Are you feeling the urge to strike out on your own but have a few concerns? Don't worry, we've got it covered.
People sometimes have a slightly worried tone when they tell us that they’re signing up to a challenge on their own. As though we may immediately slap a large single supplement on them, or assume it means they have no friends. We always reassure them that the vast majority of people on our trips register alone and return richer in friendship.
Our challenges – whether you are fundraising or not – are different than holidays. Most people wouldn’t dream of going on a relaxing/sightseeing holiday without their partner or a friend. The nature of our trips, pushing yourself physically and mentally each day in the structure of a tight-knit group with professional leaders, is completely different. And if you’re fundraising for months beforehand, it’s a lot harder to do that as a group or couple if you all know the same people.
1. Get Chatting
Travelling solo has many advantages on our trips. For a start, it’s much easier to get talking to other people. When you meet your group for the first time, you’ll find that most people are very friendly and immediately start introducing themselves, but they’re more likely to gravitate to others who are solo, shy of intruding if you’re part of a couple of group of friends.
2. Ice Breaker
On most of our trips, you’ll share a room with someone of the same gender and a similar age. While the idea of sharing a room with a stranger can be a little daunting, it’s also the perfect ice-breaker. You have someone to go to the trip briefing or dinner with, a familiar face when you don’t know many others yet. It doesn’t mean you’ll end up spending all your time with them, but it really helps at the start.
On some of our trips we use dormitories, or you’ll bed down on floors of communal halls, monasteries or home-stays. In the Sahara, we often all sleep out under the stars. Beautiful, and a wonderful way to bond with the rest of the group. Not that romantic for a couple, but nor are wet-wipe washes in an environment with no running water.
3. Go at Your Own Pace
Our trips are designed so that you walk or cycle at your own pace. Unless you have exactly the same speed as your partner – which over consecutive days is rare – you’d be more comfortable walking or cycling with others anyway. I’ve known perfectly fit people completely overdo it by desperately trying to keep up with their faster friends, and couples who doggedly stick together despite the fact that one of them is much fitter than the other. They’re a minority, and it’s their choice, but as a solo traveller you have more freedom to make it your personal achievement.
The supportive nature and group camaraderie is always listed as one of the trip highlights in our feedback. To some extent, it’s far easier to immerse yourself in it if you’re on your own. You’ll meet people of widely varying backgrounds, motivations and experiences, and are more likely to open up to their mutual support and various philosophies than if you always rely on your partner – or feel you have to!
And lastly, BE YOURSELF!
The challenges that you face can push you beyond anything you’ve experienced before. Depending on your reason for taking part in the trip, it can be a pretty emotional time. Tears are shed. We hug a lot. We might also have sense of humour failure when we’re tired or our legs hurt like hell. A solo traveller can enjoy being free of inhibitions, forge friendship bonds for life because no-one’s judging you. That doesn’t mean we all have personality transplants. Just that you don’t have to compromise.
If you've got any questions about embarking on an adventure challenge 'solo,' get in touch.