On independent travelling

I’ve been travelling since 2010 and this is my first trip ever that I’ve done as a solo traveller. Previously, I’ve relied on group tours to get me around, and up until last year’s trip to Eastern Europe, I was content to be a relatively passive traveller.

So what happened last year? This. Three bus tours back-to-back, packed full of people. Early starts, long days on the road sitting in a bus with zero room, lightning visits to cities and sites, a lot of hotel food. By the end of seven weeks, I was sick of people and sick of buses, sick of the road, but I was miraculously cured when I hit Singapore.

In Singapore, I was by myself. For five whole glorious, rejuvenating days. Back in Asia, which I love. I got up when I wanted, went where I wanted, ate what I wanted. And it was blooming marvelous! I vowed never to do a group tour again, if I could help it (difficult countries like India notwithstanding).

So, I’m currently in Japan, travelling around totally on my own, and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve taken a self-guided option via On The Go Tours, which means my accommodation (hotels, ryokan and onsen) and transport (JR Pass and Manaca Card) within Japan is all organised before I left Australia. I have been supplied with very comprehensive information about how to get to each place I stop and the stop itself, as well as general orientation information about Japan itself e.g. ATMs, luggage forwarding, post offices etc.

So far so good. I haven’t had any difficult moments, despite the language barrier, although I still worry about catching the wrong train and some hotels are a tad hard to find! I’ve enjoyed doing things on my own terms, taking all the time I need to explore the sites, not having those godawful early starts or spending those gruelling ankle-swelling hours on a bus, then herded off for a quick look around the sites. I feel relaxed and rested, rather than fraught and frustrated.

In a way, I’m glad I did all those group tours last year. They forced me to find a different way of travelling… and who would have predicted it would be on my own?

7 Comments

  • Gary Lum April 22, 2014 at 5:44 pm

    What photography equipment did you take with you Diane?

    Reply
    • dileeshus April 23, 2014 at 2:47 pm

      I took my Canon 600D, with my 18-55 lens. Wish I’d brought my telephoto zoom as well. I’ve also brought my little Olympus point and click, but I find it easier to use my iPhone because it’a just so handy!

      Reply
      • Gary Lum April 23, 2014 at 5:41 pm

        Sounds good. I’d do similar I think. My Nikon DSLR, Canon point and shoot plus my trusty iPhone 🙂

        Reply
        • dileeshus April 23, 2014 at 5:55 pm

          You can’t go wrong with that combination, Gary!!

          Reply
          • Gary Lum April 23, 2014 at 7:53 pm

            🙂

  • Helen September 17, 2014 at 8:52 pm

    Congrats on joining the solo traveller set. I made my first OS trip to Paris and then Italy over 4 1/2 weeks in 2012 and had a fabulous time once I hit my stride which took about 4 days and then it just got better and better. I arrange everything myself and book through flight centre. I’m writing this from a solo week at spa resort in Bali. Couldn’t be happier.

    Reply
    • dileeshus September 17, 2014 at 8:56 pm

      Solo travel is just awesome, Helen. I must say that I’m lazy, though, because I have my travel agent organise everything for me – once I’ve done the groundwork, that is! Sounds like you are enjoying Bali!

      Reply

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