Table For One

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As I write this I am 8 days into a solo road trip along the NSW South Coast.

It’s not the first time I have holidayed alone. That was last year when I went away for 5 days to Port Stephens. It was that first time that was an epiphany for me in more ways than one. At 29, I was holidaying by myself for the first time ever. And it was by far the best holiday of my life. I was free to do what I wanted to do. Free to go where I wanted to go. Free to wake up when I wanted to wake up. And more importantly, free to change my mind as and when I wished. Not that I am a control freak or anything.

When I told people about the current road trip, most were surprised. I got comments like “You’re so brave” (especially as it was a trip with nothing booked…seeing where the universe takes me and all that…) or “Don’t you like your friends?” (tongue-in-cheek but still…), or just “Wow!” In fact, during that Port Stephens holiday last year, at a whale watching cruise, the guy checking our tickets mentioned to me and another girl travelling solo “So it’s just a table for one, huh?” I remember not being too pleased with that comment and made a sarcastic remark back.

I think people find it intriguing that someone would actually want to holiday on their own. And not even with one of those tour groups where you end up meeting different people anyway. Don’t get me wrong. I love my friends and I love adventures with groups. I go on weekend trips with friends every few months, go camping with groups every few weeks and I absolutely love it. And trust me; I wouldn’t want to do those on my own. It’s more fun with groups. But since last years’ experience, I realised that once in a while, I do need to have a solo holiday. To recharge my brain. To learn about myself. To be comfortable with who I am.

It’s not an Eat-Pray-Love-finding-myself journey. Although I have enjoyed my eating! {No praying and sadly, no loving).

But I do believe that time alone and away from the usual routine is good for all of us. I think we need that time to reflect and deal with stuff in our heads and in our lives. I know my social life can be a way to distract myself from some of my uncomfortable thoughts and emotions. It can be a way to forget things for the moment. When you are by yourself, there is little escape. I’m not saying I’ve sorted all my problems but I certainly have learnt to be okay with some of the uncomfortable feelings without needing to escape it all the time. Having said that, when you are on holidays, these feelings do not occur that often!

Solo holidays also help you learn more about yourself. You are more likely to step out of your comfort zone and interact with people you wouldn’t normally interact with. You will be amazed at all that you are capable of when by yourself.

At the end of the day, I believe if you are happy with your own company and with yourself, only then can you be truly happy around other people. The confidence will shine through.

My solo holiday comes to an end soon. I have enjoyed every moment of it. Just as I will continue to enjoy the camping trips and holidays with my friends in the coming months.

It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

You can have the best of both worlds!

Have you ever been on a solo holiday? Would you holiday by yourself?


  • Maryann

    I love travelling alone. Earlier this year I was in Hawaii for a family wedding and found it trying to juggle what everyone else wanted to do with my plans. In the last few years I have travelled to Europe annually, always alone. I have all accommadation booked beforeI leaving Australia as I hate having to find somewhere to stay at the end of long day of travel/sightseeing. Also I get better deals online. I value the freedom to do what I want when I want. To begin with I didn’t like eating alone in restaurants but have become very used to it. I use the time to people watch.

    • Psych Babbler

      Sounds fantastic Maryann…Europe on your own would be an amazing way to meet people. And isn’t people-watching fun?? I love doing that too… :)

  • Tamsin Howse

    I could never travel alone. When the Viking is doing rugby on Saturdays I keep thinking “his is going to be fantastic! I can watch whatever I want and be alone and do whatever I want to do!” and I think I’ll watch movies he doesn’t like and paint my nails, or do a face mask and basically enjoy the time to myself. In reality I start a movie and spend the whole time on twitter or facebook feeling completely lonely.

    I keep thinking I need the time to recharge but I don’t recharge from being alone – I recharge from being with people.

    • Psych Babbler

      I do get recharged way more from being around other people too…especially in the last year. But I find doing this by myself once in a while quite refreshing in its own way. I think the only other thing I regularly do on my own to recharge is the beach in summer…

      • Ozgirl

        the beach sends me batty! I try I really try. I can’t just lie there and do nothing for longer than 30mins…

        I can never get comfy to read (which is what i need to do why i do ‘nothing’) at the beach, eck chair – yes.. but you need to lie on your stomach to get a good tan!

        So Tamsin I would happily chat away with you on a beach!

    • Ozgirl

      Have you ever done the Myer Briggs personality testing?

      One of the things it addresses is what you need to recharge. People either need to be alone or need energy of other people to recharge.

      I need to be alone. If I have a couple of busy weeks/weekends then at least once a month I need time alone, usually all weekend spent in my flat doing nothing.

      • Tamsin Howse

        I haven’t done the test but I’ve heard of that outcome and suspect it applies to me. I need quiet time to recharge but with people, if that makes sense.

        • Ozgirl

          So quietly recharge sitting next to me on a flight :-) no need to chatter!

          Haha – couldn’t resist!

  • Liz @ I Spy Plum Pie

    I traveled to Europe by myself when I was 20, and not on a tour either! Did about 2.5 months solo travelling before I went and studied in Amsterdam, and then did some travelling with friends afterwards. I loved travelling alone, staying in backpackers meant I could find people to go out and do the touristy things with if I wanted to, but I could also spend the day exploring by myself if that’s what I felt like doing. It gives you so much freedom to see things at your own pace (and your own budget!). Even when I traveled with friends we would often split up for half a day if we had different things we wanted to see (or just needed some time out from being with the same 3 people 24hrs a day for 2 months!).

    • Psych Babbler

      Wow…just wow! It took me a long time to be comfortable with my own company but at 20 I think it’s just amazing!

  • Mazi Grey

    I love traveling alone, It means I can do the truly ridiculous stuff my other half is not into.

    I also tend to pack more into a day when alone.

    • Psych Babbler

      Totally agree about how much you can fit in when on your own…plus you can take as many detours as you want without someone else having problems with it! 😀

  • Vidya Sury

    Traveling alone is wonderful. I’ve done it several times and find it absolutely liberating, perspective-changing and great for memory-making!. Loved your article, Psych!

    • Psych Babbler

      You’ve summed it up very well Vidya! :)

  • Corinne Rodrigues

    I’m glad you did this for yourself, Psych. I think it’s important even for people in a relationship to do this from time to time. My husband and I have taken trips for ourselves and enjoy eating out alone from time to time.

    • Psych Babbler

      Oh I agree Corinne…it’s important even in a relationship! But I am not sure how many couples actually do that!

      • Tamsin Howse

        We don’t!

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  • Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me

    I’m in awe and also jealous of this solo travel. As you know I get no me time these days and this sounds fabulous, although I’m sure I would miss my trio of terrors!

  • 26 Years & Counting

    I think I could use one right now!

  • Ozgirl

    I have traveled a lot alone.

    Now I am wishing i had someone to experience the trip with.

    But I am worried… Even when i have travelled with friends I usually fly on a different flight (or one couple who fly busines while I am in cattle!) and the couple of times I have travelled with friends on the same plane/same class I have been annoyed at the inability to do my usual routine and find I don’t get anywhere as much “rest/sleep” on the plane with the overly excited chatter wont stop talking!

    I like to fly at night to maximize my days on holiday but it defeats the purpose if you don’t get to rest on the plane!

    • Tamsin Howse

      Haha, I can just picture you attempting to strangle me on the flight.