My main fear about embarking on this solo holidaying malarkey was one of safety. It was never really about what other’s would think of me when I was out there. HOWEVER, from talking to a lot of other people who are considering doing this, the latter seems to be the most pervasive fear, and I want to abolish it by summarizing the general reaction I received when I was abroad on my own. Note: I was drunk 60% of the time, so may have rendered me slightly thicker-skinned than usual, but I’m still pretty sure I’d have remembered any personal slurs.
Generally I was not approached. Not by sleazy men. Not by waiters asking me “where’s your husband?”. Not by anyone. I got talking to people when I approached them (hot tip: if you feel like meeting new people when you’re out there, approach someone to ask them to take a photo of you and it kick starts a chat nicely) and once we were in a conversation and I revealed I was holidaying solo, these were the typical reactions:
1. “Oh that’s great, how are you finding it?” (Standard polite response)
2. “Good on you, I could never do that” (Cue absolute #SmugFace on my part)
3. Ooh, can you recommend any good places to go/things to see? (Nice, made me feel like I was some kind of intrepid exploring expert)
4. A blank look of “so what?” (possibly the best reaction as it reminds you that what you’re doing IS NOT WEIRD)
The worst I got was a “Oh No” and a borderline pitying look before I said “No its cool, I’m loving it” at which point their look quickly turned to respect (I like to think).
The tip here is – never go on the defensive with a tirade about how the only reason you’re holidaying alone is because-you-don’t-have the-patience-to-wait-for-someone-to-come with-and-that-you-have-lots-of-friends-really-and-who-needs-men-anyway-and-its-a-good-chance-to-catch-up-with-your-reading and blahdy blahdy blahdy blah. That, my friends, smacks of someone not comfortable with who they are. Which you clearly are, to have had the balls to do this in the first place.
So, never fear. Everyone is far too absorbed in their own insecurities to give a shit about yours. They’ll be admiring you at best, and disinterested at worst.
It’s like the wearing a-bikini-on-the-beach metaphor – no-one thinks your bum looks big, they’re just wishing they had your legs.