As a solo traveller, you may find yourself stressed or nervous about navigating a gay group departure. To address your concern we sat down with five-time Out Adventurer, Brian Yamanaka, to discuss his experience joining our tours alone. Update: Since publishing this post, Brian has joined seven more tours!
You’ve been on three solo tours with us and two tours with friends. Can you compare the two styles of travel?
Let’s start with my personality. I’m an extroverted-introvert by nature, so traveling solo was a bit scary for me the first time. I chose to go with shared rooms and play roommate roulette which was also scary. Note: on my first trip, I got lucky and got to have a single supplement, which made it easier.
The biggest difference is that travelling alone “forces” me to exercise my extrovert muscles.
While travelling with friends can be more comfortable, it also meant I mingled a lot less.
I like both equally, but I do think the freedom of going solo gives me more flexibility to add to my travels. (eg. stopovers, extensions, etc.)
The times I’ve made long-lasting friendships were when I travelled solo.
What were your roommates like on the other tours?
They were very different.
On one trip, it was an Australian who was sick at the start, so I didn’t spend much time with him. It was a bit trying as I’m a neat freak, and he wasn’t, but again the difference was great in helping me be more open to new experiences.
The second roommate was a Texan who was super chatty and interesting. His stories were amazing, and we became travel buddies while still making new friends on tour.
Do you remember what made you anxious when you were originally considering joining our Machu Picchu group departure?
Being someone who always starts as the wallflower in unknown surroundings, the biggest anxieties were wondering if I’d (a) get along with my travel companions and (b) can I have fun if I didn’t get along with them? The thing to remember is that it’s a new situation for everyone, even those travelling as a couple or with friends. So it’s rare people aren’t going to be friendly. You just need to be yourself and open to all sorts of people.
It’s not all roses, as there can be personality conflicts, but in a group setting, everyone tends to behave, and it’s easy to just talk to someone else.
I was blessed on my Inca Trail trip that despite it being only five of us, we got along swimmingly, and I’m still in constant contact with three of the other four.
On the Mekong River cruise, I travelled solo but splurged on single occupancy. Despite staying in my own room, I made the most friends on this trip. In fact, all of us still chat on Facebook.
Is that the best option for you? Solo occupancy…
I do like it, but mostly because of the freedom it provides – staying out late, and the option to have a guest in at the port of call. [laughs]
But it all comes down to price sensitivity. I don’t think those who play roommate roulette should be afraid.
Speaking of those guests, is sex something you thought about as a solo traveller on a gay tour?
Not really. It’s not the primary motivator, as it’s all about new experiences. Not that meeting a local isn’t a new experience, but it’s not why I travel. When the opportunity presents itself, and the hotel allows overnight guests, that’s when having a single supplement is nice. But it’s only occurred once.
Any last-minute advice for men interested in joining a gay group tour?
My advice is that you go with Out Adventures to push your boundaries and have new experiences!
*All photos courtesy of Brian Yamanaka
10 Reasons this gay traveller loved visiting Cuba with Out Adventures. Read More
Counting down the top ten reasons to join Out Adventures on a gay tour of Budapest & Slovenia. Read More
After ten years running the world's premiere gay tour agency, Out Adventures, Robert Sharp shares 10 insights into entrepreneurship and gay travel. Read More