Warning: Solo Travel Makes You Undateable

Warning: Solo Travel Makes You Undateable

A person who loves solo travel is seen as a free spirit. A true nomad who’s broken free from the shackles of society and dared to march to the beat of their own drum. The solo traveller doesn’t need another’s reassurance, they make big bold decisions every single day. They are the ones with wild fire in their eyes, who trek miles to soak up the perfect sunset. They make switching countries look as easy as changing their pants. They live life, every single second of every single day, for themselves. In a society that encourages conformity, this makes them uninhibited soul warriors.

You’ll never hear a solo traveller tell you anything but how wonderful, life-changing and liberating it is to travel alone. It’s all true, you’ll learn your biggest lessons in love, life and the beautiful planet we share. You’ll change as a person and your very core will be strengthened. You’ll never depend on another, you will be the true master of your own destiny. Meeting new people will become a daily occurrence and that will quickly teach you never to settle for less. You will establish your tribe, a mixture of old friends and new. Initially you’ll let all kinds of weird and wonderful people into your life but you’ll quickly learn to be discerning about who sticks around.

This magic starts to evolve from day one, the moment you take your first flight, bus journey or boat to a faraway land alone. Each and every day you navigate the globe as a solo wanderer you’ll learn so much, not only about others but about yourself too.

The kindness of strangers will open up a part of your heart that you had no idea existed. As a solo traveller you’ll experience the very best the world has to offer. Any stereotypes or tales of whole cultures or lands being dangerous will dissolve as you learn the truth. But your love life, well I’m sorry to break it to you, but solo travel will throw a huge anti-cupid grenade right onto that. Boom! You will forever be undateable to those average guys and girls.


solo travel, machu-picchu

Ah this wonderful dating society we live in, picking people from photos and a sentence about themselves. Thanks to solo travel, your criteria for a match will have changed dramatically.

You’ll scan for stuckness, not viewing it as stability. Life goals and ambitions will now be the most important quality. How could you settle for anything less than a free spirit, who can pick up their life at a moment’s notice.

Office job – swipe left. Owns a dog – swipe left. Loves spending time with family – swipe left. Cosy nights in – massive scary alarm bells left!

Of course every dater knows that we’ve all climbed mountains, are photographers and practice yoga. But you’ll find yourself cynically thinking how much you love these things. Is it a way of life or something you did once on a summer vacation. Okay so they profess their free-ness, but the reality is it’s just not enough if it’s not ingrained into their soul. Or maybe they’ll claim they’re everything they’re not and join you on your journey only to bail later when the going gets tough. Pick wisely nomadic friends, or you may find yourself stuck too.

Solo travel ruins small talk

solo travel, market-vietnam

Let’s be real, talking about the weather is never going to set anyone’s soul on fire. Unless you’ve been stranded on a Fijian island due to an impending cyclone or perhaps you’re a storm-chaser. It’s not just weather, but small talk is a way of life for so many. ‘What’s your favourite food?’ is a typical getting to know you question. If they respond with pizza and dare to use the word Dominos and not because they ‘experienced pizza heaven in Napoli’, then your heart may break a little.

You’ll start to realise how often people chat about nothing at all. Yeah sure traveller small talk exists and usually begins with: ‘Where are you from?’, ‘Where have you been?’, ‘Where are you going?’. These questions are asked every single day but the answers open up whole new worlds of possibility and understanding. Each response kicks open doorways to dreams and inspiration.

Those long sleeper train nights where you’ve bared your soul to a total stranger, talking about your innermost fears or the dreams that make your eyes sparkle. What is it about solo travel and sleeper trains?! Most average humans love a bit of small talk. Some people have never dared to explore the depths of their soul or even given themselves the time to learn what makes them tick.

Makes you crave alone time

solo travel, lake-atican-guatemala

Solo travel is rarely lonely but you will learn to love being alone. That space to think and contemplate all those thoughts that may have flitted into your brain when you lived a ‘normal life’. That precious time spent in coffee shops in places you couldn’t communicate, just people-watching and grinning at the people who came to interact. Those rare times you bagged a dorm all to yourself and chose to spend the evening writing and exploring what makes you tick. Oh and the endless magical bus journeys, which equalled un-guilty thinking, reading and learning time.

The desire for this blissful freedom doesn’t end. Well maybe in the first throws of a relationship, when you’ve got yourself a good one. But, alone time has now become so precious that you’ll begin to crave it.

‘Babe, I can’t see you on Saturday’, you’ll say. ‘Why not’, he will say. ‘Because I need some space to think, to breathe, to create and be me.’ Yeah… you can imagine how well that goes down with the average partner. You may find yourself thinking up excuses as to why you need this time, but lying isn’t cool. So good luck solo travellers, it takes a special person to understand why you NEED your alone time.

