There isn’t much in this world that I love more than strapping on a backpack, grabbing a Lonely Planet travel guide, and discovering new destinations on my journey. Sadly, it’s been some time since I’ve had the freedom (and funds) to afford a venture of this nature, but there isn’t a day when I don’t think back on the many hostels, the friendly people I met along the way, and the many wrong turns that turned into the best adventures.
This week’s post by author Athena Dennis reminds me of those carefree days. I think back on them with nostalgia and the urge to travel becomes an insatiable itch all over again.
Going solo on a holiday need not mean you’re alone. A Zen phrase springs to mind: “loneliness is only a state of mind”, which is fine sometimes. However, there are plenty of times when a traveler wants companionship and a hug.
You’ve been a single traveler too long when…
You have gone without conversing with others for days or even weeks at a time. A polite cashier makes the mistake of saying ‘Hello, how are you?’, and is treated to a hurricane of conversation for the following 30 minutes.
Hygiene hits an all-time low. Your clothes have a beige and homeless sheen to them. The toothless man on the corner gives you a fist pump of solidarity and says “stay strong.” This is met with confusion on your part, but it’s a disastrous prophecy–from this point forward, you will not have ‘sexy time’, no matter how much you need it. But don’t fear: there are solutions.
Find Couchsurfing cohorts
Couchsurfing connects solo travelers to people in local areas and offers accommodation and companionship. This isn’t a euphemism for sex; in fact it’s not that kind of site. Every kind of person can be found on the site and it buzzes with a wholesome, friendly community vibe.
It brings strangers together and allows them to share each other’s lives. This may sound risky or naïve but the whole system is water-tight. People leave feedback for others on their behavior, so the bad apples are quickly rooted out. Although Couchsurfing states that it’s a no-dating travel community, stranger things have happened.
Internet dating sometimes gets a bad rap, but what you want to be really sure of is being properly matched with someone who shares your interests.
Jazzed Australia uses a sophisticated match-making algorithm that’s based on members’ answers to questions. Things like “what are your secret talents?”, “do you think a sixth sense exists?” and “what does it mean to be powerful?” These are the type of inquiries that require some thought. So hopefully, the guy who has eaten McDonalds for the past 20 years and the girl who was featured in a Songify video won’t come onto your radar (unless that’s what you want).
Top dating destinations
The best dating destinations depend on what type of person you are, and who you are trying to attract. For example, Ibiza is perfect for social butterflies, party animals and sun-worshippers. Barcelona is ideal for culture vultures who like good tapas, nice architecture and street art. Berlin is the city for punks, musicians, artists and those with down-to-earth street cred. Or try Versailles rather than Paris for a laid-back, beautiful city that’s easy to glide through on a bike and has excellent food.
Single and solo travelers take heed. Going to the right place and also having the right hook-ups through sites such as Couchsurfing and Jazzed can work wonders for your social life and, hopefully, your love life as well.