Think About Solo Travel.
Most of the time, when I travel, I travel alone. Of course I have also traveled with family and with friends and with a group and, the truth is, travel rewards you, however you do it.
But we tend to travel in groups—big groups or small groups. As my wife reminds me—with a bit of an edge—it’s because people are “herd animals,” preferring to travel in groups because it’s safer.
Well and good, but I want to feel welcome when I travel, and I know how I react when 50 people pile off a bus and into what was, mere moments earlier, a nice quiet little restaurant.
I can’t prove any of this, but I do believe there are some distinct advantages that come with traveling alone.
I notice more. When I travel alone, I see more . . . spend more time looking at things that interest me, but may be of no interest to one or more travel companions.
I believe I’m more alert . . . less distracted by conversation with my companions . . . more observant of what’s going on around me.
I’m the tour guide. If I’m starting to get a little tired, or if I’m just not interested in seeing tapestries from the12th Century, there’s no need to consult with others in a group, I just move on.
I dine alone, but I do believe people at adjoining tables are a bit more receptive to starting a conversation if they’re seated next to someone dining alone.
Five years ago, in a crowded Paris restaurant, I moved my small table a few inches to give an Australian couple a bit more room, and was in a conversation almost before I knew it. All three of us spent the next hour enthusiastically deploring the election of Donald Trump.
Am I more vulnerable? Yes, of course . . . that’s the downside if I am not extra careful. After all, I’m an old guy and I do realize that I would be an easy target. So no shortcuts down dark alleys.
My point is this: Don’t stop being a tourist and enjoying yourself just because you are a party of one.