My name is Delaina M. Waldron, I am from New York City and a single mother of one. I am not only a freelance writer/Author/filmmaker, I have a full-time city job and I am also a Military Veteran and work part-time in the Army Reserves.
With so much responsibilities, I still find what little time I have to vacation and to experience a somewhat freedom for myself, but I have no one to travel with. My family and friends either did not have time, money or interests in the places I wanted to travel too. So I faced a dilemma, where I had no choice but to travel alone.
Like a majority of women everywhere, I was scared to vacation or travel alone. I had questions about what places I can travel to alone? Were those places women friendly? How long should I travel? What kind of places would I stay at? What kind of activities I would try alone? How would I feel dining solo? How would it feel experiencing the night life alone? And the biggest question of all for myself, “how would I look traveling alone?”
I had numerous questions and hesitations when it came to vacationing alone as a woman, but I still wanted to travel. I had a need to be free and to see what else was out there. I wanted to experience other cultures, other countries, various outdoor activities and make new friends. I wanted something to look back on and say, “At least I tried,” and “I did that.”
Since no one I knew wanted to or were able to vacation with me, I started the research and I immediately felt unrestricted. I realized that I could go anywhere I wanted and I did not have to compromise on the destination with anyone. So I was free to go anywhere and that was awesome.
I searched practically every affordable website like Groupon, LivingSocial.com, Expedia for travel packages either to exotic places foreign or domestic, all-inclusive packages and adventurous packages. I tried to figure out exactly what it was I wanted to do and wanted to experience. I mean I am a city girl at heart, but I am also a free spirit and I love the outdoors. I felt I wanted to be closer to nature and be in a rustic setting. The smell of fresh air and moist trees; the sound of birds chirping or crickets all around, the sun and soft wind in my face or the view of a clear bright blue sky with white fluffy clouds floating by or a deep dark blue sky filled with sparkly stars hovering above me is what I needed.
So I focused on the outdoors and I then asked myself a very big question… Do I want to exert myself on my vacation or just relax? Ugh, that was definitely confusing because I do work a lot and need a lot of relaxation in my life, but I also like to have fun and I am adventurous. So – I decided to combine the outdoors with some fun on my vacation, lol.
Through all of the time of researching where I wanted to vacation, I still didn’t want to travel alone. I was scared and embarrassed to travel alone. I mean how would I look to others as I traveled by myself? I could picture everyone staring at me wondering what I did wrong to end up traveling alone or them thinking I am a lonely woman traveling by herself, “Oh – that poor thing,” or “Do you see that woman eating by herself? That’s so sad or pathetic.”
I wanted to avoid those embarrassing stares or feelings of failure, of not finding that one special person to enjoy those exciting moments with me and I did not know what I would be getting myself into, so instead of asking friends and family to vacation with me, I thought maybe I could find people or groups that wanted to travel and do the same activities I was interested in.
I found websites that actually catered to people looking for travel companions like; Meetup.com or Globetrooper.com, etc., which were simple sites where people had specific activities or places they were traveling too. All I had to do was find which one, I wanted to join. On Globetrooper.com, I looked around and found some exotic places I wanted to travel too like Africa, Australia, Europe, Asia, etc., but they had set travel dates that did not match my schedule and some of the prices were not in my price range.
Meetup.com was a different story. I joined meetup.com in 2009 and they have numerous groups that are specific to whatever interest anyone likes, for instance if you are interested in dancing Salsa, Tap, Hip Hop, etc., you can find numerous meet up groups that meet up just to learn or dance those types of dances. Well, the same thing for traveling. I found numerous groups that were aimed at traveling stateside or out of country. Groups that met for outdoor activities like Skiing, Snowboarding, Camping, Boating, etc.
I have to say that all of the groups on Meetup.com welcome people who are alone and might not have anybody to experience all of those activities with, which was very welcoming. In 2015, I found a meet up group that had most of the activities I wanted to experience. The leader of that meet up group Chase was actually the owner of an outdoor adventure company called Xcelerated Adventures and he was very friendly and professional. Xcelerated Adventures is also veteran owned and as veterans we clicked very well and it didn’t hurt that I could get a military discount, lol.
I was able to finally choose an outdoor activity that was not only affordable, but it was an activity that could be done in a day and I would be able to go to work the next day if I wanted too. So I chose to go Hang Gliding for a day in New Hampshire. It was about four hours away from New York City and it would be my first outing alone/solo/single/solitary however you wanted to call it, lol.
One of the best things about vacationing or traveling alone are the people you meet. I do not think I would open up as much to strangers if I were traveling with a companion or friends. We might have been in our own world enjoying the moments together and occasionally talking and mingling with the other Hang Gliding group members, but when I am alone I tend to be open-minded and welcome talking and learning about the people I meet.
The three men in the picture above were from the Middle East and was studying abroad in New York City, so they wanted to experience Hang Gliding before they went back to their country. They were as scared as I was, lol.
After Hang Gliding, we were all able to take a dip in a nearby lake, I chose to go paddle boarding!
Just one of many Selfie’s I would be taking on my solo adventure’s lol…