Most Popular Posts

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Would you travel alone?

My mom and I once took a trip to Paris and, halfway through our trip, discovered that we had accidentally booked our return flights for different days. So I spent my last night there by myself. First I went to the movie Ratatouille, then had a Croque Monsieur at a neighborhood restaurant and then spent the rest of the evening wandering the cobblestone streets, soaking up the street music, twinkling lights and general je ne sais quoi.

But here's the thing: I sort of hate being alone. I joke to Alex that, if it were up to me, I'd be surrounded by a huge group of people 24 hours a day. One accidental night in Paris was fine, but had it been any longer, I'd have felt restless, a little lonely.

New York Times writer Stephanie Rosenbloom, however, recently took a solo trip to Paris and raved about the experience:

It was easy in Paris to surrender to the moment. But why? What alchemy transmuted ordinary activities, be it a walk across a bridge or the unwrapping of butter, into a pleasure? My default speed in New York is “hurtle,” yet in Paris I dragged the edge of a fork across an oyster with a care better suited to sliding a bow across a violin.

This was not simply because I was in Paris, though it has long held a kind of magic for many Americans. It was because I was there on my own. In a city that has been perfecting beauty since the reign of Napoleon III, there are innumerable sensual details — patterns, textures, colors, sounds — that can be diluted, even missed, when chattering with someone or collaborating on an itinerary. Alone one becomes acutely aware of the hollow clack of pétanque balls in a park; the patina of Maillol’s bronze “Baigneuse se Coiffant” that makes her look wet even on a cloudless day in the Tuileries; how each of the empty wine bottles beside sidewalk recycling bins is the embodiment of someone’s good time. There is a Paris that deeply rewards the solo traveler.

Sounds meditative, right? I just asked my friend, who is working across from me today, if she'd want to take a vacation alone, and she answered, "Desperately. I fantasize about it all the time." When I asked her where she would go, she answered, "Oh my God, anywhere."

What about you? Have you traveled alone? Did you enjoy it? Would you jump at the chance to soak up a place by yourself, or not so much? Where would you go? I'm so curious...

P.S. A version of traveling alone (that I can handle), and my friend Sharon takes a solo trip every year.

(Photo by Nicole Franzen)

262 comments:

1 – 200 of 262   Newer›   Newest»
Jenny said...

Definitely. In fact, I just took my first solo trip to Poland, and it was one of the best in my life. I'm teaching English in Spain right now, was on the fence about whether to stay for a second year, and that solo trip sealed the deal for me.....because now I know I have to be based in Europe for at least another year to travel alone to countless other countries!

www.athingforwords.com

Cristin said...

I sometimes have to travel alone for work, and I really love it. It gets lonely when I'm on the road for more than a week, but I'm an introvert and I crave alone time, so it's seriously the BEST.

Jen Collins said...

Yes! I'd prefer to be in a English or french speaking country so it's easy to chit chat with shopkeepers, waiters, fellow solo train passengers etc, but it could be a riot and I have traveled alone to NYC and recently northern Belgium and it's great to take my time (or not!) in museums, eat whatever and whenever I want, and be as busy or relaxed as I want.

I do miss conversational company in countries where I don't speak the native language (even if they speak English) but it's still doable.

I also feel like a real grown-up to manage to plan, pay for, and accomplish the whole travelling experience alone, although waiting for customs can be a bit scary alone!

Joanna Goddard said...

that's amazing, jenny! how awesome of you :)

Erin W. said...

I think it depends on the place. For some reason I feel like I would enjoy traveling alone more if I were going somewhere with a lot of nature and beaches than if I were in a big city. I can't see doing Paris alone but I would be fine island hopping in Greece. I'm not really sure why.

Joanna Goddard said...

cristin, i do have to say that i love staying in hotels by myself. in SF this past weekend, i had my own hotel room and really loved going back to my room (and my king bed) by myself.

Joanna Goddard said...

good point, jen—so you can chat with people on the street, etc...that makes a big difference.

gordon-j said...

I love traveling alone. I love my husband and boys dearly, but as an introvert, time alone recharges my batteries.

I find that when I travel alone, security often pushes me back to the hotel room earlier in the evening, allowing for plenty of time to read and write at the end of the day. This lets me get up and enjoy my favorite time of day: early morning when a city comes to life.

Kara said...

I am an American studying in Paris right now (I've been here for 8 months) and whenever my friends or I decide to take weekend trips it's always a huge debacle over whether or not whoever is willing to go alone. Some people are completely cool with it, but others (like myself) are just not interested at all.

Part of the joy of traveling for me is getting to share the experience with someone. I think that I notice more when I'm with other people- 2 perspectives are better that one, sometimes. I mean, I won't even go see my favorite band alone in a few weeks.

jennifer said...

the exact same thing happened to me, kind of! my friend and i were meeting up in paris, and i managed to accidentally book my ticket to arrive a day earlier than her. i spent the evening wandering the streets and was almost teary-eyed it was so lovely. at the time i was traveling around europe for a few months, alternating a week by myself in a destination and a week meeting up with a friend -- travelling alone is one of my favorite things i've ever done. i'm an extreme introvert, though . . . .

wanderlustywriter said...

I've done weekends alone (in Paris and other parts of France when I was living there) and I think that's the perfect amount of time. It was nice to go where I wanted without consulting anyone, but after a few days, I'd either start to get lonely, and/or start to get annoyed with being approached by random men constantly. I think traveling alone is harder as a woman. I'd like to try it in a country where being overly aggressive towards women is less common!

Iris Fugate said...

I love the thought of taking a vacation alone, if only a shorter one. I spent a day alone in Paris as well and had the same experience of feeling so peaceful, no rush, no one to please but yourself, complete anonymity in such a beautiful place. I think especially for women it is important to have these experiences because once you have children (despite them one day going off to be adults of their own) you'd never really be alone again. Not that you'd want to be alone from your children whom you love more than anything, but the experience of being a mother seems just that way.

That said, there are places in the world that I would love to share with my family. A mixture of both solo and group vacations is perfect!

Nicole said...

I'm going to be in Paris alone for a few says before my friends arrive and I'm looking forward to it! I do have a few friends who are locals in the area where I stay, so I'll see them in the evenings at the neighborhood bars and cafes, but my days will be by myself.

Emily Hsiung said...

Never! I'm just like you and love to be surrounded by people almost 24/7. I like those occasional days or hours to myself to read and relax, but otherwise I can't imagine going shopping alone, let alone travel!

I'm the definition of an extrovert in that I feed off the energy of others, so when I'm alone and get excited about something, I'd explode if I didn't have someone to share that with!

Amy Kitch said...

I've not travelled much alone, but I love exploring places by myself. I feel guilty spending too much time in front of museum objects -- but if I am alone I can spend hours in one gallery without the worry of boring my travel buddy.

I also love to people watch, which is definitely a solo pass time.

Maybe ease into it by going to things like museums and cinemas without a companion -- then do a weekend away.

Caroline, No. said...

Hm, it's a weird one. I love being on my own, but I'd probably feel a bit lonely.

Alexa said...

oh, absolutely! the summer i was 20, i worked as a nanny in munich and took a solo trip to salzburg. and last year, i went to san francisco for a weekend alone because why not? of course, there were certain moments on both trips that i would have liked to have shared with someone, but mostly i was (and remain) so thrilled to have some experiences all to myself. for me, there is something really uniquely special about solo travel, especially while i am single.

Amy Carter said...

I just e-mailed my husband yesterday about going to DC alone this fall. He is on frequent and sporadic deployments with the Navy, so I can't plan on him being with me. And I kind of love the idea of looking at the Library of Congress by myself all day. I think if I went overseas, I would want him or my sister with me so I had someone to share it with.

K and/or K said...

I would go anywhere (that is relatively safe) in a heartbeat! Be your own best company!

Caitlin said...

When I was 19 I took my first trip to Europe. The first part of the trip was with a pretty big group of college classmates (about 20 in total), and we toured throughout England and Wales together and had a wonderful time. Then I went to Paris by myself for ten days and was so confident I'd be totally fine! When I got to the hostel in Paris it hit me - I was totally and completely alone. I sat down on the bed, called my mom and cried and cried and cried.

The rest of the trip had some rough patches but funnily enough it got much better when I met another American girl my age who was travelling alone and we hit the town together :).

I'd like to think that, after nine years and a bit more solo travelling since then, I'd do better now...but it's doubtful! I am an extrovert at heart and love sharing experiences with close friends and loved ones. In my mind, I just can't see the point of travelling and seeing incredible things if there's no one there to share it with.

K said...

Sometimes I dream about having a trailer that I can drive to some abandoned field and live for a couple of days. Alone. Anywhere.

Fisher Sisters said...

I don't think I'd like it very much. I like your idea of spending a day apart while on vacation together, though! I'm definitely introverted, so a day apart would probably be lovely, just to recharge. But I can't imagine a whole trip that way! I just loving being around my husband too much. (but we've also only been married 9 months and are perhaps still in the honeymoon phase... ask me again in 7 years?)
xx- Lynn-Holly from ThreeSistersAttic.blogspot.com

Bridget said...

