Does solo = lonely?

Discussion in 'Trip Planning' started by Speeder54, Mar 29, 2011.

  1. wonderings

    wonderings Long timer

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    I prefer travelling alone. Now my trips are 2 weeks in length so nothing massive. I did back pack Europe for 4 months on my own and loved it. For some reason the only time I feel lonely when travelling is when camping alone. Not sure why, but I have given up solo camping some years back. Camping is a social thing for me and love camping with friends. I enjoy the random conversations that happen on trips, new people that last a brief moment and then are gone. For me getting a way on my own is the only way I truly unwind, hit the road with no schedule but my own.
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  2. Gedrog

    Gedrog 1000 mile stare a 1000 stories to tell

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    Same views as above, below sometimes sucks but once you give your bike a name you can share it with your bike it's hilarious talking to your bike as if it was a person. I always though it was just me but lots of people do it
    This couple called their bike Howard, and in sometimes people thought Howard was a real person :rofl
    https://advrider.com/f/threads/analogue-africa-top-to-bottom-just-before-the-internet.1197960/

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  3. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    I'm pretty comfortable keeping my own self company and enjoy both solo and small group adventures. One of the things that I enjoy on a solo ride is chronicling the adventure through social media and ride reports. I feel like I have my friends along with me in posting up photos and experiences and writing is one of the things I enjoy on and off the bike.
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  4. ParallelTwinz

    ParallelTwinz Twistin' and Shoutin'

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    While I've only done a few days alone on a bike in the US, it was quite enjoyable and I plan to do more of it. If I were you, I'd spend my 18 months becoming fluent in Spanish so that when you do speak to the locals, you do so properly.

    I have spent a fair amount of time in Spanish-speaking world on sailboats and the locals really appreciate your speaking Spanish, however poorly, rather than us 'mericans expecting them to understand and speak English to us. Hispanic culture revolves around mutual respect, so by speaking their language, you are showing respect and will therefore be shown respect. And in remote, non-tourist areas, locals don't get to see someone like you every day, so they will very likely be interested in meeting you and even helping you.

    As for the "bad guys", I think you can navigate around them by gathering some good local information. I have a buddy who did the top-to-bottom SA trip solo a few years ago and he had a fantastic trip with no issues with crime/danger. GO FOR IT, MATE!!
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  5. Osadabwa

    Osadabwa Don't be Surprised

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    @Speeder54,

    If you're comfortable enough to ask the question, you're ready to head out alone. Enjoy the freedom. Many years ago, I set out on a cross-Africa trip with a mate. It was harder sometimes with him than when he took off for a bit (kept going back to the UK to be with the girlfriend, leaving me to explore Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda solo). In the end, it's still a trip full of memories the two of us share, but so many more of them are mine alone. Here's the RR for you or the rest of the quarantined bikers bored enough to have a look... LINK

    I still ride solo, though not on multi-day rides. Most recently I went out and got in to some deep mud, got stuck etc. Turned out to be a great day. I stuck a poll on the front of the RR asking who likes riding solo, and I am surprised that at least for the moment, solo riders outnumber folks who prefer going with friends. I think it's simply the freedom to do what you want. For the bored, here's that RR: LINK

    Cheers
  6. SporeVirus

    SporeVirus n00b

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    Speeder54,
    I've been riding (SOLO) for over 50 years. Never experienced "lonliness" or a desire to have anyone with me. I know some people will disagree, but just like they cannot envision going somewhere without someone else tagging along, I can't envision a trip - of ANY length - with someone else coming along - either as a passenger, or on their own bike.
    Riding solo gives you maximum flexibility and the chance to "own" your ride. Start and stop where and when you want without having to negotiate with someone else (male or female). If you want to stop and snap a couple photos, you don't have to let anyone else know about it - you just do it. If you take a bridge over an attractive river, you can pull over, pull out your flip flops and swim suit and go for it. Late in the afternoon, you had a big lunch, you're feeling drowsy, hey - look at that big tree over there in a field. Pull over, roll up your jacket as a pillow and take a nap. If you have a cell phone that can help minimize any concerns about dangerous situations - at least in much of the U.S. Middle of Guatemala might be a different story. Who knows how reliable cell service is in some places. Take a real camera, PAPER MAPS, a notebook and a pen and log your trip. Pull out your MP3 player. Stop in town, pick up a couple tall cool ones, sit on top of a hill and relax. Read a book. Bring a compact fishing kit with you if you like to fish.
    I can't wait to get back on the bike - we have snow here today in S.E. Mich.
    Good luck with your S. America trip! Sounds like an awesome ride.
  7. roger d

    roger d n00b

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    Better read some books others have wrote about traveling in S.A. I would not go there.
  8. apetersen

