The anti-social traveller

There are lots of different types of travellers. There’s the adventurer who just wants to get out there and do every kind of scary weird thing they can think of – like sky diving, eating crickets and taking on white water rapids.

There’s the solo traveller – someone who wants to travel and for multiple different reasons has no partner to travel with. They might be married and their partner cannot travel or just doesn’t want to. They might be single but their friends either can’t afford to travel or don’t want to do the same trips as them. Eventually they say – to heck with it – I am going to go and see the world. I kind of like to think of them as adventure travellers too!

Then there’s the boring traveller. I don’t mean that they themselves are boring – but their travel is boring. Why? Well because they go to the same place every single year without fail. They like it. They get to know all the staff at the hotel by name. They have their favourite walks. It’s a safe choice because they know it and they know they will enjoy it – but basically it’s boring because it’s never new.

Then there is that particular couple on the tour that nobody else likes. C’mon admit it. If you have ever gone on a guided tour you can bet your bottom dollar there will be that one couple (or person) who even the tour guide does not like. They are the ones who complain about everything, they are always late for the coach, they never tip and they always want to sit in the front seat.

So what about the anti-social traveller? Have you met him or her yet? You will know them when you do. This is the person who is sitting in the window seat right next to you and does not even acknowledge your presence or make any eye contact at all. I get that – maybe they are travelling for business and they just don’t want to indulge in aimless chit chat.

But can you call yourself anti-social if you decide not to pick up a BFF on every single tour you go on….. like this blog writer who I can totally identify with – (Heather and Peter from their blog Conversant Traveller (www.conversanttraveller.com)

“Am I really the only antisocial traveller around?

I can still remember her name. Ena. From Ireland. She was the sort of girl who had the enviable charm of being at ease with everyone she came across. Ena certainly wasn’t an antisocial traveller. The confines of the rickety chicken bus made friendly chatter amongst passengers inevitable, and thanks to it being Independence Day in Guatemala, we were taking a rather long detour on our way to the markets of Chichicastenango. Two hours later we felt like we had known Ena for weeks. As mountains of quetzal-embroidered ponchos and woolly hats festooned with llamas heralded our arrival, it became apparent our new friend was expecting to tag along with hubbie and I on our day at the market.

Now it wasn’t that we didn’t like her company. On the contrary I admired her courage at travelling solo around Central America, and although I was secretly jealous that she managed to pull off the local headscarf look rather better than me, I thought she was a lovely lass. It’s just that we’re not keen on unanticipated company. Hubbie and I are unashamed antisocial travellers.

So we abandoned her.”

Can you identify with them? I can.

10 responses to “The anti-social traveller

  1. Yep! We can relate. My husband and I love meeting people while travelling, especially connecting with locals over a drink or a meal. Similarly, it’s great getting to know people while sharing a bus or train ride. But please… don’t assume we are now travelling buddies. 😉

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  2. I totally get it – we are the same, we’re friendly at dinner or over drinks but we’re also kind of hermits and like it that way!

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  3. As someone who will talk to almost anyone particularly over breakfast at a B&B, on a patio for happy hour, waiting for a bus in a foreign land or along a hiking trail, I’ve received some good suggestions but we don’t want to walk with them through museums or along trails. Very soon, we’re going on a Tahiti cruise on the Aranui V which we first heard about in Cook Islands, 7 years ago over happy hours drinks. This trip is extremely rarely mentioned in any travel articles.
    I’m glad that my wife and I can find trips that we both can enjoy together as I find it much more enjoyable than travelling solo but I won’t adopt a solo traveller.

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  4. Makes me feel so sad and insulted that solo travelers are considered pariah. My husband passed suddenly while we were in Thailand just before visiting elephant sanctuary and sailing for a week through the Thai islands on Wind Star. Hey, we have even sailed on the Aranui (we had a high deck cabin but watch out there are solo travelers in those cheap dormitory rooms) after spending 2 months in New Zealand and enjoying overwater bungalows in Moorea and Bora Bora. Interesting trip. Glad my husband and I visited 39 counties before he passed now knowing how solo travelers are scorned. I guess I will just stay home as I do not have a better half.

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    • Oh Nancy – that is awful that you feel sad and insulted and I think many of the posts were not necessarily directed to solo travellers. There are those who travel to make new friends and connect be it couples or solos. I will tell you one thing. You have my utmost admiration as I think solo travellers are the real adventurers. It takes guts to get on a plane on your own and go out there and see the world so don’t stop! I have recently come across a company that specialises in solo travel – and note – they don’t call it single travel because many of the people booking do have a partner but for some reason that partner cannot or does not want to travel. I think the growth of solo travel is going to continue so PLEASE PLEASE do not stop. You are nearly halfway to seeing 100 countries…. keep going!

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      • Nancy, you just have to pick an appropriate trip. This time last year my wife and I were on a 1 week peregrine trip motor sailer from Phuket to Penang stopping at the small islands in between. The boat could take about 50 passengers but there were only about 20 and about 5 were solo travellers. As the excursions were organized, we didn’t have to adopt any solo traveller as the guides handled it all. We also didn’t sit with the same people each meal as people just came up and sat at an empty space. We got to know all the other passengers. There were a couple who had been on the trip the previous week on same boat and they commented on the different atmosphere. That boat reportedly had about 30 travel agents who hung out together and made no effort to associate with any one else. This could happen anytime a group books & travels together.
        I know quite a few single active seniors who travel solo using the different organized trips and if you and a travel agent investigate I sure that you can find a trip that will be satisfactory but it will be different than travelling with a spouse.
        Keep on travelling.

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      • So true – I have been on trips where there have been large groups on board and they can be rather intimidating. I think that there seem to be more single active seniors travelling these days than before – so don’t stop!

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