I prefer to travel solo. I can stay up as late as I want, sleep in, eat or forget to eat, go here or there and take pictures for hours on end without annoying anyone. Friendly strangers or bartenders usually end my daily solitude, and these random interactions save me from ever feeling lonely.
However, I was never more acutely aware of being single than when I visited Bruges, Belgium. I mean, even the swans were paired up for God’s sake! I should have known – the canals, the romantic boat rides under wispy willows, horse and carriage rides through cobblestone streets that lead to a veritable wonderland of chocolatiers and cozy tea shops. Bruges is meant for couples, and for the first time since I started traveling alone internationally I actually felt… lonely.
I may have gotten over it, but my head wasn’t on straight in April. Here’s what I learned and let this be a lesson for all of you – DO NOT under any circumstances go on a solo vacation when you’re trying to get over someone. DO NOT. If you absolutely must run away, go with a friend. Or, go somewhere without internet or cell phone signal. Climb a mountain or traverse a small strip of the Sahara. Do something that requires so much physical exertion that you don’t have time to notice how everyone in the world is paired up except for you. Otherwise, you may end up doing what I did – texting the person you’re trying to forget because you’re lonely and running up a $350 phone bill. Ouch.
My heart has recovered and other solo adventures await, but I’ve been rethinking the ideal travel situation. If I could have it my way, I’d have a travel companion (someone I know, not some yahoo off a website) who is with me for breakfast and dinner. We’d both, happily, do our own thing during the day and then reconnect in the evening to talk about it over drinks. Does the ideal situation exit? I have no idea. Perhaps I am asking for too much.
What works for you?