Tripping Alone

I’m off for a bit.  Taking some time with the extended famly.  Thankfully I have a few friends who are willing to keep the blog warm while I am gone.  Please welcome them this week! 

Today my friend Katie is here to share a post with you!  She is a freelance writer and teacher who should probably be grading papers or changing diapers but is more likely blogging, tweeting, or just overusing social media in general. She chronicles all this on her blog, Sluiter Nation. You can also LIKE her Facebook page too! 

We don’t travel much.

That is not to say we don’t go places and do fun things, but we stick pretty close to home taking mostly road trip vacations.  I think the farthest we have ever driven was out to Montana, and that was before having kids because I was in a wedding.

I have only been on an airplane three times in my life. The last time was two years ago, and I was alone.
I know tons of people travel alone all the time. In fact, lots of people I know travel alone all the time for business.  They go to conferences, work sites, meetings, training, workshops, and the list goes on.

Most people don’t think twice about booking the flights, the hotel, and the rental car.  They have a packing routine that is either very precise or totally last minute.  They know what to expect in airports and how to order room service.

I am not one of those people.

Two years ago I chose–against all my anxiety-ridden feelings–to book a flight and head to San Diego for a big weekend to go to a blogging conference  (I live in Michigan, so this wasn’t a quick trip).

I am not a risk-taker. I don’t even like talking on the phone.  In fact, I will beg my husband to order pizza or takeout so I don’t have to talk on the phone.  In fact, as I write this I need to call and make my annual lady parts exam appointment. It will take 2 minutes. But I hate the phone.

In lots of ways I’m a confident person. I teach high school and speaking in public doesn’t faze me.  Confronting teenagers I don’t know? Easy. Asking directions from a stranger? No big deal. Asking for help in a store?  So easy.  Going to the bathroom at the bar without a friend? I actually prefer it.

But getting on a plane and navigating airports and changing planes and OMG what if there is a delay or a flight cancellation??? I don’t make big decisions quickly…or at least I don’t make them well quickly.

I know lots of people play the “what if” game, but as someone with an anxiety disorder, I tend to do it more than the average Jane.

Did I mention that by the time the trip came around I was smack in the middle of the first trimester of pregnancy and I was developing a yet-to-be caught/diagnosed case of antenatal depression?  Oh I was in great shape to travel alone for the first time.

Did I also mention that I have a diagnosed case of OCD and traveling by public transportation gives me more anxiety because I have no control over issues that may arise, and I have to rely on other people rather than myself to get me from point A to point B? Yeah. Fun times up in my brain.

So anyway, the day of my trip arrived and my husband and two-year old son drove me to the airport and saw me off.  There was crying.  By only me.  My husband was all smiles and was encouraging that I would be great at traveling and I would have so much fun.  My son just waved buh-bye and looked confused.

Tears and my eyes and shaking from nerves, I produced the wrong boarding pass.  Thankfully, the workers at our small airport were kind and helpful.

From there on out, the entire weekend went very smoothly.   The only other hang up was on the way home.  My very last flight was one that would take under an hour from Detroit back into Grand Rapids, but our plane in Detroit was delayed due to mechanical issues. Instead of arriving at 9 p.m. to my waiting husband, I arrived at 1am. Luckily he had secured an overnight sitter for our son, and I knew that since I was only about 150 miles from home if worse came to worse, I could rent a car and drive the last three hours of my trip.

All that being said, hearing about other friends and their horror stories of canceled flights and having to wait DAYS to get home, I am not really ready to get on a plane alone again any time soon.

I think I would feel more secure if I had someone with me…at least to talk me off the edge when my luggage gets lost.  Because in my mind that is for sure going to happen next time.

How are you at traveling? Do you do it often?  Do you do it well?  Do you do it alone?


  1. Travelling with someone is ALWAYS more fun. Time passes by quicker, you can go to the bathroom at the airport without worrying about your bags, you have someone to talk to.

    I travelled alone when I was a student, flying for 14 hours from England to Malaysia during summer, the days before iPads and what not. Let’s just say I got through a lot of books. :) I travelled a lot on my own when I was working. Sometimes, it was good. It gave me alone time to decompress when I needed to. Now that I’ve travelled with kids, I do miss travelling alone. A little. :)

    • I have always wanted to be “good” at traveling alone. It seems awesome. It seems exciting and cool. I am not exciting or cool apparently :)

  2. I have flown alone and did OK, but I much prefer traveling with someone else. It has been years, though. I am a stay-close-to-home, vacation-within-driving distance person these days.

    • We are the same way. Especially with little kids. Once the drive gets up to 2 hours, we are pushing the boundaries of meltdown city.

