Solo Travel

Sep 17, 2022 | Adventure, inspiration, life, Travel, Writing

I hate it. Always have. I feel like the naïve young woman who got on a train and traveled solo across the country from Spokane, Washington, to Dallas, Texas. I had to navigate changing trains, ordering meals, and getting my luggage.

But there was my handsome fiancé at the end of the trip. Not so anymore. There is no handsome fiancé at the end or the beginning of the journey. It is just me. I am my own company. 

Most of my solo trips have been with tour groups. Not entirely so alone, and there were guides to make sure I didn’t get lost. Yes, I was a big girl who made it to the airport and took a plane to join the tour. I always made friends. Some would last. Most would not. One of my complaints is that the tour guide would say, “OK, you’re on your own late in the afternoon.” And, just like that, the space was empty. That’s when I learned you can always make friends with the bartender.

I have met bartenders from Ireland, Bosnia, and primarily middle European countries. They are friendly and act like I am interesting—it’s their job. Later this year, I will be joining a different tour group. I am going with people I know. We will be our own group. I am sure I will find an exciting bartender somewhere.

So here I am on the last day of a solo retreat. I have ten minutes to vacate the room, but I felt I would have time to make notes about a solo retreat and offer some advice. First of all, you will not meet people. Most of the people at the resort are honeymooners. The bartender is too busy to entertain me, and the single lady does not get the table by the window.

However, that is made up for by a room with a view and the sound of a waterfall.

A fireplace. A balcony with comfortable chairs and sunshine.

Champagne is in the mini-fridge. (I brought it from home).

There is a television, but this retreat means no tv. I tried to resist email and Facebook, but I failed at that. Relaxing is the order of the day. Move from the balcony to the chair in front of the fireplace and, occasionally, the bed. I have a stack of New Yorkers that usually become a coffee table ornament.

I actually read most of them. It is long-form journalism. Very long.

I read a biography of Justice Samuel Alito. I like him less than I did, which is problematic. The article about Joe Biden’s father and grandfather showed a very complex story and perhaps different shading than we hear in his speeches. Not untruths, just shadings.  Now I found another long article about my favorite writer, Nora Ephron. I hope it is not too disparaging. She wanted to be Dorothy Parker, as did many women of her time. I want to be Nora Ephron. Is it too late? 

The best part of the solo retreat was the spa. A great massage. (He said I really needed it). Then 50 minutes of private time in the hot tubs, sauna, and steam room. It seemed a little eerie to be all alone, but it fit the theme of the solo retreat. I found I actually liked the alone time. No reading, no devices. Time to think – or not.

Eating is the challenge. I tried room service, the dining room, and the bar. Each was a different experience, but I didn’t feel as lonely as I thought. While I never got the window seat, the service was friendly, and the food was good. (And expensive). I don’t think I would have preferred bringing my own food. Eating out is part of the experience.

Since I gave myself every indulgence, I probably spent as much as a cruise. I haven’t seen the bill yet, but I will not be shocked —or sorry. So there is my soliloquy, channeling Nora Ephron. 


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