Author Topic: Making friends while (unhappily) solo traveling?  (Read 2619 times)

bridget

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Making friends while (unhappily) solo traveling?
« on: November 18, 2018, 03:18:22 PM »
This context is pretty sad for me, but I'll probably be going on a ten-day vacation to Mexico by myself in a few weeks.  My husband and I planned it as an anniversary trip several months ago, and I've really been looking forward to it.  Most of the largest expenses have already been paid and are non-refundable, and I really need a break from my high-stress job. 

However, several events have intervened since then, and I am pretty sure that my husband and I will end up separated.  He doesn't want to go on the trip - it makes him too sad.  I don't want my marriage to end, but I see why he does. 

In the meantime, it looks like I'll be traveling by myself.  I don't want to invite any one else to go with me, because a) what a bummer would I be as a travel companion, and b) I want him to stay invited in case he changes his mind and wants to go with me. 

Does anyone have ideas for making friends while solo traveling?  I'll be staying at a boutique hotel with only 8-10 small beach houses and a single area for food, so I will likely meet fellow hotel stay-ers.  I have signed up for a three-hour Spanish class each day, and the Spanish school has optional group activities in the afternoons, so I'll probably go to more of those than I would have with my husband for some socialization.  I don't need to be in constant contact with other people, but it would help to not feel so lonely and sad if I could make some at least short-term acquaintances while I'm gone.  On prior trips I've taken with my girlfriends, I've made day-friends with some solo travelers and it didn't feel awkward from my perspective. 

Thoughts?  I know it seems silly to focus on this short-term period of time while I'm staring down a lifetime without the person I thought I would spend it with, but it seems like the next big thing I have to deal with.  And I'd rather think about this than how to handle Christmas with my family and their questions (thank goodness we had already planned to not go home for Thanksgiving). 

Dee18

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Re: Making friends while (unhappily) solo traveling?
« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2018, 08:14:19 PM »
Sounds like your language class will be great.  If you donít like eating dinner alone, then go ahead and ask someone in the class to make dinner plans.  Get food to go and arrange to FaceTime with a friend for dinner. Or ask the hotel where is a good place to go for people watching at dinner.  Donít feel like you should only interact with other singles.  Couples and small groups also enjoy meeting new people.

Iím sorry for your loss.  I know over the past year youíve talked about buying a house and maybe having children soon, so I know there is much to grieve.  Itís great that you are still going, recognizing that you need a break from work.  Stock up whatever you like...for me it would be fiction, for others it might be movies. When Iím stressed I also find it helpful to get lots of exercise, basically to wear myself out so I sleep better.


RyanAtTanagra

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Re: Making friends while (unhappily) solo traveling?
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2018, 03:14:07 PM »
This is a hard one for me, as I'm fairly quiet and very introverted.  However, I do like people in general and enjoy (even need) socializing in short bursts.  Might not be the idea you're looking for, but the best thing I've found for meeting people on vacation is finding a local pub I like the vibe of and hanging out, chatting with the regulars.  I'll do my own thing during the day, but it's nice to have a place to go at the end of the day where I start to see some familiar faces that go 'hey!' when I walk in.  If it's a pub with decent food, even easier.  My last trip, by the end of the week I was getting mistaken as a local.... by locals, which was probably too much time at the pub, but I really felt at home on that trip, it was nice.  I definitely could have stayed longer.

bridget

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Re: Making friends while (unhappily) solo traveling?
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2018, 05:36:31 PM »
I've gone to dinner by myself on business trips, and I never know what to . . . do?  Staring at my phone the whole meal is neither fun and seems kind of affirmatively unfriendly.  Doing nothing and kind of staring around while I eat my food feels awkward. Is reading a book or newspaper the only option?  I kind of feel like I'll have read my fill while at the beach. 

I think I'll sign up for more "guided" tours than I normally would.  Spending a whole afternoon with a group of 8-12 people seems like a good way to get at least some friendly chats in, even if I don't see them later.

Cassie

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Re: Making friends while (unhappily) solo traveling?
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2018, 05:51:35 PM »
Guided tours are a great idea. People tend to be friendly and talk to others while on vacation. Have you guys tried counseling?

lhamo

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Re: Making friends while (unhappily) solo traveling?
« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2018, 07:19:51 PM »
I would just be friendly with the people in your classes and activities, and see who shares interests, etc.  -- you probably will find a few people interested in seeing or doing similar things to you who you can spend a few evenings with.

