So the being alone starts for me from the second I leave the house and I usually go long distances by train. So I walk to the station, get on the trains and arrive at my hotel on my own. With my lack of natural direction, I am always grateful to find all stations, platforms and hotels without getting too lost… 🌼
But let’s talk about being on the train for a second. As a solo train traveller, it’s inevitable that you will have to sit next to strangers. Over the last 12 months or so, I have sat next to a fair amount of man-spreaders (gents, it IS possible to sit with your legs together), the odd too loud headphone wearer, the people taking calls on speaker and my personal favourite, the ‘need a shower or some big-ass deodorant’ seat-mates. All lovely 🙅.
But I find the way to deal with all of the above is distraction. I am not above a little chat with a seat-mate, but mostly I just want to have a bit of me-time, which usually involves my headphones and a podcast. I am lucky, in that I have always been comfortable with my own company and the more I do travel solo, the more I am ok with it.
Once I get to the hotel, I find that I feel more comfortable if I do things to the hotel to make it feel like mine. At home, all my stuff is in the same place and I know where everything is which is just a small part of what makes it actually feel like home. So I basically follow the following 4 steps to feel settled in:
- I immediately unpack, clothes hung up and on shelves/in drawers.
- I put my toothbrush and other toileteries in the bathroom.
- I set up where I am going to charge my various devices
- I connect to the WiFi.
So I know that this sounds very simplistic, but most hotel rooms are a variation on a theme and so settling in to the room can really settle me, ready for whatever I am up to in a new city. It becomes my home, my safe haven, so after a busy day (usually talking to people I don’t know that well) I can come back and in relative comfort, decompress. (It takes a lot of energy to be in a new place, taking to new people for 7 hours).
I mentioned in my Trains blog, that I often download films and TV series to watch on the journey, but if there is decent WiFi in the hotel, I also make the most of Netflix and YouTube to make myself laugh and even just relax before bed.
Of course, the one thing I do every night come hell or high water is make the most of FaceTime. These days, being away from home isn’t like you are cut off from people – video chatting means that we are so connected these days, I am not sure “miss you” always applies.
But one thing is for sure, is that just a few simple steps can make a bland hotel room, certainly “homey” if not home. I have even contemplated taking a candle with me, but I too worried about it setting off the fire alarm!!
Anyway, I think it’s ok to be nervous travellers, I am one and I still travel on an almost daily basis. Hope you’ve enjoyed this mini series and I would love to hear any tips you have too.