Leads to faraway friends

solo travel, boivia-flags

You can’t travel solo without picking up new friends in faraway places. You’ll become a magnet for free spirits just like you. The experiences you’ll share will bond you faster than ten years of friendship back home.

The euphoria of reaching a mountain peak together, the bonding over that unidentifiable street food ‘meat’ you shared, being dropped off in a shady town in the dead of night and finding your way to the hostel together. It’s near impossible to explain to a non-travelling friend but the dizzying experience of exploring the globe, crossing paths and sharing these experiences is like a friend shaped chemical reaction. Bonded for eternity, even when you return to ‘real-life’.

So when you have friends from all over the globe popping in to visit you, don’t expect your average BAE to understand. ‘Mark from Australia is winging by this weekend’, or Inge from Amsterdam, Nick from New York, Leann you know the chica who I bonded with whilst freezing our t*ts off in Bolivia’s salt hotel and then partied our way through Brazil.’ Maybe your average partner will be curious but don’t expect them to understand or connect with your travelling BFF. If they’re okay with that then wonderful. Best of luck explaining why you need to go and visit them in their faraway land though!

Material things

solo travel, bolivia-salt-flats

Living out of a bag for extended periods of time became a way of life. Not having anyone to impress or keep up appearances for is liberating. Solo travel strips you of your need to present yourself as a perfectly polished human as you quickly learn it’s what lies beneath that counts.

Sure, when returning to ‘real-life’ the volume of clothes available to you is head-spinning, but it wears off. That new pair of jeans becomes a plane ticket, that pair of killer stilettos, impractical for travel. These material possessions no longer hold the same value as they once did.

Getting my golden sun bleached (burnt!) hair lopped off and coloured a sensible shade was heartbreaking. My wild mane was now a part of me, the travelling me. So making it conform was like an ending.

When your partner suggests you hit the shops together, or gets over excited about a new shirt/dress/pair of shoes, a little part of you dies inside. For you now know that these things mean nothing at all and that money could be used on experiences. You battle hard to enjoy the happiness the purchase has given them, but that’s when you realise your’re not on the same wavelength. You prefer them in flip-flops anyway.

Fiercely opinionated solo travellers

solo travel, lake-titicaca

A solo traveller learns so much, not only about the world but themselves. They never feel the need to agree for ease or to keep the peace. They’ll have explored corners of the globe others haven’t even dreamed of and spent time in communities mind-blowingly different. Learning to adapt to new cultures becomes second nature and respecting other humans and their differences is a given.

You’ll have opinions about global issues, as you’ll have been there and experienced it, and not just read a second hand opinion.

When a new partner displays an element of ignorance, it’s near impossible not to bite. Yes you will try and educate with your first-hand knowledge but most average humans like to believe that what they read is gospel. Your bullshit-o-meter will kick in and with ease you’ll dismantle the myths they’ve absorbed, with fact and real emotion.

You’ll be branded as a ‘know-it-all’ but your experience will mean you don’t care as you know the truth and you’re not afraid of sharing it. Expect a backlash!



If you’ve managed to navigate your way through the rest of the reasons why your solo travelling self has been rendered undateable, then this one’s the killer.

Routine is now the enemy and spontaneity your life source. You will think nothing of booking a flight on Thursday for an immediate weekend getaway. To a place you’ve never been before, just because. You don’t mind if your other half comes with you, hell you’d quite like it if they don’t!

They may hesitate when you mention this newly forming plan, make excuses about needing time to sleep, watch that box set or get the house in order after a busy week at work. Your eyes will glaze over and your fingers will already be flitting between the Skyscanner and Hostelworld apps, poised to hit ‘book.’

You’ll get into conversations about your future and instead of mortgages and careers your dreams will be a list of countries. A whole world of opportunities out there and a backpack that looks so rejected lying dormant on your bedroom floor.

For you’ve been bitten by the bug of the solo travel/wanderlust variety. Try as you might to conform you will never see settling in a conventional life as a viable option now. Your only solution is to find someone wild and free to run with you.


Read more about guest author Johanna Whitaker’s travels and adventures at: visionsofjohanna.org and find these and other pictures on her Instagram!


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128 Responses to “Warning: Solo Travel Makes You Undateable”

  1. This is the most pretentious article I’ve ever read. Should be titled ‘solo travel made me believe I am 100x more interesting than everyone else’
    Laughed my head off reading it though, so thanks for that!