I spent a week in the South of France by myself once. I don't speak any French and never have any time alone. It was one of the best weeks I can remember.

abroadathome said...

I took a week solo trip to Manchester and Cambridge when I was 23 and working abroad and really enjoyed the alone time. I found it to be very therapeutic and rewarding and a good exercise in contentment. I think it's important to be comfortable with oneself and traveling alone really helps one examine that. Plus I think the anonymity can be very exciting.

That said, I much prefer traveling with others. It's just so wonderful to get to share those experiences with your friends or family. But, I really like your idea of spending one day apart from your partner and exploring what you really want. Best of both worlds!

marlene said...

I took my first trip alone when I was 21. I went to Australia for a month, jumped on the Oz Experience bus and backpacked down the coast. That was the first of many trips alone. I did take trips with friends from time to time, but I knew that if I had time and resources and didn't go just because people couldn't go with me, I would regret it. I went to Southeast Asia alone and also through parts of Europe. Latvia was an amazing place to go alone, surprisingly! Ireland too. It's amazing how many people you meet and how much traveling alone can restore your faith in humanity and your perspective on the world. It also gave me an immeasurable amount of self-confidence. One caveat - I did travel to India by myself for three weeks. That was hard. I wouldn't do that again. As a single female there, I encountered some dangerous situations...and the language barrier was hard. Overall however, I highly recommend it, even for a short period. There's something very educational to the soul about solitude for a measured period of time. Besides, even though I traveled alone, I was rarely by myself!

Gabriella said...

I would love to, though when given the choice I still always prefer to travel with friends or family. My mom met my dad when she was traveling alone in Morocco, so the idea of traveling by oneself was always filled with adventure and romance for me.

iris said...

I lived in Japan (by myself) for three months...I traveled around the Greek Islands by myself for 2 weeks, around Thailand solo for 2 weeks. I do it again and again and again. It's not the greatest, but at least you aren't tied to anyone else's schedules (or needs!). Much more relaxing that way!

Mary said...

Absolutely. I am an introvert and I love spending time alone. I love people too, but I'd be perfectly comfortable exploring a city by myself. I had to travel to Sydney for work many years ago, and I was there for a month. I spent the weekends exploring the city on my own, and they are wonderful memories. I had a fabulous time walking, eating in restaurants, taking pictures, hanging on the beach... Now that I have kids I would even appreciate more the low-maintenance of it all, including the flight!

molly said...

i agree that there would have to be a deadline. one day in paris sounds dreamy, but a few days or a week-- even in paradise-- wouldn't work for me. once, i was traveling in new zealand after studying abroad there, and i realized at 6pm one day that i hadn't said anything that day (except for thank you to someone who held the door for me. once.) and i immediately felt so homesick and lonely and sad. in new zealand!

Trina said...

I love traveling alone. For an introvert like me, it's bliss. As a 23-year-old I traveled solo to Turkey twice one year and loved it both times, and I just did another solo trip this past fall fall, to the Netherlands and Belgium, with a big tour of the art museums and a few key restaurants I've long wanted to hit in Amsterdam (plus chocolate shops in Bruges, bwahaha). Oh, I enjoy big family trips too, as well as traveling with my boyfriend or with a good girlfriend, but trips alone have their own savor. I like getting to decide exactly what I want to do, when I want to do it.

I notice a few of the other ladies who've responded saying they love travel alone are also introverts. :) Probably not a coincidence.

Calypso In The Country said...

I have traveled alone to meet someone at a destination but that's about it. I generally hate to fly but I try to hide that fear from my kids so they don't "inherit" the fear from me! By the way - love your blog! I just swung over from the Domino website and now that I see you are a Seinfeld and When Harry Met Sally fan, I will definitely be stopping back! "Is anyone here a marine biologist?"...
Cheers - Shelley

designer nutrition said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Emma Waterman said...

I've done it a few different times and love it! It can definitely get a bit overwhelming but it's also so freeing. I also find that traveling alone makes you more open to meeting new people along the way.

Allison Kruszewski said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Trina said...

P.S. I also find that it's also been easier for me to connect with people in another country when I'm alone. When I travel in a group or even one other person, I tend to stick to that group or person. Whereas when I travel alone, I've often found myself the recipient of kind and hospitable gestures and conversation that often ends up being the most memorable part of my trip, all the more because it's unscripted.

designer nutrition said...

Hi Joanna,
Yes I went to Paris on my own for one week. I wasn't nervous because my french is fairly decent. And the people were very nice. It was the best trip, all on my schedule. I highly recommend it!

Elizabeth Snyder said...

Traveling alone could be kind of scary for me, but as long as I had a map, I would in a heart beat!

c & b said...

I spent ten days in Florence in my early 30s and it was the best experience ever. What happened was that I spent the first three days by myself, then a girlfriend who lived in Paris flew out to meet me and stayed for 3 days. She went back home to work and I stayed for another 4 days on my own. It was perfect. I got to spend some time getting to know Florence first, then we played, and then got to meditate on my own again. I'd do it again in a heartbeat anywhere.

Riikka said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
*starr fish said...

I spent a solo week in Paris after a break up - just needed to get out of town. It was a valuable experience, making me realize that while I'd prefer to be in a relationship with someone who loves to travel, I don't need a man in my life to do cool, adventurous things.

Unknown said...

I am single and travel solo all the time. I have traveled solo in India, China, Cambodia, Thailand Australia, South Africa, and all over Europe. Being single, if I always waited for someone to travel with I'd never go anywhere! I enjoy it, I have gotten used to savoring meals alone, with a book, or people-watching.

Elise Dujardin said...

I took a solo trip to Milan, Italy last December and absolutely loved it! To be honest, I prefer traveling on my own over traveling with others!

ariana said...

Yes! I spent several months in Europe "alone," although for most of it, I was living with native families and my sister traveled with me for a bit. But one fantastic portion of my trip was when I spent a long weekend traveling the South of France solo. It really does cause you to slow down and discover what you'd really like to do with you day in a foreign place. It's a little out of my comfort zone and in it at the same time. It's meditative and enriching and wonderful.

L8Blmr said...

I traveled for 6 months alone in Spain. On the one hand, it was fantastic - I did everything my heart desired! Wandered for hours endlessly, got off the train because I liked the look of a city, met tons of interesting people, tried interesting foods. Awesome! On the other hand, when you really want to share an amazing experience, maybe as simple as a painting or piece of music that really moves you; or hearing American Christmas music in the middle of July and thinking how strange and funny, there is no one. That can get lonely. Also, as a woman, it was so hard to go out at night. So many times I felt like going out for a glass of wine but the few times I did it didn't go well. A few times I had to be really assertive about being left alone (by men) and once I was followed for hours in a small town in the middle of the day and was "rescued" by a sweet woman and her child who pretended to know me. All in all, it made me a more capable person and traveler, but I wouldn't want to do it again for that long.

R said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Allison Nimlos said...

The thing with traveling alone is that if you do it right, you're only alone when you want to be. There are always locals interested in meeting foreigners and showing them around, or you meet other travelers from other countries. I met several people when I went to England alone, either the girls in my hostel dormroom or a girl that I struck up a conversation with during a group tour. It was really fun and you meet interesting people when you aren't closed off because you're with your traveling companion.

That's not to say you can't do this if you are traveling with someone, but I think being alone can bring its own share of possibilities that are quite fun and rewarding.

Giulia said...

I have travelled on my own & lived abroad since I was 17...of course, I have travelled with others & have enjoyed it, too. But I feel it is essential (if at all possible) to go on your own sometimes. (I'm in my 50s now so I was travelling alone when a lot of other women were not...including to North Africa.) I do not think of myself as particularly brave & am rather shy. But I have always been able to get along with a wide variety of ppl & perhaps that's why it's worked out for me.

xo

Susan

Kirby Todd said...

It sound so lovely in theory, but I rarely get to travel so I think I'd want to share the experience with my husband or family or friends!

Kelsey Warner said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kristina said...

Oh my gosh, YES. In a heartbeat. I love being alone.

a said...

Absolutely! I traveled quite a bit throughout the southeastern US for work a few years ago, and loved discovering things and meeting new people. I'm also an introvert who loves finishing the day with some solitude -- just me and my thoughts -- before bed.

I also spent 18 days traveling across Europe (Vienna, Florence, Paris, and London) for the first time alone this past fall, and it was a beautiful experience. I loved encountering things on my own and having the time to really immerse myself in museums and strolls and restaurants. I discovered new things about myself along the way that I wouldn't have if I had gone with a travel partner. Oddly, the only city I really felt lonely in was Paris! Perhaps there are certain cities that you feel more prone to share with another person than others?

Kelsey Warner said...

YES! I went to Miami Beach alone in February to escape the Boston winter for 36 HOURS (how desperate?) and it was AMAZING. Had I stayed longer I might have started feeling a little lonely in such a social city - but it was the perfect amount of time for that final push thru ^&*!ing winter.

Ana Sofía Ruiz said...

