Wednesday, December 05, 2007

One Is No Longer the Loneliest Number

A friend of mine told me that survey says the number one fear is the fear of traveling alone - it even tops the fear of public speaking.

My ears burn and cheeks flush if I have to speak to a large audience. It makes me anxious. In fact, I'm already stressing out about having to present at our company sales training in January - and it's more than a month away!

Traveling alone, however, is something I enjoy thoroughly. But it does have its inconveniences - not being able to share the cost of hotel stays, for example, is one of them. A New York Times article today perked me up - apparently, the travel industry has taken notice and expanded their offers to attract more solo flyers. Now THAT's good news.

I should also add that the comments are much more interesting than the article itself. I'd like to meet all the solo travelers out there! :)

Added on December 6, 2007:

Thanks for your comment, Bill. :) Nairobi, Kenya is definitely the most unusual. I'm not sure I'd even brave a visit, not to mention LIVE there. But like you said, people fear the unknown and the unfamiliar.

Here's my comment on the NYT article:

"It's so nice to read through the comments here and find people who are as addicted to traveling alone as I am. Some find it intimidating, but for this group it's an absolutely freeing and elevating experience. To be on your own, navigating through a new city or country, do whatever your heart desires, and make no comproises.

I had the best experiences in Sydney, London, and Kyoto. I agree with what most of you said here, that booking independently allows you more freedom AND saves you money. We have the Internet now - just go to the travel sites and start comparison shopping. Alternatively, if you have impromptu change of plans, get help from the local tourist information center. Those guys helped me get last-minute hotel rooms in Venice, Brussels, and Amsterdam, all for very reasonable prices.

The adventure, the risk, the uncertainty, and the chance meetings are all part of the allure. It's nice to have the option of pairing up with other solo travelers.... but those elements ARE the core of traveling alone. That's what makes it addictive.

— Kristen, San Francisco, California"


Bill said...


That's interesting - I wouldn't have thought that traveling alone would be the number one fear. Guess that's just one example of how people's perception of others has changed over the years ... we often expect the worst from others and I guess fear getting into situations alone on the road.

Personally, I travel alone quite a bit and, in addition to the solo travels/vacations, have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to live overseas throughout my time in the Marine Corps (the best was for two years in Nairobi, Kenya). Nothing quite like heading off to a country where you don't speak the native language with a map and your handy "English to *foreign language*) translation book to really get a feel for the people and culture.

As far as public speaking goes -- I never look forward to it but it is one of those evils that can't seem to be escaped from. Funny thing, though, is that I'm better with large audiences than I am with smaller ones. Weird.

Kristen said...

Hats off to you, Bill. Nairobi, Kenya is so unusual - I had to look it up on the map just now (oh where where where in Africa is it?). LOL. How was your safari experience? What were some of the most memorable moments?

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