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I share Joanna’s feelings. I’ve traveled alone for so long I don’t think I’d care to share any more. I feel so free with no-one around to object is I change my mind, and no-one to criticise if I get lost or board the wrong bus or want to dawdle at a market.
I do think your thoughts are valid though Wendy, although in my case the person I swapped with would be looking after my stay-at-home husband as well as my pets!
what a great series of ideas!
I am divorced as well and never realised until my husband left me how leisure is almost exclusively organised for couples.
Although I rent now, which precludes the swapping, I think, I shall certainly investigate the idea of house sittng.
Kaytee- that’s tremendous!
I did read an article about a single man, and a woman….both had borrowed clothes for their cruise, and came across as wealthy, hoping to attract someone with money. It was only when they dated back in London that they discovered both were penniless….
Grey Wolf …. I have a male friend who often cruises alone and he is not short of a few pennies, but if he is approached by ladies , he tells them it has taken him several years to save for the cruise and new clothes, not helped when his landlord put up the rent on his studio flat. That at least gets rid of the ones who are looking for a rich partner, or at least one who can treat them often
This is a great article, thanks so much for writing about your experiences. We’ll put a link to it in this month’s newsletter so that other Silver Travellers can enjoy reading it too.
That’s an amazingly informative and interesting post Wendy.. I enjoyed reading that. My you were up early this morning !!!
I take it when you actually stay at these places , the people who normally dwell in it aren’t actually there ?
I’ve often found in group package holidays you usually want to get as far away from the group as you can, as far away as possible in fact. Mind you, I do that anyway without having to go on holiday with limited success and it’s a salient point what price privacy if actually even exists anymore ? Well worth considering.
I was actually discussing this the other night with someone ,whether it exists or not I don’t know : singles holidays for people who wish to stay that way. By that, I mean not being sat next to some recent widow or divorcee only too keen to give you the whole ( usually alcohol fuelled) damsel-in-distress-sob-story in grotesque detail whilst making intrusive, invasive, flirtatory gestures with Murray mints or seating arrangements throughout the entire holiday, attaching themselves to you as if by limpet clamp…until the paltry excuses one has to make for their obviation become increasingly implausible and met with looks of pained rejection. It usually starts with: "Oh, I’m so helpless with seatbelts/luggage carrying/getting off a coach" …and continues from there to "Is that book good then ? What’s it all about ?" and progesses to over voluble laughter at any mildly amusing remark and assertive retorts eg. to: "I’m with somebody else." (whether I am or not) "-Well I can’t see them. What’s so special about her anyway if she’s not even here ?" It becomes a less than mild form of harassment.
You may laugh but it is not just women who become targeted objects of desire on such holidays…talk about bird boxes…
I had to face the challenge of solo travelling when I was widowed in my mid-40s. Most of my friends had partners, so I tried a few group holidays – some more successful than others. Then, in my mid-50s, when the children were properly launched, I read an article called ‘Gap Years are Wasted on the Young.’
So I took a rather extreme decision to head off round the world with little but a rucksack and optimism. It was the most extraordinary journey – I now have a few friends I enjoy going away with, but love heading off alone. Yes, it can be difficult, but it can also be exciting – I had a close encounter with a tiger in Nepal, and recently returned from discovering the extent of hidden bombs in the jungles of Laos.
You make a good point JohannaNY. On a recent cruise all the solo travellers were seated together and seemed to be having a great time making new friends.
I find traveling alone a lot more fun. You end up meeting more people, it is more sociable and you never have to argue with someone about where to go next.
Here is the link to UK site
When I have organised home sitting via this organisation, it is not subject to the usual restrictions of paid home sitting, so you can come and go exactly as you please, as long as the cats are loved and fed.
My home sitting in Scotland was one place i didn’t go touring around as it was such a perfect place to catch up on some quiet relaxing and enjoyment of the house and surroundings. I was looking after 6 traditional sheep, hens, cats and tropical fish that time!
Although hospitality exchange is rarely the first thing people think about when joining homelink, it often proves to be the most enjoyable. I had a journalist from Paris and her two little girls come to stay with me in London. What a joy they were – off to see Mary Pippins, and returning all singing the songs. When I had to attend a training session for 3 days in Bath I emailed a few members and was invited to stay with a charming couple who shared my interest in art (she was a children’s book illustrator) and home renovation (his bit). Part of this experience is accepting and offering generosity, not just staying somewhere.
There have been something like 30 home/hospitality/sitting experiences in the past twenty year.
I did have one negative experience in all my years of home exchange and I will relate it to you here. I was emailed by a couple of my own age from a part of Canada I won’t disclose (just in case!), who wanted what is called a non-simultaneous exchange. This meant they wanted to stay with me in London, and at some time I would stay at their home later. I exchanged detailed information with them about the facilities and location of my home, making sure I let them know that the bathroom was not quite what they might expect in north America. I learnt to do this as the shower over the bath idea seems primitive to some nationals. I sent them photos of every room! Just before they were due to arrive my father in Australia was hospitalised and i need to fly to see him straight away.
At the time I had no serious intentions of visiting Canada, but knew their chances of finding a home exchange in the middle of summer, with little notice, were slight. So here they were being offered the whole house to themselves, for 10-14 days, just 15 minutes by train from the centre of London. I left the key for someone to meet them and open up for them. They arrived. The next thing I knew was that several weeks later the home exchange organiser contacted me to say these people had laid a complaint against me! Well, what could it be? It seems they didn’t think the accommodation was quite up to their standards. I explained they were sent full photos and that I didn’t cancel their visit when I had a family crisis, and that I had not even stayed in their home.
This was so rare it is the only negative thing I can remember. Don’t let it put you off.