Am all good with the travelling solo thing, really I am. I do it all the time.
The thing is, I do it to familiar places, places I know well. Get on the train, or the plane and find myself in surroundings of before. Got it down pat.
The problem is, and you may find this, is when I want to go somewhere and have never been before. If it is in a city, that’s fine, can just Google and deal with the itinerary – cities are friendly places. Today I thought, maybe I should go to Lisbon and I have no problem with this. There are many itineraries and bits of advice about Lisbon.
About to go to South Africa again. Really have my heart set on a few days in the Cederberg mountains, a place I have never been before. Turns out, this was no easy feat in the planning of it. No-one seems to have any idea of a woman travelling alone to the area. The hotels, the hikes, the road maps – nothing seemed conducive to a woman travelling alone.
For sure, if I had won the Lotto, would go straight to Bushmanskloof. This amazing, five star haven would solve it all. Game drives, gorgeous accommodation, luxury spa – who would want for more? But expensive. A little too much for me, so what else I thought was on offer?
There are a few places in the accommodation field, but I know nothing of them. Would I be safe? Would I be able to travel on my own? Would my little hired car get me around to the wonderful sights? I just could not work it out. There are tours, a guided tour with a guide for three days, just me and the guide in a chalet which did not, quite appeal. Oh dear. Am I just being a softy, scaredy cat or should I blow caution to the wind on this one? If I had someone else, somehow it seemed a better deal. But I don’t.
So what am I saying here? Travelling solo is possible. It’s invigorating and life changing and I have seen the most incredible places, I knew, would be ok to do on my own. But the unknown destinations still worry me a bit. Am I seeking for another sole traveller’s notes on this? Should I just go and do it? I don’t know.
For some, and I know many women who have travelled to India, Australia, America and the more unknown places, I salute them. Europe has been my solo travelling space to date. I know her well, she is friendly and accessible. I could go to Croatia, Lisbon, Rome, Paris and anywhere else with total abandon, but when it comes to Africa … my birthplace … my desire to have a road trip of note … is a little worrying. Have I read too many stories, am I just being paranoid? And it not Africa, or South Africa, would I do it to other destinations I have not travelled before? Does it make me feel whatever? Have not done these trips before on my own, now recently on my own.
So I google forever for advice on travelling solo to places I have not been before. I am the master of European travel and can advise you on most of it – but I want to do something else now, and find myself questioning the solo travel thing. Like Namibia – would love to go there but on my own? Help me if you know.
In the meantime I am still going to South Africa. I still want to do a road trip to the Cederberg Mountains, through the Karoo and down to Durban – am I going to do it, who knows? Why do I hesitate to travel, on my own to places unknown?
It is not about being alone. And travelling. And spending nights in different places. It is about my safety, and who will help me along the way. New territory for me – and then again, if I have to wait for someone to travel with, it could be me with cobwebs growing from my scalp – so let’s just say, scary or not, I am up for it, maybe I am the one to be the pioneer in this.
If you are a solo traveller, tell me about it. When you plan a trip – do you go for it, or plan it carefully, being alone, being a solo traveller? And if so, how brave are you in doing this? Would love to know.