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Solo travel?
Old 11-25-2015, 08:07 PM   #1
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Solo travel?

I plan on retiring next year and want to avoid Ohio winters. My wife is 6 years younger and isn't ready to retire, so it appears I will be traveling alone. I have only taken one solo vacation and that was a motorcycle trip.

I am somewhat concerned about keeping busy and getting lonely or bored. Any other solo travelers and advice?
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Old 11-25-2015, 08:19 PM   #2
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I plan on retiring next year and want to avoid Ohio winters. My wife is 6 years younger and isn't ready to retire, so it appears I will be traveling alone. I have only taken one solo vacation and that was a motorcycle trip.

I am somewhat concerned about keeping busy and getting lonely or bored. Any other solo travelers and advice?
Interesting thread, for sure. I am not sure I have a great answer for you, but it seems like some of the RV forums have pretty good information for solo travelers. I don't know if it would apply if you aren't in an RV, but could be some good ideas, nonetheless.

This is something I have debated. I am FIRE'd but the DW has decided (for now) to continue to work. I told her that I will wait around for a few years, but after that, I WILL be hitting the road, with or without her. I assume your DW doesn't mind you going solo?

My issue is that I got to travel A LOT during my Air Force days, but so much of the REALLY cool things I got to see, I saw alone (or with other crew dogs, which I know they can be cool dudes and all, but it's just NOT the same as traveling w/ your DW!) and I don't really want to do that anymore.
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Old 11-25-2015, 08:19 PM   #3
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My dad did something similar when he retired, before my mom retired. He concentrated on trips she had *no* interest in. For example his first trip involved loading up his pickup/shell with his kayak, a backpack, a mountain bike, and various gear and camping/hiking/kayaking/cycling up the coast of the US - then over to Vancouver Island, then ferrying among the Canadian and US islands up through Alaska, across BC, and back into the US at Glaciar Nat'l Park - then seeing all the Nat'l parks from Montana through Arizona, then home. 3 months. My mom had given up camping several years before due to bad ankles and a desire for indoor plumbing.

I traveled solo throughout my 30's till I met my husband. He also used to take international trips on his own... it was our love of travel that was one of our common interests when we first met.

You have more freedom traveling by yourself - see what you want to see, not have to wait while someone else gets ready, go back to the lodging for a nap when you are tired, not dependent on someone else's "must see" list for the day. But it's also lonelier. That said - I don't regret the many trips I took solo.
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Old 11-25-2015, 08:38 PM   #4
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This is something I'm trying to figure out as well. DW will still be working (at least P/T) for a few more years. We've figured what I'll do is drift around on some slow solo trips, but when I find something really cool, buy a plane ticket so she can join me for a few days before scuttling back to work. It's not as much fun as doing the whole trip together, but at least it will (I hope) keep her involved and allow us to share some of the better memories.
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Old 11-25-2015, 08:55 PM   #5
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I learned on solo business trips that I could hang out at a bar and talk to the bartender or whomever is in the vicinity. It usually works. Sometimes doesn't. Otherwise I read books or go to the movies during the evening. Plus there is time spent eating out. During the day you are presumably visiting an interesting destination. Why else would you be there?
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Old 11-25-2015, 09:05 PM   #6
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I took several solo trips while DW was still working and a couple since she retired. I spend my solo trips doing things and going places that she wouldn't enjoy. Extreme hikes, photography jaunts, museums, civil war battlefields, etc.

The key to keep from getting bored is to plan your trip ahead of time so that you'll be busy all day doing something you enjoy.
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Old 11-26-2015, 06:29 AM   #7
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Yes, it can work well in some cases.

DW retired a full dozen years after I did, because she loved both her w*rk and the people she w*rked with. It was a low stress j*b and the social aspects were important to her.

So I did lots of solo travel during those years. Mostly to places she wouldn't have been too interested in. For example, I enjoy getting out in the wilderness while she doesn't.

