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I was reading an old copy of O last night, not The Story of O, an erotic novel from 1954, but O – the Oprah Magazine, and came across an interesting article called Sex, Love, and Creativity – is romance the true mother of invention? by Helen Fisher, PhD.
According to a study in the Netherlands, people who were asked to imagine a long stroll with the person they loved boosted their creativity. People asked to imagine casual sex with a hot-looking stranger boosted their analytical abilities. So, the bottom line is: if you want to write that travel memoir go for a walk with your honey. If you want to get your taxes done, pick up a guy at the grocery store. At least that’s how I read it.
Valentine’s Day travel plans
I suppose, since it’s Valentine’s Day, you could – instead of going for a walk – opt for, you know, some private time with your loved one, pretend you don’t know him/her and try to accomplish both. For those who will be alone on Valentine’s Day, however, maybe you should toss the manuscript, ignore the tax receipts and just plan a trip.
Not that I’m suggesting you go to a grocery store in a foreign country and pick up a stranger! You’re entirely on your own with that one.
Traveling solo on Valentine’s Day
But there is nothing like the smells, sights and sounds of a new destination to give you a who-cares-if-I’m-traveling-solo attitude. Close your eyes and imagine it: the scent of turmeric and cinnamon in a Moroccan bazaar, the screech of a rainforest parrot, the iconic but ever stunning sight of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Doesn’t it make you want to reach for your passport? I mean, immediately. Without waiting for anyone else to come along?
Have passport will travel
It does for me, and that’s why for years I wrote a column on traveling solo for the travel section of the Toronto Star. I like a lifestyle where I can just get up and go. Don’t get me wrong (especially, Mark, my husband if you’re reading this). I like traveling with others, too, and see no reason why I can’t do both – it just means I need to travel twice as much.
But sometimes you can travel alone and be with others on the same trip. And no, I don’t mean traveling with a partner you hate and who only wants to drink beer in seedy pubs while you want to go to museums and so you feel more alone than ever before.
I’m talking about joining a group of like-minded travelers, because not everyone wants to fling themselves into the void of a new city, country or continent entirely on their own. So in honour of Valentine’s Day, and in honour of loving travel as if it were your knight in shining, or at least scuffed, armour, I thought I’d list a few tour companies that welcome solo travelers.
No singles supplement with Singles Travel International
Singles Travel International offers a huge variety of trips for – as the name suggests – single travellers. What I like about their weeklong Absolute Isle of Crete Rendezvous package, a summer solo trip to that lovely Greek island, is that you get your OWN room with no single supplement. I just can’t get onboard with sharing a room with a stranger. Call me antisocial (many do.) Departures on May 20 or July 22, 2014.
Traveling solo in the sun with Signature Vacations
Signature Vacations offers special packages for solo travellers in destinations like Cuba and Mexico. Not all dates are available, so you’ll have to be flexible. What I like about Signature Vacations for solo travelers though, is that they offer packages for both single vacationers and for single parents. That’s thinking beyond the standard travel box and they should get a pat on the back.
Solo travelers get adventurous with Intrepid Travel
Intrepid Travel offers laid back small group travel to exotic places and solo travellers are more than welcome. What I like? Their off-the-beaten track itineraries and huge range of destinations.
They also have three classes of trips: Basix, Original and Comfort – so if you’re beyond the backpacking stage you can still travel happily. If you’re traveling solo: you can share a room for no extra charge in their Basix category (ick) while Original and Comfort itineraries generally offer a single supplement, so if you’re willing to pay extra you can have your own room. Ah, the price of being alone.
As for what I’ll be doing on Valentine’s Day … yes, I’ll be alone. I’ll be in Saskatoon instead of with my new husband in Toronto – and I promise I won’t pick up a stranger no matter how analytical I want my mind to be.