5 ways to go on a trip by your lonesome

In case you missed it, I spent last weekend at Eagle Appreciation Days in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin. I took a ton of photos, had a great time and ate great food.

By myself.
It was scary at first, but exciting, too.
Here are five tips to do the same thing.

1. Pick something you love.

     Do not go online and search for the best places to travel in your state or area then pick one. Nooooooo. That’s not the way to go.
     Find something you’re interested in. Really interested in.
     For me, it’s always been the eagles (that’s why it came up so fast on my 28 by 28 list). That was a no-brainer for me.
     Love beer? Maybe you should tour a brewery!
     Like sports? Maybe you should go to the hall of fame or something. A game might be not great alone, but if you’re brave enough, do it.
     Like reading? Head to some author readings or a writing convention.
     Do I need to go on? Find something that you’re interested in before you start planning.
     Then you’ll be excited about the planning process and you won’t be irritated with the trip before you even go.

2. Pick a good weekend to go.

     There are eagles all over the place in Prairie du Chien all winter.
     But I went on the weekend when the city holds the Eagle Appreciation Days. So check out cities/places/towns that hold an event related to what you’re interested in. Then you won’t be bored. There will be plenty to do all over the place.
     There are author write ins in college towns, kite fly days (those are cool), movie screenings. You can find something. If you’re interested in something, chances are really good that there are a bunch of other people that love that thing too.
     If your work schedule and budget allows, go for an overnight. If it doesn’t, don’t sweat it. Just try and spend a whole day in the place. Take your time.
     Take your time and spend your time.
     Work on the weekends? Go on a day off. Easy. You might not find as many things to do, but you can make it work.

3. Get sleep and eat well.

     The whole week before, make sure you get good sleep at night. This isn’t the time to be too excited to sleep!
     I know I spent a few hours lying in bed thinking about it. I had to talk myself into sleep.
     And I tried to eat well on the way out to Prairie du Chien (about three hours) and on the day of. It’s not time to eat a ton of candy or junk food. Try to find at least a good breakfast to get your started.
     If you stomach isn’t feeling great, you’re going to remember what else isn’t right… like the fact that you’re alone.

4. Talk to people.

     You may be by yourself, but that doesn’t mean you can’t strike up a conversation.
     When I was in Prairie du Chien, I saw a guy wearing a sweatshirt from where I live. I went over and talked to him about the drive and how we found the event. It was only a few minute conversation,  but it helped me remember I didn’t have to be lonely on a trip by myself.
     I almost didn’t go talk to him. But I did. And who cares?! I’m an adult, he and his friend were adults. It was fine! I wasn’t hitting on him, jeez.
     It took some courage. I didn’t talk to everyone that I could have talked to… but I talked to that one guy. And it helped.

5. Take your time.

     You’re alone. You can dictate your schedule. Want to sleep in? GREAT!
     Want to get started so early the hotel breakfast isn’t even ready yet? Even better. The choice is yours.
     Want to sit in a local cafe and drink coffee while people walk by the windows? Awesome.
     The day is yours.
     It was really chilly while I was in Prairie du Chien. I spent more time inside at the exhibits than I would have if it had been warmer. There would have been more eagles to see outside.
     I could choose that. I was by myself. I do what I want.
     I thought about going to a cafe, but it looked pretty crowded.
     I ended up in a little diner in Marquette, Iowa. It was awesome. The coffee was strong and hot, the BLT was delicious and the waitress didn’t charge me for dessert. What a sweatheart.
     The point is, I could have gone anywhere that day. After I saw the eagles, I could check it off my list and do anything. So I did. I went to Pike’s Peak, I went to the Effigy Mounds.
     The day is yours.
Another thing I would have liked to do was go to Mass out there, but I couldn’t stay Saturday night and the only Mass was at 8 a.m. Sunday.
I usually try to schedule those things better.
Be brave!
In the fear of the Lord, one has strong confidence. Proverbs 14:26
God bless.
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