I’m actually in a great mood in this photo, I promise. This was taken on our second stop of a port tour, in Vila Nova de Gaia. That’s Mary (middle), from Canada. And some girl from Belgium, who’s name I can’t seem to recall.
This is a quick one. In my last post “Meeting Travellers Abroad”, I wanted to emphasize how easy it is to meet people while travelling. Hopefully, that allows you to ease some of the pressure of your shoulders while you travel. Today, I want to talk about finding balance while travelling solo (a personal account).
While I found it easy to meet people (in the right situations), I found it really hard to learn to say no some times. In Italy, I was used to solo travel. I occasionally met other people but was able to do my own thing when I wanted. It was easy for me because 90% of my nights were spent at various Airbnb’s.
By the time I got to Ireland (day 28), I found it extremely hard to say no to group day tours and night outings. By the time the end of November came around (in Portugal) I was absolutely exhausted. It would end up taking me 3 days to get back to normal, once I flew to Germany.
That’s not to say I went out EVERY night, but there seemed to be something going on every day. There were very few occasions where I said no to someone. While I don’t regret hanging out with people, I feel like I lost some of that adventure that I had in Italy, where I would walk around each destination for about 8 hours a day.
I think the worst example would be Lisbon. While I did see quite a bit during my first 5 days there, my second go at the city was spent more indoors than out (about 8 nights total). I did pub crawls and stayed up to weird hours and then lacked the will to live some days. I went to the same spots with new visitors. I even walked a lot of the same streets. I feel like there’s a lot to Lisbon I ended up missing out on even though I thoroughly enjoyed my time there.
What should I have done?
I should have been more honest. That’s it.
I saw others do it, yet I wasn’t as forward as they were. If you are honest with the people inviting you out they shouldn’t take it personally if you say no. If they seem angry, you’re probably hanging out with the wrong crowd anyway.
That being said, being in a group did elevate some of my outings. More noticeably, when I fell in some water at Quinta da Regaleira, and I had 5 other people from my hostel to witness it. I guess it was nice for them to get a laugh at my expense. It’s also nice to have people to chat with during long train rides.
Otherwise, for the solo travellers out there, remember that it’s okay to say no sometimes. It’s your trip. you’ve done the research, put in the hours, saved the money, and now it’s time for you to enjoy your trip. Your way.
If you feel like things are dull and you don’t like being alone you can certainly be more forthcoming with your hostel mates. If you feel like you’re exhausted from too many late nights and hikes, be honest. Just don’t get burned out doing too much, and then miss out on the things you wanted to see!
Coming Right Up- Airbnb: Read Those Cancellation Policies