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Solo and single in the most romantic place in the world

solo travel in romantic places

How glossy and polished is the travel industry today? Well, I suppose it’s always been like that. Everywhere I look online, travel seem perfect and sparkly, like a clean car.

But let’s be honest here, how many times are our cars actually that shiny and clean? If you’re like me, never.

It’s the same with travel. Us bloggers paint a perfect picture of the world, because, let’s be honest, we’re paid to do that. But what about all the messy, sloppy, disorganized bits behind the scene? Where do they go? For me, sometimes on Snapchat though often it’s just lost somewhere.

I’m the first person to admit that I’m guilty of making travel seem perfect. But I’m about to spill some major truths about my lifestyle as a professional travel blogger.

solo travel in romantic places

For the past decade I’ve been an unashamed hardcore solo traveler. I don’t really like people. And I definitely really don’t like traveling with people. So I go on my own. And I love it, for the most part.

But I am not going to lie, sometimes it blows. It’s not always rainbows and unicorns.

And while I tend to be more comfortable traveling on my own than with people, there are a few solo trips, moments and memories that stand out to me as being really fucking hard.

Are. You. Ready?

solo travel in romantic places

Let’s start with a story. A shitty story that might make you hate me or feel bad for me, or probably both.

Around 2 years ago I was in the middle of a long and drawn out break up. It sucked. I was a mere shell of my fabulous self.

I was in a tropical place at the end of a solo blog trip – the kind of thing that looks like paradise on Instagram. After two weeks of blog work I had a week on my own to explore at my own pace.

I thought I was going to meet up with that guy. Instead he was “too busy” even though we were finally on the same side of the world together. So I ended up in this tropical magical paradise alone instead of the dreamy reunion I had imagined. Fan-fucking-tastic.

I know, I know. Serious first world problems. Whatever. Hear me out.

solo travel in romantic places

As I went to check into my hotel for a few nights, the manager came down to greet me as media (this often happens when I am being hosted at hotels). I looked like a raggedy bum with my huge backpack, humid hair, and general foul attitude but I tried to pull it together and be as professional as I could.

“We’ve upgraded your room, enjoy!” famous last words after 5 minutes of small talk.

As I headed up, I was pleasantly surprised to swipe my keycard into the Presidential Suite. Normally, this would be greeted with an almighty “oh hell yes” and whoop of excitement, but this time I was in the middle of a giant weeklong “oh woe is me” fest and was NOT in the mood.

solo travel in romantic places

As the bellboy dropped my bags and left, I was left dumbfounded at the size of this suite. It was literally as big as a house. Two stories high, private pool, jacuzzi, sauna, multiple rooms, TVs everywhere, you name it, they had it.

Then I wandered into the enormous kitchen. Dun dun dun.

And waiting for me on the counter was a lovely and thoughtful gift from the hotel – a huge fancy fruit, cheese and chocolate platter, two glasses of bubbles (not one but two!) and a note wishing US a pleasant stay.

Fuck. My. Life.

solo travel in romantic places

I don’t know what got into me, but I just looked at those two glasses of perfectly chilled champagne, and as the bubbles drifted up in the glasses as did the tears in my eyes, and I lost my shit. Seriously, I lost it.

Sobbing big gulping tears, I had some dark thoughts, guys, mostly along the lines of “I’m going to be alone forever” and “no one is ever going to love me” and of course the big old “I hate my life waaaaaahhh.”

I mean, sometimes we just need a big cry. I’m pretty good at keeping a lid on it most of the time, but sometimes we just crack right? Please say I’m not the only one.

Even though I was in the middle of having my heart completely broken, I kept it together for as long as I could, but in that moment I snapped. I mean who cries in a presidential suite that she’s staying in for free on an amazing trip that was also for free? Far out, I even hate me remembering this story.

solo travel in romantic places

Confronted with the new feeling of hating solo travel after years of loving it, of being alone in a super romantic place with no one to share it with (something that never bothered me before) I did the only sensible thing and immediately downed one glass of champagne, grabbed the other glass and the rest of the bottle and proceed to get completely hammered alone at 2 o’clock in the afternoon.

Fuck you feelings!

Throwing the biggest pity party you have ever seen, I then blasted Adele while slamming all the doors around the suite closing off all the extra rooms, and then proceeded to shove all the chocolate strawberries in my mouth before passing out in front of the TV in my swimsuit in a perfectly terrible mood.

Talk about glamorous! If anyone DIDN’T deserve that suite, it was this hot mess over here.

solo travel in romantic places

Waking up (rather painfully) the next day thoroughly disgusted with myself, I decided I needed to pull myself together for the rest of my travels. I wasn’t about let a guy ruin a trip for me in a beautiful place.

