The Romance of the Solo Traveler: thank you Lord Byron?

Lord ByronYesterday on the Solo Travel Society on Facebook I wrote:

“We solo travelers are getting attention … Washington Post, Chicago Tribune … LA Times, USA Today, Toronto Star … My brother was surprised. Are you?”

On the wall of Solo Travel Society Zac replied:

“The nomadic lifestyle has always been romanticized; so in that regard this came not as a surprise but rather happiness that the bearers of backpacks are gaining light and acceptance in this amazing world we share. Hats off, and raise your glasses to everyone at Solo Travel Society. Well done, good show indeed.

Thank you Zac. You could not have given me a better opening to the final post in February’s theme of romance.

There is a romantic quality to the lone traveler. Other solo travelers aren’t impressed of course. But the majority of people I meet are not solo and are in awe of the freedom such an experience offers. And, in freedom, there is always romance.

I wanted to look back to find where this romantic notion of the solitary person began. After all, society hasn’t always had the luxury of such romance and, being a student of history, I’m curious. However, I think that studies in literature and the arts would serve me better on this quest.

Lord Byron was the best I found.¬† According to Wikipedia (apologies for the mundane source) “The modern sense of a romantic character may be expressed in Byronic ideals of a gifted, perhaps misunderstood loner, creatively following the dictates of his inspiration rather than the mores of contemporary society.”

I like it.

It applies.

And it continues to this day as we are fascinated by films like “Into the Wild”.

But I would like to learn from the readers here. I’m sure that many of you have far more knowledge on this than I.

Please share. Where do you think the romance of the solitary traveler comes from.


  • Sandra O’RourkeGlynn

    on a similar trend I guess, when the aborigines go out into the bush and go walkabout, its in their culture, they come back an adult. We here in Europe and the Southern hemisphere its common too for people to take a year or more and travel the world, Oz now offers 2 years working visas to young people to go there and work. I only ever found it in America that a break in your resume was not appreciated even when travelling was the break. We look on it as a great addition. I would hire someone who had spent time travelling before someone who had not. In fact I would never hire someone who had not travelled.

  • LED Ceiling Light

    Solo travelling is not suitable for everyone, but indeed romance lies in such a way of looking for freedom.

  • Online Travel Tourism

    The lord Byron looks like one. I love this post.

  • solotraveler

    Hi Ted. Thanks so much for contributing on this one. I really did want to get other ideas and yours is not what I expected. Yes, thank you!

  • Ted Nelson

    I think this notion can be traced even farther back than Lord Byron. How about the hunter and gatherer system first implemented by early man almost 2 million years ago.

    I am sure most of the times these foraging and hunting parties were in groups, but I am also sure there were certain individuals that preferred to hunt and/or gather by themselves. Solo travelers are descendants from the prehistoric wanderers.

  • solotraveler

    It’s in their entry on Romanticism – paragraph 3.

  • Spinster

    The Lord Byron one? Can’t seem to find it.

  • solotraveler

    The quote is on the wall of the Solo Travel Society on Facebook. I love the contributions and discussion there.

  • Spinster

    That’s a great quote.

    Where does it come from? Not sure. Maybe it’s all in the mind(set).