The Top 10 Joys of a Solo Traveller:
- Dancing around a really nice hotel room in your knickers to Taylor Swift’s Shake it Off.
- Ordering another flat white in a nice coffee bar just so you can finish your very good book.
- Spending 45 minutes walking in the opposite direction from your guesthouse trying to find the street food vendor you came across the night before when you got lost and who you forgot to make a mental note of where they were because he sold the best damn coconut milk ice-cream you’ve had since being here and no you’re not settling for that other guy on the corner whose ice-cream is probably just as good because you want your guy. Finding him, ordering your ‘happy size’ ice cream with stewed pineapple and peanuts sprinkled on top, and wandering slowly back to your guesthouse enjoying every mouthful.
- Star fishing in a massive kingsized bed on clean, pressed sheets that you didn’t wash or iron (I’m not very up on my sexual lingo so I really hope this isn’t some weird act)
- Listening to Radiotopia podcasts whilst getting ready in the morning. They are far more entertaining than another person’s stream of consciousness (‘Shall I wear my red or blue t-shirt today. I think I look better in the blue. But the red looks good with these shorts. Maybe I should change my shorts.’) I recommend The Allusionist and Mortified for starters.
- Sitting outside, sipping a watermelon shake, reading the latest edition of Intelligent Life or Stylist (or, *cough* Heat) on your iPad.
- Getting up at 6am and walking silently along a beach as the sun rises (see above photograph of monks on Hua Hin beach)
- Going to bed at 8pm and watching a couple of episodes of Scandal or Suits before drifting off.
- Pootling. I think pootling with another person might be tricky.
- Quietly eating your dinner, eavesdropping on the couple next door to you who have a VERY interesting past, and not having to pretend to keep a conversation up with your partner so they don’t suspect you are listening in. (see my Twitter for a recent example of this)
The Top Ten Sorrows of a Solo Traveller:
- Having to pay double for all your rooms, even though you really don’t need the other half of the bed, and the price includes two breakfasts, one of which you can’t keep insisting on eating without getting very fat.
- Going to a restaurant that serves sharing plates and only being able to try a couple of dishes. Having the waitress tell you ‘that is too much for one person’ when you order. No it isn’t. Go away.
- Finding a hotel that actually has single rooms only to realise none of them have windows. Because single people don’t need sunlight, apparently.
- Having to sit next to a really smelly person eating fishy food for a really long bus journey.
- Having to pay a ‘single supplement’ for just about anything really. Isn’t my being single supplement enough???
- Asking about packages at a hotel and being told, ‘they’re just for couples, really’. Well can’t I just have the two massages included? No.
- Seeing a man carry his girlfriend’s bags when you’re really struggling with yours.
- Having to say for the 100th time that day: ‘Yes, I am only one. No, I’m not married’.
- Going to the loo when you have your bags with you. Having to squat with your heavy backpack on because the floor is so disgusting you can’t put it down, and having to concentrate really hard on not losing your balance (flip side – thighs of fricking steel baby)
- Accidentally saying a thought out loud, then realising there’s no one there and strangers are staring. Trying to style it out by turning it into a song. (singing is much more socially acceptable than talking to yourself).
Ok, so I can’t really pretend these are universal. They’re really just my top tens. But I’m pretty sure other solo travellers have similar lists. My trick is whenever anything from the sorrows list is pulling me down, to try to do one of the things on the joys list. It picks me right up!
So solo travellers, what are your joys and sorrows?