Adventures of a Lone Traveller
by Vicki Edmunds
(South Wales, UK)
I thought the best way to attempt to see a little of the world travelling solo would be to incorporate a big event in the middle. My nephew's wedding in Australia seemed the perfect opportunity to try my luck.
My first stop of Singapore proved successful. I managed to find a local market and do a little sight seeing, my confidence soaring I jumped on to the plane for Bali. At the airport I saw a flyer offering personal tours of the island, this offer appealed to me as by then I was longing for a bit of company. I was introduced to my guide and driver and was driven like "Miss Daisy" around the local sights.
Next was Darwin Australia. I will never forget the look on the custom officer's face as she asked me "have you any wood in your luggage?' "No" I answered watching her unzip my one and only suitcase. "What is this?' she asked she might as well have added (ha...ha..) for good measure. "Coffee and tea" I said "But what is it in?" she insisted. "Wood containers" I admitted. I was then read the riot act and told that I was lucky to get away with not having a fine for bringing wood into the country and that it would be put on my record for the next few years.
Red-faced I jumped into the taxi for my hotel. I was told I was booked in for midday the following day and that there was a conference in Darwin so every room in the city was booked.
"I am on my own" I pleaded "what shall I do?"
"We can't help you, I am sorry madam," the receptionist sadly replied.
I asked them to fax Trailfinders as it was their fault - I was the other side of the world and it was approximately 3 a.m. in the morning in Britain.
"Have you got a pillow and a blanket?" I asked hopefully. "I will bed down here on the floor in reception." The young receptionist brought me my pillow and blanket and suggested that I bed down on one of the sun beds around the pool area.
I had a wonderful time in Darwin. I fed fish that came into shore and tickled my feet. Went racing. That was a good laugh. Missed the bus. Got stranded. Got lost. Met others in the same predicament.
My biggest problem was eating alone. I found it embarrasing until I watched another single person in a restaurant. They proceeded to get a book out of their bag and sat there reading in between courses. I went one step further and started writing letters and postcards and forgot about other people dining in pairs or groups.
At last it was time to meet up with my family for the wedding in Cairns. I flew into their arms when I landed. I savoured the meal times and the chatter but I had proved to myself that at 58 years old I was still able to go out into the big wide world with confidence and a slapped face!