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August 17, 2010
Traveling solo: Facing fears and forging friendships
For me, travel is addictive; I get a physical thrill when I add pages to my passport. And while I love exploring the world with Alan and our children, there are times when I prefer to explore the world on my own, or in the company of my closest girlfriends.
And I know I’m not alone: Whether they’re widowed, married to someone who doesn’t share their travel interests, enjoy exploring the world with their sisters, brothers, or children, just want to meet new travel companions, or love exploring on their own, plenty of Grand Circle travelers choose to travel solo on their trips.
That’s why it’s so rewarding for me to hear from our solo travelers. Their passion for travel is invigorating; their enthusiasm contagious. And when I hear about the life-changing experiences solo travelers have had on their vacations with us, I’m reminded why we’re in the business to change people’s lives. It’s stories like Rita Westerman’s—an 11-time traveler from Westerville, Ohio—that remind me we’re helping to create lasting memories for our travelers. Rita was hesitant to travel on her own after losing her husband, but ultimately decided to journey on our Great Rivers of Europe River Cruise. She not only discovered the fascinating histories of many countries, but also realized that she enjoyed traveling on her own.
There’s also the story of Karen Tameling, a first-time traveler from Albany, Oregon, who journeyed to the Netherlands with a friend to explore her family’s Dutch roots. And Bud Slavin, a 2-time traveler from Columbus, North Carolina, who has special memories of traveling through Ireland with his mother.
And then there are travelers like Eileen Bennett, a 2-time traveler from Claremont, New Hampshire, who visited South Africa—a place completely different than anything she’d experienced before—and a place where she enjoyed a new highlight each and every day, and Dale Enman, a 3-time traveler from Deerfield Beach, Florida, who took a chance creating a profile on our Travel Companions online community—and three days later, had reserved a trip to China with three women she met through the community!
You can find these stories from Rita, Karen, Bud, Eileen, and Dale in our Traveler Stories section.
Has your life been changed as a solo traveler exploring the world with Grand Circle? If so, I hope you’ll share your stories with me—and other travelers—by posting your comments below this Journal entry. (You can also email me at email@example.com.)
In the coming weeks, we’ll be spotlighting Eastern Europe, Holland and Belgium, and our River Cruises along the Rhine, Main, and Danube, so if you’ve explored these destinations with Grand Circle, please share your stories—and pictures—with me at