Une is the loneliest number
Growing up as an only child, I quickly learned how to amuse myself. But even as I’ve grown older, I’ve always loved my alone time: to get lost in a book, to see whatever movie I want, to just be. No matter whether I’m in a relationship or living with my best friends, I still like doing things on my own.
This has translated to being just fine traveling alone. I became a pro at cross-country flights before I hit double digits: visiting my grandparents in Florida for the summer meant a Lunchable, new batteries for my Discman and uninterrupted hours to read. When I couldn’t convince any friends to take a post-grad backpacking trip around Europe last summer, I went by myself—and while it had its ups and downs, I’m so thrilled that I went instead of waiting for someone to join. I quit my job to move to France without knowing a soul—and I’d like to think that it’s worked out for the better.
But as I gear up for one last trip before leaving France, I’m suddenly feeling lonely, instead of just alone. My grand plan was to quit my job a month before my flight back to the States and travel around France. I wanted to see more than just the Cote d’Azur and Paris, to experience the real France outside of its most touristed spots.
The problem is, so much of France is better with someone. Try to picture bike-riding through the vineyards of Cote d’Or and tasting the world’s best wines by yourself. Or slurping back oysters and sipping champagne at a table for one. A stroll around Lac Annecy, wandering through Paris by night, a gastronomic experience in Lyon…all toute seule. France is one of the world’s most romantic countries, and thus, most of its destinations are better à deux. Even having a girlfriend to roll eyes with when you see an saliva-swapping French couple is better than nothing.
Plus, I’ve already hit the main tourist destinations in France—and there are only so many churches, castles and musées des beaux-arts that I can take. Thus, traveling to lesser-known places in France will focus on eating and wandering: two things that are fine by yourself, but almost always better when you have someone to chat with.
The cost of traveling by my lonesome is also adding up. I’d love to graduate out of backpacker dorms, but it’s really all I can afford. Bed and breakfasts, private hostel rooms or classy hotel rooms would all be affordable to share—but impossible by myself. Many of the destinations I’d love to visit aren’t easily accessible by train, but the cost of renting a car just isn’t financially (or environmentally) responsible as a single.
I still haven’t set an itinerary. Other than meeting a friend in Amsterdam and visiting a friend at Oxford, I’m still wavering about if I really want to do this. Will it end up being a delightful and unforgettable experience, or will I end up feeding my sorrows with dark chocolate and red wine? Will I even get up the guts to book travel and accommodation?
Any tips to tackle couple-friendly destinations on your lonesome?