    apetersen Adventurer

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    I am just back from a 6 month trip to SA riding alone. Only time I missed company was at dinner. I met and rode with several different people along the way and enjoyed each experience but was always happy to go my separate way after awhile. BTW camping is difficult until you get to Chile/Argentina as these folks don't seem to camp much but asking a farmer etc. to camp on their land always resulted in a positive response. My one serious breakdown 50 miles from the nearest town in Peru had me picked up and on my way in less then two minutes with a solution to my problem solved my helpful locals. My only regret was not learning more Spanish so I could better communicate.
    Safety was never a problem as I always felt secure and my bike was never touched while I was off in the store or at a border crossing. That said, I always tried to find lodging with secure parking overnight.
    Central America is hot and a cold shower always felt good at the end of the day.
  9. apetersen

    apetersen Adventurer

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    And you would be missing the experience of a lifetime.
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  10. fitzPA

    fitzPA Been here awhile

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    Riding solo gives you maximum flexibility and the chance to "own" your ride. Start and stop where
    and when you want without having to negotiate with someone else


    You took the words right out of my mouth. I used to organize rides with a group and it just became
    too stressful/frustration. Almost every intersection became a "senate meeting" deciding which way
    to go. I gave up on group rides and have ridden out west and on the east coast solo - much more
    enjoyable - no need to negotiate which road we take.

    The ONLY time I want company is when I'm out in remote areas and I'm on a heavy bike. If I get
    into trouble, at least I have someone to help.
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  11. deilenberger

    deilenberger Been here awhile

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    Ted Simon and I were sitting on my back porch drinking some good beers quite a number of years ago, and he asked if I liked to ride solo or with other people. My reply was mixed - I've since moved to the solo camp for long-distance rides. His reply was he loved solo riding since he "didn't have to be Ted Simon" when riding solo. No one he met had any real expectations of him.
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  12. phil kaplan

    phil kaplan nombre sin

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    I have rode many miles solo, mostly due to the fact to get someone to travel where you want and in the time frame you want. I also have traveled with other people.
    the more people the more different directions and needs of the group are multiplied. I would recommend no more than a group size of 2. you and one other. traveling alone people are more apt to want to talk with you. I have had many people buy me coffee and a snack at fuel up time. even had people offer me tools and a bed for the night. a few people have bought me lunch just to talk with me as they are travelers also. travel alone you pick the time to start, stop and eat. so much tougher in a group. I now prefer to travel alone. its so much easier in the long run.
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  13. Yuros

    Yuros n00b

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    I love a good afternoon group ride to a coffee shop, but all my long-distance tours have been solo. Stop & go without compromise. Pick whatever route you want and stay at the ritziest or dirt-bag accommodations without worrying about other people's budgets. Its an adventure; you'll be problem-solving on your own which will force you to meet new people and interact with locals. Solitude will bring some soul-searching and clear your head - the main reason why I travel. Although you're alone, you're never lonely if you don't want to be. When you're with a group of riders, you have that immediate social bubble around that outsiders rarely penetrate. But when you're sitting alone in some remote cafe covered in road dust - people will come up and talk to you. Women will not be intimidated to flirt with you (if that's your thing), and locals will invite you to tea or dinner party. You'll meet other riders and will be free to join for a day or two. When I think back some of my most memorable touring experiences, I honestly doubt they would have happened had I not been solo.
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  14. CloudSplitter

    CloudSplitter Putterer

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    I mostly ride solo, and never feel lonely, but am a bit of a loner to start with. Camping does seem like more of a chore, when alone and you can get to lodging within half an hour or so. I used to love camping when on foot, but then you couldn't get to lodging so easily. Of course, that depends a lot on your budget, and if you're camping all the time, it will probably become as easy as when your tent and sleeping bag are right there on the outside of your backpack.

    I do recommend you get a Spot or InReach, as it's important to feel you can get help when way out in deserted places.
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  15. Vin

    Vin Hopeless Addict

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    I did South America in 2018 - solo.
    First off - there really wasn't anyone able to take a long break from work the way I did.
    Second - my wife would not have lasted long eating and sleeping in some of the places I ended up.
    Lastly - There really aren't many people I could stand to be around 24/7 for an extended period (same with them being around me).

