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. 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.


  2. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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!

  9. 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 🌏.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

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

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. Susan Snyder Minckley Reply

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

  18. 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

  19. 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”.

  20. 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.

  21. 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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