At 21, I left France behind for the first time on my own and moved to Canada for a year. It never occurred to me that solo travel was an odd thing. A few years later I became a scuba diver in Thailand, backpacking on my own. I kept travelling solo for scuba diving to countries such as Italy, Greece, Indonesia, The Philippines, Honduras, or Argentina. When I started writing about my solo scuba diving trips, I thought I would receive many comments about the dangers of travelling alone. Not at all, people were asking me if it was hard to make friends on the road! The truth is solo travel is not the same with scuba diving. As I go from dive centre to dive centre, I keep meeting like-minded individuals motivated by our shared passion. Some people are all about hostels to meet people on the road, I say become a scuba diver you’ll see that it gets even easier!
It was through my PADI Open Water Diver certification and my PADI Divemaster training that I made some of my most meaningful connections and started to build a worldwide scuba diving tribe. It was, of course, my instructors but also other students going through the same training at the same time. Being in the same boat, it so easy to build friendship through the learning steps of something you are all passionate about. Some of the people who were doing their PADI Divemaster training with me are now instructors and dive centre managers; it is great fun to go and visit them all over the world.
When you are moving abroad, the first months are always a bit tough as you need to find a way to make new friends. With scuba diving, problem solved! Five years after becoming a scuba diver, I moved to Scotland, and if it wasn’t that simple in the beginning, I finally met incredibly friendly local scuba divers who, one day, took me swimming with basking sharks on the West Coast. They adopted me in their diving community, and I could go diving with them every Saturday morning on the shore of the Scottish sea lochs. Now I am about to fly to Japan; I have luckily already found a group of Japanese and expats scuba divers in Tokyo thanks to one of my trips last year. I can’t wait to join them on their social event and scuba diving weekends. Thanks to these local scuba divers communities, my scuba diving family is growing, and it almost feels like home, everywhere I go.
How exciting is it to know that thanks to scuba diving, anywhere I’ll go, I’ll meet new awesome friends even if I don’t know them yet?
Inspired to travel solo? Check out this handy guide on solo travel as a scuba diver.
Florine is a PADI AmbassaDiver, PADI Divemaster and a Dive Travel blogger at World Adventure Divers. She dives in tropical to extreme cold waters, selecting her destinations when both adventure diving and cultural discoveries are part of the journey, and showing you how to do it without breaking the bank.