Reactions to solo traveling?

Old Jul 2nd, 2014, 06:26 PM
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Reactions to solo traveling?

I visited a neighbor this afternoon. She's an elderly woman who lived with a Significant Other for many years until he died. She lives alone now, with just a dog and a cat for company. She seems to know a lot about me and my family, having lived in the neighborhood for many years, so she asked various questions about them and about my life.

When I told her that I'd been to Germany last month and that I am planning a trip to the Yucatán in November, she was horrified that I travel alone at 78 years of age.

I really don't think it's a big deal. It's not like I'm a tottering old lady, and aside from not having the stamina that I had when I was younger, I don't see much difference between then and now.

Except for the gray/white/silver hair, of course.
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Old Jul 2nd, 2014, 06:37 PM
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Some folks 'get it' . . . and some don't . . . and will never be convinced.

I have friends who cannot even imagine traveling solo. I travel solo a lot it is often easier/better than traveling w/ others.

>>Except for the gray/white/silver hair, of course.
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Old Jul 2nd, 2014, 06:44 PM
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You're slightly ahead of me, Pegontheroad, but not by much and I have no plans to give up my solo adventures to some pretty obscure corners of the globe. I know I've done something right when no one in the vicinity speaks a word of English. It's symbolic, I think, of the control we allow ourselves to give up for the time being...simply exhilarating, even (or especially) when it goes wrong!
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Old Jul 2nd, 2014, 06:55 PM
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This came at the right time! I'm going to Paris alone in October and starting to get the nervous jitters embarking on an international trip alone. Sorry I cannot give insight into solo traveling but want to say Thank You for sharing and hope more solo travelers contribute their stories.
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Old Jul 2nd, 2014, 06:59 PM
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I think more people at home (in the US) react to the idea of a solo woman traveler than people at the actual destinations I travel to (Europe, Asia, Australia). My friends and family are used to it by now and don't give it a second thought.

Boojzie, Paris is a great destination for a solo traveler. I spend at least a week there every year. What aspects make you the most nervous? We can help you with that I bet.
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Old Jul 2nd, 2014, 07:03 PM
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Hi PEGONTHEROAD,

I hear you. I just returned from ten great days in London solo. Usually I join a tour after several days alone in a city, but not this time because I have been to most of the popular venues in Britain like Stonehenge and Bath a few times before. Not interested in venturing into the countryside or hinterland by myself on public transportation though. If I recall you have traveled quite a bit through Germany, right?

I substitute teach a great deal in a leafy suburb where I live outside Boston. Unless asked directly, I never discuss my travel plans because they are often met with the same reaction as you experienced with your friend. "They" who haven't done it, will never understand. Easier to say little....
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Old Jul 2nd, 2014, 07:05 PM
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You go Peg. It's the only way to travel. Just read some of these trip reports for reassurance! I am just a few years behind you and I am getting sorted for 2 months in Europe/ Middle East. Can't wait! And about to get my hair coloured to take some more years off.
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Old Jul 2nd, 2014, 07:07 PM
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I'm a big fan of solo travel, and although I, too, have less energy than I did I'm certainly not planning to give it up any time soon. (Peg has a good decade on me - way to go!) I let my hair go grey, finally, a couple of years back, and now get offered seats on buses and trains, not to mention senior discounts (I am qualified for them, but I no longer have to prove it).

I find that I'm often asked whether I'm not afraid to travel solo, to which my response is to ask what it is I'm supposed to fear.

Boojzie - plenty of inspiration for solo travel here: http://www.fodors.com/community/trav...collection.cfm
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Old Jul 2nd, 2014, 07:11 PM
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I guess I didn't answer the question. The reaction I'm currently getting is a mix of support and "You're going to one of the most romantic places in the world, alone?" I just say "yes" and leave it at that. Belinda, thanks for the kind comment. I think just simply going alone makes me a little nervous but I'm really looking forward to it.