I travel by myself a lot, mostly because of my work. It's a kind of love and hate experience. It's nice to have some alone time, but it can also get too lonely. Also depends of the destination and how secure is it for women to travel on our own.
But for me, the best part of all this trips by myself is when I get home to my hubby :)

Elizabeth Anne said...

I love to travel and being single have a little more freedom and budget than my family or friends, so I've done several solo trips in the U.S. (to check off the goal of visiting all 50 states). I did a 2 week road trip across the southern states. I did the New England states and ended the trip in NYC for Thanksgiving. I also did a weekend trip to Wisconsin. I loved the freedom to change my itinerary on a whim, stay as long as I pleased if something captured my heart or leave if it didn't.

Rhi said...

I traveled to Paris by my self for three months when i was 18. It is one of the best things i have ever done. i learned so much about looking after my self and making a completely new set of friends.
It was fantastic.

etLeCygne said...

I studied abroad in Paris a few years ago and had many experiences there like the NYT writer describes. I love traveling alone in cities with good public transportation, Seattle is one of my favorites. Yet even though I love hiking and the outdoors, the idea of being alone out in nature really freaks me out. One time I was in Vancouver by myself and I started to walk into the woods in Stanley Park and then got to where I couldn't hear any other people and just felt so uncomfortable I practically ran the 20 feet or so out of the woods until I was in sight of other people again!

Caroline T. said...

I actually took a solo trip to Paris my last weekend as a student abroad (I'd been living in southern Spain at the time) this past fall. It was two weeks before Christmas, and I stayed alone in a friend's apartment in the 12th arrondissement. Despite traveling alone to Spain, there was something wholly magical about going to a place where I didn't speak the language by myself. People were incredibly kind, and I spent the weekend wandering the city alone, peaking into shops and eating all the eclairs I could.
I'm also a huge extrovert, and I was worried that I would get bored without someone to talk to, but it was surprisingly lovely to not have to follow anyone else's agenda. So much freedom! I'd highly recommend it, definitely a lesson about oneself.

Cheers!
Caroline

reveuse said...

I had a great time travelling around Lisbon alone! Lovely stone-paved streets and great weather in Spring (: But I also had a terrible time travellling alone in Berlin in Winter.. so maybe the weather really makes a difference for me :P

Beccy said...

I think I would be fine being alone for a day, or maybe two max, but would probably quite lonely and most likely lost after this stage!

Beccy // Bluebell & Bumpkin

Sarah O'Brien said...

I think it's important for us to have space and alone time. Taking solo trips allows for you to explore and discover any and everything you want and not have to consider another person's time or agenda. It allows you to get to know who you are in a completely different way than if you were alone in your apartment eating and watching tv alone.

E. and Baby P. said...

that's funny you mention Paris. that's the only place i've travelled by myself. i think if i was single i would be fine travelling alone but now i want to share my experience with my husband so i would want him to be with me.

Emmy M. said...

I enjoy traveling alone. My first trip alone was when I was 19 and went to NYC by myself. It was my first trip to New York, and while I was used to living in a big city because I went to college in Chicago, it was still thrilling and somewhat overwhelming. I have been back alone several times- and each time it gets a little less overwhelming as I learn all the streets and subway lines!

I have also traveled to San Francisco alone twice, and Boston once. Generally, I think relatively large cities are fun for traveling alone- I don't think I would want to go alone to a beach vacation, but in a city there's just so much to do and see! I also prefer going to museums alone rather than with people.

Sarah O'Brien said...

Yes, I think it's important for us to have our own space and alone time. Solo trips allow you to follow your own path without having to consider another person's time or agenda. It gives you an opportunity to spend time to yourself and perhaps rediscover who you are in a way that's different than being in your apartment eating and watching television by yourself.

Emily Chavous said...

I sort of fantasize about it too. I think it perfect that you accidentally booked the wrong ticket... what a wonderful way to happen upon the adventure, when it's something you normally wouldn't plan for yourself. Sounds whimsical. It's totally on my bucket list to travel alone for a week, somewhere totally out of my element. Although, I think it would be hard to plan such a trip without including my boyfriend. We've talked about taking a trip, and taking a day to go off exploring, each on our own. It would be so much fun to meet for dinner later to discuss our wanderings over a bottle of vino.

Lovely post!
Emily
faitboum.blogspot.com

Tatoosh said...

I love travelling, but not alone. It depends on place.. I had travelled alone a lot of times in Greece .. It is my country so there is no problem ..I prefer travelling with friends in other countries :) I wish to visit India someday ..

Sara said...

Even when we go somewhere as a family, I break out on my own for a little while. There are places that I want to go, and my husband would rather take a nap.

I enjoy traveling alone, I get to do whatever I want when I want to.

Megan Jonas said...

I love to travel alone. I'm single and if I waited for my friends to have enough time and money to travel with me I'd never go anywhere!

There is one major difference in the way I plan for traveling alone. When I travel in a group, we usually fly by the seat of our pants. Alone, I plan out a pretty detailed itinerary before I go. Usually I deviate quite a bit from my plan, but in case I'm ever sitting in the hotel room wondering what to do or where to eat that day, I have a plan to fall back on.

Kelly Rae said...

I really enjoyed traveling alone when I was younger but now that I have a family I can't really imagine it. I also love sharing those moments with someone else later.

Franzi said...

When I finished university I traveled alone through Europe: In London, Paris and Vienna I was all by myself. Before the trip I was unsure if I would like to do it alone. But then it was a wonderful experience ehich gave me a lot of power in the future. I love to make vacations with my best friends on my side. But ever since my trip alone, I plan to repeat it.

Delzerado said...

I actually traveled through Finland and Sweden for 8 weeks after my freshman year of college. I was working as a travel writer for the Let's Go! series and headed off into the midnight sun just after finals. I'm an introvert so I definitely appreciated the quiet thinking time, but the routine of packing up and heading to a new town almost every night got very isolating, very quickly. This was before the days of FB and text messaging; I didn't even have a cell phone! I remember frequently thinking how awesome (as is full of awe, not necessarily great) it was that I was walking down this random street in a random town in the Arctic Circle and basically no one else knew where in the world I was. (Most of the time I didn't either!) All in, I'm glad I had that experience -- I pushed though a lot of fears, homesickness, and gained a ton of independence in the process -- even though I would never want to be that off the grid for so long again.

But a night or two by myself in an expensive hotel bed with a mountain of pillows anywhere in the world? Sign me up!

Prescott Perez-Fox said...

I always travel alone. I don't really have a choice. My friends and I are somewhat scattered lately. We generally don't have the same schedule, budget, and fascination on places to go. I'm single too, so it's solo by default.

Sick of it, really.

Eliot said...

Absolutely! I'm planning a trip to walk the Camino de Santiago in Spain and then spend some time in France...completely alone. Couldn't be more excited!

Eliot said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ali said...

I recently took a trip to Paris alone and it was pretty good. I walked wherever I wanted to and did whatever I pleased. The downside was having dinner alone, that part kinda sucks. Also being a single girl, I didn't particularly want to wander around alone at the wee hours of the morning.

Lindsay said...

I had the opportunity to spend 24 hours in Asakusa, Tokyo alone. I felt confident that I would be safe because I would be staying at a hostel recommended by a good friend. She mapped out different things for me to do, and in the end, I got to pick and choose. It was so relaxing! I didn't have to wait for or please anybody. I was able to adjust my plans so I could rest and so I could spend time with strangers at the hostel. I loved it, and I would do it again in a heartbeat. (I got lost walking to the hostel, and I almost had to give up, but there were maps in the area, so I found my way again. I'm sure I could have gotten help if I needed it, though.) Being in a city that has a subway system is the way to solo travel, I think.

Astrid said...

I always travel alone. For me, the hard thing is not being alone but rather explaining to friends or family who want to join me why I prefer they wouldn't. :) I find it hard to put into words, but when I go to a place I have never been before on my own it gives me an incredible sense of fearlessness and freedom, and it allows me to really meet new people, and have a truly open mind, things that would quite simply not be possible if I would be surrounded by the same people (whom I all love so so much :) as back home. Plus I also have a bizarre routine when I travel, as I tend to just keep going all day, sometimes without eating until the evening, and that can be hard for people who accompany me. I have to say, though that traveling alone is something I had to 'learn' (how to create that sense of belonging somewhere), but now I simply can't imagine it otherwise.

Jacquelyn Clark said...

I've never taken a trip solo, but when my boyfriend and I travelled to Scotland a while ago, there was a day in particular where he was golfing the old course in St. Andrews and I had about 6 hours to kill alone. Those 6 hours were probably the more serene of any vacation I've ever taken! I treated myself to ice cream, sat on a bench people watching for as long as I felt like (without worrying if my companion was restless...) meandered the streets and spent as long as I wanted at all of the sights. It was so peaceful and amazing!

Amanda said...

I think I would like to travel to Paris specifically alone, but most other places I'd want to have a travel companion.

Elisabeth said...

I'm traveling alone for the first time in a week and a half! I'm going on a research trip, but for the first few days I'll be on my own… and I'm really nervous about it! Part of it is the place (Uganda), but part of it is just that I'm worried I'll be really lonely.

Making it Anywhere said...

