T R A V E L L I N G A L O N E
- Hooray for smart phones! If I didn’t have an iPhone to keep me company and connected to people back home, I would be dead bored and lost. Not that you should be fixated on your phone and miss an opportunity to meet someone new but it helps to make you look and feel less lonely when you have something to occupy you.
- When your phone usage is limited and there are just times when you have to wait and not use your phone, is when you notice how lonely you might be. For example, I was standing in line to board the cruise to Alcatraz and all around me are couples or groups of friends and family. I didn’t have access to wifi at the time nor could I afford the battery life playing a Bejewelled game so I just had to stand there by myself, not talking to anyone. It’s times like these when it’s good to have a friend or family member there with you so you can make the boring stuff fun.
- It’s hard when you’re staying with family but then the other side of their family outnumbers you. You meet them for the first time and they’re lovely, warm and welcoming but they’ll still talk about stuff and people that you have no idea of. And when you tag along to dinners that they’ve organised as a reunion of sorts, you feel like a bit of an intruder cos you’re not technically blood related to any of them and yet they’re paying for your meal.
- It’s challenging to go to the toilet at the airport because you don’t have anyone to mind your bag, nor can you leave it unattended. And for some reason, each toilet I’ve used so far at the airport have really small cubicles where the door just clears the toilet itself when it swings open. But Heathrow understands the needs of solo travellers and how much space is required when you have to bring a piece of carry-on luggage with you into the cubicle, their cubicles were so luxuriously big!
- Activities such as ice skating at Rockefeller Centre looks like so much fun but then you remember that you’re alone and so wouldn’t have anyone to share the moment with. And no one to watch your stuff while you skate. Cos who wants to pay to rent a locker?
- When you’re out and about exploring during the day it’s easy to forget that you’re alone but during the 5 flights of stairs that you climb at the end of the day to reach your accommodation there’s a part of you that longs for a familiar face to greet you at the door. But there is no one. No family or friend. Luckily I had great hosts who are friendly enough to provide some company to debrief the day’s events with.
- Deciding where to eat is another challenge though it shouldn’t be. You just wanna choose a place that has good food and is good value. I’ve also discovered that I’m really indecisive at the worst of times. I can’t even decide what I want to eat that I wish I had a friend there to collaborate ideas with. How pathetic! It’s also easy to forget when to eat because as you’re sightseeing on your own, you can ignore your hunger pains for a while and no one else is there to mention how hungry they are for you to be reminded how hungry you are!
- The upside is that there’s no one to fight with when you disagree – even about petty things like what to have for lunch. As I soon discovered when I reached Hong Kong to meet my family and we did a quick side trip to Taiwan. The food was unfamiliar to us there and we were tired having woken up at 5am to catch a morning flight to Taipei so there was tension and before we knew it everyone was grumping. How I wished I was by myself again then.
- People approach you to help them take photos. Not that I’ve never been asked to do so before when I was travelling in a group but I noticed it more this time around. I suppose when you’re on your own, you’re more likely to be aware of your surroundings without the distractions of friends/family around you so from time to time you catch a stranger’s eye and exchange smiles which every so often invites them to ask you to help them take a snap.
- Guys approach you. More on that later…