Vacationing Alone

One of my favorite vacation buddies just took an amazing vacation ALONE.  She didn’t just travel to the next city over, she traveled internationally… to two countries… all on her own.

On Traveling Alone | No Thanks to Cake

It really doesn’t surprise me at all.  Donna has been talking about traveling to Iceland for as long as I’ve known her… and I love the fact that she made it there.  Another reason that it doesn’t surprise me is that she is an incredibly fierce woman:  independent, street smart, and adventurous.

When she said she was traveling there, one of the first questions I asked (after blurting out excitement) was “Are you traveling alone?”  I asked that because I just assumed she wasn’t going solo.  Why do we assume that afterall?  Regardless, she responded back that she was jetting off alone, and I knew this trip was going to be a great one for her.  One for the books.

While we’ve chatted a lot since her trek to Iceland, we haven’t had a chance to talk details… but she shared with me this fantastic story of what she learned on vacation.  When I read it, I knew it was something that I wanted to share because it’s real, it’s raw… and it’s something we all should consider:  Vacationing Alone.

I hope you enjoy reading her story as much as I do.  To follow more of her adventures, follow her on Facebook here.

How Going on Vacation Alone Made Me

Realize How Much I Like Myself

An unexpected benefit I received by taking a vacation to Toronto and Iceland by myself was that I realized I like Me.

But let me start from the beginning…

This year was supposed to look different – I was going to be planning my wedding, decorating my new home, continuing to do great things at work and creating the best blended family there could be.

Instead, I am maid of honor in my best friend’s wedding, decorating my new apartment, and learning every day how to turn my idea into a successful business.

These are enough changes from the Master Plan to knock the wind out of anyone’s sails – and they did for a while — but I was determined to persevere.

And then I got this wild thought about knocking out some bucket list items – doing whatever I wanted to do, because I could.  (It’s probably similar to having a party in high school when your parents go out of town – so defiant!)

So I planned a trip to Toronto for the Film Festival and then on to Iceland, because I have always wanted to go there.

As it got closer to trip time I got more excited and then I got anxious – the Holy Shit, I am really going to do this! – type of anxious.

Once I arrived and spent time doing walking tours of these cities, figuring out my way around, planning my agenda for the day, it got easier.

I remember walking up Younge Street in Toronto thinking, “I am really doing this.  I have actually done what I said I was going to do!”

And it was a great feeling!! 

I am so proud of myself for being a woman who set a goal, worked a plan to accomplish the goal, and then executed it.  I am used to doing that in the business world, but when you do it in the ‘real world’, for you personally, it feels so much better.

Toronto Film Festival | No Thanks to Cake

Traveling alone means you can set your own schedule, linger in a museum, catch a ball game on the fly (Go Blue Jays!), try out new foods, and do whatever makes you happy.

It also means that if you want to have a conversation, you will have to strike one up with a stranger.  I don’t consider myself a shy person, but being forced to speak if you want to be spoken back to can be daunting.

As I result of striking up conversations with strangers, I met folks from Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Virginia, Maryland, Florida, Sweden and Germany.  I discovered that I could make acquaintances with people from any part of the world, share experiences with them and hold their attention.

I was reminded that I am an interesting person; I had forgotten that quality about myself!

I had also forgotten the luxury of alone time.  Spending time with yourself can really change your mindset.  I stopped thinking about money, career, even what my kids were up to and actually spent time thinking about myself.

What did I want to do next, what have I accomplished thus far that I should be bragging about – all the stuff that women tend to put aside while assisting others, I had the time to create a mental list of.  It’s a darn good list too!

On Vacationing Alone | No Thanks to Cake

Being alone does not mean that you don’t have friends, that you are undesirable, that you are not interesting.  In fact, to me, it means the opposite – that you are confident, interesting, and can make friends from strangers. 

I recommend to women that they find that alone time.  You don’t have to go on a bucket list trip – I may have been a bit extreme with that – but you can go to a museum alone, a pub, a seminar – some place where it is just you with you, yet you still have the opportunity to meet a new friend along the way.

I am back home recharged, motivated and actually quite fond of myself!  Yea Me!

Donna Drehmann is a Certified Net Promoter Score™Associate  and the President of Listen Learn Live, providing customer satisfaction consulting to businesses throughout the US and improving customer loyalty through customer feedback survey development, best practices implementation, and results analysis.  Click here to follow LLL on Facebook.

Have you ever vacationed alone?

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  1. I travel alone all the time, especially to RunDisney races. This Christmas I’m going to Tokyo. I lost my father in June & my Mother passed 13 years ago. Christmas at home was not appealing. This will be the first solo trip to a country that speaks a completely different language.

  2. Cathy Green says:

    Your friend is a strong person, we have much to learn from her.
    And her choice of countries also shows that – Iceland is not exactly the most popular travel destination.

  3. That is awesome! I haven’t traveled (for pleasure) myself but wouldn’t be opposed to it – I’ve gone to concerts and festivals alone when I didn’t have a buddy to go with me. My employee at work (only 24 years old!) is taking a solo international trip next month, over Thanksgiving – she’s spending 10 days in Italy! So cool!


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