Well. Here's where I am, RIGHT now, as I write this post:
And I absolutely still love traveling alone. (Even though, technically, I've spent very little time actually being alone.)
When you travel, especially alone, you become more approachable and more open to interactions and opportunities. (For what it's worth, there's no good reason not to live your whole live this way. See also: Life Hack - Do What You Do When You Travel When You're Home.)
But here's something that has changed since I last wrote about solo (or sola!) travel:
AirBnb has gotten a TON more popular. Airbnb, which allows local hosts to rent out rooms, bunks, or even entire homes, is basically everywhere, now.
For example, headed to Quepos or Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica? You have dozens of options, from $30/night to $100+.
I am currently staying with Willy at Casa Quepos (that's a direct link -- if you use this link to create your Airbnb account, we'll both make $20). And Willy and his family are AMAZING!
First of all, there are no addresses in Costa Rica. When I arrived in Quepos, the first thing I had to do was return my rental car -- and I had no idea where or how to do that. Willy happily helped me figure out where to go once I got into town, and then had his mom meet me at the Alamo so I wouldn't have any trouble finding the house.
As we walked, she pointed out important landmarks ("cafe with air conditioning," "banco," "autobus station," etc.). Once I got settled into my room, Willy took me out, once again, to see the marina, the bike trail, and other Quepos sites.
We talked (slowly, in a mix of Spanish and English) about music, sports and life in Quepos. It came up that we both played guitar -- and naturally, a jam session ensued. AND! He's got some recording equipment at his house, so I might even get a chance to record the songs I've been writing in my head on the computer!
Oh, and I forgot to add: Willy's mom made me dinner. And breakfast! It was better than anything I've ordered in a restaurant -- and they have so many mangoes growing on their tree right now, they're basically begging me to eat them all.
I'm trying my hardest.
Second, because it's the holidays, and they wanted to celebrate, Willy's parents came with me to Manuel Antonio National Park this morning. They're older than I am, but clearly their eyes are sharper -- they saw sloths, monkeys and raccoons that I would have never seen on my own.
When you factor in all the money I've saved in using Airbnb instead of a hotel, meals with Willy et al., and having locals to "guide" me through the park... it's pretty significant.
Not to mention that they are some of the warmest people I have ever met, and I loved hearing about their lives here.
Before Quepos, I was in Playa del Coco, up north, near the Liberia Airport. Sadly, I only had one night to spend in this beautiful area (if you want to snorkel or scuba dive in Costa Rica, Coco is the place to do it). But happily, I spent it with Karen in her gorgeous home.
I booked last-minute, and considered myself lucky to have found something so affordable (it's $25/night - and if you book it using my link, it'll only be $5 :P)... but I had no idea how awesome the house was going to be.
Karen is a massage therapist by day. And you know that chill, relaxing vibe you get when you go to the massage place? That's her entire home. Oh, and there's an amazing ocean view.
(But please note: when you're following the directions she gives you to the house... the road might suddenly end and turn into a beach. You won't need 4WD to continue, but do watch out for giant rocks. Just follow the tracks in the sand and you'll be fine.)
I got in a little late, and Karen waited up for me. The next morning, she invited me to hang out on the beach with her -- we pulled out two long chairs and enjoyed the morning sun. With coffee.
When I told her I love snorkeling, she suggested we go later -- she likes to go before sunset.
So if you're considering traveling alone, but you're afraid you'll be too alone... get on Airbnb. Because it's the greatest thing that's happened to sola travel since... I dunno. Airplanes?