Take some good books and pamper yourself, too!

couponvan

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Re: Making friends while (unhappily) solo traveling?
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2018, 09:13:47 PM »
We had a lady in my study abroad program in Puebla during college 25+ years ago that was married/almost separated. She was a little older than us - 5-6 years? She was our unofficial ďmomĒ figure that we took to all the bars with us and she made us feel safer. Looking back, she ended up making out with an underage guy....who said he was 20, but was only 16 I think (how he got into the college program at that age I donít know)....it got messy the last week when all that came out. Our program was a month long, though so we had more time for group bonding and weekend goofiness.

Iím sorry to hear about the possible separation or divorce. Law is hard on a marriage. Take some books - lounge by the pool - walk along the beach - get a massage - sleep (earplugs and a sleep mask) - heal.

Novik

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Re: Making friends while (unhappily) solo traveling?
« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2018, 12:20:29 PM »
Sorry to hear the news, bridget. I hope some of the suggestions for travelling solo help. For eating along, I'd also recommend a book, but you could mix it up with an audiobook, podcast, or crossword/sudoku as well (or those for the beach, and normal book for meals).


I don't want to invite any one else to go with me, because a) what a bummer would I be as a travel companion, and b) I want him to stay invited in case he changes his mind and wants to go with me. 

You know best, but I'd suggest trying to line up someone to be your "absolutely last minute" trip person. Someone who is retired (older relatives?), working a job with flexibility, or who might be on school break... Maybe someone who lives close to mexico that last minute flights aren't too expensive, or who could fly on points? Someone who could do their own thing totally, or alternatively someone who could distract you? They could even only join you after you've arrived, if your husband doesn't go. It might be a long shot to find such a person, but if the idea interests you I hope it works out.

bridget

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Re: Making friends while (unhappily) solo traveling?
« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2018, 02:41:51 PM »
Thanks for all of the support -- I think I'm going to be ok even if I'm there by myself.  @Novik - My sister may be able to come for part of the trip if I need a back up companion, and I think I have enough to do that I'll be ok.  At the very least, I can do what I would have done at home (wallow in a depressed puddle in bed by myself) without having to worry about going to work.

@couponvan - I can say with a good degree of confidence that my job had nothing to do with this development.  If anything, my husband may have been happier in our relationship if we spent less time together.  (and p.s. I have zero intention of making out with anyone -- much less anyone who could even CONCEIVABLY be underage.  Good grief!).

bridget

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Re: Making friends while (unhappily) solo traveling?
« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2018, 09:21:54 AM »
In case anyone is looking for an update - my sister came with me, we had a lovely time, and because she couldn't come for the whole trip I had 2.5 days of solo time, in which I did not feel lonely at all but instead felt refreshed. I am 100% sure the trip would not have been as pleasant if my husband came with me (which is a pretty good sign that splitting up is the right move, even if it sucks). Thanks for all the support!

Tuskalusa

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Re: Making friends while (unhappily) solo traveling?
« Reply #10 on: December 22, 2018, 09:26:19 AM »
Thanks for checking in!  I was wondering how it worked out. Sounds like it was fun!

Wishing you a year of happy new beginnings in 2019!

couponvan

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Re: Making friends while (unhappily) solo traveling?
« Reply #11 on: December 26, 2018, 10:16:07 PM »
I am glad it worked out and I think you will be ready for a fabulous 2019!

gatortator

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Re: Making friends while (unhappily) solo traveling?
« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2019, 08:24:20 AM »
big hugs to you across the internet-both for finding a solution and the need to find the solution.  yeah for feeling refreshed despite everything.

GreenEggs

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Re: Making friends while (unhappily) solo traveling?
« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2019, 06:29:56 AM »
bridget,


You should ask your husband's best friend, or his arch nemesis, to go on the trip with you.  ;)


(Just a bit of humor for you.) 


This trip might turn out to be wonderful for you.  Just put on a happy face and be as freindly as you can.  Traveling solo allows you to do whatever you want whenever you choose.  You can chat with anyone that seems friendly and you can be as spontanious as you desire.  Enjoy.  :)