Being a single traveler has a particular advantage in flexibility it brings. However you are always on the outside, a 2 hour drop in to a place, a single seat at the izakaya buzzing with small work groups.
For all the excitement of being in Sendai during the United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR), traveling alone and not as an Official Delegate did cause some pause for reflection about missing out on the social and networking that goes with events like conferences.
Not quite regrets, but next time I certainly would do a few things a little bit differently – such as:
- arranging meet ups with people I did know at the event, or with folks who are working in areas of particular interest to me;
- being bolder when it comes to breaking in to social conversations and groups in bars and eateries. “I now they are talking about the conference … “;
- Travel late afternoon or evenings rather than in day time, thus missing out on events and activities;
- Making a stronger effort to learn some basic Japanese, even as an ice-breaker. (I have unsuccessfully tried a Beginner’s Course. Must try again!)
- Give myself a make-over and turn into an interesting looking twenty-something – a nearly 60 year old grey-haired gaijin doesn’t seem to attract interest)
For stories on the WCDRR and the other things I get up to that pays for traveling, see my blog Bushfire Resilience.
For more stories on travels around places other than Japan, go to Escaping the Nest.