  2. Solo travel made me more dateable so guess that is different for guys. It seems girls are more interested if you have a lot of adventures etc. in your past, makes you stand out from the average guy. Also I find that solo travel didnt make you super opinionated, rather made me understand how little I really know.

  3. Wow. What an incredibly blinkered view of the solo traveller. It’s actually quite offensive.

    From a very happily ensconced solo traveller who never had any trouble dating…

  4. Everything you have written is absolutely true. It was like I had written it myself (but much more eloquent).

  5. its also sad but true,

    Once your a traveler your old mates just cant talk to you about anything you find interesting and the girl you strike up a conversation with down the bar just sounds like a small minded yokel.

    She want to settle down and have 2.4 kids and a mortgage, you want to save to visit Machu Picchu. So on reflection your don’t want to compromise your traveling for someone no mater how cute who is not a free spirited soul mate.

  6. And then after a certain amount of trips and at a certain age disillusionment get you and you see all your friends who settled down and have a family… And you just want the same, but there’s not much of your sacibgs left

  7. Touche,
    I find this to be a problem of mine. Appreciate the time spent to write this, it was a delightful and encouraging read to wake up to.

  8. Well as an older solo traveller, I do get lonely and miss all the things about a relationship. But then I meet someone and it is great for awhile and then I realize I just can’t conform. So I am dateable but not attachable.

  9. Though i can relate to most of these, you make solo travelers look just pure egoistic/narcissistic persons. If you are a person exactly like this, maybe you just didn’t have proper/true relationships from the beginning. Maybe you matured during your travels, but don’t make other people, “ordinary” people, look like trash. Just because they are not living in a far away poor village you met during an adventure, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t respect them as the human beings they are, no matter how shallow they look to you.

  10. im sorry but this all sounds typical of the arrogance i find in too man “travellers”. i have been away from home for almost the last 15 years travelling and working but i dont see my choice as any better than friends who chose to marry and have children or follow a careeer they love. Their choice has made them happy and they have had experiences i never will and vice versa. And to say travelling alone is rarely lonely is just not true. If the nomadic life makes you happy then fantastic, i certainly couldnt live any other way. But please dont be so arrogant to think you are special or better than others by doing so

  11. I wish I was independently wealthy and could travel the world and experience all it has to offer, but with the gifts I’ve been given I feel like it’s my duty to leave the world a better place than when I arrived. To do that I’ve worked really hard for really really long to get an education and fight for vulnerable people who can’t fight for themselves with my career. I wish public interest work gave me the freedom (or the paycheck) that would allow me to jet off for a weekend on a whim. Sick children in developing and war-torn countries do not pay that well. Despite my life choices, I feel like I am worth talking to. You must admit that there is more to life than travel, and that everyday (non-traveling) people can have a valuable, nuanced perspective. Even towny-yokels have a story to tell- a rich, full story- brimming with challenge, intrigue, love, adventure, misery, and tragedy. You can’t simply write off someone because they’ve never left their state or country. The human condition is complicated, and cannot be distilled to one dimension. I feel for those who cannot appreciate the adventure and beauty in everyday domestic life. I agree with a lot of the sentiments and the energy of the article- but I feel it is very myopic and a bit judgemental. Good read, nonetheless.

    • Jason, an excellent reply. It sounds like you’re doing fabulous and needed work. You are right about the human condition being nuanced and that every person no matter who they are or where they live has a story.
      Most travelers are not independently wealthy, instead we have learned how to exist on nearly nothing and how to work while traveling.
      Much of what she has to say is true and is probably more directed at women. To hop on a plane and go to a place where you know no one takes a lot of belief in yourself and your abilities…. which for women can spell trouble when it comes to dating and relationships.
      Thank you for your thoughtful response.

    • Jason, well said my friend. I can tell you how refreshing it is to read a comment on line with actuall substance, and relatable content from the original article. In other words, you took the words right out of my mouth. My parents were of this traveling ilk and my sister and i were raised as such. Even though i feel as comfortable in the mountains somewhere as i do in a house, there is one simple fact of reality that only you, including the original author; has mentioned. Money! Last i checked, airplane rides to anywhere are not free. Gasoline for you car,bus,station wagon,moped also is not free. oh, and food too, not free. and when your clothes can stand up by themselves and your dred locks are kinda steel woolish and its time to head “home”, umm home not free ether. So, hell ya traveling is bitchen, living out and about should an incredible humbling experience, and im betting there are tons more folks that would be doing it if their circumstances allowed for it. The free thinkers and free spirits are out there in numbers greater than we’re aware because, well, their at work. one more thing, if you dont have any or at least not enough money, nobody is going to want to date you anyway.