It definitely depends where, especially in this day and age. I travel for work, and if I have to go somewhere like Las Vegas or Phoenix, I always fly my mother out with me. I have had several attempted and threatened abductions made on me, so I am always extra conscientious when it comes to safety.

Eliza Jane said...

I went backpacking on and off for two years (I say on and off because I had a working holiday visa for the UK, so would work for three months then go backpacking for a month, repeat). I did it all alone, but I found I was never really alone. I stayed in hostels and met some of the most amazing people - one I'm still friends with over ten years later.

Kristen Larson said...

Traveling the unknown alone is something I find myself doing often. At first is was crazy to be alone with my thoughts for a long period of time. I walked along the ocean just listening to the waves break on the shore, thinking why did I come? I went alone to prove a point, that even though somebody backed out of going with me that it was not going to ruin my previously planned trip. I decided that my thoughts wouldn't pull me down, so instead of watching my feet hit the sand I looked up. I looked past the ocean and noticed a spout and then another. It was whale migration season!! I walked they swam parallel to each other until they gave themselves the extra gusto to continue on their merry way.

I love to explore new places and I like not being confined to a schedule that traveling in groups often entails.

This summer my husband and I are taking a road trip and don't have many plans at all. Occasionally we will have a dinner to meet up with friends but other than that the rest of the day is open I can't wait to see how we utilize our unstructured time and the adventures that will ensue.

Diane said...

My oh my, this post couldn't have come at a more convenient (read: coincidental) time, Joanna! I happen to be off on a 9-day solo adventure to Paris TOMORROW! For years I had this recurring dream where I was a Flâneur in Paris (a dream that was always a tease to to wake-up from, even on Christmas morning). So in honour of my 30th birthday I booked the trip! I'm staying in an adorable flat in the Marais and am looking forward to strolling at leisure and eating croissants at every boulangerie I pass. I'm full of hope and optimism (but catch me this time next week and I might be desperate for a familiar face).

wanderlynn said...

I've spent one day by myself in London, Bruges and Barcelona. My dream is to have more time to spend exploring cities on my own. It's a grand feeling to walk through the doors of the art museum that no one I'd ever travel with would be interested in seeing, or to really take the time to soak up a beautiful sight, never mind the attentiveness solo travel affords you after trying to do Paris with two kids under four!

Christie. said...

I've been thinking about it a lot... when I was single I did a lot of things alone, and it was wonderful. But now I have a family I don't feel the same urge to be alone, and even when I am alone I am missing them!

My husband took a boy's trip to Vegas for his 30th birthday and told me I should book my own holiday. I had the idea that I would plan a girl's trip, but most of my girlfriends are like me and don't want to leave their families - pathetic, right?!

Kiri Cragin Folwell said...

I've never gone on a vacation alone, but when I moved to London to do my masters I was completely on my own and I really enjoyed it. Because it was just me I pushed myself to meet new people and have new experiences all the time. Wouldn't trade those first few weeks for anything.

www.stateofsunshineblog.com

Claire W. said...

I have been thinking quite a bit in the last few days about taking a solo trip for a long weekend to my favorite place, Buenos Aires. I lived there for a bit after college and did most of my wandering around the city on my own, and I think I'm now convinced it's exactly where I want to spend my 27th birthday. Bravo to all of the brave ladies who also travel solo!

thelovelynumber.com said...

I love traveling alone! I went to London & Paris by myself last fall and soaked up every moment. It initially came about when my friends couldn't travel as often as I wanted to. Over time I have gotten more and more comfortable and now am happy to travel solo or with company. Each way has its perks, but when you're on your own you get to go at your own pace, eat what and when you want and determine that charming little hotels with good bathtubs win out over budget stays every time.

Sarah said...

Nope! I traveled for work by myself for a year and was gone for 2 weeks out of every month. I quit that job and haven't looked back. It's SO lonely and as a woman I felt it wasn't always the safest to be wandering around all alone. I do love to be by myself and most weekends my husband and I go our seperate ways during the day (we also work together so it's a nice break), but traveling is something I'd much share.

Lauren DOrazio said...

I would LOVE a night alone in Paris.

I'm pretty comfortable by myself though. I moved to London and Paris by myself, for work and for college at different times in my life. I'd probably only travel alone for any length or time to an english or french speaking country. I'd be a bit nervous not understanding any of the language and not being able to communicate.

Jodi Fleming said...

I am currently in the middle of a 2 year solo travel trip around the world. Currently I am living in Oaxaca, Mexico. Come August I head to South America (Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru, Argentina, Chile and Uruguay) before returning to New Zealand just before Christmas. Travelling by myself Idont really get lonely. Because I am on my own, I am approachable - so have had the most amazing chats, coffees and meals with people from all over. I write about my experiences here: www.underamexicansky.com

Amanda aka MamaRobot said...

I went on many solo trips to Europe when I was single. I stayed in hostels and always met a fun group to hang out with if I felt like company. But it was also nice to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, like nap in a park, linger over a painting, forget to eat lunch... I had nobody's comfort to consider but my own. It also felt very empowering to figure things out by myself.

Susanna Evans said...

My favorite kind of travel is to pick a place where I have friends, but I encourage them not to take time off from work or clear their schedules. This way I can do whatever I want during the day, then regroup in the evenings and have dinner company. As others mentioned, it's so fun to go to museums by yourself, or simply wander the streets without fussing over someone else. But spending the whole day alone can get lonely.

Jessie said...

I met my husband while traveling to Reykjavik, Iceland alone over New Year's. At first, I thought I had made the worst decision ever, but after a night of fortuitous encounters, I met him and really hit it off. Three years later, we were married. You never know what will happen when you take a chance and do something new... :)

Jenny Parker said...

I don't know why we have such a stigma for people that do things alone. Who cares if you go shopping, to the movies, out to dinner, to a show, or on vacation by yourself? Why wait for other people who will probably mar the experience a bit anyways? If I want to do something, I do it- whether my bf, friends, or family want to join me. Last year I went to Vancouver BC by myself for my bday. It was one of my favorite trips. If you're by yourself, you can do whatever you want, eat what you want, be on your own time. It's great!

Maria said...

That's funny because your blog is kind of a way to be always surrounded by a huge group of people!

Hopefully it's virtually. If you'd gather all your readers together, it would make quite à crowd.

Donna W said...

I have never taken a trip solo but I'd definitely do it. I make friends pretty easily so it wouldn't be a problem!

xo

Gwen said...

"I also find that it's also been easier for me to connect with people in another country when I'm alone. When I travel in a group or even one other person, I tend to stick to that group or person. Whereas when I travel alone, I've often found myself the recipient of kind and hospitable gestures and conversation that often ends up being the most memorable part of my trip, all the more because it's unscripted."

Absolutely this. I have spent a week by myself in Portugal, and a 1.5 weeks in Argentina. One of those I really enjoyed being alone; the other less so. And the reason is this: although I'm a moderate introvert and thus enjoy my alone time, traveling alone is actually when I get the chance to extrovert more. So, if the feeling is reciprocated, whether it be by locals or by other travelers (often other solo ones!), I will truly enjoy the experience. That was the case in Portugal. Everyone, I mean, everyone, I met there was friendly and I often got freebies or kind gestures as a result of my solo status. But in Argentina for whatever reason, neither the travelers nor the locals were that open. So, I ended up feeling lonely, rather than alone.

But that wouldn't stop me from traveling solo again! I really do think it's very empowering.

NotesFromAbroad said...

Thanks to a shockingly sudden change in my status of wife to widow, I am now in the position of seeing everything I do and everywhere I go as being Solo.
And I am not one of those people who just goes by herself ... I always had someone with me. I like having someone with me. I found the first weeks terrible when I had to go to banks alone or take the car in .. alone.
I can imagine traveling alone if there are people on the other side that I will see or be with for a bit of time. But to just go and be alone the entire time, I can't imagine it being comfortable or happy for me.
But I am still grieving so who knows what I would answer next year :)
Maybe if I can take the kitten with me ~

Karelys Beltran Davis said...

It's because you're an introvert :)

I was going to go to a movie by myself today but then I realized I have to wash (AND DRY!) my hair. I decided against it in hopes of a better night of sleep. But one of these days....one of these days!

mylifetintedpink said...

I travel alone more often than not. I did Paris both ways, one day with a friend and a day and a half by myself. While I enjoy having adventures by myself, I'm tiring of always being alone. However, I want to travel with close friends who I can trust to not ruin the experience!

Sunday Granger said...

Yes!! I travel overseas a lot and I love it. It's like wearing a bright red lipstick - so liberating, so empowering and pretty good fun. There are moments that you wish there was someone else there to share it, but for the most part, I'm so content with taking lots of photos and getting to choose my own schedule.

Meg said...

Yes! I went to Iceland alone after a big breakup. It was weird, lonely, and terrifying for the first 2 or 3 days, but then I really sunk into it. I completely agree- when by myself, I just NOTICED everything more, so things seemed bright and beautiful and peaceful. I made friends at some hostels, later, which really helped too :)

angela remy said...

i adore going to NYC alone. i am such a morning person, but love afternoon naps. i love waking up rolling around, watching local news ("WEATHER ON THE 1S!"), slowly eating my brunch, taking a nap....then finally getting ready and slowly walk to a museum or park. it's sooo refreshing to not have to worry about what someone else wants to do. don't get me wrong, it makes me sad i can't share it with someone i love, but the laziness of it all forces me to relax and calm the hell down.

