I’ve been writing about this before: the benefits of solo travel – or should I say the disadvantages?
Solo travel is something like black and white: two extremes. You totally love it or you totally hate it. In my case, it depends on the situation or the place. I’m not saying I really love it but I’m not saying I hate it either – unless you end up in some awkward situations.
A table for one, please
This might be the most embarrassing line ever. “Are you here by yourself, ma’am?” “Ehm yes, I am”. I think the look on my face explained a lot at that point because his immediate reaction was “that’s totally fine”. I can’t help it, I feel embarrassed when I walk into a restaurant by myself. It’s even worse when the restaurant is crowded and filled with couples on their date night. I constantly feel like everyone is looking at me or talking about me, even though I’m sure they have better things to do than watching me, but still… It’s just an awkward feeling.
There’s a spider in my room
Or something else… But in my case it was a spider. I was relaxing in my room, watching TV, until I saw something black on the wall – and it was moving. I called the receptionist, using these exact words: “Hi, this is room 228 calling. There’s a spider in my room”. His reaction: “Ehm…okay?!” – followed by “well, can you come and get it?” – “of course m’am, I’ll be right there”. Problem solved – unless the receptionist almost trips over your suitcase, the spider falls down in your bed, ends up on the floor and starts running around like it’s training for a marathon. “Smash it, smash it, kill that thing”. Poor guy, I was literally shouting in his ear. It’s still awkward if you have to call the receptionist for a problem like this but I don’t like spiders – really, I don’t.
You look like you could use some company
No, I don’t. Why is it when guys (especially drunk guys – or old men, that happens too) see a girl by herself, they always have to go talk to her? I mean, when I see a guy sitting in a restaurant all by himself, I would probably assume that his girlfriend just left and went to the restroom or something. My point is, I would never bother him – so why do guys always think that we’re interested? We’re not. I mean, unless you’re smoking hot, a billionaire (which is rarely the case) and a combination of Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio (in their younger years): get lost. Really, I’m not interested. I’m not desperate.
Let me take your picture
I hate my face in pictures and I don’t like selfies. I have to try about 50 times to end up with a good one (if I’m lucky). Still, I like to create memories, which means taking photos of new places and people (myself included). There’s one problem: when traveling solo, there’s no one to take your picture. I bought a camera with a screen you can flip so I usually end up taking awkward selfies with statues and things like that – or I put my camera somewhere with the timer switched on and then run like an idiot, only to realize the timer was still on 2 seconds instead of 10 and I ended up with a picture of my butt. To avoid all of this, you could ask people to take your picture. It’s even better when they volunteer to do so. I ran into a couple and the man asked if I wanted him to take some photos of me and of course I said yes. He took several photos and I was really happy until I checked my camera and realized he had pressed the wrong button. Not a single photo. There was also this moment when someone took two photos of me and I had my eyes closed in both of them. The background was really nice though: it was supposed to be the memorial of Abraham Lincoln but it was Abe with no head. Lesson of the day: do it yourself might still be the best solution.
Is this seat taken?
I should’ve said yes but I’m way too honest. One of the perks (besides paying too much money – yes, I’m being sarcastic) of booking your seat a couple days before you leave: you might be lucky enough to have two seats to yourself. I was happy with my spacious seat until a drunk guy (and he had his wine in his hand) walked over and asked if the seat next to me was taken. I didn’t even have the time to think of a response. He just climbed over me and claimed the window seat. He sat there, leaning over towards my side, talking to himself and staring at me. I could deal with it for 20 minutes until I went to see the crew and asked if he could go back to his seat. I’m not a fan of flying and this made me feel even more uncomfortable. If something like this ever happens again, I’ll just turn into a liar and say “yes, this seat is taken”. Lesson learned.
This was a short list and I could probably write a book about my adventures as a solo traveler. What can I say?! See it as an adventure and trust me, traveling solo is never boring.