      • I DONT FLY COACH Reply

        I’ve visited 35 countries in the past few years and have flown first class for free on every single ride, except for a hop from Zurich to Paris because I was dumb and didn’t take the train.

        It is a myth you need to be rich to travel – you don’t. In my case, I use points and miles and I am incredibly savvy with how I redeem my mileage. For instance, Amex, Citi, and Chase all have Virgin Atlantic as a 1:1 transfer partner. Delta is a partner of Virgin Atlantic, so my round trip DeltaOne flight with a lie down seat is 90K miles from LAX to Europe. i don’t spend more to earn the miles – I know which cards to use to maximize rewards, I know how to use sign-up bonuses, and as a result, I travel with free airfare and free hotels.

        Even without using miles and points, one doesn’t have to have their own personal wealth manager to be able to travel the world. Huge myth. While I usually don’t purchase package deals – my brother and his wife are heading to China for $1150 total – that’s round trip airfare (coach), with 8 days of tours and staying in 4 star hotels.

        Your mileage may vary – and everyone has their own definition of what is expensive, but my point is, travel is attainable for everyone.

    • Jason, what you wrote here is much more moving and truthful than the whole article above. I’ve traveled to a lot of countries and think that talking to you would be really interesting and inspiring. Thank you for sharing.

  12. Fantastic and well worth the read! So very true. I owe everything to travel, it’s help evolve me into the free spirited, open minded woman I am now and the journey just continues! ❤️❤️

  13. I can relate. Makes me feel less odd somehow since I know other people feel that way.
    Highschool friends ‘dumped’ me because our lives were too different. Thanks for this article, and for everyone’s comments.

  14. So true! It makes me want to cry. My solo travel spirit now has shackles and I’m one of those people who have the dog, the office, etc… It has always been hard to connect and find that person who is open-minded and free spirited. Your solo travel experiences really do build your core. I hope to go back to it one day and find someone who is on that similar wavelength. Thank you so much for writing this article. Yes, a part of me died while reading this but I needed to see this. A tiny fire of faith has been renewed. Thank you.

  15. Go to retirement and get your freedom ! That’s my new motto after been laid of, divorced, got my daughter grown up and hitting 64 early next year!
    Next stop Burma.! Solo of course.

    • It made me think about “The Little Prince”, at the beginning of the book, when he shown his masterpiece to the grown up… they answered “why should anyone be frightened by a hat” 🙂

  16. There is so much un-truth in this (for me, at least) I don’t even know where to begin.

    Definitely don’t like the assumption that all people who travel by themselves are going to be affected by it the same way; we react differently to our experiences. I, for one, am looking forward to getting back to routine, stability, a dog, family time, the material comforts of having a closet and hot showers again, and an office job. And I’ve always needed alone time to just “think and create and be me” — traveling didn’t do that.

    This article feels like it’s just trying to make solo travelers even more pretentious than they already are, like we become “above” the normal dating scene, above regular folk life. I reject this. That attitude is what makes a lot of solo travelers really irritating, actually.

  17. I’m a solo traveler and I caught another solo traveler. Now we just freak out together about signing 6 month leases and which continents we haven’t visited.

  18. This has to be one of the most eye-rollingly pretentious things I’ve ever read. Travel does not give you prerogative to stare down your nose at people (read: the VAST majority of people) who lack the privilege to travel as you have. (“This peasant likes DOMINO’S PIZZA?! Pfeh!”) I dunno — I like to think that travel endows people with a little humility and helps purge the mind of petty bigotries. Guess in some cases it does the opposite.

  19. Not being able to appreciate the people next to you and always yearning for something else is a great way to push people away from you. True friendship and love comes from not abandoning people for the next best thing, and being able to appreciate the things in your life that are stationary–even if you aren’t.

  20. This article is so true. You’ve described exactly how I feel. Since I’ve started solo traveling (and got obsessed with it), I realized that I’ve changed a lot. And so did the friendships and relationships. Friends don’t understand why I’m happy with travelling alone, why I don’t want to live my life the “average” way. They don’t understand why I’m not buying a new car from my savings and still be driving the old one, instead of “wasting” the money on flight tickets.
    And there are so many more examples I could make.

    I’m happy I found this article, it’s nice to know there are more travel addicted

  21. Sad but true, expierences happen in transit but it is the life of the wanderer….. visiting 8 countries next year and have been to three countries this year alone….. life’s grand, eat dessert first

  22. That’s how it is for some of us,making a trade off at times is ok but selling the real you for a second rate life which eventually empties you out on the inside,f**k that

  23. This comes across as egotistical in the extreme. So you’ve travelled some and now you’re a “free spirit”? Your stupid friends just don’t get you? Laughable.