We also did a lot of travel together when it made sense (her vacations) and that was great, but she would also do her own solo travel at times when it was something I wouldn't be interested in.

Since she retired fully, we continue to do both solo and joint trips, as appropriate, and it works great for us.
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Old 11-26-2015, 07:03 AM   #8
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I've almost always traveled solo.

Only time I've ever felt a bit lonely was when I was off the beaten track crossing the border from Kenia to Tanzania, during off season. Didn't meet a single english speaker for six days, no way to converse with the locals, no internet, and couldn't read. Even then I had some fun - showing my digital camera to kids traveling on my bus and letting them play with it for a while.

What usually happens is quite the inverse: I have to specifically engineer alone time because solo travelers get approached quite a bit by others. Small groups, other solo travelers. It's really funny.

So in terms of advice: stay at the more social places like small B&Bs, backpacker inns (the more upscale ones that have separate rooms) and go sit in the public areas. Chat about travel plans in the area, ask for tips. More often than not you'll realize you're heading in the same direction and you have company for a few days. You'll get invited along pretty easily.

Age doesn't matter. I have hiked with 50 year olds and 18 year olds in the same small group.

You can also join small sight seeing tours (say an afternoon of whale watching) and quite often you'll find other people there too.

The lower budget you'll go the more social it becomes typically.

If you want to do something specific like a motorcycle tour of the USA or a sailing trip I'd say hit up the specific forums before you leave.

Don't expect any of the friendships to last beyond the trip though. It happens but is rare.
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Old 11-26-2015, 07:10 AM   #9
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My DGF is 12 years younger, and we discussed it a bit. In the end, she with FIRE with me. Is your wife unable to FIRE, or unwilling?

Some other options are this.
She might be able to work remote, if she has a job that facilitates this.
She can travel on your vacations with you, and you just accommodate the schedule.
Can she work part time, or buy additional vacation?

If you need her income to FIRE, you are not ready to FIRE...
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Old 11-26-2015, 07:52 AM   #10
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When working, I traveled extensively all over the country. Every time I'd leave, it'd be a burden on my wife and family. Something often happened, like plumbing problems or pet problems, where I was needed to deal with it. The time apart was harder on my family than what showed at the time on the surface.

Two weeks ago, my wife and a girlfriend went on a cruise to Mexico. I stayed back at our RV in the mountains, and it was not a pleasurable week although I was in a familiar place.

It's one thing to take a day trip apart. But I wouldn't want to take off for far away places solo. That's not what a marriage is about.

It sounds as if you need to take up a good hobby or two--other than solo travel.
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Old 11-26-2015, 09:03 AM   #11
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ER types seem to have very strong marriages. Nevertheless, unless your trips would be very short-like no more than a week, and no more than 1 per month, this plan seems to me to be asking for trouble.

Frost on the lawn would be better than frost on the wife.

I know that if I were living with a woman and she retired and then spent a lot of time on trips without me, and I was prevented by work from going along, I would not be very happy.

Ha
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Old 11-26-2015, 09:39 AM   #12
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I know that if I were living with a woman and she retired and then spent a lot of time on trips without me, and I was prevented by work from going along, I would not be very happy.
That was exactly what I was thinking while reading this thread, too. I was pretty horrified. It is bad enough that these guys are not working while the wife still has to work, even if the guys don't have to; what happened to marriage as a team effort? I don't know. As a divorcee, one could probably do better than to take my marriage advice but there it is. Don't travel and go back to work.

