Why I’m Sick Of Travelling Alone Because I’m Single

travelling solo

by Siam Goorwich |

‘Sorry lovely, I’m going to Barcelona with the uni girls, I’m afraid!’ As I read the text, I was overwhelmed with sadness; a ball of totally misplaced anger grew in the pit of my stomach. Of course it wasn’t Claire’s fault she’d already made holiday plans – or that I’d left sorting out mine till late March – but she was my last hope. I couldn’t believe that not one of my friends (and I had asked six of them, yes, SIX) could go on holiday with me this year. How had this happened?

If you’re in a relationship, the idea of not having anyone to go on holiday with is probably incomprehensible. But when you’re a 34-year-old singleton, I can tell you it’s an easy situation to find yourself in.

I know what you’re all thinking; I must be awful company and don’t have any friends. Wrong. Without wanting to boast (oh, who am I kidding?) I have loads of friends. Seriously, my friendship cup runneth over. But good friends don’t automatically translate into available-for-a-week-long holiday buddies. Even with three months’ notice.

Now I’m in my mid-30s, an increasing number of my pals have coupled up, and their kids and spouses take priority over me when it comes to holidays – fair enough. And as for my single mates, well, this year it turns out they all have other plans. Some, like Claire, have a well-established group of friends they go away with every year, others can’t go away because of money or work commitments, and some have already allocated all their holiday allowance for the year.

Which leaves me in the frustrating situation of having tons of days off to use up, a decent chunk of money, five brand new pairs of sandals just begging for an outing, and no one to go away with.

Although this predicament came as a bit of a shock, it really shouldn’t have; it’s actually been brewing for some time. Take last summer; I was lucky enough to have two holidays... however neither were what you’d call conventional for a professional 30-something.

The first was with my friends – a married couple and their two young children. Yes, I actually crashed my mates’ family holiday. I’m close to both the husband and wife and love their kids, and they were happy for the extra pair of adult hands, so it worked for us, but it’s obviously not a normal set-up, and left a lot of our friends and family baffled.

My second holiday was with my parents. They’re great, and going away with them has some serious upsides (mainly, the fact they pay for everything and I don’t have to make any decisions). But again, hardly a recipe for a wild time.

So this year I fancied a proper grown-up holiday with a mate. Fancy hotel, cocktails by the pool, a night out to the local discotheque culminating in a drunken snog with a local waiter. You know, the usual. But it’s not to be.

People who ask why I don’t just take a solo trip or, worse, women with families who tell me how much they’d simply LOVE to be able to go away without their hubby and kids (oh do piss off!), are missing the point. I don’t want to go away alone this year. I don’t want time to myself – I have more than enough of that as it is! And choosing to go away alone and having no other option are two very different things. Very different.

I realise to some people this might all sound rather silly and self-indulgent, but I’ve found the whole scenario deeply upsetting. And having spoken to other single friends who’ve been in similar positions, I know my predicament’s not unique. Not only has it highlighted my feelings of failure, sadness and loneliness around being single, but I feel rejected

by my mates, like nobody picked me to be on their team at sports day – even though I know they all have genuine reasons for not being able to go away with me. Honestly, if you thought Saturday night FOMO was bad, summer holiday FOMO is a hundred times worse. Just

the thought of being bombarded with everyone’s sunny holiday snaps on social media feels unbearable right now.

Of course, although I’m currently wallowing in the pits of singledom, when it comes to travel, being baggage-free (metaphorically speaking) is often a perk. One friend, Tamara, told me how she was able to accept a last-minute invitation to Coachella exactly for this reason. ‘I could never have dropped everything at such short notice if I had a partner or children, I felt quite lucky,’ she explained.

And, strange as it seems to me, some people actually prefer to travel alone.

‘I love solo travel so much,’ enthused my friend Hollie. ‘Everything’s on your own terms – it’s incredible to be free and not think about other people.’ My colleague Lucy agrees, telling me, ‘I’ve met some of the most interesting people and had some of the best experiences when I’ve been on my own.’ Although she did admit it’s not always easy, adding, ‘Travelling on your own can be daunting, especially as a woman.’

As for how I’m going to use up my annual leave this year – well, you’ll be happy to hear I’m not planning to spend 25 days moping around my flat. Instead, I’m hoping to visit (read: impose myself on) a variety of friends who live abroad. With ex-pat mates in the South of France, Germany’s Black Forest, Tel Aviv and Hong Kong, I’m certainly not short of options. Time to hit FaceTime...

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