Travelling Solo Tips for the Macho Male - Part 2
This is a continuation of brilliant tips that you should take notice of when traveling solo, even men need a bit of female advice at times . Whereas the tips before were mainly dealing with the "macho" male side of the brain, these tips are more about general travel safety. (Missed Part 1? Find them here)
1. Stay Connected
Stay in touch with those that do care about you, in other words use that social necessity known as Facebook or email, or dare I say Skype. Don't go totally off the radar unless you have pre-warned your friends/family that you are to be in an area where there is no Wi-Fi, which in this day there aren't too many places left in the world. If you are the creative type, start a blog for your adoring masses. In any event, whatever you do, someone may need to get in touch urgently with you to let you know that your granny has just passed on. Or, they may just want to know that you are still on the planet and having fun whilst traveling.
2. See The Light
Use the daylight hours for swapping towns, not the dark of night. I know you think that being a male you can do anything, but everyone gets tired. It is when you are tired that the brain shuts down and belongings get left behind. Unless it is a definite overnight travel by one means only and you can get a bit of shut-eye, don't catch a late night flight that lands in the wee hours of the morning, leaving you exhausted and your brain fried. This scenario is translated into your camera on the train just pulling away from the railway station, with you on the platform and your hands in the air in hopelessness. Possessions left on public transport are definitely not boomerangs.
3. Duck Tape Is Your Friend
Taking a roll of duct tape with you is not one that I can say I thought of. I actually read it on the Internet and thought, "that is what I do". But me, being female, have it for wrapping up boxes to ship home when I buy too much.
It never entered my head what a versatile item it could be, until I read a man's reason for taking it. You can create privacy screens by taping up sheets or whatever, you can do a fix-it job on your suitcase, tape broken flip flops to your feet, use it to keep the skin together on a gaping wound, or the ultimate of entertain the locals with making duct tape figures out of it. Who would have known what a valuable item a roll of duct tape can be?
4. Learn Some Basics
Learn how to say "hello" and "thank you" in the local lanugage. Being polite and wearing a smile will win over any local. It is an added bonus if the locals feel that you have taken the time to at least greet them in their dialect, not yours. From there on in, it can be a case of miming and hand language, but you have made an impressive start to being in their world.
5. Do A Little Research
Take the time out from playing games on your laptop and actually do a bit of homework on where you are planning on going to. Knowing the lay of the land when you first arrive will give you a chance to familiarize yourself with the local culture and customs, so that you don't unwittingly put your foot in it the minute you arrive.
6. Be Sensible
In spite of all the above dire warnings, traveling solo is fantastic and gives you the chance to be whoever you want to be. Don't be cocky or careless and pick your "new best friends" carefully. Some may end up being lifelong ones, which is an added bonus. Take your time and let things happen without rushing head long into situations where you have no control over where you are, or whom you are with. If you can blend in at all, do it. Above all do not appear as if you are wealthy, whether you are or not. Always imply that you have friends, albeit imaginary ones, somewhere else when first meeting someone new. Trust your gut instincts in relation to people and know when to stay and when to flee.
You actually won't be lonely traveling solo, as there are many people out there doing it. You are definitely not Robinson Crusoe in your escapade of independence.
Gail Palethorpe, a self proclaimed Australian gypsy, is a freelance writer, photographer and eternal traveller. Check out her website Gail Palethorpe Photography