My Solo Traveler Questions Answered
By Katie Johnson, writer and guest aboard the Legacy - katiej.org
Why travel solo? Maybe it’s “me time,” getting to do what you want when you want, or a much-needed break from your job/kids/life. The reasons to travel solo are many, but what a lot of people—including myself, at first—don’t realize is how well-suited UnCruise Adventures is for solo travelers.
From the moment I was welcomed aboard and handed a glass of bubbly, I felt like I had a built-in friend group. I found the other passengers were in the same place for the same reasons. And although those reasons ranged from wildlife to glaciers, a love of kayaking to a need to simply get out of town and into the wild, we all chose this experience. We had a common ground and, as I learned, a few common interests. On my UnCruise conversation rolled like waves. There were bursts of laughter and moments of relaxation in between the activities. I had times of both quiet and connection.
On the first activity on the first day in Alaska, my group was the first out on a “ladies skiff.” Was it an intentional grouping by our guides? Maybe. All I knew is that as one of three solo travelers (all women) it felt good, and downright cool, to be the first troop out to see the glacier in a group of women led by women. Would it have felt different if I’d had a traveling companion or the group hadn’t been all women? Perhaps. I had an unforgettable time slicing through the glassy water to a massive white glacier that had been evolving and changing for thousands of years with this group of women. It was an experience we all shared together—and just one instance of easy community.
What about the other activities? Other solo travelers wondered, “Who am I going to kayak with?” But just as each traveler is different, each traveler’s group dynamic is different. A solo parent whose kids wanted to kayak together became a paddling partner for a solo. And the “hard-charger” and “take-it-easy-on-board” couple meant solo travelers had someone to adventure with while the other settled in with a good book on board. Activities were organized by type and level, so while it was common for groups and couples to opt to go on the same activity, there were many cases in which people signed up to do the thing they most wanted to do and were most comfortable doing: Hard-chargers with hard-chargers. Beginning kayakers in kayaking 101. Those with a fascination for the tides’ tiny creatures on a slow-paced, inquisitive beachcomb. These groupings created adventure troops of like-minded and like-leveled folks.
“And what about meal times?” some wondered. “Will I eat alone?” Only if you want to. I and other solo travelers were “adopted by families.” Retired parents traveling with their adult children were more than happy to welcome us into their tribe. Open seating made for varied dining companions. Some found their people and sat together at every meal while others mixed it up and plopped down next to those they hadn’t yet met at each meal.
That precious “alone time?” I found that, too. I stepped away from the group and turned a beach party into a quiet meditation, and climbed on a paddleboard to experience those secluded waters in a whole new way. Plus, my cabin was always there for me, comfortable and with a view. The captain even called out wildlife sightings and played evening presentations over the intercom so nobody missed out on any of the action. This was my UnCruise. My only question after was, “where will I go next?”