Emily Nelson said...

When I finished my Bachelor Degree at University, I travelled alone for 4 months through Japan and Europe. I was also on a tight budget. There are lots of pros and cons to travelling alone.
When I got scared I really had to rely on my own strength: I navigated myself, booked everything myself, took chances on people and strangers and got myself out of tricky or scary situations by myself. It was very empowering in that sense - knowing that I could do it all myself! However it does take a big toll on your physically and mentally. Sometimes it's nice to just relax and let someone else worry for a while - but I was on my guard ALLL of the time.
The best part about travelling alone is that I took in so much! It was amazing. And as an artist I could take all of the time I wanted to browse museums and sit around drawing (which my partner would find boring). I was able to stick to my budget and I think that's much harder to do with someone else. And best of all, I met so many people and had so many chance encounter's that were amazing! I met amazing people throughout my whole trip who I ended up going to festivals with and staying at their houses and having amazing experiences that I'm sure I would have missed if I was with someone.
Travelling alone makes for a soul searching and life changing experience.

Susie said...

I love to hang out at home by myself. But travelling is a different story, I prefer to share the experience with others :)

Susie | june lorraine

angela remy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Barbara Ismailovic said...

It's interesting because I just had those thoughts few days ago. I was one time alone, In Hamburg, and for few hours it was fine, I took pictures, enjoyed streets, payed attention to details, but soon it became boring. I just like to share my thoughts, usually with my husband, because I mostly travel with him.
But yes, I have friend who doesn't mind travel alone, she even enjoy more alone than with friends sometimes. I guess everybody has their own travel style.

On the other hand, when I'm first time in some city, I prefer only one person with me. Too many people distract me from the city, and I always want to experience as more as I can...

(sorry for the long answer)

TheJoyofColor said...

I traveled alone many times but it was work trips and i did enjoy being alone especially in Paris or Amsterdam.
I love traveling with my hubby we had some wonderful trips but i do dream of taking a very long vacation, like few months in a village in Italy or Provence I think you can learn a lot about yourself and the surrounding

zoe said...

I have a best friend who is much braver than I. I'm about to meet up with her in Greece, but at the moment she is doing a tour of Italy totally solo! I used to dream about traveling alone, but the more I travel, the more I realize I love sharing it with my favorite people. An accidental night would be fine, a little down time, but in general, I much prefer to travel with those I love :) xx

The What's In Between

Megan M-R said...

Traveling alone in Berlin I met my husband :)

Also traveled alone in Mexico. Of course, you're never really alone for long.

Best trips!

Nurse Me said...

This past year I decided it was essential for me to spend some time traveling alone and discovering myself after a rough break-up. I traveled solo to Austin, NYC, and Portland. It was fantastic. I stayed at AirBnB places and rented a bicycle in every city. I highly recommend a solo journey. I came out of it with unique experiences of new cities and better contentment with my life.

Rachel Sedaker said...

I love traveling solo, and have done so several times. My favorites were Paris and Hawaii. Both times, I could take my time doing whatever I pleased, eating whenever suited me best, and make last minute decisions to ditch my plans. I also found that people were incredibly friendly to me- it opened up more conversations with new people than could have happened had I been traveling with someone. I can also make a dessert a meal and have no one around to shame me ;)

Kim said...

I LOVE LOVE LOVE traveling alone! I've done it in India, China, and Europe.

The beautiful thing about being alone is that you really aren't - I am much more likely to meet new people, either other travelers or locals, and hang out with them for an afternoon or a weekend. It forces me to open up and step out of my comfort zone, which is hard when with someone I know.

Amy @ The American-Made Guide to Life said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amy @ The American-Made Guide to Life said...

Yes, I travel alone a lot. It's nice to be on my own timeline and have only myself to take into consideration every now and then. Otherwise, my husband is my perfect travel companion. One of the many reasons why I married him.

http://americanmadeguidetolife.blogspot.com/

Rachel McDonald said...

I hope someday you can find joy in being alone..its such a wonderful joy. I told my husband the other day that i find equal energy and happiness with both being alone and with people. I used to think i was an extravert. As i get to know myself more...er get older (28) i find that i need alone time as much if not more then i need social time. Id travel alone in a heart beat. Mexico. Sayulita.

Courtney Hayes said...

Whenever I travel, I usually plan a day to myself. I travel to NYC and DC quite a bit to visit friends for a long weekend. I love spending exorbitant amounts of time in art museums, so finding a day where my travel buddy will be at work makes the perfect excuse to spend hours wandering around galleries.

I realized recently that I've never traveled by plane with anyone, always by myself. Sometimes I wonder that I don't know what I'm missing out on because I haven't experienced traveling with others, other than short trips to the beach.

Tracy Fontaine said...

I adore traveling alone. I've taken road trips, rented a remote island cabin, and also spent a week in Paris...all by my lonesome. It is very refreshing and meditative to be away from my typical day-to-day, even from those I love, and immersed in an unknown world ready to be explored. For me, it definitely hits a reset button. Hmm...come to think of it, maybe I should start planning. :)

karigee said...

Yes! The year I turned 40, I celebrated by spending a week alone in Paris in February. It was such an amazing trip that I arranged an apartment swap and went back for the whole month of July. A couple of times I met up with some friends of friends, but 99% of the time I was alone, walking and taking pictures and visiting museums and sitting and eating and reading (& also working remotely).

I felt lazy and aimless and decadent and occasionally lonely but also wildly free, knowing that there wasn’t a soul on earth who had any idea where I went or what I was doing during the day. That the only person responsible for me was me. Part of me was scared by that, and at the end I couldn’t wait to come home and talk to people, but it was hands down the most empowering and personally satisfying thing I’ve ever done. And I agree with Dear Abby: there are worse things than being lonely.

Diana said...

Yes! In fact, I am traveling alone right now! I quit my job in December and been traveling around the pacific ocean for the past months. It has been a great adventure, a very empowering and liberating one, I must say. I've been documenting everything in http://aroundthepacific.tumblr.com, have a look if you want!

ali said...

I just got back from Stockholm this past Tuesday. My first solo trip. It was great and I can't wait to go back. I do admit I'm a worrywart and have high anxiety, I felt a bit lonely and out of place at first, especialy when eating alone :( but then you meet sooo many people and they sorta adopt you into their group of friends. It was great! This was a spur if the moment trip but I definitely would want to plan it out next time ;)

Syed Kazim Ali said...

The Best Lol n Troll Network with the Name of Lols Gag... Troll Images, Prank Peoples, Funny Peoples, funny planet, funny facts, funny cartoons, funny movies pics, iphone funny, funny jokes, Prank Images, Fail Pictures, Epic Pictures, Lols and Gags, Lol Pictures, Funny Pictures, Lol is the Laugh out of Laugh where you can Fun Unlimited and Laughing Unlimited.
LolsGag.Blogspot.Com

emy said...

Yes!!! This summer I'm traveling to London by myself for a long weekend. I quit my job to stay home with my little one and pursue different interests, so it's sort of a "last hurrah" trip that came about sporadically (I'm mostly going for Matisse at the Tate Modern:) ). Ever since having a baby, I dream about your friend Sharon's yearly solo trips. Definitely a concept I love!

Jenn said...

On Saturday my mother who will be 55 later this month is traveling to Spain alone for 8 days. I'm sure she will thoroughly enjoy herself and the slower pace of life.

Sara said...

I traveled by myself frequently when I lived abroad as a nanny- it was really wonderful to be able to take in details I wouldn't have otherwise and I became MUCH more comfortable on my own but after a while it was hard to see so many great things and not have someone to say "Hey! Isn't this great?!" to. It's a treat to travel alone but I wouldn't recommend it for a long period of time.

Brittany @ Cedar Nomad said...

I'm a completely self-dependent only-child adult. If I ever wanted to do anything as a child I needed to know that doing it by myself was a complete option, including travel. I happily take trips by myself all the time (among other things) and feel a little sorry for people that aren't able to enjoy their own company. I find it funny that this is a "thing" and that some people even think about the fact that traveling, or doing many other things alone, is a big deal.

Maywyn Studio said...

I dream of traveling alone...I'm in the hotel room ready to go out when an Atlantic size anxiety attack throws me under wherever I fit, making the highlight of the trip marveling at how much alike European and American dust are. And, the peak of thrill...when I look out a window, there are people out there just like in America.
Me: "Hello. I need help. Can you come and get me?" Reply: "Sure. Where are you?" Me: "Paris."
No traveling alone for me...but I dream of trying.

Mel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pomeline said...

I spent 5 days in Paris on my own when I was 18. One of the best things to happen to me EVER :)

Elisha said...

I've never traveled alone but I think I would really enjoy it, though I'm not quite sure how to tell my partner I'd like to travel without them! I'd love to hear some tips about having this conversation without hurting feelings :)

Kristian said...

