I am currently working on a post for Travelettes about what it means to be a woman when you travel. I never ventured there before because while I am a woman who travels I really dislike labels. So I don’t write about woman travels, I just do my thing and write about it. Same goes for solo travel. Another box right there. Yes, I usually travel on my own. Sometimes with a group, rarely with friends, and after my last boyfriend travel disaster I have stayed clear of that too.
So I guess technically I would need to check the box
single solo traveler. But again, I really don’t want to write explicitly about it. If you want to know how to venture out into the world as a woman on your own, there are other blogs who have written extensively about both, so I don’t want to bore you with tips a la ‘take a book to a restaurant’ or ‘take a whistle’. I also still harbor some hope that the occasional guy reads this (though my stats tell a different story) and I want to be at least prepared.
The solo travel part, however, is a different thing, because last night I remembered my first solo trip and it got me so excited that I had to share it. For the sake of the story, let’s disregard the fact that by the time this trip came along I had already moved to America twice, back to Germany once, and currently lived in South Africa. But that was all moving, not traveling.
While I was in Cape Town I had inherited some money and wanted to spend it on something absolute useless or useful, depending on where traveling falls for you. I chose to go to the Seychelles for no other reasons than that it looked nice, seemed like a safe destination for a solo (girl) trip, and that it wasn’td too far from South Africa.
Of course, the Seychelles are not simply nice, they are stunning and a few of their beaches regularly top the best beach charts and for good reason. I visited three of its 115 islands and island hopping is the way to go, especially if you are flying solo.
I started on the main island Mahé where I drove around everywhere in a bright red miniature Jeep version that made me feel quite adventurous. I visited Kreol Fleurage, a local perfumery, drove through hills and jungles, and had the best massage at the Banyan Tree (which luckily I got to repeat at their spa in Bangkmok a few years later!). Unfortunately, I didn’t stay there, but the beach was one of my favorites and I didn’t even mind paying $9 for an iced coffee because the view it came with was so amazing. And mind you, I still think about the coffee today, so it was definitely worth it. After all, Seychelles holidays are for splurging.
From Mahé, I went to Praslin to visit the Vallée de Mai with its coco de mer and was super excited to realize that you can just pick up the regular coconuts for free on the beaches here. I also realized that opening a coconut is a task not to be underestimated. Solo travel in the Seychelles has ups and downs, this was definitely a down and I am still sorry for the tiles and the coconut.
My final stop was La Digue, a tiny island with no cars and little streetlights. It was my favorite and I think here I really fell in love with traveling on my own: I discovered selfies (that was 10 years ago so I was way before my time!) and the art of doing nothing or at least only what I wanted. That included lying on the beach for hours re-reading my books, I had brought too few, taking walks in the jungle, and finding a resident restaurant that I ate at every night. The latter wasn’t by choice as it was off season and much was closed, but still, my creature of habit was happy. In the Seychelles I also went snorkeling for the first time in very warm water with lots of things to see and I think it was then that I fell in love with the underwater world.
All in all, it was the perfect trip and traveling alone made this trip entirely mine. While you can say that I only took tentative baby steps in paradise with my solo travel in the Seychelles, it did lay the groundwork of all solo trips to come: knowing that I like my own company.
And if you really want some tips for solo travel in the Seychelles (or in any other honeymoon destination for that matter), here you are…
* Don’t worry about the Seychelles being a honeymoon destination because you may just get special treatment for you are the poor lonesome person amongst all the happy couples.
* Also, if you ever see someone’s significant other lounging in the shallow water like a mermaid wearing a red speedo while having his picture taken, you start to seriously rethink the concept of marriage. Personally I had never been so happy to be on my own after witnessing that.
* Don’t get a fresh coconut halfway through a jungle hike in the Seychelles because you will be left with the choice of getting a stomach ache from drinking the whole thing too quickly or you will have to carry a damn heavy coconut all by yourself.
* And remember that in a battle of tortoise against coconut, the coconut wins. Don’t lie under palm trees! In the battle of coconut against floor tiles, the coconut also wins. Buy an opened coconut or bring a hammer.
The three really have nothing to do with solo travel in the Seychelles, but I thought they were actually important to know.