Traveling SOLO

I guess I'm looking for some moral support from those of you who  travel  ALONE

maybe 500 or more miles from home  to participate in shows.  I'm single and retired;

I have the flexibility to travel, but I cannot get the courage to do so.  Family and friends all have other commitments such as work -- and driving 700 miles does

not fit into a  week-end  schedule for them.  I really do want to venture out beyond the local shows and perhaps combine a trip to a resort coastal area with an art show.

If any of you  travel solo (long distances requiring overnight stays), I'd  love to hear

from you. I need some inspiration to move forward because I'm stuck in my comfort zone, evidently.

(I did post this request in another spot -- but being new to this site, I think I entered

it in the wrong "discussion." My apologies.)

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  • I am new and just starting out...but as for traveling alone...I am inspired by all who are over 55 and making this journey.  If any have looked at my new profile...I travel many miles storm chasing each year...some of that alone...but I always have my trusty concealed carry permit (and the "iron" to back that up :) ) with me.  You may consider getting a ham radio as well...this gives you extra sercurity with access to emergency responders and very rarely will someone mess with anyone who has a radio mike in their hand.  I will spend the extra mu-lah to stay in a nicer place and you actually can bargain with them on price...even at a last minute notice.  I am looking forward to this adventure of the show circuit and if you are not hindered by fear but by merely the thought of going it alone...GO FOR IT...we only make these rounds once in our lifetime and the exciting possibilities around every corner who can pass that up?  I am thrilled to read all of these posts of inspiration and I hope they lift you up to help you make a decision.

  • I've been traveling alone pretty-much since the beginning and thoroughly enjoy it.  I love my wife dearly but, she and I don't travel particularily well together - especially in a car.  I enjoy the ability to stop when I want, where I want and take as much time as I want.  Of course, it's a bit different from a woman traveling alone and that's unfortunate.  I've found that the two greatest aids that have come along in a long time are the GPS and audio books.  The advantages of a GPS are obvious but, for me, the greatest way in the world to pass the time is in listening to audio books.  I've "read" more books in the past year than I have actually read in the past five years of my life.  I recommend it highly.  One can sign up to a site like "" and have access to every book you've ever heard of and many that you haven't.  And, there's no better way to make the miles fly by faster - especially when you driving through some area like East Texas (I live in Texas so, I can say that).  A lot of times I'll drive until late at night, pull into an overnight convenience store or rest area, sleep a couple of hours and take off again.  But, again, a woman has to be a bit more careful with things like that.  Sounds like you're being well-prepared and taking the right precautions.  Hang in there and just enjoy the sights.  View your trips as mini-vacations away from the phone, the yard, the neighbors, etc., etc.  Drive safely and enjoy the "down-time".

  • This is only my 3rd year of traveling. I'm always apprehensive about it but once I get going I love it! I try to not travel after dark, especially if traveling through remote areas. I listen to talk radio and bring CDs for those areas where I don't get reception. AAA maps are useful because the towns with AAA approved lodging are highlighted. I have stayed at smaller motels and hostels and this year, for the first time, I tent camped for a couple of shows. I often drive through very remote areas so I keep my tank full, carry plenty of water, bear spray, flashlights, and a can of fix a flat.

    I've almost always had other artists offer to help me set up my canopy and I even had a neighbor couple at a campground show up and helped me load in! Take your time and you'll be fine. Don't be afraid to ask for help. If it helps, plan it out. Know where you're going to stop, what route you will take, any side trips you want to take between shows...

  • I also heard of a woman from Texas (Texas plates were very important ;)) who just put a sign in her window that said: I HAVE A GUN. It was quite effective, even though she didn't actually have one.

    • A NRA decal or 2nd Ammendment bumper sticker on any western state plates vehicle will convey the same message. LOL
  • I have been doing shows by myself for 18 years. I agree with pretty much everything everyone has said, but I'll add that if it's been a while since I've been traveling far, I'm often a bit scared before I hit the road again (I worry about safety and car troubles). But once I get going, I quickly relax and enjoy the trip. I never feel lonely. Bored sometimes, yes, but never lonely. And I love staying in hotels too (I stay away from the cheapest ones). I used to go out for dinner at restaurants by myself, was never uncomfortable doing that, but now I have found that it's nicer (and cheaper) to eat brought food in my room, have a glass of wine without worrying about driving afterwards, and fall asleep reading or watching TV.

    I feel the same way about traveling solo now, since I've acquired a family, as when I was single. A trip is like a vacation. Since you are at all considering it, I think you will love it!

    • I've been doing shows alone for more years than I can count, and travelling alone for even longer. I enjoy driving on back roads and stopping at wildlife preserves and other out of the way places to look for birds, and as long as I am reasonably careful and prepared, I don't worry. I have driven alone in all but 3 states in the USA and look forward to getting those remaining 3 in one day. Lonely? Never!

      I agree with the suggestions of avoiding the very cheapest motels, (although there have been a couple of times when there was no alternative except the back seat of the car, and that was ususally full of stuff!) eating your own food, keeping the car in good repair, having a road map book on hand, and having road service on your car insurance. Just in case. A couple of years ago I got a cheap cell phone after my kids complained, now I have to remember to turn the damn thing on when I travel. I do avoid big cities; I grew up in one and that was enough for me. BTW, I have slept in Florida rest stops at night, they always have guards overnight. When napping at an Interstate rest stop during the day I always park in the last slot, I figure that if someone bad notices me sleeping there, they have already committed to going back onto the highway and can't turn around!

  • Hey Judy!

    I travel alone too. I enjoy it!

    I use books on tape, now Ipod (free books from my library!) and I don't drive over 8 hours in one day. Usually that defines my show radius as well.

    Since I am always willing to help others with their tents I've never had trouble getting someone to help me "pop" my EZ up, well up!

    Sometimes for mountain towns or small regional towns that have large shows I have advertised in Craigs list, to rent someones spair bedroom for the show. I only rent from couples or women who live by themselves. This has saved me money and sometimes a long drive after a show. I don't mind staying in my room by my self because after my show I'm "Talked OUT"

    I just love being self confident and going my own way. Isn't that what artists do? A car can break down on the way to the store. And I hate to say this but when regular folk come to help me, they always just stand and don't know how to help.

    And the other art show people are just great. I really mean that. Only once in a while do you get by an idiot. And well that's just life, an't it?

    I was at a show that was a six hour drive (and a mountain one at that) when my 86 year old Dad had a heart attack. Some neighbors saw the look on my face and told me to go get my truck. When I got back about six artists had packed my stuff, folded my tent and when I pulled up, tossed everything in my truck. It wasn't pretty but I wasn't missing a thing. Can't ask for better people. It's truly one of the reasons I do shows instead of selling to stores.

    I had a Florida trip planned last year - and then didn't get into any of the 3 shows I applied to! Ha! So much for planning.

  • I heard this story in 2011 at the Tubac, AZ show. A woman artist did shows primarily on the west coast, alone, carrying art work in a small trailer, and living out of her camper on the road. She had no qualms about camping out on city streets. She told people who questioned the safety of doing this, that if she heard someone outside her camper she would run her knuckle buster. I ran this by some gun type friends, and they " yup, it sounds just like a 12 gauge pump being cocked". Ingenious.
    • The only improvement would be to say after the sound effect in a loud whisper, "Joe, is that the slug or the double-ought buck?" ;-)

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