If this title sounds like a bit of an oxymoron you are probably correct. Many travelers are beginning to think twice about planning and executing their solo foreign travel today. Even experienced travelers are daunted by the task of vetting hotels and navigating ground travel in foreign locations.
By taking a look at who is actually doing the traveling and trip planning we begin to see some patterns forming. Statistics show that the average traveler today is a middle aged woman, and if she is not traveling alone she is making the decisions for those who will be traveling with her.
When a man travels alone he is seen as an adventurer. If a woman plans to travel solo she is often the recipient of warnings, advice and horror stories suggesting that traveling alone is unwise at best. Certainly we understand the need for caution in today’s world, but there are alternatives.
The brand of small group boutique travel offered by the members of Slow Travel Tours offers an alternative to either going it completely alone or giving up one’s independence by joining a generic big box tour.
Over the past few years we have noticed that we are attracting a number of travelers of both genders who once again find themselves single after a spouse or partner is no longer able to travel with them. Many of them are adventurous and independent. They never considered joining a group before, but miss having companions.
In the process of revamping our website we interviewed two of our repeat Sojourners for testimonials. These lovely women pretty much fit the above description and have become fast friends since they first met several years ago. Here’s what they have to say:
“As a photographer I have enjoyed four different Sojourns with Matthew and Barb. The schedule is great for me, giving me time anywhere I want to photograph the sights or maybe just a bowl of lemons. Then in the evening I share pictures just as others share their drawings and paintings. It’s perfect for a person who just wants a little semi-structured time for photography (or writing for that matter) but wants convivial company and little trips and adventures with new friends.”
“I have been a frequent participant of the Arts Sojourns and was delighted to finally find a trip in which I could do exactly as I pleased while still being part of a lively group of interesting people. Matthew and Barbara do extensive research finding wonderful hotels and taking care of all the travel details so that the sojourner can just relax, enjoy beautiful Italy, and have fun.”
So the alternatives are out there!
Matthew Daub is a professional artist and university professor with works in major public and private collections throughout the United States and Europe. He has been leading plein air painting workshops in Italy since 1994. In 1999, Matthew and his wife Barbara formed Arts Sojourn as “a vacation for artists and their friends.” The program is designed to appeal to artists of all levels as well as non-artists who enjoy the company of creative people in a slow travel format.
Slow Travel Tours is an affiliation of small-group tour operators who offer personalized trips in Italy, France and other European countries.