Is it possible for an extrovert to enjoy solo travel? Or is traveling alone for introverts?
I had been traveling around Europe for 11 days sharing hotel rooms with a friend when it came time for us to part ways. He was heading back to work, and I was about to galavant around Germany for three days on my own.
The solo travel portion of my trip was about to begin. You might think that after a week and a half sharing close quarters that one might relish some alone-time. Even look forward to having a hotel room to one’s self. Turns out, that person isn’t me. I struggled.
It’s not that I was bored, per se, it’s just that I dislike having no one to share experiences with. There I was at an amazing castle in rural Germany, holding a Siberian Owl on my arm. The problem? There wasn’t anyone to share in my excitement. It was somehow less fulfilling.
I was already feeling a tad lonely when, to make matters worse, I was sat at a large table by myself for dinner. It was facing the kitchen. It made me feel like the bad kid in school being told to face the wall and think about what I’d done. Ugh.
All the other tables were full, and no one else spoke English. There was no sense trying to move places. Instead, I did what any rational person would do. I surfed Instagram while I ate and drank a bottle of wine (hey, don’t judge, I didn’t finish it).
Once back in my room I sank into a bubble bath. I slathered on a charcoal face mask and finished my wine. Ok, so I didn’t finish it at dinner, but who was I to waste a delicious bottle of wine? This was one part of my day when I thoroughly enjoyed being alone. Perhaps because it is something one normally does alone? I can only assume that’s why.
Castle Tour in Germany
The next morning was a different story when I joined the 11 am castle tour. I had been told to wait for this tour since the guide spoke English. During the 45 minute tour, I believe he may have said 10 sentences to me.
After every speech in German, I was given one sentence before we moved along. Better than the tour of the caves where I received a sheet of paper in English before the tour, which was 100% in German.
This leads me to wonder. Maybe solo travel wasn’t the issue, perhaps it was a feeling of complete and utter isolation…
After my castle and cave tours, I headed off to the next castle, spending a joyous four hours driving through the German countryside and on the Autobahn. Would I have preferred having a co-pilot to assist with DJ’ing and the GPS? You betcha, but I made the best of it.
I checked into my hotel and met some friends for dinner, nicely breaking up my feelings of loneliness. The rest of my evening consisted of a swim in the hotel pool, followed by chilling in the Finnish Spa – alone.
The more I reflect on these three days and the experiences I encountered, the more I feel that the issue wasn’t the fact that I was traveling alone, but rather that I felt isolated and ignored.
I was in Germany and I don’t speak German; however, who seats a person for dinner by themselves at a long table?! I mean, come on! My alone time in the pool and spa was relaxing and I recharged my batteries.
Solo travel requires effort
I engaged with other tourists when I could speak their language and both took pictures for others and had them take mine. Admittedly, I do find it more lonely not having someone to share my travels with. Although perhaps it’s not time to write off solo travel just yet.
How about you, is solo travel something you enjoy? If so, I’d love to hear why in the comments below. How do you combat the loneliness? I’m always looking for new ideas.
If you think solo travel is something you’d like to try, check out my post: How to plan the perfect solo trip.
Photo credits: All photos were taken on my iPhone X