    Solo turned out to be a very good option. No one to argue with about which road to take, where to eat/sleep, how long to say. When things turned sour (and they will), there was no on else to try to pin the blame on.
    I loved the time to just hang out with myself, my thoughts, my memories... Turns out I'm a pretty good traveling companion.
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  16. DeOneDeOnly

    DeOneDeOnly n00b

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    Best scenario for a trip like this is to have a riding partner; someone you have ridden with before on a long trip. That said, all of my longer (over 500 miles) trips have been alone, for one reason or another. Finding someone who can commit to a trip like that is damn near impossible; and in my case, something always seems to come up (divorce papers, broken motorcycle, illness, in my experience!) that makes it a solo trip anyway. Plan like you're going alone while looking for a possible riding partner is my advice, FWIW.... because on a trip that long, you may end up solo anyway.
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  17. windypoint

    windypoint Been here awhile

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    Several years ago, my riding buddy and I shipped our bikes to Sydney, and motored across the continent to Perth. I returned the next Spring (in Australia) early to get the bikes prepared for the Northern route back to Sydney when my buddy called from the hospital after a heart attack. I arranged to have his bike shipped back to Seattle and then carried on by myself. It was a totally different trip than the Southern trip. We would spend the evenings talking over the day , having a few drinks and then dinner. A great time.

    The Northern solo trip was just as great but I was MUCH more engaged with the locals. I had Alaska plates on my bike back then and I rarely bought more than my first beer in the Outback. The locals would come in to talk to the "Alaskan" and I really enjoyed every evening. I wouldn't trade that portion of the return trip. I did run into problems with the bike (flash flood) but I handled it and often I had great local help as well.

    Moral of my story: "It's ALL good"
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  18. brazeagle

    brazeagle Adventurer

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    Hello there, GREAT QUESTION...
    I love to be around people, MOST OF THE TIME, however when I ride, and because I do not have many people I know in the US, or wife will not come along because we have a young teenager at home, I guess I would say...I prefer travelling ALONE and never consider LONELY.

    My trips are usually 1 week to max 10 days long and average 4K miles round robin, and I really learned to enjoy being free from interference and unnecessary stops on the way, I like to GO...

    Being a South American I must say, it would be MUCH safer to ride with another biker, as you will be crossing some different states/countries and it is always nice to have someone watching your 6 o`clock, thus I recommend you travel with a companion on a second motorbike.

    TRAVELLING ALONE IS amazing, I really enjoy and take advantage of it, so i am a happy trooper out there alone, and my last trip was 4663 miles and never had an issue, except I hit a deer on the road... but no of us got heart, just a few flips in the air and UP AGAIN :-)

    Cheers from a Brazilian lone rider.
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  19. AWSVAN

    AWSVAN Adventurer

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    Back in the day I road my Honda 750 Santee frame, 21" over Springer all over the upper Midwest alone camping along the way. I loved it(my home place was a tent in northern WI). At 73 I'm putting together a under powered very agile bike to wander the secondary roads around the SW. I have it ready to go and now we have the virus scare and I just can't leave my 77 year old wife a home alone, so we're biding our time putting in gardens and fine tuning the bike and gear until it feels good to leave home, I've put 1K on it running around out on the desert this winter so I'm not just sitting home. First trip planned is to Utah, come on vaccine.
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  20. Roadscum

    Roadscum Long timer

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    For seven summers I traveled Europe alone for 8-10 weeks each year. Not less civilized but certainty foreign and very different in some regions. I did spend 3 day each year with a group on European riders that gathered annually in the Alps at a different location each year. On a few occasions, after the gathering, I rode along with a group of Finns I meet at the gathering. Other then that I was alone.... but never lonely. Met and shared time with many friendly European folks along the way. Explored all of Europe but spent most of my time riding on rather remote roads in the Alpine region of France, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, N. Italy/Corsica/Sardinia, Slovenia, Croatia. Remote but civilized. Even though I spoke none of the European languages I made it a point to learn the greeting few words of kindness. There was never had a problem communicating but sometimes it took a like effort. Folks were friendly, always willing to help, and interest in learning about me and the US. I didn't worry about a breakdown because I knew sooner of later someone would come along. All the about applies to NA travels as well. Walked into a small restaurant/post office/grocery store... in a very small farming community in S. Dakota. Parked out front on gravel road were a handful of pickup trucks and two HUGE tractors. At the counter, the only seating, were about 6-8 farmers enjoying their morning coffee and discussing the exceptionally dry weather and crop yields. Each glanced my way, measured up the stranger, and went about their discussion. While the waitress/cook was cashing me out, in a gesture of friendliness I asked about commodity prices of corn and soya beans. I know nut'n about commodes but heard it being reported as "up" on the local morning news(the only channel on the TV in my room). Almost instantly I made 6 new friends. For the following 45 minutes we talked faming and motorcycling. When I left the diner they followed me out to have a look at my bike and were stunned to see the NY tags. We spent another 30 minutes chatting. My point is..... with just a little bit of effort and some thought it's easy to make new friends along the way.

    There is no better two wheeled experience the touring. Just do it!!

    Paul
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