« Go to classes to learn how to whip up Thai food. That's one way to solve the dining-alone problem | Main | A yoga retreat in California welcomes all kinds. Single. Married. Bun in the oven. »

September 04, 2008



When I first started traveling solo, I occasionally felt the "obligation" to have a "record shot" of myself to prove I had actually visited the destination. So I'd set my camera on a tripod and click the self-timer. Seeing the resulting pictures quickly cured me of any remnant of this "obligation."

As a man who travels solo in the United States, I'd have to say that I can count on my fingers the number of actual solo travelers I've met in 20-odd years. And the ones with whom I had any sort of conversation all had foreign accents. Occasionally, a couple or family will ask me to take their picture. They too invariably are foreign visitors who apparently don't know what every Americans instinctively knows, that a solo male traveler is either a murderer, a rapist, a child molester, or a terrorist who certainly can't be trusted to return the camera!

That said, I have two suggestions for solo travelers who want pictures of themselves. The first is to ask someone who has camera gear that looks considerably more expensive than your own. That increases the likelihood (but certainly doesn't guarantee) that they know what they're doing and you'll get a good picture. It also suggests they'd have little interest in stealing your camera! The other recommendation is to carry a disposable camera specifically for strangers to take your picture. That's unlikely to be stolen or damaged.

And I nearly forgot... When you hand your camera to a stranger to take your picture, be sure the flash is switched on even if it's a bright sunny day. The flash will fill in any unflattering harsh shadows on your face, and ensure that you'll at least get a recognizable picture of yourself rather than a silhouette.



Have anyone ever stolen your camera after you've asked them to take a photo? Or have you heard of this happening? I can't fathom it! That would be SO not kosher!
One way I've often gotten photos taken of me was by asking people if they'd like me to take theirs. I often see one half of a couple, or one person in a family setting up a shot and, if I'm not in a hurry, I feel this compulsion to offer to take a photo of the couple together or of the entire family.
Very often, they then offer to take a shot of me in the same place. It's often a photo I wouldn't have bothered with but always say yes because I don't get that many photos of myself when traveling.
I'm going to add a photo to the end of this blog as an example of a photo I otherwise would not have bothered with. Trust me on this one...!!!


Yes, I know someone whose camera was stolen that way. Definitely not kosher, but regrettably there are many "treife" people in this world. There are also some unusually trusting people. When I was in Las Vegas during Christmas week of 2005, a Japanese tourist asked me to take his family's picture. He handed me a brand-new Canon 5D, complete with a 24-105L lens and a fancy Canon flash. This was Canon's very latest digital gear at the time, worth about $6500 when I priced it after I got home. I know I would never let a stranger touch anything that valuable, but apparently he didn't have my level of paranoia.

I don't get many photos of myself while traveling either. While I certainly don't object to friends taking my picture on those rare non-solo trips, I don't feel enough need for them to hand my camera to a stranger. I might be unusual in that regard.


I was in Madrid in July for three days, and two of those days were spent on my own, so I decided to hope on a three-hour bike tour one morning. Almost everyone on the tour was also traveling alone, so after the tour, a group of us had lunch together (the first meal all of us had eaten NOT alone!) and spent a fun afternoon just chatting. Bike tours are not only a great way to see a city, especially if you don't have a lot of time, but it could also be a good way to make some new friends, even if it's for just a few hours.


Thanks for your story, MJ. This is EXACTLY what I'm talking about when I say I enjoy tours. Even if it's just for an afternoon, being with people is energizing.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Enter your Email

Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz
Custom Search
Related Posts with Thumbnails

January 2019

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31    

Of possible interest