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Travelling alone
Old 03-27-2014   #1
Lauffray
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Travelling alone

I was speaking to a friend and I excitedly mentioned my upcoming travel plans. At one point he asked "Going alone?" and gave me a slightly surprised look when I said yes.

It obviously depends on the trip, but personally I like travelling by myself, especially when the goal of the trip is primarily photographic. But I could definitely do without the justifying every time and the semi-pitying looks.

Is it me or is there some sort of stigma associated with travelling solo ?
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Old 03-27-2014   #2
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Unfortunately I think there is a stigma associated with travelling alone. Same with going to a restaurant alone. Despite having a wonderful girlfriend and being relatively outgoing, I enjoy both. Enjoy your trip!
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Old 03-27-2014   #3
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Some people are weird about doing anything alone. Same thing goes for the movies, a bar, or going to a restaurant alone for some. When I first came to NYC, I didn't know anyone... I did everything alone except for the occasional date. I think people feel like losers alone because they worry about what others think too much. That's their issue, not yours. Enjoy yourself Jerome! Do what works for you.

Unless you have someone who is into photo as much as you, it makes sense to go alone on a photo intensive trip.
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Old 03-27-2014   #4
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As what John says. People have their hangups. Don't let them become yours. Relish the time you have whether alone, with friends, or with someone you care about. Once you get married and have kids, it's hard to find alone time with the responsibilities of family. It all becomes a memory!
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Old 03-27-2014   #5
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I don't mind travelling alone, but the people who seem to get most out of it tend to be much more outgoing than me. I like travelling in company with my partner. But that's just a personal choice. I have friends (male and female) who have cycled to India and beyond on their own, and very much enjoyed the experience.
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Old 03-27-2014   #6
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When the goal of the trip is photography I would strongly prefer to travel alone. Well, even when it is not photography, I enjoy travelling alone (as well as with my family). And I hate to travel with bigger groups...
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Old 03-27-2014   #7
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did several long backpacking trips, and was asked this question also few times. seems some people cannot think of traveling alone, and make friends while on road.

agree that photography can benefit from traveling solo, as there is nobody to get bored while waiting "the photographer" getting his/her perfect shot, or venture into side streets "just in case theres something"
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Old 03-27-2014   #8
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Only the weak need someone with them at all times when traveling, going to restaurants, having hobbies. If they cannot enjoy life by themselves, they've got something wrong. Enjoy your trip, you'll actually meet and talk to more people if along, ironically.
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Old 03-27-2014   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lauffray View Post
I was speaking to a friend and I excitedly mentioned my upcoming travel plans. At one point he asked "Going alone?" and gave me a slightly surprised look when I said yes.

It obviously depends on the trip, but personally I like travelling by myself, especially when the goal of the trip is primarily photographic. But I could definitely do without the justifying every time and the semi-pitiful looks.

Is it me or is there some sort of stigma associated with travelling solo ?
I've traveled by myself in the past and my job also forces me to travel alone all the time and I enjoy it.
I love the freedom of being able to do things my own way and time, not having to wait for anyone.
Plus when alone, it encourages you to socialize and immerse on the places culture unless you like being a hermit.
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Old 03-27-2014   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lauffray View Post
I was speaking to a friend and I excitedly mentioned my upcoming travel plans. At one point he asked "Going alone?" and gave me a slightly surprised look when I said yes.

It obviously depends on the trip, but personally I like travelling by myself, especially when the goal of the trip is primarily photographic. But I could definitely do without the justifying every time and the semi-pitiful looks.

Is it me or is there some sort of stigma associated with travelling solo ?
I travel solo about 6-7 times per year, generally for work (but always with additional non-work time).

As much as it can be lonely at times, I find that the results I get (photographically) are far better when I'm left to my own devices. I don't feel the pull (real or imagined) of placating to someone else's needs/wants; I can go where I please and do what I please.

All that said, all of this is possible because I have a terrific family to come home to, and who support my work and photographic endeavours.
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Old 03-27-2014   #11
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Solo travel can be lonely, but if your primary purpose is photography, then it's essential. I logged 35,000 solo miles by car to make the photographs for the Rock City Barns book in my sig. Likewise, most of the miles for the Georgia Backroads book and the other book projects I'm still working on.
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Old 03-27-2014   #12
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Dave, I've always thought how neat it would be if someone started a development along the coast named Sea Rock City, Georgia.
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Old 03-27-2014   #13
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You're never alone when you travel...

