Updated on March 31st, 2022
It has struck me recently that for many of us who live alone, contemplating travelling solo too may not exactly fill us with joy. We ideally like to have someone there with us, at least to share a meal and a debrief on the events of the day. But there are many ways that we can meet others on our travels and I’m keen to start sharing some of my favourites. So, if you are wondering how to meet people when travelling, then here is my ode to yoga retreats!”
Dominican Republic, Cuba, Mount Kilimanjaro, USA, Iceland and Barbados
I have often said that travelling alone is the perfect way to meet people. That solo travel breeds solo travellers. I’ve been reflecting on this over the last few months. The biggest fear that people can often have when venturing out on their own is that they may be lonely. For those of us who live alone, why would you also want to travel on your own too?
But sometimes the drive to get out into the world is just too strong. What we want to do may not be on our loved one’s agendas. We may have friends who really want to come too but just can’t find the time. We may just be fed up with waiting to fit into someone else’s agenda. For many of us, that’s how we end up falling in love with solo travel.
And whenever I have decided to go it alone, I have never spent a long time on my own unless I have wanted to. Looking back at the most deep-rooted connections I have made, when we have gone on to share future adventures together, one thing really stands out.
We met on a yoga retreat!”
So, if you are wondering how to meet people when travelling. If you have an interest in looking after yourself or a desire to be better at it. Then attending a yoga retreat could be the perfect solution for you. You may meet on a wellness retreat, but you could next be up a mountain in Tanzania, on the back of a horse in Iceland, or discovering the joys of country music in Nashville together!
How to Meet People When Travelling – An Ode to Yoga Retreats
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I first met Kathy when I was in the Dominican Republic. It was the start of five months alone for me exploring the Caribbean while my neighbours rented my house (for renovations to theirs). I had decided it was time to take control and kick start my fitness. Usually while travelling, staying fit had been my nemesis. However, with five months ahead of me, I couldn’t afford to not take control. With a determination to start as I meant to go on, I booked into a fitness retreat for a week.
The place I chose was a rough and ready, budget boot camp. I was booked for 2 fitness sessions a day and yoga every night. On my second day, I struck up a conversation with the woman from Canada on the sun lounger next to me.
We got on like a house on fire and it turned out she was a yoga instructor, there to run a retreat. We connected on several levels and spent a lot of time putting the world to rights.”
During our many conversations, Kathy told me about the retreat she had planned for Cuba in April. It sounded great but I had been on a retreat now and there may be other exciting adventures in my future. I had already been to Cuba too. OK, I had loved it, but I had spent a month there. I had learned Spanish, I had travelled, I had met some fantastic people. Why would I want to go back?
But did I mention that I loved it? 😉
If you fancy joining a yoga retreat, then please check out the options from my favourite tour company G Adventures HERE.
Kathy and I kept in touch and as April got closer, I didn’t have anything that had offered itself better than a yoga retreat in Cuba. So, I booked. And it was amazing. You can read all about the experience in the blog posts HERE. But this time around I truly fell in love with Cuba. And with the experience of a yoga retreat. And firmed up a strong bond with Kathy, as well as meeting a whole group of amazing, strong and interesting women in the process.
One of these amazing women was Brigit…
As you now know, I met Brigit in Cuba at a yoga retreat. We got on well and kept in touch until, in 2019, I got a message from her.
Have you ever thought about climbing Mount Kilimanjaro?”
How did she know?
2019 was the year I was turning 50. And what better way to celebrate a new decade than taking on the biggest mental and physical challenge of your life? I had already started to research it but had not made any decisions.
So how did Brigit know?
She remembered that I had shared the ambition along with 116 other plans on my Life List. It connected with her and she was ready to do it. Hence why she had reached out.
There’s a lesson there. Write down your goals & share them. It is a well-known fact that by making any goals public, you become more accountable and therefore are more likely to achieve them. The other benefit is that others who see them may share the same ambition. They may get in touch. You may find a kindred spirit who is the perfect person to have an adventure with.
