like strangers watching you when you sleep? travel solo!

Jolted out of my slumber by a change in the tracks, I wrenched an eye open.

Two hours into my five and a half hour train journey, I’d dropped off mid-paragraph, leaving my book to fall to the floor.

I was slumped in my seat, spine at a playful angle. Hurtling backwards towards my destination, forced to sit opposite a fellow passenger, intimately close, our legs knitted together under the wee table.

And he was watching me. Bald head old man was watching me.

Through a sticky contact-lensed retina, I clocked his eyes on me, monitoring my sleepy movements and looking quite comfortable with it, almost bored, as if he was 90 minutes into a bad movie he’d seen before.

I pushed myself up into my chair, rather unsure about what to do with my eyes. Clawing about on the ground, I quickly righted my book, found my crumpled page, and lifted it, gingerly, in front of my face – blocking out his in the process.

With a swift hand, I wiped the line of drool from my chin and lowered the book.

 

Travelling on your own is great.

You get to do whatever you want. You can meet and mingle with other travellers. You can explore your own independence, find yourself, step outside your comfort zone!

But the actual getting there; the logistics of it all - the trains, the planes, the taxis and tubes and buses; your bags and bits and pieces…it’s no cake walk.

Without a buddy to share the load, the decisions and map reading, things can get pretty frustrating, and at times, weird.

 

Try to fit in the toilet with your suitcase!

Nature doesn’t care if you’re busy trying to get to your connecting flight. When you gotta go, you gotta go. And despite the fact that 80% of people trying to go to the toilet at airports have large amounts of luggage on their personage, the stalls are normal-person-going-about-their-business size. Oh, and the doors swing inwards! Excellent.

So, no one with you to watch your bags? You’re about to get real up close and personal with that Samsonite.

 

Lift your stuff up endless flights of stairs!

Sometimes, when you decide it’s a good idea to buy stuff, your baggage can end up a little heavier than you first intended. Perhaps even too heavy for you to lift on your own.

Cue standing at the bottom and top of train station staircases next to your bag until someone sees fit to help you.

Someone usually helps me, but it could have something to do with being a young female.
Probably also works if you’re very old.

 

Eat by yourself!

If you travel by yourself, you have to get cool with eating by yourself. It still feels weird though, so I avoid it like the plague.

I survive for days on croissants in paper bags chowed mid-walk and Snickers bars. A Lot of Snickers. 

 

Get mistaken for a homeless person!

You’ve got a massive bag. You’re sitting by yourself in the middle of a public area. You haven't washed in 48 hours.

Hot tip: Avoid lying down in parks, and resting on the sidewalk. Oh, hi foreign police officer!

Hannah Keys