Insight Into | Travelling Solo

It was only 5 weeks into my trip, when I was sat on my flight from Sri Lanka that it really struck me that I had fallen into this ‘Solo Traveller’ bracket. There I was flicking through the ever-engaging Singapore Airlines in-flight magazine, when I came across an article called ‘Going Solo’, and I couldn’t believe how much it rang true. So I thought I’d give an insight into my experiences, alongside a few of my top tips to allow yourself to embrace the art of travelling solo.

According to Google trends, the term ‘solo-travel’ rose 50% between January 2015 – December 2017, but more interestingly (to me anyway) is that in the past year over 75% of these ‘solo travellers’ have been female.

Why? I mean, it’s not totally clear cut, but I have a few suspicions:

– Women are becoming more financially independent & consequently more apt to travel.

– A wide social shift in independence & personal freedom.

– The Instagram Movement – I really do believe this plays a huge part, so many females are seeing photos of beautiful destinations, and just wanting to book a flight and leave ASAP.

– Finally, something I really believe is the key defining factor in all of this – ‘Technology’ – smartphones allow people to feel comfortable, safe and connected anywhere on the planet; something that just didn’t exist 10 years ago.

Don’t get me wrong, travelling with my nearest and dearest have been some of the greatest times of my life, but there is nothing like the freedom of having your own schedule and the satisfaction gained from adventuring alone.

My First Hand Experience


– I found that I am more present and have paid better attention to details than when I’d travelled with friends.

– I have definitely been more open-minded to new activities, partially because I have had no excuses to say no, but also because it’s been a great way to meet new people.

– Don’t fear eating alone. Whilst I haven’t found myself sat in any white-table cloth restaurants alone, I have sourced out places that have bar seating. You’ll be surprised how many people are in the same situation, and by the end of the meal you’re unlikely to have sat like a lonely lemon for the whole thing (even if it is just the bar man that’s engaged with you for the past hour).

– Whilst I don’t know that I can claim I’ve mastered the art of solo-travel just yet, I can claim to have become acquainted to the various shades of solitude: from the occasional bouts of loneliness to the unencumbered joy of absolute freedom.

My Top Tips For Travelling Alone


– DO YOUR RESEARCH Whilst we all love to think ‘wouldn’t it be great to just book flights, accommodation etc as we go along on the trip’, this just isn’t something I’d recommend do when travelling solo. Whilst I’m a stickler for a good spreadsheet, I didn’t want to ‘over-plan’ my trip. However, I had booked all my flights, and most of my accommodation prior to leaving. This didn’t leave me feeling restricted at any point in my trip thanks to the research I had done to ensure I spent enough time in each place. However, this did hugely reassure me (& my family) that when I was arriving to a new destination I at least knew where I was resting my head that night. The last thing you want to be doing is arriving in Sri Lanka at midnight and trying to find somewhere to stay.

– STAY CONNECTED Don’t forget there are people at home that are still living their everyday lives, and worrying about you. It’s easy to get wrapped up in your travel bubble and forget this. So keep them in the loop, I found that making a group WhatsApp for my nearest and dearest so that I just had to send one message was the easiest way! But also grab an app like Find My Friends, just so they can check in.

– THINK SMART It’s easy to get carried away with taking on a carefree attitude when so far from everyday life, but personal safety must never be forgotten. I found that simple things like only withdrawing cash during the day, not wandering around at night without reason , staying covered up in the evening (I’m not talking full body suit, just be sensible, take a scarf to cover your shoulders, chest etc.). I have met some people that take this pretty seriously –  I’m talking wearing a fake wedding ring to keep unwanted attention at bay, but I can’t say I took to this.

The Habit Hunter x

Advertisements

Hotel Review | Envoy Hotel, Boston

Overview:


When I headed out to Boston last month for the marathon, there was little debate over where I wanted to stay. ‘Innovation District’ – check, ‘Igloos on the roof’ – check, ‘Views over the Seaport’ – check, ‘Chic Interior Design’ – check – yep, The Envoy ticked all the boxes and it certainly didn’t disappoint.

