I have always welcomed solo travel. It began for me in the Seventies and Eighties, when I traversed our great country for business travel. I was a health care consultant for over twenty years. My job led me to about 35 or 40 of our states. I completed my quest to visit all FIFTY states in 2014, with a train ride from Chicago to Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Those of you who have never done it are missing out on one of life’s most interesting adventures. Yes, I have the best travel buddy in the world, Mr. Mike. But when he does not or cannot go, I will go. Why not you?
Here are some interesting thoughts from Food and Wine:
“Traveling alone can be a unique experience, and it’s something that a majority (66 percent) of Americans either have done or would consider doing,” according to YouGov, a market research and data analytics firm that recently surveyed U.S. adults about solo travel.
According to the survey, 46 percent of respondents said their motivation to travel alone was to have the “freedom to choose their own itinerary without input from others.” The second most popular reason, selected by 37 percent of respondents, was that it’s “easier to relax and unwind when they’re alone.”
The other reasons people chose solo travel included bolstering their own sense of independence and self-confidence (32 percent), wanting to go to destinations that their family and friends weren’t interested in (32 percent), and finding it easier to meet new people alone (17 percent).Specifically, meeting new people and going to destinations others are not interested in are important. But the sense of adventure is the driving force for me. In other words, to just let the vacation “happen” without many plans or reservations. Like my trip to Europe on Tuesday.
I am leaving on May 11 for Europe, with only a week in Greece as a set itinerary. The rest is completely open, albeit for the pandemic restrictions. Looking at the list of places I can go (welcoming vaccinated travelers), some interesting places to visit includes Estonia, Lithuania, Montenegro, Georgia, and Slovenia. So, after my week in Greece, I will plane or train to one of these countries.
Much like visiting SE Asia, European countries are relatively close together, and normally easily reach by Eurail. Both EasyJet and Ryan Air make air travel within Europe very affordable.
A few places I have been solo are: Alaska (for the Auroral Borealis), the Trans Siberian Railway, VIA Trans Canadian Rail, Super Bowl 47, Istanbul, South Africa, Japan, Canada, Berlin, Tokyo, Bangkok, Amsterdam, Munich, Vienna, and Romania.
While not discounting a perfect travel companion like Mr. Mike, the solo experience has made me a better traveler, and perhaps a better citizen of the world. One of my favorite things to do when I travel is to feed someone. Some are homeless, some are needy, and some are just interesting. I also give or donate some of my clothing to needy people along the way. In fact, in South Africa, I gave away most of my clothing and shoes.
So, unless you have a Mr. Mike, I strongly suggest hitting the road or the airways by yourself. You will never be alone again! I met the great Barry the V in Santiago, Chile. And the inimitable Jason and Chun in Langkawi, Malaysia. Add a few others like Roath in Cambodia, Danny in Bangkok, Ta and CK in Chiang Mai, Katy in Bucharest, and many others. Or you can end up in Zurich playing strip poker (I was much younger) with two girls form New York?
Bottom line: Do not limit yourself. If you have a need to go and explore, please go. There will come a day when you will not be able to do this!
PS: I leave Tuesday for Europe, solo.