What I Learned from Traveling Solo

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My first solo trip

It was 7:15 in the morning on the first day of my trip. I sat at the airport gate waiting for my flight while eating a package of cold Pop Tarts that I bought in the gift shop. Perhaps not the breakfast of champions, but definitely the breakfast of a traveler. It was my first time traveling solo. I had left the house about an hour earlier while my husband and 16-month-old daughter slept peacefully. I so badly wanted to sneak into my baby’s nursery and kiss her goodbye, but I didn’t want to risk waking her up, so I fought the urge and jotted down a note to my husband instead.

So there I was in the airport, having breezed through security with ease. I got to the gate earlier than expected. Turns out it is a much faster process when you aren’t tethered to a toddler and all of her belongings.

I hadn’t even made it on my first plane, and I already missed my family. My husband, Damon, must have sensed my feelings. At that very moment my phone lit up with a text message. It was a video of my sweet baby, Avery, saying “Mama” over and over like she does a million times every day. She was walking around the house looking for me. Ugh… It hit me right in the feels.

I couldn’t help it. I instantly picked up my phone to video chat. The short conversation with my smiling baby got me through that flight. Throughout the day I video chatted with Avery four more times. It may seem like a lot, but considering this was my first time to ever leave her, I think it was reasonable. I probably won’t do that every time I leave her, but on this first trip I needed that connection, and my husband lovingly appeased me. It definitely helped take away the mommy guilt for leaving her. (Mommy guilt is no joke, by the way!) Each time we talked Avery looked like she was having a blast with her dad. That was also a big stress reliever.

The weekend went by fairly quickly, I kept myself busy sightseeing and exploring western New York and the Canadian border.

You can find a full review of Niagara Falls here, but I’d definitely say my first solo trip was a success.

Why you should travel alone

Traveling alone is one of those rights of passage I think everyone should experience.

Whether it’s sitting down for a nice dinner at a table for one, bothering strangers to ask them to take a quick photo of you, or navigating around a new city, there are always a few moments that can be intimidating on a solo trip. But you can learn so much from traveling by yourself.

So what did I learn from traveling solo?

In this quick trip, I was reminded that I still do actually enjoy my own company. Stay-at-home moms are so rarely alone that it’s easy to forget what it feels like.

I also realized that I am still a strong and independent woman, despite the fact that I usually have my husband by my side to lean on. Damon and I have been traveling together for five years now. We know what to expect from each other, and what role the other plays during a trip. For example, I book the hotels, he handles transportation. It’s just one of those weird quirks of our marriage that just fell into place. We are perfect together in that sense. But traveling solo, I handled all arrangements on my own. Not that it was difficult, it was just different.Parenthood and Passports - Father's Day Gifts for travel loverProbably one of the most important lessons I learned from this very brief experience traveling solo is that life at home isn’t going to implode simply because I’m gone for a few days. Not only can my husband handle it on his own, but he did a great job taking care of Avery. He never once complained about her toddler tantrums either! That’s more than I can say for myself on a typical day.

Finally, when you get away for a few days alone, you gain a greater appreciation for your family and your life at home. After just one long weekend, I couldn’t wait to be reunited with my amazing husband and the coolest kid in the world. They truly are the greatest thing in my life! And while she may not be smiling in the picture below, I think Avery was happy to have Mama back home, too! (At least, that’s what I tell myself.)

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2 comments on “What I Learned from Traveling Solo”

I totally agree with everything you said . . . And you said it so well. I got married and had kids later in life than average, so the traveling alone that I did was before I got married. I did trips with friends and others by myself. Both are great for different reasons.

When I was younger, I felt like my friends thought I was strange when I said I sometimes liked going on vacation by myself. Back then, when I was too young to know better, I thought it made me an odd ball to enjoy my own company from time to time. Now that I’m a mom and have two kids, it’s so much harder to get away and I can understand why I liked it so much. I had my first kid-free weekend not too long ago. There had been other times when Hubby and son would do one thing and daughter and I would do another, but this was the first time I left both kids with Hubby and did something with my girlfriends. Maybe someday I’ll leave both kids and go by myself somewhere.

Great post. Thanks for sharing.

We got married and had kids later than most, as well… But I never really traveled solo before marriage either. I always traveled with friends. In retrospect, I wish I would have traveled alone in my 20s. Kudos to you for doing so!

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