70752111

The Location:


Once a barren waterfront packed with parking lots, a few businesses and an old school restaurant or two, The Seaport District is now the hottest section of the city! This seaside section of “Southie”, has finally been enhanced by developers who have brought, and continue to bring, some of the Boston’s best to the area.

Beyond the confines of the hotel and a couple of pretty waterfront parks, you’re unlikely to spend much time in the Seaport District, but you’re just a five-minute walk across the Fort Point Channel from downtown.

The Rooms:


The 136 rooms come in various categories: at the lower end are Classics, which offer city or “partial water” views; while at top end are Coveted Corner Rooms and Suites.

My Corner King Room was spacious enough to have a free-standing bed right in the centre, complete with a headboard that had inbuilt electrical sockets – ideal for business guests who want to use the desk behind, or for anyone else, like me, who (tragically) hates to be too far from their phone while it charges overnight.

4-envoy-kingsuite4b

The Food:


The Outlook restaurant, adjoining the lobby is well worth a visit, serving great wine and a menu centred around the three ‘S’s – seafood, salads and steaks – but in a much more modern way than that might suggest. The breakfast options were tip top – and I’d totally recommend the bacon glazed cinnamon danish (don’t pre-judge it)!

Whilst I only ate dinner once in the restaurant, post-marathon my legs wouldn’t carry me much further than the lobby, it certainly didn’t disappoint. In what’s become a post-marathon ritual I delved for the burger and it totally hit the spot.

The Drinks:


The Envoy’s modern building, radiating light and glass is crowned by the Rooftop Bar. The panoramic views of the Boston skyline and Boston Harbor are unmatched.  The uniquely-shaped bar is complemented by intimate seating groups and glowing fire pits. The covered seating areas have built-in ceiling mounted heaters for cool evenings. The beverage-only bar features unique house made craft cocktails, micro brews and wine by the glass collections.

image.jpg

The Facilities:


As with many typical city break hotels, there’s not a huge amount of added extra facilities. The rooftop bar certainly steals the show, but the fitness centre is a decent size with modern equipment, and there’s plenty of space to chill and catch up on the latest news/instagrams around the lobby.

Lobby-Envoy-Hotel-Boston-MA.jpg

The Service:


Quite honestly had very little interaction with the staff – neither a good nor bad thing. They were pleasant and helpful when called upon, but no ‘above end beyond’ service to note.

The Habit Hunter x

Restaurant Review | Hide

Mr Dabbous is back, and better than ever with his latest spot at 85 Piccadilly, Hide. This spot spreads its magic over three floors, aptly named ‘Below’, ‘Ground’ and ‘Above’. Below stealing the underground bar magic, Ground offering the far from classic ‘a la carte’ menu, and Above taking tasting menus to new heights.

With floor to ceiling windows flooding the place with light, an unrivalled design staircase and a partnership with Hedonism wines restricting your wine menu selection to a mere 6,500 bottles, this is an absolute must visit.

About


Hide is a restaurant and bar by Hedonism Wines and Ollie Dabbous.

Do Not Miss Dishes


1. Charcoal baked flatbread with ricotta made locally & crushed green herbs
2. Barbecued octopus, moscatel grapes, lovage & white miso
3. Warm acorn cake, smoked caramel & choice of liqueur; Cornish clotted cream

Do Not Miss Drinks


Make sure to get there at least 30mins early to enjoy a drink ‘Below’ – whilst the food might be a showstopper, the drinks certainly give it a run for its money.
1. Summer Solstice
2. The Fallen Madonna
3. Chuckleberry Fizz

Cost


Okay, so it’s not cheap, you’re looking at main course setting you back anywhere from £22 to £32, and cocktails are certainly at the pricier end of £16/£18. However, if you’re looking for a treat or want to spoil yourself rotten, it’s an absolute must.

Where


85 Picadilly

Nearest Transport


Green Park

The Habit Hunter x

Top 10 | On-the-go Running Snacks

Since completing my first ultra-run back in May at the Dukeries 40 Ultra, and whilst training for the Race to the Stones 100km a key focus has been figuring out which foods I can enjoy whilst on-the-go. Considering for both of these races I am required to carry the food myself, I was keen to ensure nothing was too heavy so they all tend to be snack size (i.e. mars bar size or smaller). I had a big reality check at the Dukeries Ultra having ill-prepared. With a complete and utter sweet tooth I packed an abundance of sweet treats, but hitting mile 30 all I was dreaming about was a packet of ready salted hula hoops – lesson learnt.. you need to prepare for every craving.