  24. Some massive generalizations made about “solo travelers” and a willingness to concede. I think many people are more flexible than you realize, even a lot of real-life solo travelers, and not this mythical solo traveler template written about here. Yeah, there is a lot of truth about some aspects written here, but it’s unfair or unrealistic when applied in so many ways.

    I guess it boils down to not all solo travelers are the same, the way that everybody else really isn’t the same.

  25. Everything you’ve said is the truth! Going to visit my friend in Spain who I met in Ecuador 5 years ago in a couple of weeks 😊

  26. So elequant and true. Am resting at the moment, but itching to get my case out for my trip away at the beginning of January.

  27. Maybe the solo traveler in me likes the article but disagrees with the blanket statement of your title? haha My free spirit self has had incredible dates and has dated a lot. It may be keeping the relationship/wanting partners that are happily stuck in the humdrum that may be more of the problem. Cheers for the article- was a good read and preparation for further becoming “undateable” as I will be embarking northbound on the AT this spring.

  28. I’ve read a few articles like this over time but none that so eloquently articulates the lessons I’ve learned over the years while travelling.

  29. This was perfect, and everything I needed to hear right at this point. Thank you for writing it, and sharing it, and knowing just how true this is. I almost got stuck in a “settled” relationship while back home for summer, and this makes me realize even more than I already had that it was NEVER supposed to work. This is exactly the reminder I needed. ONWARD!

  30. 👍🏽☺️😎
    Let’s try to find this wild and free soul companion… Luck is needed 😉 Or a universe gift ☺️

  31. I seek another solo traveler. Yes, we cannot lead a normal life, so seek a birds of a same feather. Normal life? Please…might as well be dead.

  32. Solo, liberating the mind, freeing the spirit and growing up without having to ‘belong’ or ‘conform’. Nicely written and so true.

  33. Even though I haven´t been in a solo travel (yet, since I already planed my first next October 2017) i can relate to EVERYTHING here, because I have traveled a lot, be it with friends or family, mostly in small groups.
    Brilliantly written 🙂

  34. Let’s be honest here… people that are willing to go solo travel probably never wanted to be in a relationship with a picket-fence dreamer anyways. Solo travel might make a person more selective in some ways but the good news is there are plenty of people out there doing it nowadays so we’re not alone. Just don’t let a “grass is always greener” mentality prevent genuine connection and you’ll be fine. I do NOT agree that solo travel makes a person undateable – unless it made that person so picky about people that they are doomed to loneliness. If anything it opened my mind and gave me more confidence in my dating life (#moredateable).

  35. I can see the point of this as I have been living abroad and travelling for over a decade. I do connect will well travelled ad interesting people. Most of my long standing friends in England have traveled a lot and we take a keen interest in each others stories. A well rounded and mature person should not look down or think they are in some way superior to those who have a less adventurous lifestyle. That is a recipe for loneliness.

  36. Solo travelling is a nice experience and every one should consider travelling alone at least once in their life, but there are many different ways of travel that offer so much fun and learning.. Travelling with you family/ parents/ siblings, your best friends, your partner, your dog etc. Travel can reinforce your love and connection with your co travelers. Solo traveling sounds in this article as a way to be emtionless and anti social or dating incapable. And if you want to be a balanced and loving person, take care about your existing relationships like family and friends but also thrive for more and travel alone and in groups, learn as much as you can in all ways and dont try intentionally to be anti social just because hostelworld wants you to book more rooms in their 20 beds dorms 😉

  37. Really a great and beautifully put down.
    It feels like we are a new specie knowing where the escape door is from society strangles
    Thanks for the amazing article. Love how you write

  38. Been a solo traveler for a while. I’ve had good relationships with other solo travelers and non-solo travelers. It should make you more open minded and then you can talk to anyone. Not just stereo-type people that don’t travel as much as you do. Just my opinion.

  39. Interesting article and whilst lots of it rings true, aspects of it is incredibly pompous. Travel in itself doesn’t make you a better person per se, and whilst all of these wonderful experiences enrich you, there are consequences for the places you visit, their communities and the environment. Let’s not pretend to be perfect – everyone has a story to well, no matter how mundane their lives may initially appear to you.

  40. Being single is cool but…
    It’s hard to find like minded partners as well. Being alone is great and I love getting to know myself. It’s a never ending project. But there are times that I would like a potential partner whom I love to come with me so we could experience and grow together. I wouldn’t mind the settling down- as long as they appreciate and respect my alone time wether that me in my house or in a different country.

  41. Being middle age and have been and continue to be a solo woman traveler, there are too few people that can relate to what you experience. Embrace your travel friends, in the moment and cherish them in your heart.