I went aboard for two summers to teach English, but afterwards the second summer, I made plans to travel after the teaching was done, feeling I could meet someone to travel with as I had the previous summer. Well...no. I was rather nervous my first day in Rome by myself, but... I loved travelling alone. Things could be on a whim, I could take all the time I wanted (or as little too) at a museum, I could go back to the hotel at any time, should I want to rest or stay out. The only time it was frustrating was when logistics came into- a bank error (our bank's computers went down, I'd thought!) and getting to and from the airport caused some issues and then it would have been nice to have a second opinion or someone as a sounding board.

Now that I'm married, I love traveling with my husband, but it was a fantastic experience to travel alone.

Pooja said...

Yes! LOVE! I spent time along in Tokyo and Kyoto. Traveling alone -- and that too with a language barrier -- was one of the best things I've done. It was meditative! I've also travelled alone in Beijing and Shanghai with my toddler (no partner). AMAZING.

Caitlin said...

In my early 20s I ended up traveling in japan by myself for two weeks. It was so amazing and liberating. It was my first time out of the US and I felt safe, challenged, and free! Now I love exploring on my own- both close and far from home. Feels like a gift.

Andrea - Under a Blue Moon said...

I think for a couple of days maybe. I travel for work so I often find myself with a weekend to explore. I'm not as adventuresome on my own. I also miss my people desperately. My husband took our two young sons on a week long fishing trip (sound fabulous, right? Entire house to myself for a week...) and when I picked them up at the airport I burst into tears when they deplaned. They thought the dog died but it was just because I missed them SO much.

agnieszkabielecka.com said...

I travel alone all the time! this is when the magic happens ;). plus, I feel like I'm always surrounded by people, and when you're alone, you will be more open to the people and the world around you, i think. at least, it works for me. i came to Lima all alone now (to work, but didn't know a single person) and it's been marvellous!

JB said...

I have traveled by myself, even more than with other people!
When I was 20 I went to Rome by myself, and though at some moments I wished I knew someone, I really enjoyed taking (ALL THE) tours, sat by wherever eating crackers, had pasta in a little plaza... And then met people at a hostel and got drunk on the cheapest wine ever.
It was very meditative at times, and it makes you get out of your comfort zone and talk to strangers if you need to have a conversation. I recommend it!

jkaye said...

A few years ago I went to New Zealand solo for 10 weeks and I had an amazing time. I met so many great people and had company when I wanted it and alone-time when I needed it. In a few days I'm headed to New Mexico by myself - so excited!

Within that land said...

I travelled through Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam alone, for 3 months. My boyfriend stayed home in NZ working. It was something I'd wanted to do forever and something I knew I needed to do - no regrets and all of that. It was different than I expected, adventuresome in moments, boring in others. I remember one day being on the back of a motorbike taxi, heading into the middle of no-where, no one knowing where I was at that time, not knowing myself where I'd end up. Totally exhilarating and terrifying and ended up being one of the best days of my life.

AmandaPants said...

I backpacked 6 countries in Europe alone when I was 23 years old. It was one of the best times of my life. And I think I met more people than I would have if I were traveling with friends or a partner. Plus, you can do WHATEVER you want, WHENEVER you want. I will cherries those memories forever. And when I get nostalgic, I go back and read my blog (that I made specifically to let my mother know of my whereabouts and safety).

Found said...

Yes, definitely! I've not taken long trips by myself, and never to non-English speaking locations, but I've done short trips to US cities and loved it. It's nice to be able to decide what you want to do and just do it, without having to worry about someone else getting what they want out of the vacation too.

Likewise, when not traveling alone I find it's good to pick your travel buddies carefully! People with shared interests and travel pace is important! Some people travel with the intent to see as much as possible in the time given, others want a more relaxing experience to soak up each activity they partake in.

Sita Daavettila said...

Oh, I feel the opposite! I have the hardest time travelling to cities because I never feel like i'm ever alone and I get anxious. Sometimes in airports I find the family bathroom and lock myself in it for 5 minutes to take some deep breaths all alone. I traveled Europe a lot as a youngster alone, it never felt too lonely though... just right. I had so much time to think and write, I learned myself so well during that time.

girlseeksplace said...

It would depend on where. I'd definitely take a cruise by myself, just because there are so many opportunities to meet other people.

Jenna Francisco said...

Yes, I would. I'm a travel writer and just wrote a piece about my first big travel experience, which was mostly solo. I had a great time but worked in a language course, staying with locals, and visiting some friends during the trip to break up the alone time. I think it's a good way to get in touch with yourself but I agree with you, too, that I wouldn't want to be alone for very long. Now that I have two kids, I would love to get away for a few days by myself!

Jenna Francisco said...

Yes, I would. I'm a travel writer and just wrote a piece about my first big travel experience, which was mostly solo. I had a great time but worked in a language course, staying with locals, and visiting some friends during the trip to break up the alone time. I think it's a good way to get in touch with yourself but I agree with you, too, that I wouldn't want to be alone for very long. Now that I have two kids, I would love to get away for a few days by myself!

Chelsea said...

I sure would. I'm also a people person, but after getting ditched on a trip (also in Paris), I discovered the joys of solo travel. I highly, highly recommend it.

If you're interested in the story of my getting ditched...

http://chelseatellsstories.com/2013/10/07/travellingalone/

Michelle {lovely little things} said...

I like the idea, especially the way Sharon does it.

Jess S said...

Definitely! Last night I booked a ticket to Jakarta... and I'll be spending 7 weeks alone in Indonesia. My first solo trip ever!

nina | itsazooatthezoo.blogspot.com said...

Oh my Gosh, I would LOVE to travel alone. Biggest reason...so I can do whatever I want without compromising or discussing it with another person. Just do whatever I want to do. I've only had that experience once during my first overseas trip to Buenos Aires to visit my boyfriend and for 5 days I wandered the streets alone and only saw him late at night. It was fantastic! I loved every minute of it!

jgklau said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jgklau said...

Absolutely! Best trip of my life was to France for my 40th - spent 4 days in Paris with friends, then we spent 6 days apart, then regrouped in Provence for my birthday and the rest of the trip. Don't get me wrong: I enjoyed the company when we were together, but I also loved doing what I wanted, when I wanted, for however long I wanted when I was solo. Every day of travelling solo was simultaneously terrifying and thrilling - but I would do it again in a heartbeat - here I was in a place I'd always wanted to be - and I wasn't going to let my fear of being alone stand in the way of soaking it all in. And I had a major curve thrown at me: an hour before I arrived in Provence, the real estate agent called to tell me that the owner had changed her mind about renting her adorable apartment in the village - I ended up in a 7 room, 3 story farmhouse down a dirt road in the pouring rain at midnight - all signs pointed to me dead by morning. But it turned out great, lovely, convenient to all the places I wanted to go, awesome kitchen. Do I want to travel solo all the time? No. But I enjoy a different kind of happy when I do. And I will say, when you travel solo, you don't have anyone else to make suggestions/decisions for you - and I do hate feeling like I'm wasting time trying to decide, "what should I see/do today?" So I do like to travel with a list of possibilities - maybe I'll do some/all/none, but at least I've got some ideas to get me going.

Amy said...

For me, I have always been an introvert and enjoyed time by myself not having to talk to anyone (woohoo, life and soul of the party!). In many ways I'm a very sociable person but I need time by myself to recharge. I traveled alone around the world when I was 19 (though picked up different group trips etc along the way) and found it the most profound experience that really helped me "grow up"

Since having my babies (currently 3 and 1) I crave alone time desperately and the idea of a weekend in Paris - or anywhere - having to think about no one's needs but my own seems decadent and fabulous! And though I can get by in French, the not talking to many people aspect for a while is just a bonus! Kind of like a slient meditation retreat...

By the way Joanna, I haven't commented before but love reading your blog, think we're about the same age and babies around the same age, I can relate to so much that you post about. Thanks for creating such an interesting community here, the discussions in the comments are always a great read and I love the way people share their thoughts and experiences. Happy Friday!

. said...

In 4 weeks I'm travelling from Australia to New York City for 5 weeks alone (eeep!) I have to admit I've been planning it for over a year but have only just started thinking about the realities of being alone in a strange city for such a long time. It's super scary! But as a friend said recently, when you travel alone you can be whatever version of yourself you need to be. Sometimes it forces you to be more social/outgoing/adventurous than you thought you were and you learn and grow from it. (I certainly hope so! ha!)

Rachael King said...

I've had two trips to paris where i've end up in the city alone for a day or two - it's a wonderful city to be in by yourself.
I also travel a lot by myself for work, i love the freedom of it, you can go wherever you like, spend as long in galleries as you like etc. I do struggle with what to eat when i'm travelling alone though, I feel a little silly sitting in a restaurant but i'm not a big sandwhich fan...

Rachael King said...

I've had two trips to paris where i've end up in the city alone for a day or two - it's a wonderful city to be in by yourself.
I also travel a lot by myself for work, i love the freedom of it, you can go wherever you like, spend as long in galleries as you like etc. I do struggle with what to eat when i'm travelling alone though, I feel a little silly sitting in a restaurant but i'm not a big sandwhich fan...

mathildecolin said...

