Travelling solo by Shilpa Ganatra
Published: 31 August 2017
There was a time when I wouldn’t even consider taking a solo trip… No sirreee. Half the point of going on holiday was to bond with my travel bud, and what’s the point of going abroad if you can’t go out to nice restaurants, bars and clubs anyway?
For the sake of personal growth I once gave it a go, spending three weeks in New York and San Francisco in a flat-swap a few years back. The idea was to spend time writing alone, but I learned something about myself: I’m easily distracted. I end up wanting to explore the length and breadth of these fantastic cities, so I got frustrated that I could only sightsee during the day (self-consciously at that). At night, I was resigned to a trip to Whole Foods, or a takeaway at best. That trip affirmed my belief that solo holidays were not for me.
But now, I think I’m turning a corner. Two things have changed: firstly, I’ve ticked off most of the obvious destinations that were on my bucket list so finding people to go on far-flung holidays isn’t easy. But also, speaking to friends who have the same issue, solo holidays are much more doable.
It seems that now more than ever, ‘solo group holiday’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘looking for a holiday romance’. A large number of those who go often already have a partner – just a partner who likes to do different types of activities.
There are some holidays I’d definitely prefer to do with a group, like a hiking trip or a visit to South America. For smaller trips, I think I’d feel better about going completely alone though. Technology has moved on so there are sites and apps that link up people in different cities – both locals and those just passing through. The one I’m most intrigued about is (I’m not being paid for this, I swear it) EatWith, in which you can sign up for a seat at a communal table. MeetUp is good for general activities, while Wander hooks up those looking for a travel companion.
Of course, I plan on being sensible, being a gal on my own, but all things considered, I don’t think it’s enough to stop me going solo.