When I was in my early 20s, I traveled a lot alone. I did big trips to India, Japan, Europe with a backpack and no real plan. I was happy to stay in huge 12-bed dorms in very questionable hostels, take the cheapest forms of transportation (which often meant the slowest), meet whoever I knew, and really just go with the flow each day.
Now that those heady days are over and I’m a weary 30-year-old, the idea of taking such an unstructured trip only appeals less to me. I still love to travel and see the world (although maybe not anymore because of the discomfort of a hostel), but if I had to spend the time and money to go solo again, I’d like to maximize the experience and see everything. had to see. This, however, requires a good degree of planning, an activity I do not enjoy.
That’s where WeRoad comes in. The travel company, founded in Italy and launched in the UK a few months ago, is specifically targeting millennials who want an adventure but don’t have the time or inclination to organize one. They take trips to cool destinations like Mexico, Peru, Iceland (basically anywhere you can think of) in small groups of like-minded solo travelers aged 25-35 or 35-45. It’s essentially a way to recreate the ‘gap year’ vibe with minimal effort.
Also, as many millennials will be able to relate to, it can be hard to organize a vacation with your friends at this age. Your late 20s to mid-30s can be a time when your friends’ lives start to diverge: some may be getting married and having babies, some may be in busy careers, and others may have too many summer plans. By bringing strangers together, WeRoad says people make friends for life and many relationships have even grown from travel.
Here’s how it works: choose one of over 100 destinations worldwide, book your flight, pack your bags, and WeRoad does the rest. Sounds like a good idea, so I select a five-day trip to Iceland, a country I’ve always been curious to visit, and head to the capital, Reykjavik.
There, in a group of eight, we met our trip coordinator, Michele, 30, from Italy. Her role is to plan the itinerary and guide us on our adventure, but because she is the same age as us, she feels more like part of the group than occupying any kind of tour guide role.
After sleeping (bring an eye mask in the summer, guys, it doesn’t get dark), we’re up early to start our road trip through the dramatically rugged Snæfellsnes Peninsula. The volcanic landscape is captivating in its otherworldly, rocky land wrinkled and moody while great mountains loom in the distance.
We stop to see some ridiculously adorable seals frolicking in the sea before visiting a cold, quiet and creepy but beautiful cave, permanently formed by lava flow. The tour is led by an Icelandic man who was either incredibly serious or had a sense of humor so dry it was almost unnoticeable. When we jokingly ask him to name the price of spending the night in the creepy cave, he informs us that he was sorry but it was not possible to sleep in the cave.
Next we go to Kirkjufell, a distinctively shaped mountain that looks a bit like a wizard’s hat and is reputedly the most photographed mountain in all of Iceland. It’s certainly pretty, but I’m more excited about the next stop: we’ll visit one of the country’s leading producers of fermented shark, a delicacy in Iceland.
There we meet the namesake ‘King Shark’ (who we later discover is something of an Instagram star) who talks us through the process and gives us a sample. I’m not a picky eater when it comes to food, but even a small cube of white, unpleasantly chewy meat was enough to satisfy my curiosity for life. It doesn’t taste much at first, but the aftertaste is so pungent (like horseradish mixed with egg) that I find myself eating the little cubes of rye bread that are provided to go with it.
Iceland’s stunning scenery continues the next day with even bigger and better shows, as if the country is constantly trying to outdo itself. There’s Gullfoss, known as the queen of waterfalls in Iceland, so huge and imposing that it makes everyone get philosophical for a minute. After that, we head to the geysers that even though you know they’re going to erupt, they still make us squeal when they do. But the highlight is really a fantastically serene thermal lake that we walked to that night. Armed with swimsuits, beers and snacks, we arrive in Reykjadalur and chat all night from the exquisite comfort of the natural Jacuzzi.
For our last day in Iceland, we head back to Reykjavik for a boat tour to see puffins (smaller and faster but as cute as you think) and to sample a “world famous” hot dog, tasty enough to buy two and worry. It may not be lively enough for our next activity: Iceland’s most popular attraction, a dip in the Blue Lagoon. With its misty, pearly blue waters, the huge geothermal spa is the perfect way to unwind at the end of an Iceland vacation. You can wallow in the hot water, have a drink, get a face mask or go to the various steam rooms and saunas. The place is a blessing and not to be missed.
We ended our trip with a night out at hilarious Pablo’s Disco Bar (think sticky floor, neon signs, and reggaeton), where to get people to leave at the end of the night, you simply opened the curtains to reveal the 1am’ light. of the day’.
At the end of our time in Iceland, the whole group feels connected. There have been countless fun times, so many interesting conversations, and much bonding over our complete and unshakable consensus that fermented shark is no good.
As a target market for WeRoad, I found the concept and execution absolutely brilliant and if, like me, you’re a busy millennial who loves adventure and is averse to plans, then I think you will too.
For more information visit weroad.travel
5 other solo travel providers
By grouping trips into helpful categories like European Wilderness, Coastal Collection, and even the Vegetarian Collection, it’s easy to find the perfect adventure for you. exodustravels.com
If you love the idea of traveling in a group but don’t like the idea of sharing a room, Intrepid travel offers you the option of a private room. intrepidtravel.com/uk/about/solo-travel
This operator offers trips to destinations all over the world from Asia to Antarctica and has deals on last minute solo trips. justyou.es
From wellness trips to hiking holidays and train tours, there is something for everyone. gaventures.com
Offering boutique group adventures for solo travelers in their 30s and 40s, Flash Pack says that 98 percent of its customers travel alone and 80 percent remain friends after the trip. flashpack.com