Travelling alone?

Discussion in 'Trip Planning' started by dixiethedog, Jul 27, 2015.

  1. dixiethedog

    dixiethedog Day tripper

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    I read thread after thread where people are out on their adventure's all by lonesome's.
    Im that used to having riding company or my Mrs on the pillion that riding solo feel's strange.

    My question,which is one of interest more than one of me thinking about doing a solo trip is,how do you mentally fill your time once you arrive at your destination? I like my own company when Im in my motorbike workshop,but would struggle I think in a new destination. Even more so if the local's did not understand me.
    I really admire those that can do a solo trip,but I think that Id go mental with the lack of company.:D
    #1
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  2. tstang

    tstang Adventurer

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    this is an excerpt from something I wrote after completing a 29 day solo trip through northeastern Canada. kinda sums up my thoughts on traveling alone:

    Traveling alone is about the least lonely thing you could do. From the kid who stopped me on the sidewalk and told me his landlord saw me from the window and wanted to invite me over for dinner. Or asking for directions on the side of the street turning into a two night tour of Quebec City (looking at you, Jose), including countless shots of maple whiskey, (because Canada). A Labradorean family taking me in for a whole weekend and making me so comfortable I actually felt sad leaving. The toothless Nova Scotian man who, when I pulled to the side of the road to talk to him on a scorching day, ran and grabbed me a popsicle from his trailer without even asking. A couple on their honeymoon who decided inviting me over to spend the night eating and hanging out with them was better than doing whatever honeymooners do (aka boning for hours on end). The guy in Newfoundland who spent an hour fixing my bike, then when I asked his co-worker how much it cost, she looked at me like I was an idiot for even thinking that someone would charge money for helping another person out. The couple who just randomly gave me $20. The 82 year old woman I stayed with whose Labradorean accent was so thick, when she would speak with her daughter, I truly could not understand one single word. Oh, she also rides a motherfucking ATV up a mountain to go trout fishing. At 82. G as fuck. A Kenyan man in Halifax who stopped me on the sidewalk and spent the next three hours walking me around the city, stopping for a break at his apartment before buying me lunch. The miner in Labrador City who spent an hour breaking down literal rocket science for me before giving me his spare bedroom. The park ranger who gave me her car keys so I could be shielded from the mosquitoes while I skyped my dad. Walking into a little art gallery in rural Nova Scotia and having a two hour career-bonding conversation with the Foley artist of Trailer Park Boys (she unveiled the secret of the hash-paved driveway footsteps). Being the only patron in a restaurant in the easternmost town of the U.S. leading to hours of conversation that spilled into the next day, conversation with a girl who I wish lived a bit closer than 600 miles.
    You're only ever really alone when you tuck yourself away and shut out the world around you

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    so yeah, don't think of it as "lack of company" -- there's a whole world full of company for you to make. And with a very basic knowledge of a language + a whole lot of patience, any language barrier can be surmounted.
    #2
  3. Jnich77

    Jnich77 Been here awhile

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    I don't like people all that much at times, so riding solo is pretty much all I know...lol.

    I spend my time off the bike exploring, hiking, swimming, skiing, eating, or just walking around someplace new.

    I don't think i have ever felt lonely.
    #3
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  4. dixiethedog

    dixiethedog Day tripper

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    What a couple of great replies. Thank you.
    Tstang,your reply was amazing. It sound's as if you have been to place's where the people are friendly and very welcoming. One of my thought's to issues with travelling would be different language's as I only speak english. Im starting to think out and plan a trip to Europe for next year,nothing major,but with my Mrs,so I wont be alone. Even then,I will be nervous as I dont speak french,german,Italian,spanish.... If everybody spoke the same language thing's would be a lot easier.:D
    Jnich77,you sound as if your mentally together,being happy by yourself. A sign of strong character.:D
    #4
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  5. RolyKBiker

    RolyKBiker Been here awhile

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    Hi Dixiethedog, if you're really worried about the lack of a foreign language concentrate your European trip around Holland, Germany and the Scandinavian countries. All but the very old speak better English than most of us.
    In my experience it is only the French that make a big deal about it.
    #5
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  6. DaMonk45