I love the way you talk about my home town :)

Ellen de Vries said...

I travelled across Europe by myself for 7 weeks when I was 19. I loved it but there were low points - I'll never forget standing on top of the Eiffel Tower watching couples laugh and kiss and I had to disguise my tears. I missed my boyfriend so much. The final straw was seeing the sign that identified the distance between there and home (Sydney) after seeing that I felt so alone and homesick! Thankfully I recovered! I never regret doing it by myself and would do it again! x

Rachael King said...

I've had two trips to paris where i've end up in the city alone for a day or two - it's a wonderful city to be in by yourself.
I also travel a lot by myself for work, i love the freedom of it, you can go wherever you like, spend as long in galleries as you like etc. I do struggle with what to eat when i'm travelling alone though, I feel a little silly sitting in a restaurant but i'm not a big sandwhich fan...

Teacher Adrienne said...

I just spent a week in London alone and it was awesome. I will say occasionally I wished I had someone to share a great meal with, but it was great. I went on an after dark Jack the Ripper tour, ate a great fish pie at J Sheekey's while reading the newspaper, and spent an entire morning wandering around the British Museum looking at exactly what I wanted to see! I also spent a day meandering through Hampstead after a big breakfast. I even went to a west end show alone! I highly encourage it! :)

LastNameUnknown said...

I have always wanted to travel alone to a new place. I decided to go to Peru all by myself on my 30th birthday a couple years back, but as luck would have it and I shouldn't be complaining, a friend came along. Eventually, I traveled solitary to San Francisco, a place I had visited once before. It was so much fun! I wrote about the experience on my erstwhile blog, especially the dining alone bit (http://pursuitoffood.wordpress.com/2012/05/07/table-for-one/). Finally and thankfully I managed a first trip to Kenya this year without any companions! It really is wonderful in so many ways. You must try it, Joanna!

vivi said...

Of course I would! I've travelled alone several times, for example I've inter railed twice alone (that means travelling europe by train for a couple of weeks). I think there good stuff and less-good stuff whether you're travelling alone, with your partner/one good friend or in a big group. For me, travelling alone is a good thing because I can do exactly what I want to do, it's easier to meet new people and it makes me feel independent. On the other side, eating dinner alone in a restaurant is not that fun, so when I travel alone I opt for hostels to be able to meet people and eat with them. Also, you have to remember there'll be nobody to share the memories from the trip with you, but for me it's ok. I only wish travelling alone would be seen more "normal", because I've got some weird looks when I've told that I'm going somewhere alone. Some people seriously have this look "doesn't she have any friends to go with?!". It's getting a bit tiring in some point even to explain that even though you travel alone you're not lonely and friendless...

Stephanie Sadler said...

For sure! I've traveled to Dubai alone and Dublin as well and I'm going to Athens alone this Fall. It's great to get away from it all and not be tied to anyone else's schedule. I also love travelling with friends but breaking off for a few hours each day to do our own thing. If you travel with someone and you're together 24/7, it's sometimes stressful which defeats the purpose of holiday!

em said...

Have and do all the time and in many parts of the world. I love it. Though I must say that it is most challenging to be alone- traveling or otherwise- when it comes to dinnertime. I love to wander streets, cobbled or dirt, by myself for hours and hours, but when the sun starts to set and the belly gets hungry, this is when I crave another, to share a bottle of wine, a tasty meal, and a conversation about the day's discoveries.

joana said...

i've been dreaming of going to thailand by myself and hope to to it in the next 2 years! i love being alone, quiet, walking around, reading, thinking, exploring... i did an interrail once across europe by myself, but i was meeting friends in different countries so basically only the traveling was by myself. and i loved it! i met so many people! can't wait to do it again :)

Lisa said...

A few years ago I traveled around the Lofoten Islands (in the Norwegian Sea) by myself. It was Arctic day, so the sun never set! It was a bit lonely at times, but all around *really* fun, and it felt like the fjords and the cliffs were keeping me company.

Anesca Smith said...

There is something quietly beautiful about traveling by yourself. I went to India and the Congo, and still regard both trips as my most memorable. It can get lonely and tricky (when you need someone to watch your luggage for instance). Nonetheless, everyone should do it a least once - the experience stays with you.

Isa said...

I travelled alone a lot, sometimes several months in a row. These are my best travelling memoreis, when i really got to know the locals and open up to the culture without being drawn back to my own language and habits by a travel companion.

My next challenge might be travelling alone with a baby! But we'll start by travelling as a couple with a baby first ;)!

Veronica Pinto said...

Dear Joanna,
seven years ago I traveled to Paris by myself, I was there for 3 days and loved it. The only thing I didn't like was to have my meals alone, at the restaurant my company was a book.
Usualy I visit places alone, in my country, I bring music, a book and a camera with me, to make me company. I feel a certain freedom knowing I can travel alone to "strange" places. Wish you a wonderful weekend.

Rachel Rehwinkel said...

Right after taking the bar exam I went to Croatia with a group of law school friends and it was amazing. I really wanted to go to Italy but everyone else in the group had already been or couldn't stay longer. I had several weeks before my first job started so I decided to add on ten extra days by myself. I traveled to Venice, Verona, Florence, Pompeii, and Rome alone. It was a little weird at first but also exhilarating! It was also really empowering. I highly recommend doing something like that at least once. I'm married and have a toddler now so I don't think I'd want to do ten days by myself at this point in my life. But I'd love a weekend alone. Just flying solo and staying in my own hotel room for a night or two would be a dream! I'd also really love to do a trip with just my husband. We travel a lot with our toddler and we love it but a nice adult weekend in a big city also sounds fabulous.

Sammi Egan said...

All the time!

Not to self promote, or anything, but my blog (http://www.wanderlustin.co.uk) is all about my solo adventures. If you're in the mood for inspiration. It. Is. The. Best. I love travelling alone- in fact this weekend I am spending the weekend with two girls in Berlin who I met travelling through Spain this summer. I can't wait :D

andkilter said...

What a lovely post! I used to be petrified of traveling alone - and in fact the first time I did it, in Madrid, I was followed around by a creepy man for 4 hours who just wouldn't take the hint (granted, the polite 19 year old Canadian girl I was at the time was to shy to just tell him to get lost...) but since having moved permanently to Paris, traveling alone has become a joy for me. Paris is so close to many beautiful places, and your friends aren't always going to be able to come with, so sometimes you gotta set out on your own and check things out.

So true what the journalist said about time slowing down - or rather that she noticed more things being alone on her trip. No one travels at the same pace, and no one explores at the same pace. So being alone can be much more fun sometimes.

Though I wouldn't always travel alone. I just think that you shouldn't stop yourself from going for lack of a travel partner :)

Mirjam said...

As a French teacher and mom of four, it has been a pleasure to me to visit Paris alone. I rode a bike all day, to every place I wanted to see again. I saw a few movies, had great lunches and dinners and took the time to talk to strangers. That is FREEDOM to me!

Mirjam said...

Check out some pictures of my trip to Paris on laprofesseur.blogspot.nl

Ruth Allen said...

I love your blog. Only found it recently. I'm terrified of flying (so I liked your post the other day too) but I do like travelling alone, and get so much from it. For the last 4 to 5 years I have made a habit of doing something by myself without my husband. I have worked my way through Sicily and Italy, spent two weeks driving round Iceland and spent some time in Russia. This came about because my husband was working away for 2 weeks once teaching students in the field, and I decided to take the chance to do my own thing. Now I love to do it when I can as a supplement to our other holidays. I find it teaches me a lot, and is a challenge, but when I come back I always feel really confident!

Apple Record said...

I travel alone all the time, but these days I'm very often seeing or staying with someone else at some point along the journey (a stop here to visit with so and so for a night, a quick day excursion to have lunch with another friend...) It wasn't until this fall when I found myself in Palm Springs that I was reminded of how much I love—and thrive—from that feeling of being somewhere new, obligation-free, and entirely by myself.

Some of my friends were horrified to hear that I'd taken this trip alone—that word breeds a lot of fear—and some even felt sorry for me. Those that really got me, understood, even if it's not the way they would choose to travel themselves. And there were a few kindred spirits who were downright envious. They, like Rosenbloom, know that for us, the beauty of the experience is that you're never really alone. Your surroundings become your companions. Your interactions with locals and other travelers become that much more significant. And the freedom to choose how you wish to spend your days, without negotiation, is an exhilarating one, whether you've traveled to a distant hemisphere, or you're enjoying a secret staycation on the other side of town.
http://www.lauraneilson.com/?p=1810

Shikha said...

Oh I love solo trips though I don't get to take so many. I spent a day alone in Paris (coincidentally) and it was wonderful. Noone to rush me when I just wanted to sit by the Seine, browse through books and prints on those quaint shopw by the river, sip on some coffee, et. al. But I guess I'd like some company now and then. It would be great to get together with friends for a meal or two while on such a solo trip.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

I'm definitely an extrovert, but I love traveling alone. Instead of visiting an art museum with a friend and spending 1 minute at each painting in case the other person likes it, you find yourself moving through an entire room that doesn't inspire you and gazing at a new favorite for a half an hour. I found everything with traveling alone is that way. You set your own pace and do exactly what you're in the mood for. I spent 2 months backpacking through Europe and I would spend a few days with a friend, then by myself, then meet up in a new city with a new friend. It was perfect.

