“Oh, what is she doing in a resort alone?”
“Perhaps she has no friends.”
The need for approval is common among us all; it is also one of man’s biggest obstacles. I won’t lie and pretend to be lofty – I too, sometimes fear how others see me. Nobody wants to be perceived as a weirdo, right?
Last year, after a few very stressful months at work, I finally got my days of leave. My friend and I were planning a resort getaway to Da Nang, Vietnam, when she realised, her work situation would only allow her a 4-day break –
- So I had extra leave days on my own. What should I do?
- Should I cancel my extra leave days? Should I stay home? or,
- Should I pick up the courage and stay at a resort, alone?
I decided to do the latter. After all, I desperately needed a relaxing getaway – my motto has always been “work hard, travel harder,” and frankly, I have been working very hard for the past few months, I deserved a good chill-out.
So screw what others think. Off I went, to Naman Retreat in Da Nang, alone.
And because of this experience, I get to write an article now.
Alone time. Self-reflecting time.
Some people are scared of being alone because they fear that would mean being bored. So bring a book. Or a notebook or a sketchpad. This solo stay at Naman Retreat gave me some wind-down time alone, and it was something I rarely had otherwise.
Resorts are perfect: there were no sight-seeing spots to rush to, no travelling schedule to meet. It was during that stay I got the time to pick up writing again, a past time I loved during college, yet it slowly lost its place in my life as I started work. I also had my WSET (Wine & Spirit Education Trust) level 3 exam two weeks after my holiday, so I brought my learning materials on the trip, and I got to revise. “Revision” on a trip may sound a bit sad, but it was something I enjoyed immensely (it was about wine; it’s hard not to be enjoyable).
People know who you are.
There are two sides of the same coin: you can choose to be afraid of how people see you travelling alone, or you can embrace the uniqueness.
Upon arrival, I was greeted warmly by my personal ambassador. During lunch at Hay Hay restaurant, a very nice young lady served me, and I told her I like my Vietnamese coffee strong with less condensed milk. “Less sweet, no problem.”
That night I got to join the manager’s drink and had the chance to talk to one of the duty managers. We got to discuss the hotel and its management, my travel and hotel experience, and the tourism scene in Da Nang. It was a very pleasant conversation on a beautiful evening.
What happened the next morning threw me off guard. At breakfast, the same waitress served me, and she remembered how I liked my coffee. Both my personal ambassador and the duty manager I met the night before came and said good morning, and I got the chance to give them my honest opinion on the resort, also suggestions on things that can be improved.
The WHOLE resort experience.
When you’re travelling in a group or as a couple, there is always a need to compromise: because you only have a limited amount of time, sometimes you can only do things your partner wants to experience, or what majority of your travelling buddies are interested in.
But when you’re at a resort alone, you have the perfect opportunity to experience everything YOU like, and at your pace. For example, when I was at Naman Retreat, I went to the gym and exercised, not having to worry about “abandoning” my friend. I made an appointment for a relaxing spa treatment. I ate at times I wanted to (and not have to wait for others) and ordered food I like.
After dinner, I spent some time at B Lounge, smoked a bit of shisha (chocolate and mint flavoured, my favourite), and just wandered off in my thoughts, with a band serenading in the background.
Once in a while, it’s just nice not to have to social.
Of course, there are a few disadvantages travelling solo as well:
- There will be certain times in the day when you do want someone to talk to.
- It can be quite expensive to do a resort trip by yourself, without someone to split the cost with.
- When you dine, you can’t order much so there can be a lack of food variation.
But after my solo stay at Naman Retreat, I did start to embrace solo travelling more than I used to. Post-Da Nang I have been to London, Saas Fee (to ski) and Vienna by myself. I will also be going to San Francisco and Las Vegas soon as well, alone.
So my advice – try it once, a solo resort stay. You may enjoy it more than you think.