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I’m part of a fb group for women solo travelers. Most of what is posted is all about far off adventures and leaving their own continent. While that’s awesome, getting out in your own backyard can be just as fun and beneficial for the soul. This is just a few of the things I did, and that occurred to me, while I was tooling through the backroads of rural Tennessee.

I just got back from a road trip plus family vacation. The road trip part was just for me. Whenever I travel for family trips, I do research to see what’s in the area that I want to do. I found all sorts of things along the way to checkout. I took two days to drive the distance everyone else rushed to do in one.

I have a fun family, but we do all have different things we are interested in. This particular trip, we went to Gatlinburg, TN. Not somewhere I would have ever picked to go. I got on the google and found things I wanted to see in the area and was able to get out for a few solo adventures, as well as be the guide for a few family outings. Ultimately, as long as you come back together at the end of the day, it’s a win.

Don’t be afraid to take some time for yourself. Leave mom at home with the siblings or the baby while you get out for a hike they have no interest in. If your family is easily offended, sell it like you are doing this for their benefit. I really want to make sure you have some time with brother so y’all can talk about his recent breakup.

You can also travel solo without even leaving town. Get dressed up and dine at a restaurant you’ve been wanting to try. While dining and food is generally a communal experience, eating out alone is self esteem building and you get to try what YOU want. There’s no one to judge your choices.

Take a weekend all for yourself. Google something you are interested in, such as antiquing or thrift stores, junk yards, cemeteries, breweries, distilleries, and wineries (that’s mine), diners, public murals… you name it. Find one that is two to three hours away and go the longest, most backroad way you can. If you see something along the way that you want to stop and view, DO IT! This is your trip.

When you read an article in your local or regional magazine, save places of interest. Google has a “want to go” flag. When you are planning your trip, look for that as a starting point for your adventure.

My vacation was 8 days, 4 for me, 4 with them. I hit 4 breweries, 5 distilleries, 2 wineries, a historic prison, a bbq joint, and 2 waterfalls. I also found so many things I need to go back to checkout, including a town that was part of the Manhattan Project, countless antique shops, and more distilleries.

Traveling solo is an empowering, learning adventure. Your goal for traveling solo is your own. Just remember, you don’t have to spend thousands or fly far away to benefit from a little solo travel.