I moved to Colorado when I was eighteen. I was scared to go anywhere alone, even the grocery store. I was afraid I might have to say to a stranger, “Where’s the flour?” I just knew the stranger was going to think me an idiot. How could she not know where the flour is? I don’t know why but me and my siblings were all this way. I suppose it had to do with growing up in a tiny town in North Dakota, where we went to the same grocery store for our whole lives and from a very young age, we knew where the flour was stocked. Luckily, they didn’t move the store to a new location and layout until after I’d moved away. Who knows what I would’ve done.
Thank god I’ve out grown this extreme shyness. I go to the grocery store alone (although I hate it now for different reasons and mostly order my groceries to be delivered!) I go to movies alone. I go to lunch alone. I am mostly ok going places alone. Where I’ve never gone alone before is to another city, state or country. I have never traveled alone.
Things in my life have changed and I no longer have my main travel partner. I realized I may not always be able to find someone to go with me when I find a good flight deal, Just yesterday, I came thisclose to buying a ticket Munich for March of 2020. Luckily, I wised up before I hit purchase. Also lucky for me, my mom is retired and has an adventurous spirit. She committed to two trips with me so far, our first being Mexico City last year and our next being France at the end of this year.
I picked Canada for my first solo trip. It seems like they are nice to women, they speak my language and the flight is quick and cheap. My first destination choice was Vancouver but Calgary is the winner with a shorter, direct flight. The first thing I did in my pre-planning was made a reservation for Betty Lou’s Library, a library themed speakeasy. With cocktails named after authors, I know I am going to enjoy this place. I also decided to book a three hour walking food tour through Alberta Food Tours. The rest of the time I plan to spend wandering. I want to go to the new library (free!) and I found a bookstore (free!) and even a bird sanctuary (also free!). I rented a car for $27 so I can go to Banff National Park so that will take up most of a day. Not to mention I need to squeeze in a museum or two.
I figured it would be a good idea to look up some solo travel tips so I picked up Lonely Planet’s The Solo Travel Handbook. It has a lot of info for people who are going to be traveling solo for longer than a weekend and still has lots of good tips. It has a few paged dedicated to women’s solo travel specifically. And while I’m not staying in a hostel…I learned to bring a headlamp! Anyway, I especially like the tips on how to eat street food without getting sick – that’s great info. In the back it has recommended locations for solo travel. It’s a good little book and a quick read. I recommend it.
This whole trip is out of my comfort zone and especially renting a car and driving in a new place. I have a hard time following directions even with GPS telling me where to go. I always make a wrong turn! And, this is why I am glad I am doing all of it. Now lets just hope I actually leave my hotel and do all these things I have planned.