SJH said...

I love traveling alone! I do it often, and thankfully my husband doesn't mind. I've traveled to places my husband won't or isn't as interested in going (DRC, Rwanda, Ethiopia, China, etc.), and I find it liberating. It's a holdover from when I was single, and traveled alone before i met him. It does limit things you are able to do (especially as a female in some environs), but I love figuring out things myself.

Stephanie Fazio (aka lealou) said...

My sister travels alone all the time. She's taken crazy trips to Morocco and Central and South America by herself. It's all so funny to me because she's so over protective of my kids but she'll go off on crazy adventures alone. I do like the idea but not sure I'd be able to do it for too long. I do really love going to the movies by myself though :).

Mallory Fay said...

I love the idea of traveling alone...I haven't much experience with it, but when I have had the chance, I love the lowered expectations and the ability to just roam and be concerned with your own thoughts and feelings. It sounds selfish, but when traveling with others, I am often so overly concerned with every one elses feelings and temperment and enjoyment level, I often find myself anxious and not fully enjoying the experience.

Darlia said...

Yes, most definitely! I crave my solitude, a space to think and what better way to explore the world on my own and getting lost is half the fun! I've travelled a few places in the past years and the experience has been wonderful, met the most amazing people! Highly recommended! :)

morestomach.com said...

i spent a birthday weekend alone in Gettysburg one year. it felt indulgent and incredibly wonderful to not have to TALK to anyone. i dined alone at a lovely italian restaurant, went back to the B&B, took a long bath and watched a movie.

Kirsten said...

I love traveling alone. I really enjoy wandering cities or sites by myself, sitting in cafes or on park benches and just watching the world go by. I always meet people along the way, particularly since I usually stay in hostels. I once met an older guy in Costa Rica who had been traveling alone, all over Central and South America, for the past 6 years! That's a little too long for me. I spent last summer traveling through Mexico, and around the third month I was wishing for a travel partner.

Kaileen Elise said...

I just re-discovered your "split for a day during vacations" post... so funny that you have a fresh blog on the solo topic! I don't know if I would want to go on a whole trip alone, but under the right circumstances it sounds like it could be amazing!

lauravaughn said...

I've never really done it (other than, like you a day alone in France due to airline issues), but I want to so badly!! I actually planned a solo trip to San Francisco last year but my mom ended up inviting herself. We had a great time together, so it was fine, but I was really looking forward to just doing my own thing and not worrying about someone else. I think it was hard for people to understand that I actually WANTED to go alone, but I was looking forward to some time by myself.

Lynn DontBlameTheKids said...

I would absolutely travel alone, but I think part of the fun of traveling is to share the experience. If only you could have both at the same time...Maybe agree to split up for an afternoon?

http://dontblamethekids.com

Allison said...

Yes yes yes! When I discovered that I was pregnant, I booked a five week trip to Europe and North Africa. Alone. It was completely wonderful, and I met many wonderful people along the way. Part of growing as a person is checking in with yourself along the way. Traveling alone is like treating yourself by giving back to yourself.

"The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other's welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.

You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.

Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life."
by Derek Walcott

Anne said...

This is an interesting topic. I am a Dane and my generel impression is that the majority of Danes would not go travel alone. However there are always exceptions, in this case myself included.

I would not characterize myself as an introvent since I love meeting and interacting with new people, especially abroad. But then as much as I love meeting new people I also enjoy spending time by myself. When I was younger (I am currently 25 years) I loved go on adventures by myself. Back then (and still today) I would never go travelling with e.g. a girlfriend. On the other hand I love go travelling with my boyfriend, sister and mum. So to me it really depends on who I am travelling with as to whether I enjoy travelling with someone or not. Because I would defiantly not just go travel with someone only for the sake of it, then I would much rather go by myself.

During my 20th year I travelled to Australia where I lived one year as an au pair. That was an amazing experience which changed me in so many (good ways). I got a lot my confident and simply had nothing but trust in strangers I met where ever I would go. I have also been to London for a weekend by myself. I really wanted to go to the city and so I just went. That too turned out to be a great experience to me. I met a lot of other travellers and had some interesting encounters and conversations with some of those people I met during my tree day stay in London. Also I been to NYC for a few days by myself. I actually went there with my sister, but she went back home to Denmark a few days before me so I spend the last couple of days in the big city by myself. Once again I had a great time.

Overall, it is my experince that when you travel by yourself you are far more openminded towards strangers than if you went with someone you know.

Allison said...

Yes yes yes! When I discovered that I was pregnant, I booked a five week trip to Europe and North Africa. Alone. It was completely wonderful, and I met many wonderful people along the way. Part of growing as a person is checking in with yourself along the way. Traveling alone is like treating yourself by giving back to yourself.

"The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other's welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.

You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.

Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life."
by Derek Walcott

Elizabeth said...

I love that quote about traveling alone in Paris—it is perfect and true. The first time I went to Paris, I traveled alone. While I love traveling with others, I loved slowly taking in the city on my own and that my trip was such a personal experience.

Jacki Spuhler said...

Last May I travelled alone to Europe for 3 weeks. My trip was truly a magical and special experience with some occasional anxiety and peppered with moments of loneliness. Alas, I wouldn't change a thing!

I began my journey in Brussels and ended in Amsterdam. I stayed with some lovely hosts through AirBNB, which made this trip seem less lonely! The people I stayed with were so easy to talk to and truly made me feel at home. It's true that when you travel solo, you're able to take in things you may not have noticed with a travel companion. I was able to stop to take as many photos as I wanted, go into any little shop, and was given the opportunity to just get lost in these moments. I feel truly blessed that I took this trip alone and would do it again in a heartbeat. Maybe next time... Thailand :)

Sam said...

I traveled to Australia and back by myself when I was 22. While there I met up with my boyfriend (now husband), but I spent a few nights in Sydney alone and had a great time! I took care of myself, saw and did what I wanted, ordered room service--it was great (and expensive--oops)!

Sam said...

I traveled to Australia and back by myself when I was 22. While there I met up with my boyfriend (now husband), but I spent a few nights in Sydney alone and had a great time! I took care of myself, saw and did what I wanted, ordered room service--it was great (and expensive--oops)!

Nicole said...

Oh yes! I traveled through Thailand alone on an epic three week vacation. It was a little disorienting at first, but then so freeing. I made some great Thai friends, including a special gentleman friend ;), loved like a local and had a wonderful time. I think traveling alone gave me an extra layer of confidence in myself and my abilities to adjust to different situations. I have no anxiety about being in new places or around new people.

Laura Price said...

Absolutely. At 18 I went down to Ecuador alone - to join a local volunteer project. I loved travelling in South America so much that I went back down there earlier this year at 23 alone for a month and a half. I travelled through Ecuador, Bolivia and Chile essentially alone save for meeting people along the way and travelling with them for a few days here and there.
I would be nervous about going somewhere I couldn't speak the language at least conversationally. It was an awesome experience and I would do it over 100 times.

Rachel said...

I actually just returned from 1 month of traveling alone (after a 2-month internship in Israel) and I loved every part of it. Yes, some days were lonely, but my everyday experiences and conversations outweighed the random lonely days. :)

Jannie L said...

I absolutely love traveling alone!! (That being said, I also enjoy traveling in a group). When you're alone in a new place, being Falling Water in Pennsylvania or in rural Udaipur in India, it really forces you to experience everything that is around you and engage all of your senses. It's sometimes so wonderfully peaceful to be able to absorb into your own thoughts and perspectives. In Udaipur, I love being able to experience the new culture, customs, food, sights by myself and learn about myself and the world as a person. It also allows for you to make new friends that you otherwise might not make when you're in a group!! :)

Mariam said...

I've traveled to visit my family abroad alone for almost 10 years now. Last year I was transit in London for a day and I enjoyed it so much! I feel very stressed when I'm travelling on a plane with someone. Solo trips are more relaxing and I don't have to deal with constantly interacting with someone.
I like being around people in my daily life but not during travels.

Rê Moraes said...

Since I got divorced I have travelled around A LOT.

I actually did a whole trip around the world on my own and it was AMAZING (how would any trip around the world not be, right?).

Traveling solo helped me a lot to do many, many other things on my own: go out for dinner, attend a concert, go to the movies...it's all possible and fun :)

I feel more free now than ever - I can decide and do anything and not depend on having a friend to go with me or missing out on something great just because I didn't have company.

But, mostly, traveling alone doesn't mean you're alone all the time. And it's an invitation to socialize with locals and people you wouldn't talk to if you were with someone else.

Every one should try it once!

Shelley Orr said...

I would absolutely love to travel alone and just be me with me. It's been quite a while since I've done that and I miss hanging out with me.

«Oldest ‹Older   1 – 200 of 262   Newer› Newest»
Site design by Apartment One
Federated Media Publishing - Style