If I'm carrying a camera, I prefer not to bother others with my sudden stops, random walks, or early mornings.
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Old 03-27-2014   #14
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If your aim is photography, you are much better off by yourself. I have had some really bad experiences getting separated from my family when I was concentrating on taking photos.

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Old 03-27-2014   #15
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Whenever I travel, I always find time to go off by myself with my camera. My favorite times in most of my travels has been when I've woken up early in the morning and photographed and wandered around alone. My wife and kids are still asleep, the streets are quiet, and it's the golden hour.

I still carry a camera and shoot here and there the rest of the day, but it's just not the same.
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Old 03-27-2014   #16
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I fantasize about traveling alone a lot. Not business trip + some extra time sort of travel. Like, East asian jungle travel. I've got a young family that just doesn't go well with adventure.

Ah well, I'm sure I'll have the chance once my nest empties.
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Old 03-27-2014   #17
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There's some nasty judgemental stuff going on here.

Whenever I can, I travel with my wife. When I can't, I miss her. To say that this makes me "weak" sounds like a dim insult from an unhappy person. As for photography: well, she's a photographer too. I suppose if you have the sort of wife/girlfriend whose life is bounded by shoes and shopping, she'd be a ball and chain. But my wife isn't. Indeed, she'll often suggest we go places (and take pictures) that I wouldn't have thought of.

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Old 03-27-2014   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
There's some nasty judgemental stuff going on here.

Whenever I can, I travel with my wife. When I can't, I miss her. To say that this makes me "weak" sounds like a dim insult from an unhappy person. As for photography: well, she's a photographer too. I suppose if you have the sort of wife/girlfriend whose life is bounded by shoes and shopping, she'd be a ball and chain. But my wife isn't. Indeed, she'll often suggest we go places (and take pictures) that I wouldn't have thought of.

Cheers,

R.
Roger, I think you took that comment wrong. I think what was meant is that if one cannot do something alone (they HAVE to have someone, anyone, with them at all times), it may be indicative of other issues. I doubt he meant that anyone who misses their partner in life is weak.
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Old 03-27-2014   #19
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You are fortunate, Roger. My wife isn't a photographer (although she has an excellent eye-- also beautiful, as you can see) and she's very tolerant of my stops, starts, and side-trips. But still, when one travels with someone else, one is to some extent restricted by a decent respect for one's partner's needs and wishes.
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Old 03-27-2014   #20
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Roger, I think you took that comment wrong. I think was meant is that if one cannot do something alone (they HAVE to have someone, anyone, with them at all times), it may be indicative of other issues. I doubt he meant that anyone who misses their partner in life is weak.
I sincerely hope so, and if so, I apologize profoundly. But "have to" and "very much prefer" are close enough that I sometimes conflate them.

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Old 03-27-2014   #21
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Hehe, Roger you're a lucky man. My wife is of the anti-mud type (scrutinizes my camera budget too). But heck I can't complain. She does have her virtues.
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Old 03-27-2014   #22
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My wife and son are extremely tolerant of my career and always give me the space when needed. Sometimes just having them around is the perfect excuse for people to leave me alone.
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Old 03-27-2014   #23
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ironically enough, traveling alone is a much better way of meeting people.
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Old 03-27-2014   #24
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I think travel is better experienced alone. It teaches self-reliance and boosts confidence. Enjoy your trip!
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Old 03-27-2014   #25
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You are fortunate, Roger. My wife isn't a photographer (although she has an excellent eye-- also beautiful, as you can see) and she's very tolerant of my stops, starts, and side-trips. But still, when one travels with someone else, one is to some extent restricted by a decent respect for one's partner's needs and wishes.
Dear Dave,

Yes, very fortunate. My argument for travelling together is simply that I gain far more from Frances's presence than I lose. Relaxation, shared wonder, comfort, love, help, understanding... Yes, very occasionally she'll dissuade me from something, but generally only when I'm exhausted anyway.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 03-27-2014   #26
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No, of course there is no stigma. Your friend is, well, unsophisticated. That's what I'll say in this family type space. When I lived in Hawaii the overwhelming number of visitors from outside the U.S. were young singles, or older singles. Or, when single, travel singly. When a couple, travel together.