    DaMonk45 I B Da Monk

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    When I am out and about I always travel alone.
    I also camp. If I am in a camp ground I enjoy a walk in the evenings.
    Every time someone wants to talk. If I am in my camp site, the people who
    are out for their walk stop and talk.
    Where have I been? Where am I going? Where am I from.
    During the day at gas stops with my bike loaded. Everyone it seems
    whats to know where I am headed, where I am coming from.
    If they are locals I ask about the good places to camp, where to eat
    What to see.
    Before I know it an hour has passed.
    Lonely?
    Who has time?
    #6
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  7. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

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    The first 2 posts show the contrast between how a person might handle traveling alone, depending on if they are an extrovert or introvert.

    I lean a bit more introverted myself, so tend to keep to myself. Even then, I meet all sorts of people when traveling. I have also found that English is widely spoken around Europe and Scandinavia. Even in France, if you try to speak French they will try to speak English.

    When alone, I am thinking all the time about what might be up over that ridge, down that road, or maybe just want to sit by the edge of a lake for a bit. If the trip were longer than a weekend, I think I would miss my wife, though.
    #7
  8. Strawdog

    Strawdog Strawdog

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    Last I figure there according to census roughly 287 million in USA 34 million in Canada have not check Europe lately. Not what was less populated Sahara desert or Inuviak but never been lonesome " mentally fill your time once you arrive at your destination? " never had chance to to consider it I am no social animal but a strange dude or dudette shows up covered dust/dirt on a motorcycle/bus /taxi people want WHY are you here.

    Never had a chance to think all that much about just smile and say Hello rest that follows is PRICELESS
    #8
  9. Kempy

    Kempy Been here awhile

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    I like a bit of both traveling with and without friends, just did a month solo trip across Australia so many people want to know what your doing in a foreign land, the NZ sticker on the bike brought lots of conversation starters. Camp grounds had lots of grey nomads who are friendly and inquisitive, getting stuck for two days with rain soaked red soil roads in a small hick town with five houses a pub and a police station people by human nature want to look after you, the landlady gave me a room, I helped a nomad fix his air suspension on his truck, the bridge building crew want to drag you to the river to catch yabbies, many beers by the fire. As people say unscheduled events bring out the best adventures. There were quiet times at night when I missed my wife and kids but reading and planning for the next day or writing notes about your day passed the time. As far as Europe goes most understand some form of English even in remote towns in Spain, France & Italy you can get by, I carried small French and Italian phrase books when biking through them 15 years ago and never used them.
    #9
  10. catweasel67

    catweasel67 RD04

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    I'd rather go alone than not go with friends..if that makes sense.

    When I travel in Europe, I always take a book or three (Kindle's made that easier) and most of the time I spend my evenings reading - partly because of the language barrier (and there's a lot of those) and partly because folks over here can be backward in coming forward. It's slightly better in the UK but, for me, travelling is a great opportunity to catch up on my reading.

    The US is the exact opposite - I've spent a fair amount of time over there (backpacking and motorcycling) and hardly a night went by where I "had" to read - the hospitality and kindness of strangers in the US is incredible - from coast to coast, north to south - mind blowing.
    #10
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  11. tennyis

    tennyis Been here awhile

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    90% of my rides are with my riding buddies or now my wife as she's taken an interest.

    Having said that I also love to travel solo, I think I actually prefer it BUT I also feel like i have to invite friends along. I don't mind having them there, and we have an absolute blast but it tends to be a different type of trip. I only get maybe 1 solo trip a year over the past 3 years. I tend to ride a lot more, I wont even setup camp until 7 or 8pm at night. By the time I get everything setup, make dinner and have a few drinks i'm ready for bed. Up around 6am making breakfast and on the road by 8. So I don't tend to have a lot of time at the destination, I think that's the key for solo rides.
    #11
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  12. jonz

    jonz Miles are my mantra

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    Got to give you the Thoreau quote:

    I have never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude. We are for the most part more lonely when we go abroad among men than when we stay in our chambers. A man thinking or working is always alone, let him be where he will.

