Invisible Singleton

Speaking with other members of a single-women'...

Speaking with other members of a single-women’s network that helps secure the right of widows to live with dignity (Photo credit: UN Women Gallery)

I’ve just finished reading a poignant piece by Charlotte Brozek, widowed recently called No husband, no friends where she talks about the invisibility of single people. The world is designed for couples and us singles are irrelevant. She writes about her isolation after the death of her husband. Couples they used to be friends were suddenly nowhere to be seen. This is by no means only a problem for those whose spouses have died. Us divorced people are just as invisible.
It’s interesting that I came across this article now, because in the frenetic pre Diwali festive season I spent many a moment wondering what was wrong with me, my life, my stage of life, my friends, the city I live in, the environment I live in, the times I live in because having a social life is such a huge struggle. Diwali melas were explored alone, shopping for gifts was a solitary activity, the one daughter who lives in the same city was away on work and friends simply finish their Diwali chores themselves or with their spouses. If truth be told most of them refuse to go to Diwali melas. I  do so only because it’s not healthy for me to be alone at home 24×7. But I am the only person who thinks so. The sparklers in Diwali Celebrations 2010
The thought never crosses anybody’s mind – that there are single people, whose children have left home, who work from home, who have so little interaction with humanity that they have to figure out ways to be with people. Nobody remembers the singles. They need to keep jumping up and down saying -” Hi – how are you, I’m still here.”I am not speaking from victim position when I say this. I’m not complaining – simply stating a fact. A single person is an anomaly, a strange subterranean creature whom nobody thinks of. That’s just how it is.
Holidays. Grown up children don’t want to go on holiday with a single parent. They may go on holiday with a parent who has married again, on family weddings and family get togethers – that’s enough family time for them. They don’t want to have to ‘look after’ their single parent – making time to go on holiday with such a parent is really asking too much. Singletons then explore the option of  group tours. Who takes those things? Clearly not families because they have more than enough company and plenty of requirements of the individual family members to plan their own holidays. Couples? I would think not since going on holiday as a couple is the ideal way to holiday. There are two of you ensuring you’re safe and there aren’t too many of you squabbling about what to do, what to eat, when to go out… But do you think these group holidays are aimed at singles? No way – everything is on twin sharing basis. We divorced people can either be truly adventurous and branch out on our own – easier said than done if you’re a woman… in India – the rape capital of the world, or we can try and persuade another single to share a room with one. But you need to have a friend you want to travel with. You’re also less likely to make new friends if you’re twin sharing with someone you already know but whom you wouldn’t necessarily choose to go on holiday with but only ask along because it’s convenient. Be warned – this act of expediency may cost you your friendship. The friend you enjoy a half hour’s natter with may be very trying on holiday in a shared room.
What’s left for us? All women holiday tours are safe – you won’t get unwanted male attention – but you”ll be with women who want to visit mandirs and not bars. I like going to both. All women holidays can be a little lame. They don’t have to be but they mostly cater to the less adventurous, less athletic sort of woman. I prefer a more balanced kind of holiday – not Brahmakumaris travel the world. So – I’m stuck – at least until I set out on my own somewhere and watch the world from the sidelines that I have been relegated to because I’m a singleton without a family. A highly unnecessary person.  I am now feeling a little sorry for myself, so I’m going to stop.
Does anyone have any solutions to this travel dilemma?


About Kalpana

Trying to change the world one blog post at a time. I write. It's the best thing I can do. I am the Hanged Man, the Fool, the sometime Magician. Whether I travel in my imagination or in real life I write about it and show you pictures either through my photography or through the pictures I paint with my words. I read books and write fiction. During working hours I teach English as an Additional Language. I edit.

Posted on November 4, 2013, in Divorce, Holiday festivals, Smug married types and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I saw a bunch of single women travel groups on when I was looking for my mom. She’s not single but my dad isn’t exactly a good travel companion. Maybe take a look at the meetups in your city? I also had this idea that once a year, I’d send out an invite to all my friends for a trip. As long as one other person agreed to go, the trip was on. The first two people who decided they were in (i.e. me and this friend) would pick a place and the dates, and book their flights. No need to get group consensus cos then nothing will materialize. The rest can join if they want, and they can also invite THEIR friends. So basically anyone can go as long as they know one other person who’s going. Last year was my first time doing this. Everyone else made new friends but not me! (Cos the folks who came were all MY friends.)

    • Okay Wild Child! I love those. Yes – Meetup is good – I guess I’m also a little fussy. Gotta change my attitude.
      Your second idea rocks. That’s a great one 🙂

  2. Ok. I know it sucks to travel on your own if you are a single woman in India. But if you pay a little bit extra: you can have amazing holidays. I have travelled on my own around the country without any problem.

    1. I know a kickass travel agent and she would fix everything for you. You need to plan things and little compromise on sponteneuity. Since the tour is catered for you it is a bit expensive than mass trips but not too much also. 10 to 15 percent. Let me know if you want her number.
    2. Have you been with WOMEN ON WONDERLUST? Doesnt come across as
    Brahmakumari type of womens only travel group.

    3. COUCHSURFING is another option and believe me it is great fun. Sort of homestay type.

    4. Write on reputed travel forums like Lonely Planet. A lot of single foreigner women are actually looking for travel partner. Being a woman works inbyour favour here for a change.

    • Hey urbanindianwoman!
      Excellent suggestions all. My point though is that it’s so much more effort for single people – particularly single women. But yes it’s possible to travel. Have you heard of Women on Clouds? I traveled with them – it was a great experience.

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