‘Am I misunderstood?’

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No romance for solo grey nomad

Dear Jaclyn and Heidi,
I am a solo grey nomad who has been travelling since I became a widower three years ago. I am very self-reliant and happily spend days at a time in the bush with just my Jack Russell, Buster, for company.  I also enjoy Happy Hours with other travellers but run into problems when I meet solo females. I can’t help feeling they may be thinking I am trying to ‘pick them up’ if I stop to chat or express any interest in their  set-up. It seems a shame not to talk to people with whom I have so much in common, but I just feel awkward, especially when other well-meaning travellers joke about us joining forces or worse! The love of my life is gone now and romance is definitely not on my agenda … but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t enjoy some female company.
Eugene S

Focus on the positives, Eugene, and don’t go looking for the negatives. You say you enjoy your own company when you’re out in the bush and the company of others when the circumstances allow for a little conviviality. That sounds like a lovely balance. The grey nomad community is a rich and varied one and you will meet all sorts. You cannot control what others do or say or how they behave, only the way you conduct yourself. The same goes for the way people think. You will find that some of your fellow travellers might be ‘over the top’ friendly, others will be standoffish, others will be suspicious, others again will be snobbish or judgemental but – as I am sure you already know – the vast, vast majority will be amazing people. Just keep on doing what you are doing, Eugene, and enjoy your Big Lap.

Come on, Eugene. You’re a big boy now and I think you can rest assured that the solo ladies you meet on the road are also more than capable of looking after themselves. You are obviously a respectful, thoughtful traveller who is aware of – and sensitive to – other people’s boundaries. I think, however, that you may be denying yourself the opportunity to develop some wonderful, enriching friendships if you are too ‘frightened’ to talk to solo women. You cannot blanket categorise any group, including solo women. They are all different with different experiences and different feelings. Maybe some will be suspicious of any solo men they meet, but I suspect the vast majority will be just like you … kind, sensitive and friendly. So, go say ‘G’Day’.


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