    I like my solitude within my helmet (chambers). However, unlike Thoreau, when I go abroad among men after the solitude of my helmet, I appreciate human interaction. Maybe it takes a little practice but I never thing pf being alone while traveling as a negative.
    #12
  13. motoreiter

    motoreiter Long timer

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    I travel alone almost all the time, but am never bored. Arrive by 15:00-16:00, find a hotel, walk around town, have a beer/wine, walk around a bit more, have dinner, back to the hotel for a cigar and wine on the balcony, then already time for bed.

    As long as you're somewhere new, it works fine, although I guess if you go the same place all the time it could get boring.
    #13
  14. juno

    juno Long timer

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    Just remember, before you invite anyone along on a trip sometimes it is preferable to be alone than wish you were!
    I am an introvert normally, but when I travel solo I have no problem interfacing and meeting people. Sometimes it is easier to approach or be approached if you are a single adult male rather than multiple grimy adult males!
    #14
  15. Newstrom48

    Newstrom48 Adventurer

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    As someone early said, I like my solitude. Loneliness is a state of mind.
    That being said, I find on any trip you can have as much social interaction as you want. Lots of people want to talk to others and I have found it easy to start one by a simple comment to someone who looks friendly.
    #15
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  16. boatpuller

    boatpuller Long timer

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    There's loneliness for any company, and there's loneliness for a particular individual. Most of the replies address the first, not the second. There really isn't a good answer to the second; everyone who's afflicted with it has to find a solution on their own.

    I've taken a 25 day cycle trip once, and it did get lonely at times, but that was mostly when I saw an amazing sight, and wanted the richness of having someone else see it and admire it too. Some things, like sunsets, are just better with company. But, if you lack someone who is willing and able to ride with you on a big trip, who you enjoy, then going alone is better than not going.

    I usually, on a long solo trip, eat my dinners at the restaurant bar. Doesn't waste a whole table for just one person, and I get to visit with the bartender and other customers sitting up there. Not a perfect solution, but one that works pretty well. If you are not an outgoing person, make yourself be one for a night. One of my best times was in French Canada, in a sports bar while my home team was playing baseball on the TV. I got the bar tender who spoke little English to understand I was from that town, and when her eyes lit up with understanding, she announced to the whole bar where I was from. They started rooting for the other team, and we had fun arguing close calls in universal sign language. Drinks were bought for me, and I bought some back, and it's a warm memory.

    Finally, I find strangers are more interactive if you are riding solo than with a group. But even more interactive yet if my wife is riding with me, but that probably has more to do with her....
    #16
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  17. tbird649

    tbird649 Been here awhile

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    You will find lots of people do speak a common language. Its called MOTORCYCLES.
    #17
  18. dixiethedog

    dixiethedog Day tripper

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    Wow,there's some great replies above. Thank you all for your input.
    Im not really likely to travel alone as my Mrs come's with me when ever I get a bike out,but if I had too,I think Id manage OK,as Im friendly when I have to be. lol.
    Last weekend,I visited a local supermarket by myself,parked in a MC parking bay,and just as I was about to leave,an old (1976)Suzuki GT750 pulled in with a couple on it. "Nice bike" I said,and 30 minute's later I was still chatting with the owner. His wife returned with some shopping,and they invited me back to their's for coffee (so he could show me his old Triumph motorbike as well). lol. I declined as I was busy. But we exchanged number's,and the Suzuki owner is going to pop into mine to check out my bike project's and workshop. I think we will become friend's as I felt he seemed like a decent bloke.
    It's a simple enough situation,but if I had my Mrs with me,I probably would not have started the conversation,as she would be huffing and puffing and making faces at me. lol.
    #18
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  19. jimmex

    jimmex Guero con moto

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    #19
  20. jimmex

    jimmex Guero con moto

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    These statements sum up much of what is so special about motorcycle travel.
    #20