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Expat travel: best destinations for the solo traveller and trailing spouse

By January 28, 2016October 23rd,

Expat travel: best destinations for the solo traveller and trailing spouse

January 28, 2016

If you’ve recently emigrated from South Africa, chances are you’re busy settling in, converting your South African retirement annuity to cash, paying debt, getting acquainted with your city and filing heaps upon heaps of admin. You’ve probably pitched all your funds, all your hopes and dreams into your emigration. And you’re happy – or let’s rephrase that – whether you are happy or not, you need to show everyone that you’re happy.  Because you’ve made the decision to move, and this means being completely satisfied with your decision.

Of course emigration sometimes means cutting a few losses – the greatest of which is undoubtedly to leave your home behind. But there are other things we sacrifice in order to build a new life. The world expects you to be grateful and to have no complaints. You should stay put, grow new roots and put any further dreams on hold.

Or should you?

You deserve a break from your break

Unfortunately, the world has this overwhelming view that emigrants aren’t entitled to complaints or worries once they’ve relocated. Choosing a new life, it seems, means being 100% fulfilled by that life. Because, well, you’ve made the decision to move, haven’t you?

Indeed, you have chosen to emigrate, and that is a really tough decision. It’s one of the greatest stressors modern man can saddle himself with. And stress requires action.

In reality breaking free from your old life does not mean you won’t need a break from your new one. Your wanderlust will not necessarily be quenched after emigrating from South Africa. You will still need some R&R. You will still have struggles and stresses which require a time-out. And unfortunately, due to financial, vocational or familial constraints, one often has to embark on these journeys alone. Your regular travel partners may still be left in South Africa, you may be a trailing spouse whose husband or wife has to work, or they may have to travel for work themselves. This is a daunting thought. It means you may have to travel alone.

Why travelling alone is so scary

A big move abroad is scary enough; the idea of solo travel can be absolutely terrifying. But even though you’ll be doing it alone, rest assured that you are, in fact, not alone. It is reported that in the beginning of 2015 more than 35% of travel bookings for tours in the UK alone were for solo travellers, and tour operators expected that figure to rise as more and more individuals embark on lone journeys.

Living abroad also means that there may be better opportunities for safe travel on your own, and it may be more affordable than had you travelled from South Africa. So why not do it? Why not take a long weekend and see what the world has to offer you as an international jetsetter?

Travel ideas for the lone warrior

You’ve decided to bite the bullet, but now you need some ideas. Not to worry, we’ve collected some of the best travel ideas and destinations from tour operators and travel blogs around the world, specifically aimed at the solo traveller.

Yoga retreats

Whether you’re a seasoned yoga veteran or have still to try out this relaxation and fitness discipline – yoga is one of the greatest health and relaxation practices in the world. Across the globe thousands of people flock to yoga retreats each year to recoup, recover and reinvent themselves – plus, it’s one of the best travel ideas for people travelling alone. Some of the best budget yoga retreats in the world include:

  1. Dfrost Almugar Surf House & Yoga – Morocco
  2. The Sanctuary – Koh Phangan, Southern Thailand
  3. Blue Osa Yoga Retreat & Spa – Southern Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica
  4. EPM yoga retreatsMediterranean
  5. Montezuma YogaCosta Rica
  6. Yogamea retreat India
  7. Yasodhara Yoga retreatCanada
  8. Little Samadhi retreatSouth Africa
  9. Krishna Village retreatAustralia
  10. San Diego Spiritual retreatUSA

Writing destinations

You don’t need to be an award-winning writer to understand that writing is an incredibly therapeutic practice. Time away from home to reflect on your life or pen down your story is one of the greatest solo travelling experiences the world has to offer. Some of the greatest writing retreats across the globe include:

  1. The Vancouver School of Writing retreatMexico
  2. Iceland Writer’s Retreat – Iceland
  3. The Storyteller Within retreatGuatemala
  4. The Writing Room – South Africa
  5. Moniack Mhor centre – Scotland
  6. Kapiti Writers’ Retreat – New Zealand
  7. Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers retreat – USA
  8. Summer Literary Seminars – Kenya
  9. Eat Write Travel – Italy
  10. Creative Revolution Writing retreatNicaragua

The solo photographer

Photography is something which both inspires and connects us to others. In fact, it would seem most of social media nowadays is about visuals. Our pictures tell stories, capture memories and give us artistic expression which is therapeutic and motivational. So why not take on a photographic journey? We’ve listed some of the best photography retreats worldwide:

  1. Santa Fe WorkshopCuba
  2. Inspire Photo retreat USA
  3. The Great Apes Photo Safari – Uganda & Rwanda
  4. National Geographic Alaska’s Inside Passage Photo Expedition – Alaska
  5. Me Time Experience Tasmania – Australia
  6. Provence Photo WorkshopFrance
  7. Burma Photo Tour – Burma
  8. Patagonia Photographic WorkshopArgentina
  9. Namibia Landscape Photography Safari – Namibia
  10. Vietnam Photo AdventuresVietnam

Destinations for the brokenhearted

Believe it or not, but there are destinations around the globe which have been tailored for the brokenhearted. Whether you’re healing from a breakup, need a time-out or have recently been widowed, these destinations may just be the key to finding your feet again. Our list includes:

  1. Museum of Broken RelationshipsCroatia
  2. Juliet’s WallItaly
  3. 38 Degrees North Ibiza Optimal Fitness RetreatSpain
  4. P&O Azura Solo Cruise – International
  5. The Library Hotel – USA
  6. Buddhist Retreat CentreSouth Africa
  7. Dolphin TherapyBali
  8. Habitat for Humanity Global Village tripInternational
  9. The Pilgrim Journey Home courage & renewal retreat – Australia
  10. The Healing Summit – Germany

Safest destinations for solo female travellers

If you’re a woman who wants to travel alone, you’re undoubtedly concerned for your own safety. Lucky for you, solo female travelling is not a new thing – there are hundreds of thousands of women taking solo trips around the globe. The Blonde Abroad has listed some of the best destinations for women travelling alone; these destinations have been tried, tested and fem-solo approved:

  1. Iceland
  2. Scandinavia
  3. New Zealand
  4. Thailand
  5. Canada
  6. Costa Rica
  7. Ireland
  8. Bali
  9. Amsterdam
  10. Cruise ships

Ideas for single parents

So you may not be embarking on pure solo travel. It may be that your spouse cannot come with and you’re stuck with your genealogical entourage, or perhaps you feel too guilty to leave your kids at home. Not to worry, there are some great destinations for ‘single’ parents abroad:

  1. Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit resort (single parents package) – Mexico
  2. Muskoka family adventure – Canada
  3. Great Freedom Adventures – USA
  4. Family Caique Cruise – Greece
  5. Single Parent PackagePeru
  6. Wild Coast Sun – South Africa
  7. Disney Cruise Line International
  8. Family Croatian Active Adventure – Croatia
  9. Daydream Island – Australia
  10. Center Parks Sherwood Forest – UK

We hope this list will lead you on a great adventure and your travels leave you feeling rejuvenated. There really is no better time to travel than right now. In the words of Terry Pratchett:

“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” 

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