A questions to all the single travellers out there. How many times have you've been asked if you're alone, followed by another question: why? When you answer yes, are you greeted with looks of shock, surprise or the worst look of all - pity? Yeah, it happens when you're a single traveller.
With the "Yes, I'm by myself and travelling alone" answer, people look at me with a mixture of emotions. It ranges from uncertainty to bewilderment. Although it could be pity, it could be sorrow, it could even be jealousy, who knows? Some have asked me, "where's your wife?" Yeah I quickly deflected the answer to that question as quickly as possible. I just found it best that I didn't get into my private life, particularly while travelling alone to foreign countries that may not be very open-minded.
I have to admit that I really hate that part when it comes to traveling, having to scan my audience, but since I am travelling alone, I also need to be extremely mindful of my own personal safety, right? I do let it be known that I lost my partner to leukemia. Nonetheless it has to be said, not a day goes by when I'm not thinking of my late partner Robbie, wishing he was with me, sharing these adventures with me, or participating in the things that I'm doing (or even better, to save me from a dreaded New Years table for one!). But since that can't happen, and although there have been a few moments here and there where it can be lonely (again, this past New Years kind it brought it to the forefront), I wouldn't change my single travel status for anything right now. Why?
- I get to do what I want to do. Period. The ultimate in selfishness eh? Look, this is not to say that travelling in couples and /or groups is not fun, it can be and is so much fun!! My late partner and I had the best times travelling together but there is something to be said about getting up when you want, or doing things you want to do when you want to do them etc etc. It can bring you some peace of mind. Course the opposite of this is having too much time on your hands figuring out what to do so you do nothing lol that wouldn't happen in a couple or group!
- I read somewhere when you travel alone you'll learn a lot about others but also a lot about yourself and that's very true. You become acutely aware of your likes and dislikes, personality traits, temperament, all of it laid bare for you to see so you'll have only yourself to blame if you didn't like what you did or you make a stupid mistake haha - not a fun fact but so true!
- You'll have more time to actually stop and smell the roses (clichés be damned!). You'll be able look, to really see things, to observe without being pushed or prodded along (unless you're with a pushy guide – that can happen too!)
- This is an even bigger cliché but with solo travelling you do increase the chances for meeting local people and maybe even become friends with them, who in turn give you far more detail about their culture, food, unique/secret/cool non-touristy places to visit etc etc and the best thing? They REALLY want to help to make your visit that much better!! So you have a choice: it's either sit quietly at the bar by yourself nursing that fourth beer or getting up and out of your room and becoming more social. No pressure though!! Even I'm shocked that I'm somewhat becoming more social myself. I'm not a chatty Cathy for God's sake (some would beg to differ but that's only with people I really know!) but I'm definitely not as nervous as I used to be when entering a room full of people by myself (Again, New Years was the exception). I honestly could care less now if they stare or think ah poor bastard sitting by himself. Yeah, you should really hear my thoughts in response: at least I'm enjoying this meal and wouldn't want to trade spots with you for anything - Id rather sit here alone than sit with a husband or wife across from me chewing in silence. Boring. Sorry, I know that last bit was a bit OTT and rather judgmental but you know what I mean!!
Gee, I wonder if this new found attitude will change when this trip is over? Hmmmm
Next up back to India – Taj Mahal, Agra, Neemrana Fort-Palace