  42. I resonate with this post but I don’t think there’s something inherently wrong with wanting to settle down and have a family. It takes banality to realize the variety of humanity.

  43. Respectfully Jason Reply

    I wish I was independently wealthy and could travel the world and experience all it has to offer, but with the gifts I’ve been given I feel like it’s my duty to leave the world a better place than when I arrived. To do that I’ve worked really hard for really really long to get an education and fight for vulnerable people who can’t fight for themselves with my career. It doesn’t leave me with the freedom (or the paycheck) that would allow me to jet off for a weekend on a whim- working in the public interest does not often pay well. Despite my life choices, I feel like I am worth talking to. You must admit that there is more to life than travel, and that everyday (non-traveling) people have valid, nuanced, perspectives. Even towny-yokels have a story to tell- a rich, full story- brimming with challenge, intrigue, love, adventure, misery, and tragedy. You can’t simply write off someone because they’ve never left their state or country. The human condition is complicated, and cannot be distilled to one dimension. I feel for those who cannot appreciate the adventure and beauty in everyday domestic life. I agree with a lot of the sentiments and the energy of the article- but I feel it is very myopic and a bit judgemental. Good read, nonetheless.

  44. Thank you for the insights. Well written and I think you are right. Was going to Kiev but I think the Pacific Crest Trail is the way to go again. I have found solitude to be the best companion said an author. But when I come across people, booze me up and get me high. Ween. Let’s dance and rejoice in life experienced.

    And yes I view it as stuck in a conditioned box that a week hiking and camping in a half man tent when reading and writing in my journal at 9,500 feet exhausted freedom. This terrifies so many, the sneaker hikers as well put and society in general.

    To each their own. I won’t live a boring and conditioned life.

  45. 99% of the people who travel do so in the comfort of a foreign city. Very few venture outside the exhibited touristy areas. And almost all relentlessly take photos of everything and everyone they see and clog the newsfeeds of your social media with them. And they usually do so with either their parent’s money or debt they will never pay back. Are we supposed to pretend that these people are better than the people who live and work every day? I travelled enough to learn that life and people are no that much different around the world. Maybe I have been in situations where my life was in danger and i dont want to make those stupid decisions again. Maybe I want to save my money for something more fun than staying in a rat and disease infested hotel in a poverty nation. Maybe I view impulsive decision making as a problem rather than fate

  46. I think that if you are a solo traveller you are more aware that you need a life partner who wants to travel as well. In fact, you dont waste time with anyone who cant understand you. Very well written!

  47. Doesn’t sound like it made the writer very open-minded. Why the need to put down and denigrate people who made other choices? Not so black and white, some travelers learn a lot, and some solo travelers mostly want to get wasted with other English speaking travelers at the hostel..not meet any local people

  48. Everyone has a story. We share the world with equals. The privilege, entitlement, and self-righteousness of this piece is frankly disturbing. No one is better than anyone else. Everyone is valuable and interesting in their own way, and their life choices don’t dictate their personal value.

    Also, self-identifying as a “nomad” is frankly offensive to the lived experiences of actual nomadic peoples, whose lives are extremely nuanced, rich, and different from your own experience. If you had truly travelled the world and realized your own humble place as a visitor to these other cultures and societies, not to mention on Earth, you would understand that all individuals are worthy of respect and should be treated thus in both word and deed.

    This post is narcissistic and close-minded and ultimately reflects the dangerous side of travel, travel not as a positive way to get to know the world but as a neo-colonial predation on it. Acknowledge your own privilege and be kind to humanity.

  49. This piece was spot on!

    I think some may be offended by the bluntness of certain statements regardless of their validity though. . . .

  50. What a pile of wank! If you find the right person then where’s the problem? Certainly doesn’t make you ‘undateable’; it can make you more attractive that you’ve explored and experienced things that like-minded individuals can appreciate, and they can share their own stories back!

  51. Nicely written article I am sure a lot of solo travellers can relate to. I was able to reflect upon my own journey and felt a lot like this in many different aspects.
    But I am back to my home country since almost 2 years now and can tell you that as long as you keep that free spirit inside you, which does not necessarily mean that you can’t fit into a ‘normal’ life any longer – it just takes a bit more than before such a life changing trip – but in the end you must follow your heart. And it doesn’t matter what others think or say, it’s all about you. I am lucky to just recently have met a person I am sure I can pick up my bags and leave whenever we both feel like it’s about time. So, travelling does not only set you free but widens your perspectives, your believes and helps you to look underneath the surface when it comes to making new friends or meeting your love! At first it feels like, you’re never going to be able to bring those two completely different lifes together BUT the question is, do you have to?
    Very well written article, all the best!

