Travelling solo



In familiar surroundings and with help finding platform and seat numbers I can travel easily around the UK. Oh, and there is still the matter of swallowing my guilt about extensive taxi use. The main problem is the written word. To put it another way, I can’t see arrival and departure boards, platform and seat numbers.

In the next few weeks I am planning, for the first time since I developed WMD, two solo journeys to the European mainland. I have already travelled on Eurostar with family. Easy! This time London to Paris and back should be manageable. The main worry is whether I will recognise my friends when they meet me at Gare du Nord.

Travelling Ryanair from Stanstead to the tiny Frankfurt Hahn airport is another matter. This is when I feel a huge sense of responsibility for my own abilities to make the appropriate arrangements in order a) not to get lost and b) not to inconvenience friends who will be meeting me in Germany. It’s a worry! So here’s what I’m planning:

1). Book tickets through the Flight Centre shop, (a physical, walk-in shop) with the help of Fiona. I am nervous of making online bookings in case I hit the wrong keys and retrieve the incorrect information.

2). Arrange for assistance at Stanstead airport both to find the check in desk and to get on the right flight. This is the part that frightens me and involves a lot of trust in other people.

At the other end my friends will meet me. Thank goodness for modern technology and mobile phones. Must remember the battery charger!

I suppose it will be a matter of confidence and trust. Most importantly, the anticipation of catching up with old friends and the excitement of travel for its own sake. Anyway, there is nothing on TV at this time of year so staying home would be dull!

Watch this space…

Useful contacts

Flight Centre, 51 New Street, Birmingham B2 4EG, Tel. 0121 665 Very friendly and patient. They also book Eurostar tickets.

RNIB Travel Assistance 0303 123 9999. Provide advice about VI travel support and have useful phone numbers for assistance plus they kindly offered help for emergencies. Very reassuring.

Ryanair travel assistance phone line 0871 246 0003. Explained that if you book online or through agent there is a place on the form which specifies the kind of assistance you might need. The check in desk will provide an escort to the departure gate. They need 48 hours notice. Very helpful. Phone calls cost 10 p per minute. Nice music!

Stanstead Airport 0844 335 1803 ask for Assistance but they were in a hurry and referred me back to the airline. As I understand it from RNIB, technically the airport is responsible for passengers until they are actually on the plane. The person I spoke with at Stanstead didn’t agree. Not sure on this one.

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6 Responses to Travelling solo

  1. Liz at Libro says:

    This all sounds sensible and I’m sure they have the right assistance in place for you. It’s good to know that the Flight Centre has helpful staff.

    • Thanks for your comment. You are right I think ‘sensible’ applies to all travel. I’m hoping it will be easy and encourage others to give it a go. I really liked the people at the Flight Centre who were interested and helpful.

  2. Nordie says:

    my biggest fear when returning to work whilst still VI was the trains. I knew where to get on and where to get off, but it was the getting on the right train in Birmingham in the first place was the fear!.

    Thankfully, one of the men I used to travel with (by coincidence) was in the train station, and got me to the right platform. We got split up as we got one the train, but he and another of the regular commuters called me over so we all sat together. They pretty much looked after me until I was confident to go it alone

  3. Commuting must have been difficult but I’m glad you found friends. I find people are very helpful. Birmingham New Street have excellent staff who help with getting tickets and take me to the train. The other day one Virgin employee even, of his own accord, took me to buy a bottle of water.

  4. Preparing ahead of the journey sets you up to handle any problems easier. You are capable and will do great, Bridget.

  5. Thanks, Susan. I have paid attention to your advice in past blogs. I don’t like challenges but am looking forward to these travels and hoping for the best.

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