Yucatan in November, wow.
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Old Jul 2nd, 2014, 07:27 PM
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My feeling is, let them think whatever they want to. It's never going to change, and never has changed, my feelings about traveling alone, when I was single, when I was first married, when I was a mother leaving children at home, or whatever. It is what I do. If they don't want the experience, that's their problem.
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Old Jul 2nd, 2014, 07:33 PM
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I find solo travel a great self-indulgence and I have NO intention of giving it up until I have no other options! When else do I get to do what I want to do, when I want to do it, and also get to stop doing it when I choose!?!

And BTW, I have an aunt who still travels solo -- her last trip was, as I recall, when she was 92 or 93. She's now 95 and is planning her next solo trip.

And yes, do check out that solo-travel link that thursdaysd provided!
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Old Jul 2nd, 2014, 07:37 PM
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Boojzie, I think you are wize returning to a place you are familiar with.

I'm filled with admiration for those of you who travel alone. My main problem would be that I have the most appalling sense of direction and it seems to be getting worse as I get older. I would go to Paris, which I know reasonable well, and to New York for the same reason, plus with the grid format of the streets in NYC it's easy for even a dummy like me to navigate. We are just back from Rome and left to my own devices I'd have spent the entire 6 days stranded on a street corner (with a map) in a state of panic, which I know is ridiculous. Lol
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Old Jul 2nd, 2014, 07:59 PM
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Wow, cathies, that's pretty interesting, though my DH has the same problem, and I just can't fathom it. He can literally get lost 5 blocks away from our house and we live in a "grid city" too. I think I have one of the most innate senses of direction of anyone I've ever known. I know immediately if we are driving or walking in the wrong direction, whether in daytime or in the dead of night with no moon, just by virtue of the position of the sun and stars. My body and brain just tell me...no, we should have turned left, because the sea is behind us, or because the sun is to the right of us, or because we passed that farmhouse on the left a half-hour ago. And no, I have no skills in astronomy, or any science skills at all, really.I just instinctively KNOW how to get to places, even ones I've never been to before. And once I've figured out a route to anywhere, it's indelibly etched in my brain, forever.

Looking back, I think this must be because my dad, who was a mountaineer and hiker and map reader galore, literally used to take me out into the woods (when I was probably about 8 years old ) and give me a watch and a compass and water and snacks and tell me to sit still for a half-hour, then find my way back to "base camp," wherever that might have been, usually a forest in New England or the Shenandoah Mountains, within 2 hours, or he was going to come find me. Trekking in, which was usually an hour or two hike, I'd have to make note of what I saw along the paths on the way - moose droppings, sassafrass plants, nuts and berries, clearings and stands of certain kinds of trees, those deer antler scratchings on the bark of trees, raccoon tracks, shrubbery that's been grazed on or flattened, shiny mica on the ground... I think I became hyper-observant because of that (which probably explains why when I write I am adjective-crazy and way overdetailed). I cannot imagine living in a world where I wasn't always completely oriented. It would make me crazy. Though, as I say, my spouse is hopeless and he's not dumb at all and seems to get by fine most of the time.
Yes, these days my dad would probably be accused of child abuse, but I am ever so navigationally grateful for what he taught me in that regard.
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Old Jul 2nd, 2014, 08:08 PM
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Quite frankly I do not think this is an issue. who cares what neighbours think. go for it
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Old Jul 2nd, 2014, 08:30 PM
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Your neighbor is speaking out of her fears - that has nothing to do with you. You go, girl!
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Old Jul 2nd, 2014, 08:37 PM
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For the map and directionally challenged posters, use your gps in pedestrian mode.
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Old Jul 2nd, 2014, 08:38 PM
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StCirq, we got a bit lost on this recent trip. It was an earlier stage of the trip and we were driving from St. Andrews to Edinburgh. I was quite pleased with myself when I had the good sense to whip out my iPhone and use the compass to prove we were heading N/E rather than south. The drivers were quite impressed.

By the way, I might have survived your childhood adventures at that age. I seem to remember that I was ok back then. And, as a young adult I worked in the city and easily found my way all over the place.
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Old Jul 2nd, 2014, 08:39 PM
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For the map and directionally challenged posters, use your gps in pedestrian mode.
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Old Jul 2nd, 2014, 08:40 PM
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Sorry for the double post, not sure how that happened!
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Old Jul 2nd, 2014, 08:41 PM
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