For the next 8 days, we took on the challenge. And she was the perfect person for me to do it with.
If you have ever fancied taking on this epic challenge, but don’t have a friend like Brigit, then the best way is to attempt it as part of a tour group. Check out these options HERE. Or if you would rather do something a little more accessible and less exhausting try these one-day options!
Earlier in 2019 I was living in Antigua for 6 months. And it turned out that Kathy had a return to Cuba planned. I was too close not to go…and anyway have I mentioned that I love Cuba? Every time I visit, I feel energised and reinvigorated. Especially when it’s combined with a yoga retreat.
I could not recommend Kathy and her excellent retreats highly enough. If you fancy joining one of them then check out all the dates and locations HERE. I may well see you there!
This retreat in Cuba was a very different but no less special experience, meeting a group of equally strong and beautiful women.
And there I met Jill.
Jill (USA, 2020)
One day Jill got in touch with a proposition. She had a work trip to Washington planned. Was there anywhere in the US I fancied going? Could we meet up and share an adventure?
I went to my roadmap for life, my Life List and examined what was there in the US of A. One caught my eye. It was a music road trip around Nashville, Memphis and New Orleans. It had been something I had planned to do with my husband, Terry. Unfortunately, that wasn’t possible anymore, but it was also something that I didn’t fancy doing on my own. In addition, it could also include another on my list, visiting Elvis’s home of Graceland.
So next thing you know I was meeting her at Nashville airport, ready to go on a journey of discovery with lots of live music, some cool cities and a house which was once home to the King of Rock and Roll.”
When we booked it there was this virus which had started in China but was now being detected in other parts of the world. As the trip came closer it became bigger and bigger news. And then after we met, it started to take hold and impact all our plans. We ended up with our road trip on fast forward, seeing what we could before we had to race home to escape what had now become a global pandemic.
As I hugged Jill goodbye on that morning in New Orleans, little did either of us know that would be the last human contact we would both have for the next 3 months.
Three days after arriving home, we went into lockdown. We both lived alone. We kept in touch regularly sharing stories of our weird, apocalyptic lonely existences. The adventure we had shared had not been what we planned, but it had certainly cemented our friendship. And I have no doubt that one day we will have a proper trip together. Where we can take our time, execute the plan and not just run from a virus.
So, do you see my point that yoga retreats are the perfect place to meet people when travelling? Still need some convincing?
Kathy was planning her first retreat in Iceland. Somewhere I had always wanted to visit. So, I signed up. And so did my sister, and my wonderful friend Marie. But of course, it was May 2020, which never happened. And nor did May 2021. Finally, it did go ahead in August of that year, minus the COVID casualties of my sister (Australian borders yet to reopen) and Marie (preparing for a new job in Shanghai).
We had an amazing time in Iceland which I have documented extensively. Most importantly, Kathy and I connected in a way that we hadn’t previously. In Iceland, we shared an apartment and spent every morning and each evening running through the day’s events. We discussed the impact it had had on us (in Iceland this was profound on many levels).
We talked about our plans for the future, for ourselves and our businesses. In doing so I discovered a kindred spirit and we left firmer friends than we had arrived.”
As 2021 ended, I had an offer I couldn’t resist from Kathy. She was keen to scope out a new Caribbean location for a yoga retreat. She was interested in Barbados so asked if I fancied joining her. Never one to say “No” to an opportunity, I was in! Once again, we had a lovely time and I very much hope to join her in discovering more of the beauty of Barbados when she gets her retreat organised. Who knows who I’ll meet when I do and what part of the world, we will end up exploring together! To keep your eyes peeled for this one too, check out her website HERE.
So, if you are wondering how to meet people when travelling then I hope I have convinced you that joining a yoga retreat could be the perfect solution to making new friends and sharing an unforgettable experience together. After all, who knows where the journey could take you next?!
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