Suddenly after a month of living out of a suitcase, I find myself sitting in a room that is my own. Well, for five months anyway, but more on that some other time.
When I was traipsing around Italy and Spain, I was asked a lot of questions. “Where are you from?”, “How long are you here?” and once, “Would you like my tequila?” But there was one in particular question that popped up a lot.
“Are you travelling alone?”
It first came up in Italy, on our first coach trip as a group (we were going to Pompeii, for those who might be curious). As often happens, we had to go up the front of the bus and introduce ourselves. And one of the things we had to say ran along the lines of that question. It was easy to answer. Yes. I’m on my own.
And it was great!
I was nervous, of course, especially in the days leading up to my departure, but really I had nothing to worry about. It’s true what Contiki says in their brochures, lots of people do travel on their own in the tours. I met so many people who were like me, who wanted to see the world and didn’t want to wait for other people to do it with them. I’m glad, actually, that I went alone because the beauty of travelling solo is that it really forces you to step outside your comfort zone. Even within the group, you have to make an effort to talk to other people, especially in the first few days, otherwise you might end up ostracising yourself. But I was lucky as well. Both tour groups were full of fun and friendly people, including the Contiki tour managers and drivers.
I always like to share what I’ve learnt, because I think that travelling is about learning amongst other things, and I learnt a lot from other Contiki people. I now know that some Canadians do use “eh” a lot and Australians say chupa chup wrong. It’s “chewpa chewp” people. And I can distinguish more easily between a Canadian and American accent. Oh, and while I always thought that the Kiwi and Aussie accents were very different, it seems I’m wrong. I was also at one point mistaken for an American. By an Aussie. When I pointedly replied “I’m not American,” they quickly corrected themselves and asked about Canada instead. I was a little offended and very amused, even us Aussies can get it wrong sometimes.
Both of my tour managers talked a lot about the travel bug. I had it before I left, but it’s gotten worse. For me, the prospect of doing more tours really gets me excited. It’s not just the idea of going somewhere new that makes me want to go on a tour now, I’m also excited about the people I’ll meet on tour.
I think I’m addicted. In a good way.