  3. I’ve always travelled with someone. It’s fun and we don’t sweat if a flight gets cancelled or delayed because we have each other. Time flies that way. Yet, I did experience travelling alone across the globe (22hours), it wasn’t bad but different. I felt like everything was moving snail pace.

    • Oh you are brave! Yes, traveling with someone is definitely less stressful because whatever happens, you have someone to share the adventure with!

  4. I have traveled alone quite a bit for my job, and I started traveling in my early 20s, so it’s easy for me now. I have spent full days alone in Paris and Rome and preferred the opportunity on those days to just take it at my own pace. :)

    • I won’t lie, I am too big of a chicken to any exploring or whatever on my own. If I was alone in Paris, I would probably hole up in my room. How sad is that?

  5. I love traveling alone. It isn’t something I have been able to do in the last few years, but I long for it.

    • Looking back, being alone on a plane was sort of nice. I did miss having my husband there though since he is my favorite travel buddy :)

  6. I used to be one of those business travelers. It gets old quick. But I do like that the whole packing in a hurry thing is a skill you don’t forget. I can have our entire family packed in an hour or less with no planning.

  7. I’m glad you did it or I never would have gotten the chance to meet you! It gets easier every time.

  8. Oh I remember all the commotion with people trying to get home. I’m glad it went smoothly for you. I’ve only flown a few times alone, and since i like to be alone, I don’t mind it. But yeah, it something went wrong? I’m a terrible last minute decision maker.

    • Being on the plane alone was actually sort of nice, but yeah. I missed having a buddy along (ok, my husband) to worry about all the logistics. I like to just follow directions and have fun :)

  9. I’m not a good traveler, either….airports freak me out. Not even the flying part, but getting there on time, having everything I need to get on the plane, lay-overs, yada yada yada. I could do without ANY of it. Plus since becoming a mom, I’ve become more scared of driving by myself (especially in the dark and in unknown places). Yeah….I’m fun to be around, too. 😀

    • Greta, we could be a team of ridiculous if we ever had to fly together! Ha ha! Yes, flying for me is fine, it’s all the stuff that goes along with it that freaks my freak!

  10. Tina McLarty says:

    I thought I was the only one with phone phobia. I even get anxious with automated menus!

    • ha ha! me too! I have to make an easy OB appointment. I have not done it yet. Because I am clearly lame.

  11. I love traveling with a crew. I can pretend they are my posse. Well, it doesn’t usually work out that way but I can think it in my head, anyway. Anyway when it comes to travel, even though I can go on the PRemier Lines, I get there so early because I am always scared I will be stuck in security. I become very obsessed with it and annoy the shit out of anyone I am with.


  12. I do not like to travel alone. I do not travel alone well via car or air. I can ride a bus or train like a boss! But after a particularly bad car accident years ago, I am antsy in the car, especially on long trips (someone will fall asleep, someone else will be texting, someone will be speeding, WE ALL GON’ DIE). I have been on a plane twice (next month will make 3). And even worse, I’ve never left the U.S. I don’t like having to make immediate decisions, so if I get to the airport and there’s a delay or I’m offered something else, cue the scratching and pacing. I actually like the phone. It reminds me of teenagerdom. I can talk on the phone for hours. No, you hang up first.

  13. I love reading this from the other perspective, of one who has traveled sooooooo much. But I remember that feeling as if it was yesterday. Because there was a time when I hadn’t traveled at all and I was terrified (OCD, depression, anxiety – you name it, I have it). It took 2 years of business travel in Asia with minimal 14 hour plane rides each way to finally be able to relax enough in the airplane to fall asleep.

    The funny thing is, I still get anxiety when I have to leave my home to go into the city or whatever.

  14. Travelling is fun and exciting but often there is no need to go abroad just to experience the same feeling. Our family really enjoys weekends away and we normally travel to destinations that are within a couple of hours from home.
    Every few years we would also like to visit other countries but I think it’s vital that we do more regular trips close to home. Apart from experiencing fun times, it really gives the local economy a boost, especially if we all did the same.

  15. I have flown on a plane by myself a few times- one time my Senior year of high school actually; I was nervous that time. Now the thought of flying alone sounds heavenly as that means I would be going on a trip by myself and not having to worry about entertaining my kids the whole time :)

  16. I like traveling on an airplane alone. I like to do my crossword puzzle or read my magazine and listen to my music. But I would much rather have someone with me in a car and in general, just because I love company. And after just getting back from my trip with my hubby and 3 kids in tow, I have to say, it’s pretty fun to travel all together. They did really well and were so cute on the plane and with their backpacks… :)