Been married 11 years now and I love traveling w/ the ol lady. When single, I loved traveling alone. However, there is nothing worse than traveling w/ the wrong person, I remember that vividly.
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Old 03-27-2014   #27
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I think travel is better experienced alone. It teaches self-reliance and boosts confidence. Enjoy your trip!
For kids, maybe.

There's nothing WRONG with travelling alone, or with choosing to do it. I've done it quite a lot. Even since meeting Frances, I've been alone to India a couple of times and Portugal once, and when we've been in India together I've sometimes travelled for a few days without her. But travelling without her has never been as enjoyable as travelling with her.

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R.
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Old 03-27-2014   #28
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. . . Been married 11 years now and I love traveling w/ the ol lady. When single, I loved traveling alone. . . .
Exactly. Except that I've been with Frances for 33 years...

Cheers,

R.
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Old 03-27-2014   #29
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There's some nasty judgemental stuff going on here. Whenever I can, I travel with my wife. When I can't, I miss her. To say that this makes me "weak" sounds like a dim insult from an unhappy person. .... I suppose if you have the sort of wife/girlfriend whose life is bounded by shoes and shopping, she'd be a ball and chain. ...
....he said judgmentally....


My comment was to the anonymous person the original posters talked about, that seemed unable to fathom being alone. There is a season for alone, and for togetherness. I photograph, ride mules, backpack and travel with my wife quite a bit. I also do those things alone quite a bit. Or with a friend. Or with just my kids but no wife. Or with the whole family including the wife....

My point is a well balanced person doesn't always need a wife/girlfriend along. If a person cannot be happy by themselves sometimes, well, life is going to be rough.

Case in point my younger sister-in-law. She and her husband did everything together. He made her ride mountain bikes, she made him go to jewelry shows. They were best friends but the marriage for some reason failed. Now she's trying to build a life, after 10 years of only being 50% of a "married couple."

I'm quite happy with my life. My wife likes 75% of what I do, and let's me enjoy alone time for the other 25%. I do the same. We've been married a quarter century so far...and are doing fine.
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Old 03-27-2014   #30
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My comment was to the anonymous person the original posters talked about, that seemed unable to fathom being alone. There is a season for alone, and for togetherness. I photograph, ride mules, backpack and travel with my wife quite a bit. I also do those things alone quite a bit. Or with a friend. Or with just my kids but no wife. Or with the whole family including the wife....

My point is a well balanced person doesn't always need a wife/girlfriend along. If a person cannot be happy by themselves sometimes, well, life is going to be rough.

Case in point my younger sister-in-law. She and her husband did everything together. He made her ride mountain bikes, she made him go to jewelry shows. They were best friends but the marriage for some reason failed. Now she's trying to build a life, after 10 years of only being 50% of a "married couple."

I'm quite happy with my life. Alone, together, whatever.
Sorry, Garrett. As I say, I apologize for misreading what you said.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 03-27-2014   #31
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I just spent a month alone in SE Asia. I enjoyed the time to myself while also missing my wife. I admit being concerned about motorcycling by myself in Laos and was relieved when I stumbled upon a couple Canadians doing pretty much the same trip.

I was not worried about being alone but something happening (motorcycle accident) which would be easier with a couple other gringos present.

Honestly, I think it depends on the circumstances (don't think I would like to solo Everest).
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Old 03-27-2014   #32
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While in complete agreement with the sentiments expressed so far, there are some settings where it is much better to travel in company. If you plan to travel anywhere where injury is likely and communication poor you really should have a companion. There are technological alternatives such as a Spot.
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Old 03-27-2014   #33
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While in complete agreement with the sentiments expressed so far, there are some settings where it is much better to travel in company. If you plan to travel anywhere where injury is likely and communication poor you really should have a companion. There are technological alternatives such as a Spot.
Or indeed "reasonably possible" e.g 3rd world motorcycle touring).

