Solo Travel in Canada - People often ask me for advice on solo travel in Canada. It seems like I am always on the go. To be honest, I feel like I am the worst traveller sometimes - I am scatterbrained, spontaneous and often lack concrete plans. But in the end I am left with a sense of joy and accomplishment. Nothing beats that, right? After some thought I've come up with three tips for those who need a little motivation to embark on a solo travel adventure.
Tip #1 : Go With the Flow - Adaptability is key for solo travel in Canada. However, once in India, I booked a direct overnight bus ride from Delhi to Pushcar. Simple, right? Not when the bus breaks down and the journey then turns into a multi-bus adventure with a couple of auto-rickshaws thrown in. Was it stressful? Somewhat. But now I have stories of taking a local bus through the mountains, of meeting new people, of roadside diners and of smiling a great big grin when I finally saw that "Pushcar" sign appear on the highway.
Bringing it into the present day, the Covid 19 pandemic has served as a reminder that it's important to go with the flow in our everyday lives. Safety regulations are subject to change, so our travel plans might have to adapt as well. When this happens remember, there are always alternatives. We can support local tourism in a way that is safe as long as we follow the rules by being adaptable and appreciating what we do get to experience.
An example of truly going with the flow. There was so much construction in Montreal I went with it and got myself a face mask in celebration of the many wonderful detours I got to take while navigating around a city in constant motion.
Tip #2 : Remember You are a Guest - We are all products of our environments, at least to some extent. We are brought up in a culture - sometimes more than one - and that influences our world view. Before travelling, make sure to do some research about what the folks are like in the region where you're travelling. What are the rules, the norms, the faux-pas?
Travelling in India? Don't eat with your left hand. Backpacking in Seoul? If you're the oldest in your group, you're responsible for covering the cost of dinner. Planning a week-long getaway to Cavendish, Prince Edward Island? Smile, ask people about themselves and always, always hold the door open for others. From my experience, people always appreciate it when you go the extra mile in trying to understand and follow the etiquette of your destination. And if you happen to make a mistake, I've found that most people are quite forgiving, as long as the apology is sincere.
The cool part of being a guest on CN rail? You can purchase some delicious wine on your solo journeys while watching the world go by. Travelling by train in Morocco on the other hand? Lay off the booze - public drinking is frowned upon - but you can still enjoy the great scenery. When in doubt, observe what others do around you and follow their lead.
Tip #3 : Laugh at Yourself - Have I gotten lost for two hours in a massive parking lot in Agra, India? Yes. Have I spent 3 hours at an abandoned strip mall in a suburb of Baku, Azerbaijan, wondering where the heck the bus stop was to get back into the city? Absolutely. Have I gotten lost driving in my home province of Prince Edward Island on a route I've driven hundreds of times before? Mmm-hmm (don't ask me how, I'm still trying to figure that one out). The point is, no one is a perfect traveller.
Everyone has "duh" moments and when it happens, it's best not to take yourself too seriously. The pictures we see on social media tend not to show the mistakes we make but trust me, we all make them. Like in life, acknowledge the mistake, figure out how to fix it, and dust yourself off. Then you can recount your travel misadventures down the road with friends over locally-brewed craft beer. It's hilarious, trust me.
So to sum up: Do what you love and jump in there with an open mind. Learn about the people you'll be meeting. Laugh at the travel misadventures (and then hashtag it on Instagram for good measure: #travelmisadventures) and let yourself have the time of your life. You won't regret it, and you'll have stories for years to come. Enjoy!
Go with the flow 🙌. Unless you're on a tour, 95% of the time your plans never go as planned especially in countries where time is fluid.