A Travellerspoint blog

Travelling solo

It's been a while since I last travelled on my own.


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Come to think of it, I've got family or friends travelling with me, if not all the time, then something like nine times out of ten. Mind you, I've been an independent traveller all my life, and never really one for package holidays or group tours. So how come I've not travelled more on my own?

Well, I do rather enjoy the company. It's so simple. Think about dinnertime for starters. Or any mealtime for that matter. And those moonlight walks on the beach! It's just so nice to have someone to see, hear, taste, smell and feel the same odd and otherwise memorable things you did. Things that don't show in photos and will be impossible to try and explain afterwards.

Lately I've found it especially rewarding to travel with my niece and nephew. Thanks guys, for letting me have a fresh look at the world through your young eyes!

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Healthy Long Life 2007. A much needed retreat to Ko Raya Yai, a small island not far from Phuket, Thailand. A perfect combination of solitude, sun and snorkeling.

Money is the other obvious reason. Solo travellers have to pay double for accommodation. At least if one's not willing to bunk in dorm rooms (and party) or risk it with bed bugs in cheap motels. With age I've come to find it less and less appealing to crash under the grand piano in the lobby of a cruise ship with a backpack as pillow and a cool leather jacket for covers... you know what I mean.

No, it's not luxury I'm after, just comfort really. Although I've certainly got nothing against affordable luxury. Unless it's an oxymoron. Is it?

Then there's the question of safety on the road. With a travel buddy you feel more safe and secure. Yet I doubt there's really safety in numbers. What I believe is that you just have be aware of what's going on around you, be prepared and avoid dangerous situations. No matter how many of you there are.

Check out this blog by Lea Woodward for an excellent list of travel safety tips. They are good even for the most seasoned traveller, solo or not. And that experience Lea had in Nice - a lifetime ago I was backpacking in Rome and it happened to me too. Only, I was lucky.

Now this time there's good reason not to have travel buddies along. I might actually get some statistical analysis (oh yes) and writing done. Don't worry, I've done my homework and prepared well for my trip. I'll be safe. And I'll get to share the wonders of the world with you here on the blog!

Posted by sussesimis 01:58 Archived in Costa Rica Tagged companion money safety comfort solo_travel Comments (0)

Writing retreat necessities

"It was a dark and stormy night" written by Snoopy - my idol and inspiration


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I'm a longtime fan of Snoopy, always enjoyed the Peanut strips by C. M. Schultz. The book where Snoopy writes "It was a dark and stormy night" got to me when I was a teen and dreamed of becoming a writer myself one day. Much like Snoopy, I never really got there. But who knows, maybe academic or scientific writing is the thing for me.

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Anyway, I find this old (first published in 1965, I think) strip by Schultz most relevant as I plan and pack for my writing retreat.

Besides the obvious passport and credit card, what does one need on a writing retreat in the tropics? Flip-flops (check). Bikinis (check). Shades (check). Backpack (check). Camera (check). Flashlight (check). Pain killers (check). Zip packs of various sizes (for keeping electronics and documents dry).

Snoopy packed a type writer. I'll take along my laptop. Interestingly, I hadn't used the laptop for a while, and now I've been updating the OS and programs and running security checks for two entire days. I'm so glad I didn't leave that until the last minute! I've also downloaded a program for statistical analysis and a VPN app that'll allow me to connect to the library and other important online resources provided by my Uni - University of Helsinki. No books.

Phone (check). Tablet (check). Earphones (check). Adapter (check). USB powerpack (check). Chargers (check). It's starting look like my backpack will be filled with electronics and not much else.

Something's missing, I'm sure.

Posted by sussesimis 02:27 Archived in Costa Rica Tagged packing writing snoopy Comments (0)

I've got a dream

... about escaping to write Somewhere Else.

It so happens that I've agreed to submit a first full draft for my thesis by Xmas. Can you imagine, my supervisor asked for it to have something to read for the holidays. Weird, huh? But hey, I'm all in. Actually, I've gone all out on planning for a special thesis writing retreat Somewhere Else.

As it turns out, Somewhere Else is located in the tropics on a narrow land bridge between two oceans and two continents with rich and varied topography and features an impressive 5 % of global biodiversity. Somewhere Else is not just Anywhere Else. It's where I've got a pin on the wall map since longer than I can remember. Costa Rica.

I will not lie. There will be some beach time. And there will be hiking and bird watching, too. But I've made a firm contract to myself to work on my thesis three hours daily. Now that doesn't sound too bad, does it.

I know, I know. it's not going to be easy on a beautiful sunny day with birds singing and monkeys howling in the rainforest around my beach hut. But unless I'm really unlucky, there will be rain everyday (it's still rainy season Somewhere Else) which is perfect for writing indoors. Also, I've made a point to book accommodation in remote places (read: no streetlights, no night life, no shopping) with little else to do but enjoy the natural surroundings and maybe some local village life.

Posted by sussesimis 06:36 Archived in Costa Rica Tagged thesis travel_plans Comments (0)

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