I'm a big believer in solo travel, especially for women. I love a trip to the beach with my kids or a girls' weekend in the mountains with my friends, but there's a special something about setting out on my own. You're not "alone" or "by yourself." You're ON YOUR OWN. You are the boss. You set the course. I chose those words very carefully when I took my first big solo trip--a week in Paris for New Years, nine months after my husband died. We had a tradition of traveling to Europe between Christmas and New Years.
After he died, I felt such resentment that I wasn't going to get to go on our trip that year. It was another thing I had lost. Then it dawned on me that I could go. My friend asked, "You'd go ALONE?" and my snap response was, "It's not about being alone; it's about doing it on my own." And I was RIGHT. That trip had its sad moments--don't ever try a nine course meal on New Years Eve at a table for one in the middle of a snazzy restaurant--but it also included experiences that I will remember my entire life--like wearing a black velvet dress to see "Swan Lake" at the Opera Garnier.
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The week in Paris was a way of reclaiming my sense of adventure after the worst year of my life. Taking a trip on your own doesn't have to be the Paris kind of grand excursion. Shoot, I have a friend who goes to the Homewood Suites every year for her birthday just so she can sleep for 14 hours straight and watch whatever she wants on TV! If you've never taken a solo trip--DO IT! In my experience, I have never felt more alive and vibrant.
If you think you'd like to travel on your own, here are some tips from a seasoned old adventurer:
Pick a destination for YOU.
Is there a retrospective of your favorite artist showing in Des Moines? Do you want to run the Chicago Marathon? How about a weekend at the beach without your kids? Are you missing the old college and want to return for a visit? Hiking? A wine course in Napa? A city that calls to you? I've taken a train trip across Canada with my favorite band, spent a few extra days at the beach after a work meeting, borrowed a friend's mountain shack for a night, gone to Chicago for a conference for a hobby, arrived in Seattle a few days early before a college reunion, and treated myself to a long weekend in the mountains for my 41st birthday! There are all kinds of solo trips out there.