as I sit in a large four poster bed,
in the 'Sally Room',
taking in the early American decor
around me, all the while listening
to the busy hands in the dining room,
across the hall, preparing for morning breakfast..
if you ever travel solo.
Travelling solo..was a notion that seemed incomprehensible to me, all those years ago, when I had four small children trailing behind me. We travelled in mass or we did not travel at all and that was the way I liked it.
And here I sit, years on, with my belongings about me, doing the B&B hop as I make my way along the New England trail from family to friends over the next two weeks. Mr. H and my son are holding down the Chateau back in Vietnam while I start pulling together Tahilla Farm in New England.
This isn't the first time I travelled alone...Paris was my first. When we lived in England I took the Eurostar from London to Paris...it was easy. I had some familiarity with Paris and I was meeting a lovely friend. I wrote about it here. I left the trip with a travelling confidence. Travelling alone is not my first choice. I enjoy having family and friends around me...but there are times, when for various reasons..one must travel alone. I want to say, if you have contemplated it but have hesitated..take a step forwards.
I enjoyed the Paris trip because I stayed in a small hotel, tucked away in the Marais district. I was in a neighbourhood..it was quiet and comfortable. I had cafes, shopping and historical sights all within an easy reach. I wandered the streets, in and out, on my own, stopping and going as I pleased...here. With each step I realised that it was possible to travel solo and feel comfortable in that space..it was good for the soul.
My other solo trips have been to America, easier for it's familiarity but still an adventure...here. When I travel solo, I look for the comforts of home. I enjoy historic Bed and Breakfast hotels, something you can easily find in New England. I like hearing people around me, I love the scent of coffee wafting it's way from the kitchen and lingering just outside my doorway. I enjoy the eclectic mix of guests. Each visit offers new stories, new opportunities for a memorable experience. They are a curious bunch..B&B guests. Most who stay are used to the breakfast banter...the where, how and why of it all. I have had occasions where I have stayed on for several cups of coffee..the conversation to good to move on. There is no obligation..you just enjoy. B&B owners are a friendly lot as well, it's personal and they want to please.
Travelling solo is a state of mind and I appreciate that it is not for everyone. Many have to step outside their comfort zone and I can understand if that feels daunting for some. If you are keen but not sure.. I would start with a weekend away. Some place new, with a purpose in mind. Research the area you plan to visit and make a list of things you want to see and do. Highlight one, the most important and do that first. Travelling solo gives you the freedom of exploration, something not always possible when you travel with others. I may have a list and check them all off, I may do one or two and then be happy to wander. Your time is your own..you can do as you please. Think of how you want to feel at the end of the trip..what feeling you want to carry with you as you journey home. Plan for that feeling.
I travelled to Marrakesh with Mr. H last year...another trip I plan to write more about one day. Someone asked if I would travel to Marrakesh on my own. I had to think on that one..for it is another type of experience all together. I would say yes..but only with a guide. Above all else, you have to be sensible when travelling solo..your safety is paramount. Some countries are simply not safe for a woman on her own..unless you know the ins and outs of it well. In those situations, if I were on my own, I would be more inclined to find a small private tour with a special purpose in mind. For example, if it was a photographic tour, with like minded individuals, up for an adventure in the best light of day...I would not hesitate. For others it may be cooking, writing, painting..whatever your passion may be...I say follow it..with abandon.
I am going to leave you here...a new day dawns and I here a whistle in the hallway, the sound of people gathering and can smell the fresh aroma of coffee.. it is calling my name....
Before you go...do you have a thought on travelling solo? Have you, would you, do you, could you?
Think on it...where would you go? We would all love to know....
Blessings to you all my friends!
PS..If you would like to know more about travelling solo to Paris...or the B&B trail in New England, let me know, I would be happy to give you information to get you started in the right direction. :)