As the weather warms and thoughts of summer begin to beckon me somewhere...with an "anywhere but here" kind of mentality, I start my annual battle of the mind about traveling alone. It's not insecurity, mind you. I have traveled a lot on business, but that's always a planned destination with purpose. Not much time to wander beyond the absolutes. A couple of my usual travel companions are tied into family jaunts in the next few months so I thought this might be the season I break out, and hopefully break free of "couple mania"... constant reminders of how great it was to travel with THE one I miss! What's worked for some of you? Have you traveled alone to somewhere exciting by yourself? Any suggestions, ideas?
I so enjoyed reading these posts. Thank you. My husband and I traveled a lot- driving in our 4Runner with the dogs, mostly in California but also cross-country trips. I've planned a trip to the Eastern Sierras/Mono Lake/Lee Vining- one of his favorite places- to celebrate his birthday on 2/20 by scattering his ashes and I'm very anxious about it. It will be the first time traveling without him and the first time not sleeping in our bed. I thought it would be a good way to celebrate his birthday but I don't know anyone who wants to spend two days getting to the mountains, driving with two big dogs, so I'm by myself and would appreciate any advice.
Number 1 - make sure you have hotel reservations set-up either ahead of time or earlier in the day. Determine the number of miles or hours that you are willing to drive alone that day. Take into account that you may be stopping more often for breaks because you are driving alone. Cry if you need to cry. Visiting spots that you frequented with your spouse will bring back lots of memories... If its a spot that the two of you had frequented alot - visit a new place along the way or once you are there to give you something new to experience. My husband and I loved Sedona and spent our anniversaries there. The first year I visited the restaurant we always went to. I cried the whole time I was there. The next time I visited I went to another restaurant that had an outdoor seating area. It allowed me to people watch and the fresh air felt good. I didn't visit the same stores we had gone to but had visited some that I knew my husband had not been interested in but I was. It was a good visit. We had always talked about going out to see the night stars and I want that to be part of my next visit. Instead of a hotel I will staying at a home I can rent.
So far since DH died in late 2016, I've been on a cruise in Central America, two road trips to the Carolinas, Iceland (with a side trip to Greenland) and our favorite B&B in Missouri. India and Nepal (as part of a small group tour) are next month.
It's working out well. Of course I miss Ron- we always noticed different things and knew different things. He knew a ton more European history that I did but I could figure out most of the European languages. I'd traveled on my own, especially for business, many times and I'm a natural introvert so maybe it wasn't as big a step as it would be for others. I find that I appreciate groups more- not the mega-ship cruises or the "Fully Escorted Deluxe Motorcoach Tour", but the small-ship (under 100 passengers) cruise with UnCruise and the small group tours that you find once you get to a location. They give you a ready-made group of people with whom you can explore, ask questions, etc. I also stay active on FaceBook and stay in contact with family via periodic e-mails. I love posting not only the scenic pictures and the "I'm in Greenland and you're not" ones, but also the interesting little details such as the grocery store rack of Berenstain Bears books- translated into Icelandic. None of this is a substitute for traveling with your best friend, but it keeps me from feeling isolated. A friend who's been divorced many years and travels all over the world on business told me he always strikes up conversations with locals and other tourists (at lest, the ones who speak English).
Finally, allow yourself to enjoy some of the positive aspects of solo travel. I'd gladly give it up to be exploring interesting places with the healthy version of my husband, but in the last years he was weakening and had a bit of a balance problem. I had to be careful that just getting from our hotel to wherever we wanted to be didn't wear him out. There were some things he just couldn't do, although he was great about occasionally relaxing in the room while I went off to do something strenuous and listening to my stories afterwards. I could linger in museums and try to parse out Icelandic words with the English on the information plaques adjacent to them. I could put my map away and wander. At the Missouri B&B I bicycled 70 miles over 4 days. I hope I have many more years of good travel left!
I so appreciate this web site. Reading everyone's posts is comforting, informative, enlightening. I am fortunate to have incredibly supportive family and friends- but none of them have lost a spouse. I appreciate connecting with other widows/widowers who 'get it'. Thank you.
Hi, I lost my husband in May of 2018. My husband and I loved to travel and had talked about visiting South Dakota. Last summer I decided to go by myself. I flew there from Texas where I live and stayed in a hotel in Rapid City. I rented a car and drove all over the area. I visited the Badlands National Park one day where I just drove through it and stopped at look out points here and there and took pictures. One day I drove to Mr. Rushmore and toured it. I walked along the paths below it and then returned in the evening to watch the light show. I also visited the Sitting Bull Monument park and took a little bus tour there to get a closer view of it. I drove all through Custer State Park one day, and did much of the same type of thing as I did in the Badlands. In addition, I visited several of the little towns around this area. I was never scared there and no one bothered me. One lady at Mt. Rushmore did comment that there had been several women alone recently, which surprised me because I did not notice anyone else alone. All in all, I traveled over 1000 miles that week. It was a test for myself to see if I could do it alone, and I passed. I did miss my husband so much on the trip and was very lonely at times, but it was worth it. I learned I could do things like this alone and make it. I have looked into travel groups such as Road Scholars, so I have others to travel with in the future, but many of the tours, etc. I have looked at have high "single supplements". They do have some trips where the single supplement is waved. This might be an option you want to check out.
God bless you...I am so glad you were able to do this.....I know I can travel alone but I need a destination....a plan for when I get to where I'm going and don't have one...Bill and I traveled a lot ...day trips , weekends, weeks...so I guess the destination fit us both...I can't seem to come up with anywhere to go where there is something I would like to do alone...not afraid to fly alone...not to into driving thousands of miles alone.....so I'm still in limbo..PEACE to you ...I am so sorry for your loss...when did your husband pass..? May of 2018 hasn't gotten here yet...I know it's a typo..I have been widowed 7 years and haven't been able to travel alone yet....so you really are an inspiration..
I should proofread. My husband died in May of 2016 (21 months ago). Check out the Road Scholars program. https://www.roadscholar.org/
Look under Special Offers because they sometimes wave the single supplement.
I can't personally recommend the organization, but it gets good reviews. It is a travel and learn travel organization for those over 55 with programs for different interests. They have pre-planned travel tours. Maybe it would be a good place to start.