Many people would describe me as an extrovert (someone who is outgoing ) but I’m actually an introverted (shy in nature) extrovert. As a result of my personality traits, traveling solo is my preferred traveling style. I have the option to meet with people or I can simply enjoy the tranquility of being with my own thoughts.
People often assume that if they travel solo they will be alone. It is actually quite the opposite. I know it sounds like an oxymoron but traveling solo allows you to meet other people. When I am by myself, I make a conscious effort to engage with those around me.
Traveling solo does not always mean you’re alone. Most often, you meet marvelous people along the way and make connections that last a lifetime. – Jacqueline Boone
3 Ways I met people while traveling solo in Colombia
- Talk and make friends with people from your tours
- Stay at a Hostel or sign up for couch surfing
- Make sure you connect with people from FB travel groups
In Bogota, I met Diana from Washington, D.C. who was traveling solo for work. We hung out together on the Salt Cathedral Tour and decided that we were both interested in visiting the Gold Museum after the tour was completed.
In Cartagena, I booked the Real Cartegena Tour with Alex Rocha. After getting in the van I noticed 4 other passengers. I assumed they were traveling together but they were solo travelers who happened to book the same tour. I exchanged phone numbers with a young lady and we hung out several nights. We had dinner to celebrate both of our birthdays and listened to live salsa music at Cafe Havana.
Tips: Most people book tours to see the city and meet other people. Talk with other people from tours and see if they have a similar interest in food or activities. Ask them how they plan to spend there evening or what other tours they may have planned?
I love staying in Hostels and decided to stay at Bourbon St. Hostel located in the Walled City of Cartagena. I asked the front desk staff to recommend a great restaurant nearby. He informed me that they had a live band and a restaurant above the hostel. A group of travelers noticed that I was alone and offered to have dinner with me. They also extended the invite to go salsa dancing later in the evening.
Tips: Most hostels have a schedule of activities where hostel mates can meet each other. Plan to attend at least one of the outings. Be open to striking up a conversation with new people. Conversation starters include: Asking them where they are from and how/why they started traveling?
Facebook Travel Groups
I got together with Nike and her friend who are apart of Nomadness Travel Tribe FB group. We met at a restaurant in Bogota called Harry Sasson. The food was delicious due to the various seasoning and spices. We bought individual plates of meat but shared side orders and such as rice, green beans, ribs, plantain, and sweet potatoes. I highly recommend this restaurant but is to be noted that you can get food much cheaper elsewhere.
Although we didn’t intend to meet up, I ran into these same women in Guatape, Medellin and at the airport traveling to Cartagena.
I posted in Sisters Traveling Solo FB group and inquired about who would be traveling to Colombia during the holiday season. In Medellin, I had the opportunity to meet with Dominque and her 70-year-old father who were on there annual daddy-daughter trip. We had a delicious meal, dessert, and great conversation at La Abarroteria. I must admit I’m envious of there trip because I cannot get my father to travel internationally with me. Going to send up a prayer and keep my hands crossed that one day he will surprise me and book a plane ticket.
I didn’t realize that there was a high concentration of Black Expats in Medellin. I was connected through a Facebook and Whatsapp called Black Expats in Colombia. I was invited to attend a reggae concert in the park, (which sounded more like Reggaton but was a cool outing). Several days later Expat Rob who recently opened Sweet Georgia Cafe, graciously opened up his home for us to eat and fellowship.
Meeting with Black Expats made me realize I could make my dream of living abroad a reality. I have always wondered how people manage fund there travels. Some people were teaching English in Colombia or online, sold property in the USA travel, started a business or others were simply on vacation. If I ever moved to Medellin I wouldn’t feel lonely because they are always getting together for various events and willing to share resources.
Tips: Prior to traveling ask who lives in the city or who will be traveling on the same dates as you. Even if they may not be traveling solo, they are usually open to meeting with you.
“You never really travel alone. The world is full of friends waiting to get to know you! -Unknown