I know as a single woman in her later years, it might be scary to think about travel alone. I get it. I wasn’t sure I could even do it, but I can and I do. As a matter of fact, I have been able to gain confidence through travel on my own.
When it comes to vacations, my former husband and I had such different ideas that I now realize that I have been traveling by alone all my adult life. There is hardly any difference, except that there is not another body at the dinner table. But if I am honest with myself, that was all my husband was when we went on trips, another body. He was always very busy checking scores: it seemed to be a full-time job. His other activities were finding a sporting event in the area to attend, finding a local golf course and finding a sports bar to watch sports-anything. So, to say that traveling by myself is new isn’t quite accurate: I have always made my own plans for travel.
So, if you want to travel as a single woman but feel unsure about it, start small. My adult children live in great cities around the country, so if I am visiting them for a weekend, I usually add a day or two on the beginning or end of the trip to scout out shops, restaurants and culture (OK, no culture). That is the perfect way to to make arrangements for travel with the safety net being your children or other family members.
I have also found that registering for an event or conference that sounds interesting to you is a great way to travel alone. You meet people there to maybe have dinner with or at least sit next to for the day. I am a knitter, so once a year I go to Vogue Knitting Live in New York. I take classes during the day for a couple of days, see a play, try a new restaurant and do a little shopping on the extra day that I add in.
All these baby steps will give you the confidence to do more. And, confidence is sexy.
So, those are easy, right? Not all travel is that easy alone. I had to spend about a week in Florida by myself last year and you might think that would be heavenly. It was not. I sat by myself on the beach all day watching lots of families having a great time. I rode a bike during the day by myself. I then would force myself to go to one of the local restaurants and get something to eat at the bar, hoping to have someone to talk to during dinner. I did not. Then I would go back to my sad little room and do the same thing the next day. The lesson learned? I don’t need solitude. I am single and I have solitude out the wazoo! I need a little interaction. Now, if I want to take a trip somewhere and don’t have a companion or plan, I look for classes in the area. Cooking classes are number one on my list because you interact with the natives. They can give you ideas as to what to do and what to see in the area. It can be anything, just use it as a way to talk and interact with locals. You have to give yourself a little push now and then when you are on your own but it is worth it.
So, now my story about confidence and learning about myself through travel. Yesterday I decided to go horseback riding, which is something I do not do. I wanted to expand my horizons, and I did. I learned that I will have much more confidence if I ever do that again because I will wear a Depends!