turns things to be more comfortable but again, you can even join a group of travelers on the way even on your solo trip. It depends.

  14. Interesting about Lauren, I am also Yorkshire born and I used to be Mexico City based! I can imagine how stressful it can be for a woman traveling solo in Havana or Guadalajara, the local men are not afraid to stare and pester women even after being given the no sign. I guess it’s like that for solo male travelers in Thailand sometimes!

  15. It’s important to grapple with questions like this. I’ve travelled a lone for a year and a half and I also realized that I don’t always want to make new friends. I ended up compromising and doing some parts of my trip with a “pre-approved” friend and the other solo.

  16. I think travel style is something very individualistic, like our personality. Solo travel may be good for some of us, but doesn’t suit us all. For instance, I travel with my husband…we share the same tastes and have a comfort zone built over the years. Each to his own.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *