Hens Solo

I’ve written before about women of a certain age traveling alone:

It’s something they do well into middle-age and perhaps beyond, usually going to exotic locations where they talk in lofty terms about spirituality (while scoffing at anything which even hints at formal religion). There must be a pretty big market for this: reasonably wealthy women who have nothing else to do during their annual holidays but jet off somewhere exotic for a few weeks or months of “finding themselves”.

Via Little Billy Ockham, I find this article:

Like most self-assured young women with a global take on life, Indian-born, American-educated yoga teacher, media personality and Columbia Business School MBA graduate Ira Trivedi, 30, doesn’t think twice about going away on her own.

That fast-moving ratchet sound you can hear is a number of boxes being ticked in quick succession.

The first journey I made truly alone was when I was about 23. I’d just finished business school in the US and was finally properly independent – financially, mentally, emotionally. I spent a month in Bali by myself – no friends, no family, no work reason to be there. Just me by myself doing some soul searching.

Okay, there’s a pic of her in a bikini on the beach, and she’s pretty cute. If she wanted company, I’m sure she could find it if she took a taxi into Kuta and walked up to a bunch of Queenslanders in NRL singlets and flip-flops. Let’s be honest, a half-decent looking 23 year old woman is going to enjoy herself no matter where she goes, provided she doesn’t run into jihadists in the Atlas Mountains. But she’s now 30:

I’ve come back to Bali regularly since then for self-contemplation, when I need time to be on my own.

If she’s taking the same holidays at 30 that she did at 23 fresh out of college, it doesn’t sound as though she’s developed much as a person. Are there any relationships to speak of?

A spot of solo soul-searching a la Trivedi’s near annual ritual is now one of the most popular travel trends for 2019, particularly among women over 55 looking to travel either alone or in small groups of like-minded people.

The title of the article is “Why more women are choosing to travel alone?” I think that may be begging the question somewhat.

So popular in fact that the Australian high-end tour operator Captain’s Choice has, for the first time in its near three-decade history, put a “women only” trip on its 2019 itinerary – to be led by Trivedi.

Titled Harmony in the Himalayas, the 10-day journey in September includes five days at luxurious tented Chamba Camp Thiksey in Ladakh, northern India, during which time the group of no more than 20 women will spend “five days at altitude, nourishing mind, body and soul”, according to the marketing spiel.

Women only, eh? Was that on purpose, or was it just that no men signed up?

“Our solo travellers are really important to us…” says Lou Tandy, a director at Captain’s Choice.”

Why?

Priced from $16,850 per person…

Ah.

Roughly one in four Americans said they would travel solo in 2018, according to a survey of 2300 people conducted in late 2017 by US marketing firm MMGY Global, which specialises in the travel and hospitality industries. And while that attitude was as prevalent among Millennials as it was among Baby Boomers, women were the clear trend drivers across all age groups.

Well, yes. What we’re seeing is the result of social engineering which has produced millions of middle-aged women who have impressive job titles and lots of money but are bereft of spiritual happiness, the sort which is more traditionally supplied by a partner, family, or going to church. How many of these women shelling out almost seventeen grand on “nourishing mind, body and soul” with a bunch of other women in Ladakh would prefer to be on a beach holiday with a man with whom they have a stable, loving relationship?

Google Trends also shows interest in solo travel has grown steadily over the past 10 years, but reports increased searches for “female solo travel” have only gained traction since 2013. The average monthly search volume for the term “solo female travel” grew by 52 per cent between 2016 and 2017.

As I said in my original post:

I’ve noticed you don’t see many middle-aged men going “travelling”, it’s nearly always women, and always alone. One possible answer for the latter is all their friends are tied-down with family and can’t take the time away, but most middle-aged single women have a whole rugby team who are in the same situation, so why don’t they go in a group? I suspect the reason they go on holiday alone and the reason they are single are one and the same: they’re either nuts or simply not much fun to be around.

What would be fun is seeing how many women on these group tours actually form lasting friendships with those they meet. I expect it’s very few.

And this amused (emphasis mine):

As for Trivedi, she’s looking forward to channelling plenty of lady power. “Women usually have the experience of little girl groups when we’re young; girls love to congregate,” she says. “As we get older, we lose that. Often we lose it to men, our partners – and then to children.

“So reconnecting to women you don’t know when you’re older is very powerful. Sharing stories is powerful and there’s no judgment. It’s about connectivity.”

This sounds for all the world like a holiday where divorced women come to bitch about their ex-husbands. Little wonder no men signed up.

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52 thoughts on “Hens Solo

  1. I’m not sure what you’re criticising here, Tim. The travelling alone, or the destinations? Carting the baggage of a companion around when you’re off in search of something new shows a remarkable amount of insecurity. Tantamount to joining the Caravan Club. Although signing up to something organised positively chills the blood. S’pose the male equivalent would be a golfing holiday. Now that’s sad.

  2. I’m not sure what you’re criticising here, Tim.

    The implication that these women are choosing to travel alone, as opposed to not having much option. And the way this travel is dressed up as some deep spiritual journey, which 1) it probably isn’t, and 2) suggests a rather empty life back home. If these women were going to Istanbul for a weekend to take in the sights I’d be a lot less critical, but those trips don’t get featured in articles (unless she falls in love with a waiter).

  3. Poncing around type travel is an aimless waste of money.

    The fact is that –aside from a few females who do have actual worthwhile jobs–doctors (assuming they are any good), scientists etc–most of the females you refer to SHOULDN’T have bullshit office jobs that pay them enough to ponce about on. Shut down the HR and bullshit bureaucratic jobs that pay these female creatures and save a fortune for society.

    Men as you say are far less prone to such capers but also many men are working essential jobs that keep society going but don’t pay enough to afford poncing around even if they were stupid enough to want to. Male losers who are social failures used to rely on the bottle to fill the time while waiting for death. As for the present shower of soyboy shite losers–most of whom with not end up with a family–Christ knows what antics will attend their decline. Becoming beard-boy converts is the most worrying prospect.

  4. “…most middle-aged single women have a whole rugby team who are in the same situation, so why don’t they go in a group?”

    Hunting is best to do solo – less competition! Same with picking up a mate.

  5. One reason many women travel is for social climbing. It’s not about going to Nepal. It’s having selfies from Nepal.

    Nepal is all about that cliche of Shangri-la. It’s not about spirituality. You can find a Krishna place in any city if you want that. But that requires being serious about something. This sort of thing, like most travel, is about making them look interesting without any commitment.

    This stuff is mostly about shallow commitment phobics. These women probably would have been happier in a previous generation because shared labour and a lack of contraception would have forced children upon them.

  6. Men as you say are far less prone to such capers but also many men are working essential jobs that keep society going

    I don’t think it’s just that. I used to do a lot of solo traveling, a hell of a lot in fact, but I eventually grew weary of it. I found that rather than traveling to see places I was traveling to see people: all the trips I did in 2018 were to see people, and the places sometimes a bit meh. Even if the places were nice, such as Lisbon and Porto, I spent the whole time getting drunk with my friend. I think the last time I did a solo trip was to Budapest in 2017, and that was because a planned semi-professional trip to the US fell through at the last minute and I’d already booked the time off my day-job. For whatever reason, traveling on my own just to look at a place doesn’t appeal any more.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with it: Michael Jennings seems to turn up in a different foreign city every weekend, although he’s often meeting people he knows there. But from what I can tell he’s wandering around looking at things which he finds interesting, not “refreshing his mind, body, and soul” and posting pictures of sunsets and silhouettes with faux-spiritual hashtags (photos of foul-mouthed political graffiti is more his thing).

    So I’ve nothing against solo travel per se, and nothing against jetting off to a new place to see what’s what. But what the article describes, and what the increasing numbers suggest, is something rather different.

  7. This sort of thing, like most travel, is about making them look interesting without any commitment.

    Yes.

  8. Hunting is best to do solo – less competition! Same with picking up a mate.

    I believe Turkish waiters do group discounts.

  9. The only travelling I do these days, apart from family holidays are either to go to a Champions League away match or to see a concert, and usually with one or two mates. I’m not into solo travel. I don’t see the point if you aren’t sharing the experience with someone else.

    City breaks with Miss Bannister are fun to do now the kids are grown.

  10. shelling out almost seventeen grand

    In the spirit of internet nit-picking, I assume from the other mentions of Oz in the article that these are Australian dollars, so while that seventeen grand is still a hefty chunk of change it’s not quite as eye-popping as it first appears.

  11. City breaks with Miss Bannister are fun to do now the kids are grown.

    Which I suspect is what a lot of these women wish they were doing, having made different choices earlier in life. Put it this way, I have it on good authority that if you start dating a single, professional woman with no children one of the first things she wants to do is take off on a succession of city breaks, which she’s obviously been building up waiting for a bloke to enter her life to do them with. The number of times their dating profiles allude to a love of “travel” and “seeing new places” supports this.

  12. Reminds me when I was learning to fly in the Gambia. The flight was full of middle aged women. I was confused until I saw they were met at Banjul by local men who escorted them from the airport and serviced them in return for generous tips. The women were all below average in attractiveness.
    I’m sure they told their families they were on Safaris but most never left the hotel or beach.

  13. I assume from the other mentions of Oz in the article that these are Australian dollars

    The journalist used a £ sign, but I have no confidence they’ll have done the conversion properly.

  14. Reminds me when I was learning to fly in the Gambia.

    Ah yes, that’s well known. A mate of mine, who reads this blog, told me his mother-in-law inadvertently ended up on one of those trips with a bunch of her mates, and was rather surprised to find them all wander off with local twenty-something lads. At least, that was her story.

    Although I don’t think the women doing spiritual traveling are looking to get laid. More likely, it’s to flush their minds of the crushing disappointment of several years internet dating the wrong side of 30.

  15. Sixteen flipping grand to stay in a tent with some goats and shit in a hole in the ground?

    That’s more than my annual personal travel budget, which buys usually business class flights, and four or five-star hotels.

    I confess that I keep going back to some of the same places, but they are not beaches.

  16. A few points;

    1. “little” Bill? Ah, you’ve seen me naked.
    2. “Travelling” in my definition involves booking flights, trains and hotels yourself as part of an interesting itinerary. This woman seems to be going on a very expensive package tour with just one destination.
    3. For those who don’t speak Hindi, you might find the translation of a very similar sounding word to the destination quite amusingly ironic; ladaka.

  17. Funnily enough, my parents went to Sikkim and Ladakh in the early ’90s. Judging by the Zamberlan walking boots, I think they were more interested in hiking and looking at mountains than “nourishing mind, body and soul”. Although getting away from 4 kids for a month probably had that effect.

  18. In the spirit of internet nit-picking, I assume from the other mentions of Oz in the article that these are Australian dollars, so while that seventeen grand is still a hefty chunk of change it’s not quite as eye-popping as it first appears.

    Captain’s Choice is a brand-name used by the Melbourne tour company APT (Australian Pacific Touring).

    AUD $17,000 sounds about right for the price of a Captain’s Choice 10-day tour to Nepal. (Due to the advanced age of the average clientele most all Captain’s Choice tours are accompanied by a doctor)

    Btw: Seventeen thousand Ozzi smackers per head is on the low side for Captain’s Choice’s tour options.

    APT usually deals in the ..er.. budget conscious end of the market, flogging Rhine Cruises, Rocky Mountaineer rail journeys, and bus trips all over Australia.

    I’ve dealt with them for most of my hotel career. Their tour guides are the most hopeless in the business with little understanding or commitment and an IDGAF factor of 200%.

    I would never purchase a tour from APT/CC, nor would I recommend anybody do so.

    I’d be surprised if either incarnation (APT or Captain’s Choice) has ever had a client who is below retirement age. (A broad generalisation that is not quite true)

    My opinion of them is based not on any perceived difficulty in collecting payment from them (another broad generalisation that is not quite true)

    It is based on an objective assessment over many years of their professionalism, value for money, and primarily, the beneficial experience of the paying tour guest.

  19. Seems to me that some of the commentators on here are annoyed, frustrated, that women earn their own money and can therefore spend it on whatever hell they want!
    Im a middleaged, professional, financially independent woman…I also have a partner and three grown up children. I may at some point go on a women oly holiday to somewhere far flung…but i also like city breaks !
    Stop making everything binary and judgemental !

  20. “I have it on good authority that if you start dating a single, professional woman with no children one of the first things she wants to do is take off on a succession of city breaks, which she’s obviously been building up waiting for a bloke to enter her life to do them with. ”

    As was accurately depicted by the Bridget Jones movie back in 2001. Bridget Jones being the creation of an (at the time) 30 something unmarried journalist/writer of course. I would say the original Bridget Jones columns and the first movie are very accurate views into the single female mind.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNkP2Y5wme0

  21. Most of these people (millenials + single women of all ages) mean “a holiday” when they say travelling. Travelling conjures images of hard treks to remote locations, entering the unknown and unexplored, enduring personal difficulties and challenges and therefore achieving something at the end of it. The number of people I know my age or younger (20-30) who go on gap years, sabbaticals etc. to go “travelling” but really just visit the exact same cities and hostels catering to westerners in the same tame, fully explored countries in SE Asia is ridiculous.

    You will struggle to find any woman on a dating app who doesn’t list “travelling” as her only hobby (except for “Friday drinks with the ladies”). Every single one of them mean “I enjoy going on holiday”. You can imagine the sort of conversations that occur on first dates with people whose only hobby they can think of is going on holiday… And women wonder why men are only on these apps to hook up.

  22. Every single one of them mean “I enjoy going on holiday”.

    That’s up there with Thai and Italian food on the list of things which you shouldn’t put on a dating profile because, well, who doesn’t?

  23. “Seems to me that some of the commentators on here are annoyed, frustrated, that women earn their own money and can therefore spend it on whatever hell they want!”

    Not really, its more that its all being pasted all over the press as morally uplifting (and therefore superior) behaviour. No one writes articles about men travelling the world following their sports teams (which is very common behaviour), or if they do its just more of a ‘Look how much money this idiot has spent watching every Arsenal European away game for 2 decades!’ type thing.

    Men will spend thousands on trips to watch sports in the most inaccessible parts of the globe, which is actually travelling of a more sincere nature – they’re going to places tourists don’t go, and are often travelling under their own steam rather than on organised tours. I myself went to India for over a month to watch (of all things) Australia play a Test series against India, yet no one claims this type of activity as spiritual enhancement.

  24. Do men even like going on holiday with women?? Surely more women-only holidays, even if they are sold as ‘spiritual’ experiences (I think most women would take this marketing with a pinch of salt), are a good thing

  25. Do men even like going on holiday with women?

    Some do, but others prefer to obtain them on arrival.

  26. Karon, I am mainly wondering why I am not making a much better living than at present. By selling tent holidays at $17k*. My sole judgment of that kind of customer is they need to be relieved of their money. Preferably in my direction.

    *: Yes, I have done the “luxury tent” thing, including spiritual crap on tap, if you are so-inclined; albeit in Israel, not Nepal. So I know it’s not quite pitch-your-own and sometimes you get more than a bucket to shit in. I also know it doesn’t cost anything approaching $1700 a day, even in a first-world country.

  27. Hold on:

    “The first journey I made truly alone was when I was about 23. I’d just finished business school in the US and was finally properly independent – financially, mentally, emotionally. I spent a month in Bali by myself – no friends, no family, no work reason to be there. Just me by myself doing some soul searching.”

    Just finished Business School during the height of the financial crisis and grads not even getting non-grad jobs and she was financially independent enough to not work for a month in Bali?

    That does not make any sense at all.

  28. Sharing stories

    Talking about yourself

    and there’s no judgement

    Lol. Can people have that in writing with refunds at the end of the holiday when demonstrated as untrue?

  29. Never understood the attraction to travelling to places to look at things. When you’ve seen one cathedral, bridge, castle, ancient ruin, basically you’ve seen all of them. They don’t differ that much. In any case that’s what photography’s for, isn’t it? So you can look at them in the comfort of your own home.
    But I don’t think anything beats arriving in some strange foreign city & having it all laid out in front of you like a buffet. And there may even be prawns. To search for that quarter that the travel writers warn you should never venture & find out why. Last thing you need’s some arsehole tagging along, cramping your style & obliging you to fuck the fat bird because it’s his turn to get the good one.

  30. My single-at-the-time sister, a full-blown lib, went on a 4 month trip to Asia but did the hard slog through it. Even with her lib credentials, she never spoke of the journey as a soul-searching quest. She knew full well she was doing it because she wasn’t married yet.
    She had a sense of humor about it, too. One time, she had a party to “celebrate” going one year without a date (against her wishes). I think it is getting harder and harder for young people to meet up for a lot of reasons. My sister was nowhere near a high-paid, too busy to date type person, and objectively speaking she was/is not ugly. Eventually, at 35, she got married and had twins at 39. Everyone has so many options these days and people run past each other. People live in huge, impersonal cities and don’t use the traditional routes to marriage anymore. If you don’t find your spouse in college, then it gets terribly difficult to find one in the real world.

  31. In Mauritius some years ago I ran into a gang of ten or twelve mid-twenties women, all attractive, who had organised an “I Hate Men” getaway to take a break from miscellaneous painful husbands, boyfriends etc. It was going to be just honest, sincere, truthful, dependable all girls together.

    Within three days of arrival they were all banging like a dunny door in a gale. Women who have power over men are seldom able to resist exercising it.

    Still it is quite possible that Ms. Trivedi is asexual.

  32. Seems to me that some of the commentators on here are annoyed, frustrated, that women earn their own money and can therefore spend it on whatever hell they want!

    So what you’re saying is, I’m a lobster?

  33. The first journey I made truly alone was when I was about 23.

    About 23? She has an MBA and isn’t sure what age she is? :facepalm

    Anyway, the first journey I made truly alone was when I was 18. Decided to go to British GP (bikes) on my bike.

    Set of heading south on A1 from Edinburgh (A1 starts on Waterloo Place at east end of Princes Street in city centre) assuming A1 became M1 further south – no map – it doesn’t.

    Got to roundabout somewhere and noticed bikes not going onto A1. Stopped and flagged down a group and asked “Going to GP?”

    Result: found a cheap b&b in Nottingham, BBC camera guys there too. Police were good – turned a blind-eye to speeding, wheelies etc. Had a great time.

    Damned cold riding home even though July, eta ~0300.

  34. Well I’m not quite middle aged but I like travelling alone, have only done a handful of trips with friends and found it a pain waiting around for others and having to compromise on where to eat, etc. My ideal travel experience (and I do plan and book everything myself) is to visit the sights, galleries and museums and take photos of the place. Sometimes I to meet someone at the hostel who wants to do something I do and we go together, which I semi-jokingly refer to as ‘Lost in Translation moments’

    I have yet to encounter any of these women described in these articles, most of the women I’ve met have been in their early 20’s and just out of uni, you’ll be pleased to hear the ones I’m still in touch with tend to settle down and have families by the time they hit their 30’s.

    Finally BiS- photos are a poor substitute for seeing something with your own eyes, many places I have been to the pics don’t do justice.

  35. @ Wee Willie -” little” Bill? Ah, you’ve seen me naked.”

    Relax, he was referring to your self esteem.

  36. @S – “I assume from the other mentions of Oz in the article that these are Australian dollars”

    Yes the article is from the Australian Financial Review so its in Aussie dollars.

    I just seen off my now both single mother and sister back to Mud Island from their Christmas trip down under. Three weeks of why Brexit is bad, Trump is bad, plastic is bad, China is bad and that UK democratic system is a good thing.

    Flights alone cost me AUD$25k, never mind free lodging, Aussie restaurants, driving tours with an English speaking driver and the best Aussie wine, steak and seafood that money can buy.

    After day one I opted out of any political conversations with either of them. It was very trying to hold back, when my Aussie nieces partner a local state union delegate jumped into the conversation.

  37. Like many of these women, she was loaded and from an elite family, received one of the most expensive educations it is possible to get and now does Yoga.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ira_Trivedi

    “Ira is the founder of Namami Yoga,[29] a charity and not for profit foundation that brings yoga to the underprivileged children”

    She has manged to get her own #metoo tick as well.

    Eat-Pray-Love etc…

  38. a charity and not for profit foundation that brings yoga to the underprivileged children

    Just what underprivileged children need. I don’t know much but I do know that yoga is probably the last thing on an underprivileged child’s list of needs.

  39. “After day one I opted out of any political conversations with either of them. It was very trying to hold back, when my Aussie nieces partner a local state union delegate jumped into the conversation.”

    Presumably, you changed the subject to house prices and delighted them with your analysis on what’s coming next after the 10% drop in the value of your portfolio in 2018.

  40. @david Moore

    Ah thanks for finding that, my comment earlier was implying she was independently wealthy before working as there is no way anyone can do a degree then MBA then not work for one month and be financially independent unless parents were loaded.

  41. Bardon–If your mother/sister are against Brexit and Trump you are a victim of child abuse. Since you have missed your chance to kill both and bury them out in the bush or place them to be dingo dinners, then I suggest you disown them and get one of those kiddie parent-divorce capers. Write to their local paper to make sure all their vile WOMI chums hear about it.

  42. Like many of these women, she was loaded and from an elite family, received one of the most expensive educations it is possible to get and now does Yoga.

    Heh. I should have known. Top research there!

  43. Just finished Business School during the height of the financial crisis and grads not even getting non-grad jobs and she was financially independent enough to not work for a month in Bali?

    I thought about that, but to be honest it is possible. By the time I graduated in June 2006 I had a job lined up in September, so I went off to the USA for 5 weeks just driving about. I was pretty skint, but was at least financially independent. But this woman’s done an MBA which are usually expensive, unless paid for by a company in which case they normally expect you to come and work for them immediately afterwards. But as David Moore’s research shows, she’s actually from a wealthy family, who almost certainly coughed up her MBA fees and living expenses. Financially independent, indeed.

  44. @Mr Ecks

    Yes they were quite full on, especially my mother, she is/was a historian and I guess she still is because she still does a bit of paid work now and again. I knew that was their position but discussing it with my mother when she first arrived I could see how far Mud Island has regressed.

    On one of the days I took her to a semi rain forest and then we drove back into town and we stopped off at a well known and historical watering hole called The Regatta for a spritzer. She had been there before on previous visits, we sat outside next to the main road and my mum commented that the air pollution from the traffic wasn’t as bad as she expected and I mentioned it was because the road was next to the river and also that the hotel goes under when the river floods. We had a brief chat about the environment and then she came out and asked me if I was a “global warming denier” no kids, that’s what she said.

    I replied that if I think that CO2 is a pollutant then no I don’t and also that I thought that term was a bit radical to use. We moved on and discussed other things after that.

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