You have friends, right? And they have friends? And relatives, too? Well, what are you waiting for? TAP THEM. You don't have to know them well, or even at all. They just have to live someplace you want to go.
That's how I decided I could go to Ecuador without a travel companion. The thought of landing alone after dark in Quito, the capital city, was nerve wracking otherwise. But my childhood friend's husband's uncle's wife (don't bother figuring it out) is Ecuadorian. So I asked Mark, whose aunt it is, to connect me with her.
That's how Lola ended up picking me up at the airport the night I arrived. We'd never talked during the planning stages. The whole thing had been arranged through emails and phone calls between her daughter in Miami and me. Lola drove me to her Quito condo but only stayed one night. She had to get back to the beach-front hotel she ran with her husband in Atacama.
But she did leave me the keys to the place. I stayed there for several days before and after my travels, and met other family members. The condo came equipped with Blanca, the family maid and assistant, who speaks no English. She and I got pretty good at using smiles, nods and advanced charades to communicate.