The solo travel boom may be humanity’s last hurrah before Brexit or the cold war curtail our freedoms
There’s an early artwork by Tracey Emin that I’ve always loved. It’s a battered, lovingly embellished suitcase with the words “Mystery Woman” embroidered on one side. It’s the valise of a female character who dreams of a glammer, more fancy-free life filled with dynamism and independence, art and culture.
Well, I am that woman, a gloriously child-free 40-year-old celibate spinster with a passport, no expenses (I still live with my mother in my childhood home) and a slight underemployment issue, and the times have finally caught up with me. The Association of British Travel Agents (Abta) has released research showing a spike in bookings for solo travellers, particularly among people aged 35 to 44. It says something about the constraints of traditional family life, of the work culture that so exhausts people, and of the reality of British urban living that prompt this desire for escape alone … and then the push-pull of needing free wifi and data wherever you go, so that you can still stay connected to social media and work.