solo trips

IT’S NOT YOU, IT’S ME………..

Copy of paris cycling around left bank picture ex waterlillies snow 028

My recent January Paris trip has shown me one thing,   I have become  a selfish solo traveller and I also have become hooked on travelling alone.

I have tried had to overcome this addiction,  to  become a social traveller but somehow I have failed.  People who know me think it is strange, because for them travelling with a companion is part of the trip.

 The only exception of course is my husband, with whom I can be alone and together at the same time.    Ironically , when I was discussing this post with him he said that he doesn’t like travelling with other people either, except me.  ( good answer Michael!)

On solo trips I like  meeting up with people for a coffee or a meal, in fact I love it.  Meeting people from different countries and cultures is all part of the fun.  Also having to make the effort to speak to strangers is a challenge I enjoy.    But after that I need to go home with myself,   sleep with myself and get up alone.  Wander about without any plan and see where the day takes me.  See what will evolve in the trip.

 My January trip is  supposed my retreat from the world.  To be with myself in solitude.  To   meditate and  contemplate on the meaning of  my life.   Face up to  some of my demons, find myself again and recharge my batteries  ready for the new year. etc, etc.

People who know me think it is strange… I think it is strange.    I used to think,  like them that people who travelled alone  were sad, had no friends, so had no choice.    Now  solo travel is like a secret indulgence to me.  A forbidden pleasure, that nobody really knows about or understands.

If you share a trip with another person or persons,  there is some responsibility there.  You can’t just go off and do your own thing without taking them into consideration,   so there is a degree of compromise.   Compromise I have discovered,   I selfishly don’t want to make,  on what is a special trip for me.

How I admire those people who can go on a tour, or a cruise with a gang.  This would be my worst nightmare.  Having to conform.  I fear that  I am becoming very  antisocial.  Maybe I will end up as one of those eccentric old ladies who live alone in the woods!

When you are with another person,  no matter how much you go off and do your own thing ,   One is  still concious that there is  somebody waiting at home and one can  not just go off and stay out all night, change  plans  or whatever,  if you want to.

Of course the big bogeyman  with solo travel is loneliness …and of course there are moments when I am lonely.  Moments when I acutely miss my husband and family.  This is one of the demons I have overcome, the fear of loneliness.   Once I  “faced the fear and did it anyway”  I realised that loneliness  it is no longer the bogeyman  I thought it was and this realisation is SO empowering.

  I can be alone with myself.  I can eat out alone,   I can go to a concert or film alone.   No longer is there any fear of being alone, being self sufficient.  No longer is there any dependence on other people.

Having said that, I am eternally grateful   to have somebody at home I can ring and share the joy of a an uplifting concert or the wonder of some beautiful sunset.

Now I don’t even notice I am by myself.    A couple on a Krakow trip last year asked me if I was alone and I laughed as I said  “yes” because I  had forgotten.

I love my friend Lizzie dearly but on our recent trip, I obviously irritated her.  Just small things,  habits we all have,  like putting the tea bags in the cupboard and covering the butter etc…..  and this in turn irritated me.

Maybe it was because we were both  a bit off colour,that we had this irritation, but it is an irritation I do not want to compromise on.

Don’t get me wrong.  We had a great time and our shared activities were fun.  I would go away with Lizzie again….not sure whether she would go with me again.  LOL!

…..but lesson learned.  if I want my  retreat I need to go alone!

Watch this space.

Love Denise

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18 thoughts on “IT’S NOT YOU, IT’S ME………..

  1. I don’t find it strange to prefer to travel alone. I do too for exactly the same reasons you have listed Denise. I am currently planning my next trip back to France after having only returned 10 days ago after 2 months there (and for 3 months, 3 months before that).

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    • Nice to hear from you again, Femme Francophile. I followed some of your travels on your blog. How I wish I could do what you do and spent 3 months there and three months there (or a month) unfortunately I have to have a a job to fund my Paris trips, but feel a bit like I commute from Paris to Bolton LOL!

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  2. Your need to travel on your own makes complete sense to me, Denise! As women, we spend much of our lives thinking about what other people want and putting their needs before our own. Traveling solo can be a liberating voyage of self discovery. Good luck finding a solution!

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    • You are so right Mary Kay. You have hit the nail on the head. Getting away from our roles of mother, grandma, wife and whatever professional name we have helps us to understand who we really are underneath.

      Very insightful.

