Dear Miriam,

I have always wanted to travel, but between raising a family, farming and working part-time, opportunities have been few and far between over the years. However, the last of the children has flown the nest now and I feel that it’s finally my time to spread my own wings.

Like the woman who wrote into you a few weeks ago regarding days out, I am also married to a complete homebird. He has very little interest or inclination to leave the farm for more than a day or two at most. There is no point dragging him along for the sake of it, as it just wouldn’t be enjoyable.

However, most of my friends would holiday with their own husbands and the same goes for my sisters. This means that my options are fairly limited.

There are places that I really want to see though, and I feel that I have put travel off for long enough.

Have you any advice for me?

Nuala, Munster

Dear Nuala,

Thank you for your email. The world truly is your oyster; but I can understand why the prospect of striking out solo is daunting. That said, waiting on others to travel with you means that you will most likely have to put your own dreams on hold for even longer. So, let’s see if we can figure out a way for you to take the first step.

Of course, nowadays, we can all arrange holidays from our own computers (and even our phones). But I think it might make most sense for you to consider booking with an agency that specialises in solo holidays.

The Travel Department is one that springs to mind when it comes to European breaks, or Trailfinders for longer-haul adventures.

Travel Agent

I’d recommend that you drop into your local travel agent for a chat, as they will be able to steer you in the right direction. These types of holidays tend to offer a mix of organised tours and free time, with the added bonus of taking care of most of the logistics for minimal stress.

Another option might be to look at an activity break based on one of your hobbies, e.g. yoga or a craft. These types of holidays will naturally attract solo travellers sharing a common interest and the workshop element means that there is a nice sense of structure to the trip.

There are many companies that specialise in these trips, so your local travel agent is your best friend once more in this regard.

Waiting on others to travel with you means that you will most likely have to put your own dreams on hold for even longer

However, if you are really not interested in holidaying with a group, there’s nothing wrong with venturing off yourself. To build your confidence, you could start with a night or two somewhere in Ireland or the UK and go from there.

There are little things that you can do to make life easier for yourself, e.g. try to book a flight that arrives in daylight, arrange a transfer from the airport to your accommodation if you are not comfortable using public transport straight away, make sure your travel insurance is up to date, choose a hotel with a restaurant if you are unsure about venturing out at night, book yourself onto a group sight-seeing tour, etc.

In time, perhaps your friends or your sisters might be interested in joining you on a break. Or maybe your husband or one of your children will also be inspired by your adventures and want a piece of the action?

But I would say that life is short, the world is wide and there is so much out there to be discovered.

Why wait any longer? Bon voyage!

Read more

Ask Miriam: ‘can I ask my friend to help with petrol money?’

Ask Miriam: 'I don't want to ask my sister-in-law to be godmother'