Solo Travel: Where Would You Like to Go?

By Sheryl Kayne

Road leading through trees to castle mountainWhen I was planning my solo driving trip from Weston, Connecticut, to Denali National Park, Alaska, my mother asked me, “Isn’t there anyone else you know who would love to drive to Alaska with you in your Toyota Corolla?”

Without laughing out loud, I simply responded, “No, Mom, this is something I’ve wanted to do since I was in the seventh grade, all on my own.”

I remember the day very well. I was so bored in social studies class, I was staring at the map and realized there were roads between Fredericksburg, Virginia, where I was born and raised, and Alaska. I yelled out, “I can drive to Alaska!” to which my teacher responded, “First you’ll need to get a driver’s license.”

More than 30 years later, I applied for a summer job over the Internet with McKinley Village Lodge in Denali, Alaska, and was hired to research, write and deliver living history programs on women in the Gold Rush, Margaret Murie, and the conservation movement. I was very excited that my road trip of a lifetime would launch the perfect summer job.

“OK,” responded my mom, “just promise me you won’t stop in any rest areas by yourself at night.” Sorry, mom, I couldn’t promise that either.

I’m sharing a mother’s concern because I’ve been meeting more and more women who definitely have dream trips in mind but lack the friends, family or contacts with others who want to do the same thing. I encourage each and every one of you to plan your trip and go. Don’t wait until Mom would approve or to find someone else who wants to do what you want to do.

Traveling on my own is a totally different experience than traveling with a partner. I do things according to my own body clock, which tends to be sleeping later than most people, and eating only two meals a day. I discover a lot of important things about myself when I’m pursuing what I want and need to do for me.

Volunteer vacations are very popular with singles because most of them have groups that you can join, and once you get there, you’ll meet people with similar interests.

Juanita is passionate about elephants. She travels once a year from her home in Livonia, Michigan, to Hohenwald, Tennessee to volunteer with the Elephant Sanctuary. (www.elephants.com; elephant@elephants.com)

Elaine is a successful businesswoman who put her dreams of being a fulltime artist aside to support herself and her three children. Once a year, she fulfills her passion for painting at the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, Vermont. (www.vermontstudiocenter.org; info@vermontstudiocenter.org)

Patricia was an avid walker but hesitated to plan extensive hikes on her own. She travels with Adventures in Good Company, which plans awesome hiking trips for women only. (www.adventuresingoodcompany.com; marian@goodadventure.com)

These women’s experiences are documented in the travel guidebooks Immersion Travel USA and Volunteer Vacations Across America, which has tips on how to make your own adventures happen.

What’s your passion? Tell us where you want to go and we’ll help you plan it!

Check out Sheryl’s website www.ImmersionTraveler.com and her new book VOLUNTEER VACATIONS ACROSS AMERICA (Countryman Press, 2009). Send her a note to to receive free, personalized autographed stickers for any of her books that you purchase.

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