That said, if the wife spontaneously suggests that the husband should travel somewhere alone, that could be another matter. Perhaps she would be relieved to not be dragged along on an activity she does not enjoy. Every year Frank, who has been a licensed ham radio enthusiast for 45+ years, mentions possibly attending the Dayton "Hamvention" hamfest although he never seems to actually go to it any more. When he brings up the idea, I have been known to suggest he should do that by himself. It's not that I'm not interested, but I am not a ham and I'm not interested enough to want to drive clear to Ohio and back for it.
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Old 11-26-2015, 09:47 AM   #13
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The pushback is kind of interesting.
But in my case not really relevant. We were both in our 40s when we got married, so we had long histories of doing things as singles. That simply continued, and it works well for us. Probably unusual but we like it. We still enjoy our travels together as much as anyone else.
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Old 11-26-2015, 09:52 AM   #14
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I know several couples who have different interests and take some solo trips and some trips together. They are confident people with a high level of trust in their partners. But it wouldn't work for needy, dependent couples.
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Old 11-26-2015, 10:02 AM   #15
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I've been ER'd for 5 years and DW is still working. Solo travel has worked just fine for us but then each marriage is different. In our case, even before I ER'd, we had a particular situation with a blind aging dog. We didn't feel comfortable leaving her behind while we both went on vacation so DW and I have traveled separately for years unless it was just a weekend getaway. My MIL used to watch the dogs but then she got heart trouble and we didn't trust her to be able to do it anymore.

Yearly, I take a few days to a week to meet up with college buddies for a small reunion. We meet up in various cities. This year was Miami Beach. I've also taken a couple of road trips. DW isn't particularly fond of road travel so this works out well for me to go places and do things DW wouldn't want to do. Last year I took a group trip to Berlin. Another place she didn't want to go to. This past summer I visited a college friend in Bangkok for 3 weeks. Just before that DW took a group trip to Japan. This February I'm back to Southeast Asia to visit Myanmar.

It can work.
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Old 11-26-2015, 10:04 AM   #16
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I've never really traveled solo--I wonder if I would like it. I do like being alone, but there's no reason to travel w/o DH, both of us being retired, and he would want to see whatever I thought would be interesting. I don't think he is interested in traveling solo himself.

DH and I have traveled without each other but always with other family or friends or coworkers, which is not the same thing.
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Old 11-26-2015, 10:11 AM   #17
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My wife has not worked since we had our first child 24 years ago. Not worked for a company....she has worked hard on the kids and home etc. I've been retired over 9 years now.
We take a lot of trips together and separately with friends of a couple nights maybe 3.
Every year I take one solo trip on my motorcycle usually 5-7 days out. I love going my own pace, stopping when I want to - go when I want to, eat, drink explore when I want to. I always come home happier than when I left. I am very comfortable being alone.
A couple solo trips were so fun and interesting that I did them again with DW!

Next summer i plan to do the coast from SanFran to the Canadian border - very excited and already reading lots of info on where to stop, hike, explore, eat and stay along that route - retirement is so great...and what you make of it!
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Old 11-26-2015, 10:11 AM   #18
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I've never really traveled solo--I wonder if I would like it. I do like being alone, but there's no reason to travel w/o DH, both of us being retired, and he would want to see whatever I thought would be interesting. I don't think he is interested in traveling solo himself.

DH and I have traveled without each other but always with other family or friends or coworkers, which is not the same thing.
My DW is interested in fabrics and fashion. Her Japan trip was a group trip with a Japanese fabric theme. They visited various artist studios and factories with side trips to see the sights. Sometimes you are with the group. Sometimes you go out on your own. This is one way to travel solo (sort of . . . )
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Old 11-26-2015, 10:19 AM   #19
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A gay couple I know has one guy FIREd (A) and his younger partner (B) is still working. A often goes ahead (like to the south of France or to Berlin, for example ) for a week or two and scouts out places, takes a bunch of tours he knows B might not be that interested in, etc. After a week or so, B joins him. At that point, A knows what to see and do and is able to show B a good time and go to places and do things that B likes.

It works out beautifully, they get some alone time and together time....and a vacation away together.

omni
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Old 11-26-2015, 10:31 AM   #20
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Rent a home in any of the hundreds of gated communities in Florida. The Villages is the most well known and is quite large. You would have a hard time NOT keeping busy and meeting all kinds of other people. I personally would prefer one of the smaller communities. I can't afford to go down there every winter but I would if I had more money.
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