Solo travel is always a grand adventure due in large part to the people you will meet along the way. I have found there are a few personalities that stand out and make a repeat appearance no matter where my adventures take me. Whether you’re traveling alone or with friends, here are some people you may meet along the way!
The helping hand is the one who will, upon learning that you are traveling alone, offer every tool in their box to ensure that you enjoy your time in their neck of the woods. From helping you dislodge a stuck bag to offering activity recommendations and a home cooked meal, or even a last-minute stay at local bed and breakfast…they have got your back. I have had perfect strangers help me book a tour and introduce me to movers and shakers of the region to make it easier for me to get around and have a genuinely fantastic adventure. This is probable my favorite personality because they really do enhance your experience. I would advise a bit of caution simply because you never really know who you are getting information from, but a healthy dose of skepticism mixed with a burning desire for exploration can yield some fantastic moments.
This person will drum up a conversation with you and keep it going…and going and going. You may share an entire flight, layover, tour, train ride, hostel room, or bar bench sitting next to or within earshot of this person and they may or may not be talking directly to you. Often entertaining, occasionally annoying, and sometimes extremely thought provoking, the chatterbox personality is a force to behold. You will learn many things from this person, a fair amount may be completely irrelevant and not helpful at all to your plans, but you will certainly learn quite a bit about that person and their perspective on life. When a chatterbox moves into your space and drums up a conversation with you, take advantage of this. You will most likely not be the main topic of discussion so feel safe to listen and enjoy their story, perhaps you will learn a bit more about yourself as well.
The quiet, dead pan, expressionless face marks the cold shoulder personality. They have no desire to get to know anyone…especially a travel worn solo backpacker. This person will refuse to acknowledge anyone’s presence, you could probably fall flat on your back and this person would simply walk around your body as you flail about like an overturned turtle. Do not be disheartened! I have come across this personality quite a few times and surprisingly they have little to no effect on the quality of your travel time…so long as you refrain from feeding off their icy mood and understand that some people want nothing to do with you or your enthusiasm.
Curious people will pump you for information, asking all about where you’re from, what you do for work, why and where you are traveling. While this is kind of nice, it is also extraordinarily unnerving as a solo traveler. You will know that you have found a curiosity quencher when they follow you around like a lost duckling rattling off questions and offering unsolicited glimpses into their daily life. Just smile and keep it moving, divulging lots of information to strangers can be quite dangerous and eventually they will take their questions to the next unsuspecting traveler. If they don’t get the hint and move on, I would recommend losing them in a crowd or politely telling them that you are not interested in continuing the conversation. Enjoy their company but use discretion with what you divulge.
Next time you are out exploring the world, keep an eye out for these and other personalities! They will enhance your trip and provide some unexpected social interaction and insight when you’re traveling alone!
Alexis is a travel enthusiast, writer, and entrepreneur from West Hartford, CT. An avid adventurer and lover of the outdoors, Alexis can often be found out hiking with her Treeing Walker Coonhound or enjoying time at one of the many CT beaches.