Though to be safe, afterwards I booked the grungiest, cheapest motels I could find preferably with single beds and not a whiff of romanticism about them.

And while I had moments of sadness that you will always feel when going through a break up and I was still pretty bummed out (I’m not going to lie), my memories of that road trip are pretty fond ones. Sometimes you need to hit a low point to realize you need to pick yourself up and move on.

It also helps to have a purpose or a passion to keep going, and as sad as I was, my curiosity to explore a new place, have some adventures and share stories about it later on were stronger than my self-pity and desire to curl up in bed for a week and sob.

It was if blogging was there to save me again.

solo travel in romantic places

A few months ago I found myself in similar circumstances – solo and single in another romantic destination – the Maldives.

The honeymoon capital of the world, I don’t think I could have picked a more awkward place to travel solo. “Lovers bungalow for one please?” “Couples massage half price?” “Sunset beach dinner table for one?” Fabulous.

But this time I was a different human and I could give two less of a fucks. I had been single for a few months and I was perfectly content with my situation. I briefly remembered my little breakdown from a few years before when I was offered the chance to go to the Maldives, but decided it wasn’t enough to deter me. This was a place I was dying to visit and I was going to enjoy myself.

solo travel in romantic places

I was faced with a decision – I could be sad and lonely and wish I was there on my own honeymoon or with a boyfriend on a romantic trip OR I could live it up and absolutely relish the fact that this was a one of a kind of a holiday for me and I was visiting a place that I had only dreamed about on Pinterest.

I decided to go with the latter. And you know what? I had an amazing time! I went diving, made new friends, caught up on sleep, worked on my tan, read books, drank a million coconuts, ignored my emails, and did all the normal things that people should do on holiday.

Often I’ve found with travel that happiness is a choice.

Because I decided that I was going to enjoy myself no matter what and not feel sorry for myself for being single, I ended up doing just that. I wasn’t even fazed by the dozens of lovey dovey couples on their honeymoons, and I ended up even making friends around the Maldives. I even met other solo travelers just like me. It was awesome!

And while I have been thinking a lot about whether I want to keep up with this intense solo travel life I’ve built for myself, at the same time I still really love it.

solo travel in romantic places

As I walked into my overwater bungalow suite in the Maldives after 2 days of flying, I was greeted not only with champagne but also with flower petals strewn all over the giant bed. Because of course.

Shrugging I flicked them on the floor and got ready for a long nap to catch up on sleep with nothing on my mind except for which bikini I was going to wear at the beach tomorrow.

And damn, was that bed pretty comfortable, especially because I didn’t have to share it.

Have you ever traveled solo in a romantic place? How do you cope with feeling lonely on the road? Share!

solo travel in romantic places

66 Responses to Solo and single in the most romantic place in the world

  1. Emily September 22, 2016 at 10:32 pm #

    I know that timing was a big difference in your second trip, but I’m glad you were able to have such a different attitude about it all and really enjoyed it!

    • Liz September 23, 2016 at 1:31 pm #

      Same haha!

    • Afzal Zaheer September 30, 2016 at 10:20 am #

      Hi, Liz,

      I have been reading all of your blog posts since many months now and the kind of inspiration which I get is something which is hard to be described in mere words.

  2. Madi | Restless Worker September 23, 2016 at 2:30 am #

    This is how I felt when I visited Ubud, Bali. I wasn’t alone, I was with a friend but I felt like I missed some sort of invitation. It’s a beautiful place but there were couples everywhere. HOWEVER the Maldives look like such an unreal destination, I can imagine the beauty just distracts you anyway 😉

    • Liz September 23, 2016 at 1:32 pm #

      I missed that when I was in Ubud, but yeah it’s a romantic place!

  3. Megan September 23, 2016 at 7:05 am #

    Thanks so much for writing this post. As a solo travelers, I struggle with this in waves. I will be fine for months, then when I start to linger in a place for too long, I start to get lonely. I wish I wouldn’t. People in their whole lives don’t do what I do. I just keep moving. When I feel a bit sluggish, I go google a new coffee shop to discover or a near by city to explore. One day when I am married, I know I will think back to the time where it was just me, myself and I. 😉

    • Liz September 23, 2016 at 1:32 pm #

      that’s awesome!

