Solo Adventurers,  Travel

Solo Adventurer #1: Ryan

Name: Ryan E
Age: 50
From: Oakland, California (originally Houston, Texas)
Profession: Copywriter/Designer
Solo Adventure: 15-day round trip cruise from San Francisco to Hawaii on the Ruby Princess
First solo trip?: No

How did you become a solo traveller?

In 1995, I went backpacking around Europe with two friends. We ended up annoying the pants off each other and going our separate ways. So I discovered self-reliance out of necessity, but also how incredibly liberating it could be.

For my 30th birthday I spent three months in Australia. My plan was to use my work visa to do some fruit picking, and show my art portfolio around ad agencies in Sydney to try and get an internship. As it turned out, my work visa was never used and I decided to vacation and see the whole country instead.

This is my 6th solo cruise, including voyages from Seattle to Alaska, New York to Puerto Rico, and Hawaii to Vancouver. I wanted to do something special to mark my 50th birthday and decided to spend it exploring the 50th State.

What’s the best thing you brought with you on this trip?

How to do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell. It was a random grab, but it’s really good. Actually, it’s got me back into reading again after the pandemic sapped my powers of concentration, so I’m really grateful for that.

What do you wish you’d packed?

My ATM card! I arrived at Pier 27 with $7 in my pocket, tipped the porter $5, and boarded the ship with just $2.  

How are you spending your days?

One of my favourite things about cruising is getting acquainted with the ship. I’ve really enjoyed that. I also promised myself I would see every sunrise and sunset while on board. But after a few days at sea, the lure of self care took precedence. Since then I’ve had two 100-minute massages and three facials. I’m enjoying reading, relaxing, and taking naps during the day, and watching movies under the stars and football games at night.  

What has been your best excursion?

A rafting and snorkelling trip with Captain Zodiac. We were exceptionally lucky to see a pod of pilot whales while rafting along the Kona Coast, before snorkelling in Kealakekua Bay. The bay isn’t just renowned for colourful fish and beautiful coral; we learned it is also a key place in the history of Hawaii and the British Empire – the site of the Captain Cook Monument where the master cartographer was bludgeoned to death! The trip also took us close to sea caves, lava tubes and the image of Pele, goddess of fire and volcanoes, preserved in the rocky coastline.

Best tip for solo travellers?

Just go.

Star rating out of 5?

Definitely 4 stars. I had been considering a 19-day trans-Pacific cruise to Sydney taking in Tahiti and Fiji, but the expense, eco footprint, and inevitable jet leg of flying home was weighing heavy on my conscience. Then, one foggy morning, fate stepped in. I was cycling around Alameda, Oakland when the clouds parted and a ray of sunshine illuminated a gleaming white object in the distance. It was the Ruby Princess in San Francisco Bay. I booked the round-trip cruise to Hawaii and here I am.

How would you sum up this solo trip in one sentence?

In the words of John Muir: “Longest is the life that contains the largest amount of time-effacing enjoyment.”

Thank you, Ryan!

What’s been your best solo adventure? Share your experiences in the comments below!

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