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Old 03-27-2014   #34
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Originally Posted by Lauffray View Post
I was speaking to a friend and I excitedly mentioned my upcoming travel plans. At one point he asked "Going alone?" and gave me a slightly surprised look when I said yes.

It obviously depends on the trip, but personally I like travelling by myself, especially when the goal of the trip is primarily photographic. But I could definitely do without the justifying every time and the semi-pitying looks.

Is it me or is there some sort of stigma associated with travelling solo ?
Absolutely not. Travel anyway you like. I have traveled the world over both alone and not. Both ways are rewarding.
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Old 03-27-2014   #35
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thanks everyone !
Of course it does depend on the trip, but I mostly wanted to see if anyone else had encountered this reaction
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Old 03-27-2014   #36
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I think anyone who has traveled both alone and with a companion (and anyone else who just thinks about it for a minute) can easily come up with pros and cons for each.

As far as judgement from others, that's their problem.

I especially like traveling alone in the wilderness. For me, that's backpacking in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. I know there are inherent risks in that, but I'm careful and feel the risk is worth what I get from it.

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Old 05-03-2014   #37
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A friend of mine has gone on a number of solo trips to out of the way and often dangerous places, like Tibet, Burma, Laos, and the less citified parts of Thailand. He's an adventurer and enjoys exploiting her personal resources and skllls to get around in such places. I admire that, but have only been on a few solo trips myself, only interstate in Australia.

Not sure if there is a general stigma against traveling alone, but I can see clear benefits to both sides. When traveling alone, you set your own times and pace, go where you want, whenever you want, and do not need to account for someone else.

On the other hand, traveling with a like minded friend or partner means you have someone to watch your back, someone to confer with about experiences and places, and someone to take care of certain tasks while you attend to others.

I spent three weeks in Japan with a great friend who didn't hold up my photography at all, and his intrepid nature led us to all sorts of places. Being military, his sense of direction and orienteering was excellent, so we found our way around surprisingly easily. From my end, I did most of the translation and talking, and organized all the hotels, flights and other logistics. Looking back, I wouldn't have have done it alone, and I would happily do it all over again.

But I'm often out on photo walks by myself, or going shopping, going to shows or gallery exhibitions, and suchlike. It's at those times when I 'get my Zen on', and the need to attend to someone else, even if they are totally independent, is gone. It allows me to focus 100% on my own experience of photography, just me and the camera and the world around me.
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Old 05-03-2014   #38
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I've never traveled alone for a significant amount of time, but it's certainly attractive. You don't have to worry that you're in too much of a hurry, or taking too much time, or the other person is bored etc.
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Old 05-03-2014   #39
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Quote:
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I was speaking to a friend and I excitedly mentioned my upcoming travel plans. At one point he asked "Going alone?" and gave me a slightly surprised look when I said yes.

...

Is it me or is there some sort of stigma associated with travelling solo ?
I don't think there is any stigma associated with travelling alone, but I definitely experience the same surprise / skeptical / slightly critical reaction you report, every time I mention that I'm going to venture on yet anoter of my solo trips. These have led me several times to relatively remote regions of Russia, including a winter Trans-Siberian trip, as well as Japan and Afghanistan.

Some of those trips would just not feel the same if I was travelling with friends or partner, at least those where the point is to inspire a feeling of huge distance from all your known world, of total isolation, of leaving everything behind, not to mention how great it is to feel that you're doing something unique, that most others wouldn't dare do..
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Old 05-04-2014   #40
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I'm definitely a solo traveller myself. I never was much of a people person.

Free time is rare to me. So when I have some, I want to enjoy it to the fullest. That usually means doing some photography related things. nobody I know is into photography quite like me, so I know I'd soon get complaints about the amount of time I'm taking. And I'm not about to cut my fun short to accommodate others.

Two weeks ago I went plane spotting at Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands. Spent five hours on the terrace, snapping some 900 pics while listening to the tower communication. That's pure fun to me, and I know others won't appreciate it like i do.

But here's the kicker: when I told people about my trip, some all but invited themselves to join! They couldn't understand that I wanted to do that alone and that 'together it must be more fun'. Well, to me it isn't. So I politely declined.
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