Question 1: Who are you going on holiday with?
Question 2: Why?
If I had a penny pound tenner for every time somebody asked me that question, my holiday would be almost gratis! Alas, I do not. And for all you ‘brave’ peeps holidaying on your own for the first time, here are a few tips from my one-time experience. (I’m often hesitant to provide tips on a topic I don’t have a lot of experience in, but I’m living it now and it isn’t as bad as people make it out to be by their concerned looks and queries as to why exactly I was forced to holiday alone. It was not forced, guys! This was a sober, much-needed, much-wanted choice. I chose to holiday alone. And to be honest, I’m happy I did!)
Eleven beautiful discoveries and ‘musts’ about holidaying alone in Marbella.
- The sun shines even when the clouds cover it! And you can definitely still catch a sun burn through the clouds. Boo hoo.
- Everybody is so friendly.
- My air boot gets so much attention I might start to name it. People think I’ve holidayed alone, but really I have all the company I need once people notice the boot. It’s a people-magnet and major conversation-starter. Which leads me to my next point…
- If you don’t like the idea of holidaying alone because you think you’ll be ‘lonely’, think again! I’ve met a couple of people here – young and old – who are holidaying or have in the past holidayed alone. They survived. They met friends. They had fun.
- Lie by the pool. There’s tons of people by the pool. Today I met a 10-year-old Norwegian boy who made the pool look so much fun I ended up jumping in and going for a swim myself too! Apparently ‘swimming is like riding a bike’ said the other woman I was chatting to from about midday to 6pm today. I didn’t get her name. Let’s call her Linda. So I listened to Linda, slid into the deep end – literally and metaphorically – and ended up not drowning and actually remembering how to swim! Who knew, eh! Swimming really is like riding a bike; you never forget!
- Speak the language. Well, as much as you can. The extent of my Spanish over here is: ‘hola!’, ‘ciao!’ and ‘gracias!’. ALWAYS learn how to say ‘hello’, ‘bye’, ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ wherever you are in the world. It’s just the fundamentals of respect; let’s call it travel etiquette 101.
- Hotels with everything in it are wonderful things. My checklist before travelling was:
- By the beach
- Fitness centre
- Not too many kids
- Don’t be afraid of compromise (sometimes). There isn’t a fitness centre here so I’ve been a fatty and not exercised until today. I also had to compromise on the ‘all-inclusive’ side of things because I’m not living on a footballer’s wife’s budget (If I was, I’d be holidaying in the Seychelles not Marbella), and I barely eat on holiday anyway. I went for one-below – half-board which is equally awesome and I am counting the gazillion laps of the pool (about 30 mins of swimming), the 20 sit-ups, 10 press-ups and 20 leg rises as my ‘exercise’ for the week. I may repeat this process for the duration of my stay now I’ve discovered my body’s hidden talent at swimming! Ps. You know you’re an athlete when you start a new ‘hobby’ aka swimming and your mind starts taking you to the Olympic final for breast stroke. The thought: ‘maybe I could try my hand at competitive swimming’ actually ran through my mind. And I shoved it right out as quickly as it came in! Darn naturally competitive nature!
- I’m becoming an awesome photographer. (In my mind, anyway. haha) I actually want to buy myself a REAL camera and start a true travellers’ lifestyle for this next stage in life. I’m all for truly experiencing and ‘being in the moment’ of whatever it is you’re doing. Yes, I value true immersion in an activity or experience, but at the same time photos are such a treasure to be able to look back on the beautiful moments in life time may have worn down to the point of forgetting. And photos go hand-in-hand with the stories and tales you can tell your children and grandchildren. I’m sold!
- Nature’s soundtrack. I’m out here to ‘figure stuff out’ and ‘clear my head’. That’s why I’m out here alone without the distractions of well-meaning, good-natured friends and family who are guiding me to what my next steps in life could potentially be. Nature’s soundtrack – the lapping of the sea, birds’ chirping (NOT the annoying squawking seagulls), trees swaying in the wind – what could be a better scene for meditation and connecting with your inner being? I could get this in the UK at home in Manchester. But the rain kind of literally puts a damper on things because I refuse to stand out in the pouring rain ‘figuring stuff out’ and ‘clearing my head’. All I’d get is a cold and a tantrum. Furthermore, home is awash with distractions – external and internal. As I mentioned before – Mum asking me to do something for her, friends wanting to hang out (a pleasure that I should say ‘no’ to when I’m trying to be productive but cannot because I love seeing friends!), family doing the same (that’s a lie; my fam are across the world and it makes me sad that I don’t see them enough…and a lot of my mates too!), TV shows that I have my sister download or record on Sky+ or whatever Freeview provider we are currently with, the internet in general! I’m abroad now so none of that is around to distract me. Yay!
- Grab a kindle/book/newspaper/whatever! Otherwise you may actually get…BORED! Horror!
So that’s my list! I hope it encourages you to take a break as and when you need one! What do you find are the best perks of travelling, whether alone or in a group?