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Traveling Solo, Tips and Tales (Part 1 of 3): Best Things May 17, 2009

Posted by Onely in Great Onely Activities, Secret Lives of the Happily Single, single and happy, solo travel, We like. . ..
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View from Castle Rushen

View from Castle Rushen, Isle of Man

Hello Copious Readers!

I’m back from my two-week adventure in the UK! I visited the posh university town of Cambridge; then traveled by bus and ferry to the Isle of Man, located in the middle of the Irish Sea; then met up with a friend in Northern Ireland for two and a half days and visited the Giant’s Causeway, among other beautiful sights; and ended my trip in London.

As you know from my earlier post, some of my experience was a bit more adventurous than I would have liked (my wallet was stolen in London), but overall, I am so happy that I decided to make this international trip a solo one. I’ve traveled through a lot of the US on my own, but traveling abroad – even to the UK, which in some ways felt like “cheating” because there was no language barrier – presented both a unique challenge, as well as a very rewarding experience. For those of you who are dreaming of taking this kind of a trip yourself, I’ve composed a series of lists detailing the best and worst aspects of traveling alone, as well as a set of tips for anyone planning an international trip alone. Here’s Part One of Three:

Lisa’s Best Things about Traveling Alone: (more…)

Onelers Gone Wild: Lisa Does Great Britain May 10, 2009

Posted by Onely in Bad Onely Activities, Everyday Happenings, Great Onely Activities, single and happy, solo travel, We like. . ..
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Copious Readers, Lisa posted via email from her solo travel adventure:

Hello from Cambridge, England!

 So my first Onely international trip is going pretty well — except for one thing: My wallet got stolen. In the restroom (or toilet, as the Brits call it) of a London bus station during a two-hour layover between buses (from Liverpool, to Cambridge). It only took a few seconds — I left the bathroom and realized almost immediately that my wallet was not in my hands – and by the time I turned around, the wallet was gone. I lost my passport, my debit card, about $75 (US equivalent), my KY driver’s license, a UK-unlimited bus pass worth $160 or so, and 25 postcard stamps (worth £15 or about $25!) with which I was going to begin mailing postcards today.

Luckily I followed the advice of my Let’s Go! travel guide and had made a copy of my passport before I left, and also took along another credit card, as well as about $100 in traveler’s checks, all of which I kept separate from my wallet, and which are the only reason I was able to get to Cambridge and also did not have a complete breakdown in London.

The friend I am staying with here in Cambridge pointed out that it was probably because I was alone that I had the momentary lapse of concentration and left the wallet behind. The bus from Liverpool to London was overnight, and so I was drowsy and frazzled, ready to get to my next destination — not to mention that I had a gigantic bag to manage as I maneuvered the tiny bathroom stall! My friend travels internationally all the time, and says that this specific problem is the thing that bothers her the most about traveling alone — there’s no one you trust to wait outside the bathroom with your bags. 😦

 Oh well. A trip to the American Embassy in London is now in order, bright and early Monday morning. Luckily I had plans to finish the last few days of my trip in London anyway — I just hope that this small excursion doesn’t detract from what will otherwise be a fun last few days of my holiday (also another UK phrase). Besides this rather upsetting glitch in the plans, my trip so far has been excellent — and I have only been truly alone a few days, thanks to having two friends to visit… I have been to the Isle of Man, all across Northern Ireland and parts of Ireland, and spent a very full and wonderful day in Liverpool.

 I’ll be back soon to add my regular two cents to Onely — in the meantime, hope all is well!!!

 Cheerio!

— L

P.S. Christina here. My stomach just plunged when I read this story. But Lisa handled the situtation so well! My version would have incorporated far more tears and swear words. (Maybe she edited those out; I don’t know.) I definitely agree with Lisa’s friend that having to haul all your bags into those bathroom stalls is soooo annoying, as well as a germophobe’s (me) nightmare. Does anyone else have travel horror stories? Were you travelling alone? How did your status as a solo traveller inform the incident? 

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