  4. Stephanie September 23, 2016 at 7:41 am #

    I completely understand this. I was in Tanzania last year at a safari lodge and I spent one evening enjoying a fabulously intimate candlelit dinner…for one. And those beds with the hanging mosquito net curtains are and tropical flower petals all over them. Yeah. I think most of us have been there, Ive definitely been there with the “woe is meeeee I’m going to be single forever!!!” but then I remember how awful I felt when I was in a bad relationship and as it was ending and how all around shitty that is…and I’d definitely rather be eating Steak au Poivre while watching the Milky Way appear above me alone than be miserable back home because I can’t travel because my boyfriend doesn’t want to!

    • Liz September 23, 2016 at 1:33 pm #

      Totally agree! And same with the safari lodges haha

    • Adriel September 23, 2016 at 6:40 pm #

      Who wouldn’t want to go traveling, crazy talk! 😛

  5. Charlotte Bax September 23, 2016 at 7:46 am #

    Beautifully written! Even if everything material seems perfect, but you don’t feel perfect, that’s just shitty 🙁

    I have longed to go on a hiking trip in Norway for some years, and last August I actually went there. I planned for a two week trip, saw some beautiful sights and met really kind people, but I got caught by severe homesickness: I missed my boyfriend so much that I could barely eat (not a good idea when hiking) and had to cry myself to sleep every night. After 6 days I changed my plane ticket and went back home.

    What I learned? Though everywhere on the internet solo travel is advertised as something you must do once in your life (according to Pinterest preferably before you’re 30 or have a partner), I found out it is not for me. Next year I’ll go hiking again in Norway. And I’ll take my boyfriend with me!

    • Liz September 23, 2016 at 1:33 pm #

      Thanks!

  6. Shan September 23, 2016 at 1:28 pm #

    What an amazing post, really inspiring, Liz! Your posts never fail to impress.

    • Liz September 23, 2016 at 1:34 pm #

      Thanks!

  7. Kristine September 23, 2016 at 2:18 pm #

    Solo travelers like you inspire me to consider taking that leap to Maldives one day too when my mentality and funds are ready! One day we will all stop stereotyping places to be reserved only for couples. We can enjoy heavenly destinations like these too! You go girl!

    • Liz September 24, 2016 at 12:23 pm #

      Agreed!

  8. Charlotte September 23, 2016 at 5:52 pm #

    What an amazing post! So genuine. I was in a similar situation when I went to Portugal after a break up. Even though it’s not quite the same as a honeymoon destination like the Maldives (haha), I can at least relate to the feeling of knowing that you’re in an incredible place but being there alone, and suddenly feeling some weird pressure to have someone there to share it with. i was staying in an area without many solo travellers and kept on having people assume that I was always “waiting for someone to join me.” You’re so right that happiness is a choice — particularly when we travel — and sometimes it’s best to acknowledge that something sucks but then know when to move on and just have an awesome time solo anyways. Thanks for being so authentic as always! Totally underrated quality! 🙂

    • Liz September 29, 2016 at 12:00 pm #

      wahoo thanks! I guess it’s true for anywhere!

  9. ashok September 23, 2016 at 6:18 pm #

    romantic place ever,one ll fell in love with these places,This post inspires me to visit this place once in lifetime

    • Liz September 29, 2016 at 12:01 pm #

      Maldives is worth it!

  10. Taylor September 23, 2016 at 7:10 pm #

    Yaaaaaas girl! I love this 🙂

    • Liz September 29, 2016 at 12:01 pm #

      thanks!

  11. Andy September 23, 2016 at 8:24 pm #

    Nice article, finally think I like you!

    • Liz September 29, 2016 at 12:01 pm #

      what do you mean finally? HAHA

  12. Cornish Adventuress September 23, 2016 at 8:37 pm #

    Love this post. Thanks so much for your honesty. It’s good to hear other peoples’ stories of when travelling alone can become hard. I’m about to head off on my first solo trip for years and was just thinking about the times it can become a bit lonely. As others have said though I find keeping moving helps with that and soon enough you’re back having the time of your life! Thanks again, a really beautiful, honest piece of writing.

    • Liz September 29, 2016 at 12:01 pm #

      Good luck!

  13. Annika September 23, 2016 at 10:33 pm #

    One of my very first solo trip to me to the Seychelles. It was a bit depressing at times but that all went away when I saw this one couple on the beach: he in a red speedo lounging in the waves like a mermaid and she enthusiastically snapping pics of him. That was it – I was never so happy to be single as in this moment!

    • Liz September 29, 2016 at 11:57 am #

      so weird haha

  14. Emma September 24, 2016 at 3:33 am #

    This made me crack up!!

    • Liz September 29, 2016 at 11:52 am #

      haha yay!