Over and above this, I am slowly learning that the key is to eat when you’re not hungry and drink when you’re not thirsty, sticking with the classic ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’ motto that is very often drummed into me! But seriously – whilst I know more than most how difficult it can be to take fuel on board whilst running, and not feeling a big appetite, it’s the key to keep you ticking over and ensure you get to the finish line in one piece! There’s a mix below, whilst for an ultra gels and jelly sweets just aren’t going to cut it, indulging in a protein bar for a 5km might be a tad extravagant! So I’ve tried to help out and suggest when I think they could be best, but ultimately your body will tell you what it needs!

1. Coconut Almond Butter Filled Clif Bar


​​RECOMMENDED FOR: Half-Marathon to Ultra-Marathon
WHERE TO BUY: Protein Pick & Mix

2. Tribe Cacao Orange Energy Bar


​RECOMMENDED FOR: Half-Marathon to Ultra-Marathon
WHERE TO BUY: Tribe

3. Clif Blok Shot Energy Chews


​​RECOMMENDED FOR: 5km – Ultra-Marathon (not going to cut it for more than a quick energy boost during an ultra)
WHERE TO BUY: Wiggle

4. Torq Rhubarb & Custard Energy Gel


​​RECOMMENDED FOR: 10km – Marathon
WHERE TO BUY: Wiggle

5. Pip & Nut Peanut Butter Squeeze Packs


​​RECOMMENDED FOR: Half-Marathon – Ultra-Marathon
WHERE TO BUY: Pip & Nut or Ocado

6. Good Health Filled Salted Pretzels


​​RECOMMENDED FOR: Marathon – Ultra-Marathon
WHERE TO BUY: iHerb

7. Optimum Nutrition Watermelon Amino Energy Drink


​​RECOMMENDED FOR: 10km – Ultra-Marathon
WHERE TO BUY: Optimum Nutrition

8. Ape Crunchy Coconut Bites


​​RECOMMENDED FOR: Marathon – Ultra-Marathon
WHERE TO BUY: Planet Organic

9. Tribe Infinity Choc Salt


​​RECOMMENDED FOR: Marathon – Ultra-Marathon
WHERE TO BUY: Tribe

10. Clearspring Seaveg Crispies


​​RECOMMENDED FOR: 10km – Ultra-Marathon
WHERE TO BUY: Planet Organic

The Habit Hunter x

Restaurant Review | Kiln

From an all-time favourite of mine, Smoking Goat (if you’ve not been – you’re seriously missing out), comes Kiln! In typical Soho-style it’s in a tiny jaunt.. dive-bar style would be doing it a mis-justice, but it’s not far off. They’ve brought Thai food to a new level, cooking it over grills, in fire-pots and with hell-a lotta flavour. Be prepared for the chilli kick – but don’t let that put you off, they’ve got a pallet cleanser to sort you right out too.

About


Kiln: Thai BBQ in the heart of Soho

Do Not Miss Dishes


1. Wild Ginger & Shortrib Curry from Burma
2. Aged Lamb & Cumin Skewer
3. Five Spice Duck & O al with Aged Soy

Do Not Miss Drinks


Whilst the food is a show-stopper at Kiln, the drinks menu does it’s best to not disappoint. It’s reasonably priced with cocktails coming in at £6 and a great choice of natural wines.
1. Young Ginger Margarita
2. Green Peppercorn Daiquiri
3. Rhubarb & Vodka Shrub

Cost


Drinks are a winner at Kiln, from £6 cocktails, £5 glasses of wine and one of the few places in London still left selling a G&T for a fiver! But the real deal comes with the food. It’s a sharing-plate style vibe, so order it all (okay maybe not all of it), but with prices peaking at £9 a dish there’s no reason not to indulge!

Where


58 Brewer Street, Soho W1F 9TL

Nearest Transport


Piccadilly Circus

The Habit Hunter x