Are you traveling by yourself?
I heard this a lot when I went to Folly Beach, South Carolina, close to Charleston. Was it said in pity or amazement?
“Yes,” I said.
Some couldn’t let go of that. Women, mostly, were with their sons, daughters, other women and even grandchildren.
Of course, most were with their partners, admiring the sunset. See the picture above.
I too was enthralled by the picture book sunset. Folly Beach reminds me of a little Key West, bur a lot closer to Asheville. It’s funky, with restaurants, coffee shops, not much culture, but, oh, that beach.
It was too cold for me to swim. In the morning, it was breezy enough that I needed a light jacket. I walked and walked the beach, meeting people and their dogs. It’s so much easier to talk to new people – I hate the word “stranger” – when you’re alone.
I often say that I’m a group person.
Beth and I walked the Camino del Norte together. With discussion and compromise, we both had a wonderful time. But we knew what the purpose of the trip was: to walk the whole trail. We met other people who opened up the conversation.
There are whole books, articles and blogs devoted to traveling alone, especially if you’re a woman. Most tell you about group travel, so that you end up not alone. Or they expound about safe places… I don’t want to go to “safe places”; I want to go to specific places I’m interested in.
OK – so Folly Beach isn’t exactly a beach in Indonesia, but this is where I wanted to go for three days. I didn’t have an agenda other than not having an agenda – very different from most of my travels.
“What if something happens?” People ask.
“Be more specific,” I say. Most of the time they can’t. Actually, something negative did happen – no, no one bopped me on the head or pickpocketed my wallet. I may (or may not) write about it.
But everyone was friendly.
Folly Beach is the kind of town where you can strike up a conversation with someone on the beach, street or café. Most places are, if you take the first step. It was obvious that I was by myself while window shopping, on the beach or eating dinner. So what?
Whatever concerns I may have about traveling alone, I had the same with a partner.
Don’t run out of gas
Have cash at all times.
Know the name, address and phone number of where I’m staying….
So, yes, I am traveling alone. Folly Beach is the least adventurous place I’ve been to or plan to go.
What is your experience? Do you like to travel alone?