Moved from the United States to the United Kingdom… and back to the United States. Currently in long-term limbo. My good, bad & ugly experiences as a former expatriate and (possibly) permanent repatriate (who'll continue traveling no matter what).


spin·ster (spnstr)
1. A woman who has remained single beyond the conventional age for marrying.
2. A single woman.

Wikipedia definition:

– Paying extra taxes [don’t forget to file yours (!)].

– Paying extra for travel insurance.

– Paying extra for auto insurance.

– Paying expensive single supplements on my travels & accommodation.

– Being a minus 1 at almost all events.

– “You’re in this country all by yourself?” questions.

– “Why do you live alone? Don’t you get lonely?” questions.

– “Why are you single?” questions.

– “When are you gonna have a baby/some babies?” questions.

– Buying in bulk, with things spoiling, because there’s too much food for 1 person.

The word spinster was originally coined as a negative term for unmarried women of a certain age. I call myself a spinster because the absurd notion behind the word is funny enough for me to take back the word, in a sense, and call myself a spinster in a positive way.

I can testify to the great things about being a spinster/single/solo. I can do whatever I want without worrying about the needs of others all the time. As a single introvert, I can spend time alone without feeling bad or weird about it. I can dedicate my time to whatever I want – travelling, volunteering, work, attending theatre, sleeping, drinking tea, etc. I can focus on paying down my debt without worrying about who else it’ll impact. I can explore the world when I want, however I want. And let’s face it – while being in a good relationship is a bonus, being single and “doing bad all by myself” is definitely a stress reducer in a world where the good pickings are slim.

But the things I mentioned earlier… those things are the typical nuisances that come with the spinster/single/solo territory. And some of those things are costly. For example, when I went to Portugal last year with one of my Meetup groups, one could get one’s own room… for a price. Single supplements are often at least £70.00. That’s the only reason why I opted not to get a single room. (Luckily, my sharing arrangement worked out well.) There are many other trips I’d love to take, but the single supplement alone holds me back sometimes, whether I’m in the United States or the United Kingdom.

And don’t get me started on the social implications. Travelling solo is cool for exploring however one wants to and meeting people… until they start asking “why are you all alone?” or “without your family?” or “without your man/partner?”. (And I just “love” the “I couldn’t travel by myself.” comments [and other variations]). Then come the explanations & justifications, since sometimes a one-sentence answer isn’t enough for some people. (The same happens even when not travelling.)

And small rant do you know how many loaves of bread I’ve bought here, only for them to go bad a couple of days later? Yes… it’s a small gripe, but a gripe nonetheless.

While singles are nowhere near a marginalised group in the grand scheme of things, it’d be helpful for others to realise that being single ≠ rich, wealthy, care-free, or expendable income. We have bills to pay just like non-singles. We pay extra taxes, with no tax breaks at all, unlike non-singles. We have to survive & (try to) thrive, just like non-singles. I hope that the needs of solo travellers & solo expatriates come to the forefront sooner rather than later because damn it, I need a tax break and some extra discounts too.

Onely: Single and Happy

Onely guest post in Psychology Today

The High Price of Being Single in America

Singled Out (for the Single Supplement)

The truth about taxes: Uncoupled singles always pay a penalty

1,138 hat tips (PDF report included)

When ‘Married’ Is No Longer the Norm

9 responses

  1. There is a book called Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone that I really want to read. It is the trend that more people are single these days and prefer it. Honestly I think the living alone part is a HUGE appeal. I think It is good that you (and others I know) reclaim the word as positive. It is ridiculous that men like George Clooney are revered for being single and living the bachelor life, while women are worried about that they will end up alone forever.

    I must agree though that solo travel is just so much more expensive that I find I wait until I can go with a friend or my partner. Travel agencies need to pay attention more attention.


    April 15, 2013 at 21:45

    • Spinster

      Never heard of the book before; now I’m curious. Thanks for the heads up, and thanks for stopping by.


      April 15, 2013 at 21:58

      • Great book. From what I can tell, the UK has a lively discussion of single living in on-line media anyway. I envy your expat-ness. It’s on my list of things to do.


        April 18, 2013 at 18:34

        • Spinster

          I didn’t know that; I’ll have to find one of those single living websites. Thanks for stopping by.


          April 19, 2013 at 09:00

  2. Annoying, right? I’ve seen books for traveling solo – all suggestions appreciated when I was doing that – repeat: annoying to always pay more! But to be totally in control of time spent, miss that.
    Some people can be along and be fine – others just dread it. Don’t know if it’s personality or early childhood training to be self sufficient and able to entertain yourself…..bound to be a fed research grant available to study that…hmmmm.


    April 16, 2013 at 16:13

    • Spinster

      I’d definitely read the research. There are pros & cons to everything. Thanks for dropping by.


      April 17, 2013 at 09:35

  3. Pingback: Singles Strike Back: #UnmarriedEquality | Onely: Single and Happy

  4. Spinster, I love that you reclaim the title ‘Spinster’. Why is it that when a man gets older and is single he becomes an eligable batchelor, but when a lady does she is past her prime?? Women (in a relationship or not) should be proud to be who they are as an individual.

    In regards to wanting a discount, if you get a new ID badge for work it has the NHS logo on it and you get 20% off at Nandos!!! And as for the bread, you gotta freeze half dude!


    April 26, 2013 at 08:52

    • Spinster

      Thanks for those tips. I didn’t even think of those, especially freezing the bread (!!!).

      Thanks for stopping by.


      April 27, 2013 at 22:23

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