I tend to hibernate in winter. The cold just makes me bitter about not being able to go outside in sandals and a t-shirt, and I bury myself in blankets. It’s not unusual for me to spend days in my pajamas in winter (a perk or a problematic result of being a writer), but even for me, this was an extreme case of introversion and antisocial behavior. Plus, I had bronchitis. It was ugly.

As a travel planner and writer, I should have had a plan to escape to warm and sunny places this winter, but after my last-minute junket to Martinique in December, I did not one bit of traveling outside of the Richmond-DC-New York corridor. And if you’re keeping count like I am, that means nearly 4 months in one place.

So naturally, now that the first signs of spring are here, I’m filling up my travel calendar for the months ahead. And for the most part, it will be solo travel.

Solo travel for a mom

I love being a mom. And I love to travel. I love to travel with my kids, which we did for a good long time, but now that they are in high school it’s nearly impossible to find a time that we are all free to travel together. Since my work as a travel planner and travel writer involves, um, travel, I have found myself traveling alone quite a lot in the past couple of years. And I have to say I kind of love it.

A cross-country rail adventure to a travel writing conference

I have taken a lot of overnight trains in my travels (with mixed results), and covered a lot of distance, but I’ve never taken the train across the United States. So when I heard that Amtrak was covering train transportation for attendees of the North American Travel Journalists Association conference in Oxnard, California this spring, wheels started turning in my head just like those big old steel wheels on the train. Could I really use that to go across the country? Yes, I could! In a private “Roomette,” even!

So later this week I’ll board the Crescent from my home town of Alexandria, Virginia and travel overnight to New Orleans, where I am not unhappy to spend a Friday night before boarding the Sunset Limited for a 48-hour, 1,995 mile trip to Los Angeles.

A mother-daughter weekend in Banff

Not solo, but without my husband and kids. My mom has been talking about wanting to go to Banff for as long as I can remember. Last Christmas, my sister and I decided to give her a trip there as a gift. Though she was appreciative, she said, “Well, mostly I just like to say the word, ‘Banff.'” But isn’t that as good a reason as any to go the jewel of the Canadian Rockies? We are planning for hikes in the mountains, soaks in the hot springs, a spa day at the historic Fairmont Hotel, and just some good, quality, family time. And next time we might invite our other siblings. 😉

Contemporary Art in Italy

I’m very excited to lead a tour to see Christo’s latest installation, the Floating Piers, which will be up in June for two weeks only in Lake Iseo in northern Italy. Of course, I’m looking for people to go on the tour, so I hope I won’t be solo for this one!

Travel blogging conference in Sweden

Though I’m moving away from travel blogging and doing more travel planning and writing for other outlets, I love going to the TBEX travel blogging conference each year. I really enjoy the camaraderie with other people who are passionate about travel, and love learning about new places while I’m there. When the organizers announced TBEX would be in Stockholm in 2016, I knew I had to work that into my plans for this year. So this is solo only in that I’m flying over there alone. Once I get there, I’ll be with old friends and new.

So what about my family?

Yes, I have a family, and no, they are not coming with me on any of these trips. This is my business, and traveling is how I keep up to date in my line of work. Of course I enjoy the travel, even (sometimes especially) the solo travel. But I do hope that between sports, summer jobs, camps, and swim team, we will find time to have some family travel this summer.

I know we’ll have some family travel adventures soon, because we will be heading out on a lot of college visits over the next 24 months, and you know what that means: FAMILY ROAD TRIPS!