What Made Me a Solo Traveler

About 6 years ago I went on a road trip from Temple, TX to New Orleans, a place I’ve wanted to go to for ages. I had been dating someone for a few months, and they wanted to come along, split the cost of the trip, etc. I thought Gee, how can this be a bad idea? Boy would I find out quickly!

My first indication this was going to be one long trip was along the way when we stopped at a truck stop to refuel and decided to get some breakfast.  We sat down, and they said right away “This place is kind of a dive.” It’s a truck stop. Did you expect the Four Seasons? Then we discovered our table was wobbly, and there was more complaining. I wasn’t caffeinated enough to have the energy to reach across the table and throttle them, so instead I grabbed a stack of napkins and shoved them under the leg. Problem solved! I was the hero of the day!

By the time we were ready for lunch, we had reached Lafayette, Louisiana. We stopped at a place he had eaten before, so I figured it would be good. He began whining once they informed him his choice was not available that day. I was still enamored with being in Louisiana; the Creole surroundings, smells, and sights, Zydeco music; and so I shrugged it off. Once in NOLA we did some exploring and discovered a quaint restaurant, but the lighting was too dim for him. I replied it was a little thing called ambiance.

The rest of the trip went downhill from there. I know you’re surprised, right? Didn’t want to explore the French Quarter, had a complaint about everything, would barely leave the hotel room (and not because anything really fun was going on in there), etc. When I found out some of his friends had arrived, I strongly encouraged him to join them for their return trip home. He made his first really wise choice and took my suggestion.

With the albatross gone, I had an absolute blast for the rest of my time in the Crescent City. On the way back to Texas, I stopped at the Tabasco factory and paid homage to that wonderful hot sauce and also had my first sampling of boudain. Love it! So when it came to plan my next big trip, which would be Hawaii, there was no question: I was going by myself. I did, and I’ve gone solo ever since. I get to do what I’m interested in, spend as much time at a place as I like, go at my own pace, change things up, etc.

Of course, this upcoming big adventure will end that solo-only practice since I’ll have an intensely adorable blondie tagging along.  But he’s adventurous, finds almost everything to be exciting, and, well, I’m the parent so, you know . . .

Have you had a travel nightmare that turned you solo?

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    • I don’t plan a lot of museums really. At least not until he’s older. Bit we
      will do the big ones so he can at least have the experience.


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  1. New Orleans for me is Mardis Gras this year!

    Which, on one hand has its own problems, we wont be able to explore a lot, as my friend puts it, itll be all assholes and elbows everywhere, but at the same time, its Mardis Gras!

    Any suggestions on where to explore?

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    • I went during Twelfth Night (Mardi Gras time), and you can totally still explore. The craziness doesn’t really happen until nighttime, and most of it is centered on Bourbon Street. Once you’re away from that section, there are absolutely no crowds. I went to Bourbon St a few times just because the energy and joie de vivre was so palpable. I saw all walks of life conmingling with each other and rather enjoyed it. Of course I wasn’t on the street past midnight, so I’m sure a few hours of drinking have changed people.

      I’ll be doing a separate NOLA post, but basically there are a few areas I would def recommend:
      1. French Quarter
      2. Catch a parade (1 is fine, really)
      3. Café du Monde (MUST have beignets. You’ll wet your pants they’re so good.) The country store next door has some very tasty pralines, too.
      4. The cathedral is very cool.
      5. The international flea market had some excellent people watching. Decent shopping too if you’re into that.
      6. Take the trolley from right outside the Quarter into and through the Garden District. It’s so opposite of the Quarter and has that laid back, down home Southern feel to it. Moss hanging from the trees, incredible old homes. You feel time slow down and almost stop there.
      7. Cemeteries are great as well. There are tours that go there, or you can do on your own if you aren’t solo. Also ghost and voodoo historical walking tours if you like those.

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  2. They say if you really want to see what a person is like, you have to travel with them.

    I need to dig through you archives and see your trip plans. I hope all your prep work is going smoothly.


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    • You can find our itinerary at http://1dad1kid.com/itinerary. It’s also a button at the top of the home page.

      Yes, you DEFINITELY find out a person’s real self when you travel. That’s for DARN sure. LOL

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  3. What a shame you had such a rotten time. I was in New Orleans solo when I was there and really enjoyed the place, much as it sounds you did once rid of your ‘albatross’ (That made me laugh!) So many people are too scared to travel solo. If only they realised how liberating it is!

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  4. What a shame you had such a rotten time. I was in New Orleans solo when I was there and really enjoyed the place, much as it sounds you did once rid of your ‘albatross’ (That made me laugh!) So many people are too scared to travel solo. If only they realised how liberating it is!

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    • I’ll give that a hearty amen! When I was going to Peru all my coworkers and some friends, obviously ones who didn’t know me as well, were shocked and said “Wow, you’re so brave!” because I was going solo. People get this image that other countries are so much more dangerous. Yes, a few probably are, but generally speaking the same crimes occur here as in other places, and at somewhat of a higher rate. It cracks me up.

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        • As far as I’m concerned, the places I was in Peru were safer than most cities in America. It is so crazy, isn’t?

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  5. I actually started solo and had an absolute blast. I didn’t realize just how much I loved it until I did some traveling with friends (I was studying in Thailand at the time) and I hated every minute of it! It was all this waiting around for people to be ready (or awake) and having to do what other people wanted to do. Sorry, but I’m not really down for this…. Too bad, so sad!

    What perhaps opened my eyes even more was when my significant other at the time came to visit. Prior to arrival, I received a long list from them of all the things we should be aware of in Thailand (mind you, I’d been in Thailand for 4 months and they hadn’t and here they were telling ME what to be careful of?)! I was flabbergasted (it basically implied we should never leave the hotel room because Thailand is super dangerous). It didn’t get much better when the actual visit happened, and, much like you, that was basically the end of our relationship…

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    • Ugh. Yeah those are definitely relationship killers. And how funny to tell you what to avoid when you’ve already been there for 4 months! LOL Oh my!

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