  15. Liz September 24, 2016 at 5:06 am #

    Thank you so much for this post. Truly inspirational. I love traveling, but have done the majority of it in my life with a large group, be family, friends, teammates, what have you. I’ve only recently been trying to work up the courage to travel alone and actually DO IT. When I saw this I had to read it. I’m the lone singleton among all my friends, so at this point, in order to do the things I want, I HAVE to do them alone – and be okay with that. Going to these beautiful places alone isn’t sad, NOT going to beautiful places because you’re alone is. So thank you for posting this and opening up. Now, I’m off to start saving and planning!

    • Liz September 29, 2016 at 11:50 am #

      Yay! Where do you want to go?

  16. Maria September 24, 2016 at 6:15 pm #

    I love you for writing this post. I can totally relate! You really just have to remember that there are both good and bad things about being single/in a relationship 🙂

    • Liz September 25, 2016 at 5:13 pm #

      Yup!

  17. Denis September 24, 2016 at 6:40 pm #

    Amazing pictures)

    • Liz September 25, 2016 at 5:13 pm #

      Thanks!

  18. Kim September 24, 2016 at 11:05 pm #

    This was how I felt in Croatia last month! I think in my head I had actually romanticised the whole idea of solo-female-travel. You know, ‘eat, pray, love’. Next minute, walking down the cobblestone, lamp-lit streets, alongside hand-in-hand couples, I started to realise just how alone I was. At first I could laugh it off, but when you have to start asking for tables for one, it definitely feels awkward. The staff kind of find it inconvenient that you’re hogging a table at a popular restaurant all to yourself, and they start moving the chairs around – oh god. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed travelling alone, doing my own thing! Being alone really put me out of my comfort zone, and I made friends and met people that I probably wouldn’t have if I had been travelling with someone 🙂

    • Liz September 25, 2016 at 5:14 pm #

      hahah that’s so true about restaurants!

  19. c. bailey September 25, 2016 at 7:22 am #

    Aah you youngin’s’ :):) Divorced, retired – 66 years young and every time someone says to me – you’re so Brave to travel alone – I reply: Nope, just self centered – want to do what I want to do when I want to… I have traveled in groups and get asked to spend the day with others and always regret it. I wanted to go down that street – not the one you chose. I actually went back to Assisi specifically so I could go down that street 🙂 I don’t need to share – just absorb and feel the wonder.
    Do I have melt downs in strange places? YUP and this too shall pass – usually with a martini. Liz, you will have a continuing wonderful life – just breath deep once in a while..

    • Liz September 25, 2016 at 5:16 pm #

      hahaha yes, next time I’ll have a martini!

  20. Stephanie Craig September 26, 2016 at 3:47 am #

    Sometimes I wish I could just have a man-clone-robot that stayed in my suticase until I really needed someone to go to dinner with or help me figure out the problems with the rental car. 9 times out of 10, I’d rather be traveling alone than stuck somewhere just to have a relationship. But every once in a while, being alone really sucks.

    • Liz September 26, 2016 at 2:54 pm #

      hahahha

  21. Brooklyn Murtaugh September 26, 2016 at 1:34 pm #

    I’ve never been anywhere “romantic” solo, but I think no matter where we are physically, we all get feelings like that sometimes, and it can feel like we are alone in the world’s most romantic destination.
    Shit happens.
    I’m glad you felt better in the Maldives though 🙂

    • Liz September 26, 2016 at 4:38 pm #

      Agreed!

  22. Sarah September 27, 2016 at 12:07 am #

    Liz, this post feels so relevant right now! Like, I identify with every step of it. I finally was able to start following my dream of travelling the world two years ago and I have loved every minute of it! I have seen places and countries I had only dreamed of! And like you, honestly I prefered solo travel and solo living. I make my own choices, I do exactly what I want and no compromises. But after a couple of years of this, I have been starting to feel the loneliness as well. All of my friends, who are more or less stable in one place, are now in relationships, marrying, having children. And they all look at my life and think it looks so cool. But I am increasingly aware lately that I am alone in it. I recently came close to finally getting the relationship I wanted with the person I had wanted for ages this past summer. But it was yet again a near miss and as I moved to Japan last week I had been feeling pretty bummed that I was once again moving to a new country all alone rather than moving with someone else like I had hoped would be in my near future. And you are right. As hard as I have been struggling with it, I look around and think, omg, I am living in JAPAN. I can’t waste that being mopey. This is epic! And even though, like you, I have been questioning how long I can sustain this lifestyle of being on the road, I know I would regret stopping.
    So thanks for posting this because it is nice to know there are others out there who have the picture perfect Instagram life but occasionally get to feeling pretty bummed about going it alone–even though solo is kinda amazing.

