Traveling Solo. Should I stay or should I go?

by Anna Buckley

IMG_5744[1]An old friend and I had an offer we just couldn’t refuse. A cruise on a luxury liner and a very good deal. It wouldn’t break the bank, it would be fun and we both had some time up our sleeve. Our husbands weren’t interested, had to go back to work, and didn’t resent us leaving them for our 11 day sojourn cruising the warm, tropical  South Pacific. We got very excited, discussed what to wear, what excursions we would take, promised not to go crazy at the buffet and vowed to drink cocktails with umbrellas in them.

And then I got the phone call…my friend had been offered a brilliant new job and was starting a week before we were due to leave.  She couldn’t make the trip!

IMG_5738[1]‘How on earth could I do this on my own?’

I immediately started to panic. Could I pull out, was it too late to get a refund on the airfare to Sydney?

Why did traveling solo seem so daunting?

My husband and I have been together since university days. We celebrated a big anniversary on Sunday. But have also led full and independent lives. I’d spent six months in Europe without him, set up my own company, thought nothing of driving the 8 hours, alone, back to my parents house. Why couldn’t I get my head around doing this trip without him…especially as he wasn’t even coming in the first place.

I thought about it a little more and realized it was the prospect of doing something totally unfamiliar…venturing into unknown territory, being dragged totally out of my comfort zone. I had no idea what to expect. Would there be other people my age? Would I seem like some sad old spinster doing her tour of the Islands, a fading Miss Haversham looking bad in a bikini? Would anyone talk to me…how would I make conversation with complete strangers. Would I be lonely?

IMG_5742[1]I had visions of dining alone or even worse being put next to someone I had no interest in sharing a meal with.

IMG_5749[1]Or thinking I might just tackle that book I’d been meaning to read… lounging by the adults pool, ordering icy cold drinks from charming waiters, and bathing in the warm tropical water.

IT COULD BE FUN!

I could spend time doing research, talk to strangers, find out their stories, gleaning, listening, letting my imagination wander, inventing interesting characters and scenarios. Visit exotic locations, eat strange new food, meet the islanders, snorkel through the reef with bright colored tropical fish. Check out Vanuatu, New Caledonia and Champagne Bay! Be totally selfish, sleep in, stay up, not have to negotiate anything with a reluctant companion. After dining out, chatting to new friends or seeing a show, I would return, exhausted but exhilarated, to my gorgeous stateroom to discover the bed turned down and a chocolate on my pillow. No cooking, no cleaning, no dishes!  My new heroine most definitely would know how to make this work.

The prospect of the solo traveler is suddenly is very appealing. I will take my computer and, in the down time, write like mad and break the procrastination of the last few weeks, my head filled with new ideas and never-ending tales to tell.

IMG_5746[1]I might even pack my dancing shoes! And of course I will take lots of pics and attempt to do a few posts…that is if I’m not busy walking on fire, feeding stingrays or learning to salsa!

I would love any experienced solo travelers or cruise veterans to let me know how you do it…the best bits, the funniest stories and the hot tips.

Must go, have an appointment at the salon to be waxed and spray tanned…why the hell not!

Love to hear from you, much love Anna.

Anna Buckley Books

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The Lost Woman series follows the sexy adventures of Christina as she makes her way through a world of new media, design, fashion,  travel, and … men.
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