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Old 26 Mar 2010
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Thoughts on solo travelling

Ive recently split with my fiancee who i was with for 4 and half years and a bike trip is something ive been wanting to do for about 2 years now.

I was planning on selling my current bike (should get around £3500 for it) buying an xt600 or similar and just heading off myself for afew weeks/months. Ive never been on a bike trip myself before so would probably need to try it out for a long weekend or something first.

How many of you have gone on an extended trip solo? And if you have, what did you get out of it and would you do it again?

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Old 26 Mar 2010
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I did a six weeks loop of southern europe alone last summer, most of my trips before that were alone as well. Those trips can end up wonderfull, you tend to meet much more people when you are on your own. On the other hand I wouldn't fancy camping for weeks at a time just by myself. I would just get bored. For that reason I end up much more often in bigger citys, hostels and the like.

The one thing I do really like about beeing on the road by myself is the sense of independence it gives me.
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Old 26 Mar 2010
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solo is good. You interact with locals far more when you are solo
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Old 26 Mar 2010
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I've done solo, small groups of bikes, me and the wife or me and a mate on one bike and large groups. With the exception of the large group (which I hated and will never do again) they all work so long as you have an idea of what you what you want to do. I like a short solo trip at least a couple of times a year just to get away from everything.

As people are saying, on your own you'll meet more people. Some of them will be great, some will be total ****** and you won't be able to get away fast enough. There'll be days when you'll love just getting on the road and riding, there'll be others when you'll be the only bloke sat on his own in some bar. A lot of people say a group is better when there are bike problems. Personally I've found this is only true with another biker who's well matched in the way they deal with such things. I'd rather get on and fault find on my own that have some know-it-all watching what I do or a primadona throwing his toys about.

I'd suggest a shorter trip first to make sure you'll be happy, then go for it.

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Old 26 Mar 2010
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I definitely prefer solo - you go where you want, when you want, and how fast you want to travel at.

If you get tired of being alone it's always easy to meet others on the road and travel with them for short (or long) periods if you wish.
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Old 26 Mar 2010
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I prefer solo as you do have to compromise a lot with to suit other peoples preferences. You'll meet more people on your own and will likely travel with some for periods too. I do find solo travelling in developing countries much easier as strangely I tend to feel more self concious eating out on my own or going for a for example in say Europe. Riding speeds also vary between riders and going off road can become a pain when you're stuck behind someone kicking up the dust.

The downsides are that your accommodation costs are higher as you're not sharing a room/tent and at busy borders when its good to have someone watching the bike when you're dealing with paperwork. An alarm and Pacsafes etc can help here though.

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Old 26 Mar 2010
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I think Buebo summed it up well..

If you're camping, then solo riding can be VERY VERY boring... Many a night i've sat alone in half deserted campsite, with insular familys with their fences up etc ZZZZZZZZZZZZ

People don't seem to want to interact on campsites very much in my experience.

Hostels are great places to meet new people and so are the local bars. I love cheap hostels but depending where you go, they can just be full of teenagers.

Also, try and find hubbers in the places you are going.. Most people are usually willing to share a pint with a fellow traveller.

I don't know why people say that travelling with others stops you mingling with new people. Surely thats just a personal thing.

I've actually met MORE new people being in a small group than when alone. I think some people see a solo traveller as just that... Someone who wants to be left alone.

If you're with someone else, at least it shows you're social and not a total crazy
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Old 26 Mar 2010
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Originally Posted by DaveK View Post
How many of you have gone on an extended trip solo? And if you have, what did you get out of it and would you do it again?
Cheers, Dave
Hi Dave,
I've done a lot of solo travel both on bikes and backpacking. Traveling solo on a bike is kind of a Zen experience in your head, but with a few moments of terror and excitement thrown in. (I refer to the actual riding part) Lots of time to let thoughts run wild, relax and take in what your eyes see and dig the magic cadence of the machine beneath you. As a gear head I like to tune into the bike and learn its ways. This will keep you occupied on long stretches. You can talk to your bike (but don't tell anyone if she starts talking back!)

If you enjoy your own company and don't go stir crazy then good chance you'll get along fine. Takes a while to get this down and learn how to enjoy it. But I love solo travel, even though I also go in small group rides quite a bit too. Both have their ups and downs.

I would not follow a strict formula in your travels. Make up your own rules and change them as needed. Do some research, set some goals and GO!

If you hook up some other riders or meet new friends along the way, go with it. If you haven't been, I'd recommend Spain and Andorra for good Spring/Summer exploring, maybe even a week or two in Morocco. Just magic places.

Having a riding partner reduces costs a lot and adds security in places.

Doing shorter duration rides to start is smart, IMO. Helps in figuring out the packing, sorting the bike properly and really think about the whole idea of long range bike travel.
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Old 27 Mar 2010
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Thanks for your replies guys, i like the idea of hostels hadnt thought about those. I think i will take a long weekend or something sometime soon and head up the west coast of scotland solo to test the water.

I stay in the south of scotland so its not too far, and its a cracking place.

Cheers guys, set my mind at ease now

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Old 27 Mar 2010
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Ive done the europeon trip with a group and hated it ! and there all my good friends but I found it too frustrating..... your either trying to catch up or hanging around waiting for others.

Last year I went solo and loved it... managed to talk to quite a few people and when there was no one around I would just read a book, fill my diary or just sit and watch the world go by.

This year Im having 6 weeks in Europe but attending a couple of rallys, so that way I will see my friends and have my own time and space

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Old 29 Mar 2010
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If you are just getting into the long term travel, might I also suggest the DVDs on this sight. Very informative (and inspiring).

Since I have never done solo long term, I cannot comment on it, but I do enjoy some of my short solo trips. I agree that I think the ideal would be primarily solo connecting up with people and friends periodically.
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