  52. I have lived and worked abroad in different countries for almost ten years now. During my journey, I have met people who have never left their home countries and yet are amazingly open-minded, free-spirited and enriching. On the other hand, I have met people who have traveled the world and made an impression on me as dull as dishwater. I have also worked in touristic cities and hostels for many years, and the rattling on about endless lists of countries and touristic attractions people have been to and plan to visit, ritual of many backpackers, has often bored me to death, especially as many of them do not seem to really learn anything about or connect to the culture of the places they travel to, and do not even have the wish to do so.
    Now, depending on the type of lifestyle you choose, you may crave a certain kind of entertainment, and routine may make you uncomfortable. If you are this kind of person, many people you meet might not provide you with the kind of entertainment you seek for your life, thus, bore you. It’s not about disrespecting these people or deprive them of their value; it’s just really hard to connect to them and mutually add pleasure to each other’s life. It might even be one’s own problem with one’s expectations projected on others. However, I can understand it, because many times, it’s exactly how I feel, too. I just think that solo travel is only one of many different factors that can, but do not have to, make you feel that way.

  53. At 72 and freshly retired I have just completed my first solo travel (90 days!) far from my settled home, leaving behind wife and family and all things dear. Oh how I can equate with the concepts and statements of this marvellous essay. After returning I had so many questions I couldn’t answer, but now they are all answered. And I met so many living examples of whom it is written to too.

  54. Solo travel let me see the difference in the men in different countries and experience different passions and cultures.
    Solo traveling let me also appreciate my family and friends the more when your ready to go back home. Solo traveling gives me a break and those in my environment a break. Solo traveling has also showed me that I attract different men from different countries and that I am date able.

    Loving life

  55. Do not listen to those who are trying to say negative things about you and your experiences, you are honest and saying things others are afraid of, that is all, thank you for this. It is my second year in Egypt, I love it and there are things that changed my life and made me and my life very different. All the best.

  56. It would’ve been great if this was a perspective piece, written exclusively about this author’s personal experience with solo travel as opposed to this presumptuous blanket statement bullshit generalization of EVERY SOLO TRAVELLER EVER as evidenced by nothing. Totally get that this will hit some folks square in the feels. But as a fellow solo sojourner I reject the hell out of 95% of the unresearched assertions made here as well as a strong 110% of the central theme.


  57. Hey there! This post could not be written any better!

    Reading through this post reminds me of my old room mate! He always kept talking about this.

    I will forward this write-up to him. Pretty sure he will have a good
    read. Thanks for sharing!

  58. i love solo traveling, and if it makes me undateable, oh well. I am not looking to date again. I had a great husband, who was my travel partner, for 12 years. he cannot be replaced.

  59. Thank you for your article. I was not a solo traveler but however traveled the world with my girlfriend of 7 years. We took on the adventure of travel and where both bitten by the travel bug together. I loved your different topics discussing what traveling does to you and the after effects it causes on you when you re enter the real world. I have found that person whom I want to ‘run and play with and to travel the world with and plan to Marry her. Thank you for this well done article

  60. Having traveled solo for the last five years, my experience couldn’t be more different than what this author is describing. Thankfully. In fact, I just got married to someone I met traveling — truly one of those things that happened in the last place I would have imagined and at a time when I least expected it. Long-term companionship, freedom and travel certainly don’t have to be exclusive.

  61. This author seems to think one has to choose between nomadic/free spirited life and “tradtional” living. Without much money, but focused attention, I have a loving family, beautiful home, nice car, steady (albeit low) income, and I travel a lot. I will be leaving for a 2 year solo trip after my son goes to college because I put money away in order to fulfill all my dreams. The author’s view points out how easily people can limit themselves, despite attempting to break free of social roles and expectations. We can have it all if we dare to break free of the confines of our own thoughts and beliefs.

  62. I did read a few comments on here, i found that few people understand that every person is wired different… one guy mentoined that we make our life sound better and are delutoined… no… I’m a solo traveler, i always wanted kids, but I could not conform to that lifestyle, 3 years later got divorced, we all have a sacrifice we have to make… if you travel solo… the chance that you meet a girl wired like you is seldom. But if you feel we making it sound like we living the life, maybe you should try it… there is people who loves the 9-5 world, sometimes im jealous, because i like the idea… but then I was there and my spirit was tied up… currently in u.k… October in S.A and February in China for a year… see you guys on the road… I loved this blog

  63. I love this! I just wrote a blog on traveling solo and you’ve hit the name on the head! I knew there was a valid reason for why I’m single at 32!