    • Liz September 27, 2016 at 12:40 pm #

      don’t apologize for your feelings! everyone goes through these phases!

  23. Kimberley Griffioen September 27, 2016 at 5:59 am #

    Nice post! I also travel a lot solo and sometimes also to “honeymoon destinations” like my trip to Bali. I think the most important thing is to enjoy yourself and don’t care about others! I would love to visit the Maldives and if that has to be a solo trip, than so be it :).

    • Liz September 27, 2016 at 12:40 pm #

      agreed!

  24. Kristen M September 27, 2016 at 7:00 am #

    I am traveling solo in Iceland in April and I am super nervous. My fiancé passed away suddenly in June and I don’t want anything else but him, so traveling alone will hopefully be good for me and help me become a stronger and confident person. I want to travel to many wonder islands, but I’m afraid of becoming upset because of seeing other couples enjoying themselves together while I’m sitting alone.

    • Liz September 27, 2016 at 12:42 pm #

      I hope it’ll help you heal , travel always makes you stronger and more confident if you go into it openminded and open to the idea that yes, you can be happy there alone. Try and schedule some adventures there where you can meet people! like stay in hostels or join in on group tours and activities!

  25. Amy September 29, 2016 at 2:10 pm #

    Im single and also a blogger. I find it really hard to take photos because you always have to ask someone and frame the shot, tell them what you’re looking for and its hit or miss if it’s blurry or you look awkward and have to retake. It sure would be easier if I had a significant other with me all the time. Who takes your photos when you are in them?

    • Liz September 30, 2016 at 11:48 am #

      I use a tripod and remote or ask someone

  26. Amy September 29, 2016 at 2:11 pm #

    I loved this article bow and your entire website!

    • Liz September 30, 2016 at 11:48 am #

      Thanks!

  27. Lauren October 5, 2016 at 11:00 am #

    Wonderful story Liz! I have so many relatable experiences (not quite as glamorous, but still lol). It definitely helps to have other passions like blogging, work, music, hobbies, etc.

    • Liz October 5, 2016 at 1:36 pm #

      seriously helps!

  28. vinneve October 5, 2016 at 6:38 pm #

    I have travelled in Paris 3yrs ago for the first time and yes I imagine my husband would be with me but “life happens and get in the way” so he cannot be able to do it while on the other side of the Ocean. Good thing we have a son and it’s in his cutie stage so it’s still wonderful to go around Paris and love every minute of it with my 5yr old son. 🙂

    • Liz October 6, 2016 at 2:53 pm #

      that’s awesome!

  29. Cara October 18, 2016 at 4:47 am #

    This is an amazing post, and I completely understand where you’re coming from. But. yes you have to make the most of it, and how better than a place like the Maldives! With its crystal white sands, shelter lagoons, and made up of more than 1,000 coral islands. Theres so many reasons to visit; the local culture is in eclectic mix of Sinhalese, Arab and South Indian influences. They have truly beautiful culinary delights, with traditional eateries offer dishes largely based around fish that are usually spicy and often featuring coconut. Sampling the spicy flavours of the Maldives is an essential part of the vibrant and unique island experience. And of course the sea – those captivating blue waters are home to some of the most vibrant sea life in the world. Almost every resort island enjoys a personal reef convenient for snorkeling, while more remote places to snorkel and dive are easily accessible by boat.
    Sites like Fish Head and Banana Reef are coveted, world-class diving destinations and the White Wale submarine offers a stunning reef tour to give all visitors a chance to see over 1000 varieties of marine life. It really is a nation of never ending beauty…

    • Liz October 18, 2016 at 12:29 pm #

      beautiful description!

  30. Pedro October 25, 2016 at 2:59 pm #

    What an amazing post, really inspiring, Liz! Your posts never fail to impress.

    • Liz October 28, 2016 at 8:05 pm #

      Thank you!

  31. Alice Teacake October 27, 2016 at 3:13 am #

    ‘Sometimes you need to hit a low point to realize you need to pick yourself up and move on’. Right on girl! I’ve definitely hit that point a couple of times on my solo travels…AND had that guy totally screw up my day (week / month). There are definitely times where I wish I could turn to someone next to me and share an amazing moment but overall, I’m a stubborn selfish woman and solo travel is where it’s at ><

    • Liz October 28, 2016 at 8:07 pm #

      We’ve all been there!

  32. Antilog Vacations December 5, 2016 at 11:56 pm #

    Informative Post…

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