Solo Travel‘I ended up living with a tribe in the highlands of southern Ethiopia for 3 days’

As heard on The Marian Finucane Show

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The summer months are upon us and thoughts turn to holidays. The world has never been smaller and travel has never been more accessible. Sun-soaked destinations are now only a few clicks of a mouse and a budget flight away. What happens though when the traditional package deal to Ayia Napa doesn’t float your boat? Welcome to the realm of the solo traveller, three of whom joined Marian Finucane on Saturday morning’s programme. Pól O’Conghaile, travel editor with independent.ie, secondary school teacher Sinead McKee and PR exec Lisa Regan share stories from the road, some idyllic, some not for the faint-hearted.

For Lisa, wanderlust hit hard during her college years. Friends pulled out of a plan to head stateside for the summer so she decided to take the plunge and go it alone. Sinead’s escapades stared while working in Dubai, an ideal base for global exploration.

“I decided I wanted to go to Tibet. No one else would go with me… so I joined a group.”

Pól tells us that group holidays are increasingly popular option for the intrepid traveller who appreciates safety in numbers. “It’s such a trend at the moment” he says of the tours available all over the world. From golf to wine to extreme sports, all tastes are catered for.

“Do you get lonely?” asks Marian.
Yes and no, says Sinead.

“I find I’m loneliest at the tourist stops like the Taj Mahal, or Christ the Redeemer, but you just get on with it… I find it has stood to me later on in life. If I can overcome this challenge of travelling on my own, there’s very little that you can’t overcome afterwards. Then you’re meeting people the whole way along, so you’re going solo but you’re never quite alone.”

Another big concern is personal safety, but the consensus seems to be that common sense and preparation will get you out of most jams. Lisa says,

“I think if you’re organized and you have your wits about you, there’s no need to feel danger.”

Of course, if you want something a little more off-road, that’s available to you too. Sinead recounts tales of living amongst Ethiopian tribes and receiving traditional body scarring as a special memento of her time there. While not everybody would fancy such a permanent souvenir, when it comes to solo travel, there is something for everyone. With a bit of research, a touch of organization and a dash of bravery, the world is your oyster.

For the full interview, click here.

© The Listener 2017

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