      Love Denise

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  3. I wholeheartedly agree with you and MK. I find that in my work as a therapist, my daily focus is to make others happy and to attend to their needs. As a solo traveler I can do what I want and need in order to make the vacation truely a respite from that role as caregiver. I have a trip back to Paris scheduled with a dear friend in April, but knowing my need for “alone time”, we are booked in separate single rooms. I am also going to Prague for a few days alone first to decompress from the stresses of home before we meet up.
    Regretfully, you will not be there to meet Carol. She is awesome, BUT we are very different in so many ways. I’m hoping it all works out peacefully!!

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    • Glad to hear I am not the only one. Hope your trip goes well. separate rooms sound like good idea.

      I loved Prague….visit the castle it is fascination. Charles bridge. I loved the old town, Mala strana and the Jewish quarter. so much history!

      Love Denise

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  4. I too like to travel alone and do so often – I didn’t marry until I was 49 so I spent many years alone and had to do things alone or sit home – I chose to go and do things! I like the freedom that solo travel provides – as you mentioned, don’t have to consult with anyone if I want to change plans at the last minute. And while there are lonely moments, for the most part it is a liberating experience for me to come and go as I please and it takes me back to my single days which I enjoyed very much! I also enjoy meeting friends for coffee or a meal or to attend a function – as I enjoy their company and then I know I can go back to where I’m staying and have my alone time. I also experience comments from friends/family who think it’s strange that I travel alone – many of them comment that they “could never do that” and I think they feel that way because they’ve never tried it!! I try to encourage them to try a short trip sometime but I think it falls on deaf ears! Fear takes over whatever slight feelings of courage they might have. Having said all this, I do enjoy going with my husband on trips but sometime during the year, I do have to have an outing by myself – good for one’s soul I believe! So keep enjoying your solo trips – I think everyone should try it at least once!

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    • Sandy, you obviously “get it” and feel exactly as I do. and I absolutely agree the solo trips are “good for one’s soul”

      Here’s to many more solo trips and many more meet ups!

      Love Denise

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  5. I too admire people who can go on group trips to the Caribbean or sight-seeing in packs. This is my idea of pure hell, as I suspect it is for you too! I love traveling alone so much that I went to Japan for a month by myself and met up with friends, making pit stops along the way. There is something very romantic about discovering a city on your own, it makes it feel like it’s your own city, an untouched territory.

    I understand your need to be out and about alone. It’s liberating!

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  6. I don’t play well with others, either. Or, perhaps another way of looking at it is that I like hanging out with me.

    Backpacked for three months on my own in Africa, 6 weeks SE Asia. I have ONE friend, ONE, who is allowed to join me on my travels, and that is because we are so alike that the one day we decided to go our own ways (in Havana) we ended up in the same forgotten alley watching a random chess match!

    Learning to travel with Mr French has been a major adjustment (he is NOT the backpacking type, requires advance reservations he can depend on and likes going back to the same places year after year). Sometimes I need a vacation from our vacations!!!!

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  7. Another wonderfully honest post! I totally understand your desire to travel and discover places by yourself and making them “yours”. I was hoping to make my first solo trip to Paris in January but life had other plans. I’ll have less vacation time going forward and I don’t feel it’s fair to my hubby to go without him when we will have limited precious time to vacation together going forward. I love spending time with him and we are so comfortable with each other, but I’m a little sad with the realization that a solo trip isn’t in the cards in the foreseeable future. C’est la vie, I guess.
    Here’s to your next solo trip, Denise.
    Jo

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    • Hi Jo. I was so sorry we missed you in January but fully understand about your new exciting job and that you chose to spend your vacation time with Den instead. I also have a conflict between needing my solo trips and leaving Michael. Especially at the moment as his health is uncertian. However I think that HE likes some solo time too and the reunion is very nice!

      Maybe one day we will get to chill out with each other.

      Love enise

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  8. I have loved my past two trips to Paris – both of which were solo. While I would have enjoyed seeing the sights with someone, I certainly enjoyed having the freedom to do as I please, not having to consult on what type of restaurant to pick and , best of all, not sharing my space at the hotel with anyone. I’ve been doing solo things back home for years and have decided I’ll continue to travel back to my favorite place in the world, with our without anyone. Enjoying your blog!

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  9. I’m with you on solo travelling. I retired early and hubby still works. I love that on a whim I can pack and go. People do find it strange but who cares. I pack a yoga mat and attend local classes. Met lots of lovely people along the way. Off to Paris next week, first 3 nights hubby will be there, then I’m solo. Going to join up with the yoga guerrillas in the 7th for some lovely classes, chill, explore, eat cake and drink wine. I’m yoga gran!

    Found your blog, love it. X

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