Some Thoughts on Travelling Solo vs. Travelling with a Partner

When talking with other travelers during my trip, they were most interested in whether I was travelling solo or with someone else. (It was a great relief from DC, where all anyone cares about is who I know.) Most people I would meet at hostels travelled in pairs. It was rare to find anyone travelling with more than one other person. Unsurprisingly, most of the people in the couple of hotels and resorts I stayed at were travelling with partners.

Certainly, there were other solo travelers I came across during my trip. Most of the other travelers I met through couchsurfing experiences were traveling alone. I guess, in the absence of a social partner, we solo travelers go out of our way to meet locals that can be temporary travel partners, along with experts.

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Yalytown

21 October

Tuesday was slow in Hoi An, but Hoi An is a slow town. I had the first fitting for my suit and shirts at 11:30 am. I spent the morning reading and writing in the hostel, taking advantage of the free breakfast (it would be the only morning I spent on the banana pancake trail actually eating banana pancakes), and chatting with the other guests.

In the morning, a couple without a reservation tried to check into the hostel. They had been at Sunflower the night before and found the constant noise and partying unbearable and wanted to find someplace new.

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Outdated

20 October

I had booked my hostel in Hoi An the previous day using hostelbookers.com. The Californian had commented that a friend of hers had recommended the Sunflower Hotel, even despite the fact that her room had a rat in it. (Apparently, the hostel’s quick response impressed her.) She said it was the best place to meet other travelers in all of Vietnam. I looked it up and saw the positive reviews and low rate. Then, I looked at a map and discarded it from possibilities.

Instead, I booked a bed at Sac Lo hostel. If I am going to stay in Hoi An, I do not want to bike 5 kilometers from the beach to the ancient town. Sunflower is on the beach. Sac Lo is only a kilometer from the ancient town center.

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Raw

19 October

I woke up around 7. Knowing that all five of my dormmates had planned to take the Four Island tour on this day, and three of them (the Californian and the two men who had tried to woo her the previous night) planned to take the 8:30 am Funky Monkey tour, I decided to keep the shower available to them. Instead, I stayed in my bed and surfed the internet. I should have taken the shower.

It was after 8:30 and still nobody had gotten up. EThe receptionist came into the room and forced the three hungover backpackers to get up and go on the tour. The fair-skinned Brit asked if they could skip it. The receptionist, in a typical Vietnamese response, said ‘no, you have to go’.

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Ain’t Nothin’ But a Mistake

18 October

I had booked the Funky Monkey Four Island tour suggested by Snow. She said it had received positive reviews from other guests. I did not read the entire brochure she had given me, but what I did read made it sound like a unique experience. A bus was scheduled to pick me and two other guests staying at Mojzo Inn up at 8:30 am. I awoke with plenty of time to take advantage of the free breakfast offered by the cafe located on the top floor of the hostel.

The other two guests probably should never have gone. Continue Reading

U-Turns

17 October

My alarm went off at 6:15 am. All of VASCO’s flights back to the mainland were scheduled for the morning, and I had selected one of the earlier options. The early departure (8:10 am) would provide me ample time to transfer to the train station to grab my ticket and board my 12:05 depature for Nha Trang.

I hit snooze and woke up 10 minutes later. Thus began the most needlessly expensive day of my trip.

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