  64. To all solo traveler… here hat’s off to you 🎩
    I’m married and I’m liking that I can travel alone once in awhile. I love, appreciate and very proud of myself for doing it and all on my own.
    💪 My solo travel taught and made me realize how capable and brave I am. Challenging myself to take one more step outside my emotional comfort zone. I smiled 😁and more social with other people. When we’re with someone, we don’t get a chance to do that. We seemed deeply invested in the walls we’ve built around us and afraid of what will happen if we let anyone in. I wasn’t sure I could do it, but decided to lower my guards down, and it was wonderful✨. Onward, I will nurture, never doubt, and will love myself unconditionally 💖. I’m looking forward to my next solo adventure and yes, making more new friends in faraway place 🌏.

  65. Brilliant article. I can’t stand most travel articles, they’re too wishywashy, but this had me enthralled all the way through. It also hit incredibly close to home, and precisely sums up my life, in every single way.

  66. I have travelled extensively solo, I must say yes it has its virtues, independence, freedom, time for reflection and personal growth, but I must also say after a time, it becomes somewhat lonely and weary. Many times I have seen beautiful breath taking scenery only to feel alone, and wishing I was with someone who I cared deeply about to share it with. I am not disagreeing with this article but like everything there are pros and cons. this article is extremely one sided in my opinion. Thats all. almost like written by someone who is trying to reassure themselves that there solo condition is one of choice and optimal and trying to drown the small voice of loneliness.

  67. I found this quite insightful. I am currently in a hostel in Vienna feeling exactly like this. I have mainly travelled solo over the past 5 years.
    Originally I wanted to tour USA, it had long been on my bucket list.
    Since then if I couldn’t get friends or family to visit a place I was interested in, I flew solo.

    Sadly I actually feel alone now, whereas before it was liberating.
    I think it’s subjective though. Some can carry on travelling solo their whole life, some will repulse at the thought of solo travel. Then some will change their tune at some point. I think I’m now the later. It would be much more meaningful to share experiences with another.

  68. Awesome read! Loved it as I can relate a lot to it. Thank you for expressing solo travelling so eloquently.

  69. you forgot the Gift of the Gab while travelling.
    I concur 100% with your findings: I’m flying solo even in my home country.
    Best wishes from a ‘know- it- all’, Helen

  70. Susanna Nicastro Reply

    Thank you Johanna for putting into words what I’ve been trying to work through these last few years. There’s no going back.

  71. This world really stinks today as it is, and going solo traveling is the worst of all. Having a love life and going together, is the way to go.

  72. Susan Snyder Minckley Reply

    I don’t recall Rick Steves or Christopher Elliott ever sounding this smug or arrogant.

  73. Mate my job is actually traveling and I’ve been doing it for over 15 years, I found love and deep connections and still think everyone else is just like me… Regardless if they travel or not. There are good people everywhere with things to teach you, there are no normal people and special people.. just people. Regardless maybe you had good intentions when you wrote this to inspire others just think you are going in a dangerous direction here… Just tell people to get out there and open their minds the world is smaller than it looks ;)) Happy travels

  74. What the article absolutely lacks is humbleness and the awareness of being so privileged to be able to “travel solo” whenever you want. If everyone traveled solo all the time, who would drive your buses, make your beds, serve your food while traveling? I am a female in her thirties who has traveled solo extensively (30 + times I guess) and becoming wiser and older, it didn’t feel as free and wild on the last trips as I am much more aware of the impact on societies, less privileged people etc. While in rich countries it might indeed be a personal choice to go on solo travels or any trips at all for that matter, trust me there are billions of humans who do not have this choice in life and do not exactly wait to encounter your “free wild solo spirit”.

  75. I’ve always been somewhat undateable/bad at love and I’m okay with that because I have a cat now. I think this article might be trying to say that some free spirited people love their independence and excitement for travel more than any person. Or that they have used travel (and a cat) to fill a big void in their lives that is traditionally filled by a life partner.

  76. Ooof! Some of these comments are brutal and much of the criticism is fair. I wrote this article back in 2016 as a freelancer, briefed to speak to a specific section of the solo travel community. I guess back then, I never expected it to attract so much attention, although that’s what it was designed to do. Much of this post included my views, but amped up to create an engaging post, one that would resonate with some (and clearly repel others). The tone lacked humility and on reflection, I would give it a damn good edit.

    I had to lock down my social media accounts on the back of this and many of these comments feel intensely personal. It was written for a brand and not my personal blog – back then that felt like a clear distinction between me and being paid to write to brief. That was naive and I’ve been far more cautious with the writing I’ve put out into the world ever since. Some of these comments have caused me to reflect and it’s definitely been a learning curve, so thank you.

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