Why I Prefer Solo Travel.

I’ve mentioned here on a few occasions that I prefer traveling by myself. My wife and I have traveled together quite a bit, but now we’re retired and she has a couple of horses to keep her occupied. Me? I’ll never get over the love of travel.

But what is it about traveling solo that makes it quite a different experience than traveling with other people? 

For one thing, because you’re diverted by conversation with your travel companion, you’re at least somewhat distracted from really observing your surroundings.

When you’re alone on a train, you’re free to focus on the passing scenery or to close your eyes and let the motion of the train rock you off into a brief nap. 

But the key to solo travel is your ability to meet other people. After a while, you become adept at initiating conversations—with the couple at the next table in a Paris restaurant or with the man standing behind you in a line of people with tickets to a concert, or—and this is the best because it happens three times a day—in an Amtrak dining car. 

It happens there because at that moment in time, fate has placed the four of us at the same table and we all have something in common: we’re all traveling to someplace up ahead. And we talk to each other. It starts out being a bit formal, but soon we all relax and the conversation lightens. 

An hour or so later, we’re having such a good time that we have to be reminded there are people waiting for our table. And so we adjourn to the lounge car and continue our conversation over cold drinks.

I can’t imagine a better, more enjoyable, more interesting way to spend an hour or so. On a long-distance train, I’ll get to do it all over again at dinner tonight, but with three new fellow passengers.

And for the entire time, the United States of America has been passing by right outside our window. You just can’t beat that!