RoadTrip America

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Solo Traveler: Tales and Tips for Great Trips, by Lea Lane


"Hitting the road alone?" asks the back cover of this book by journalist Lea Lane. My answer is, "Yes! As often as possible," because I'm a member of that growing group that relishes the thought of a solo adventure. It's not that I dislike traveling with companions. It's that, like Lane, I've discovered that traveling alone offers experiences you can't get any other way, and those experiences can be soul-nurturing, strengthening, exciting, and fun.

They can also be terrifying, dangerous, and unpleasant, especially in the minds of those who have never done it. That's where Lane's book steps in. Organized into 16 chapters of tips, observations, anecdotes, and wisdom gathered from the author's travels in over 100 countries, Solo Traveler is an engaging and practical look at taking trips alone.

The first chapter has a great list of "What Soloists Think Will Annoy Them." I had to smile as I read it, because I've lost count of how many times I've heard arguments like "Eating alone is no fun," and "I'll get lost." Lane has pretty much covered the territory with her list of reasons would-be solo travelers never pack a bag. What's even better is that by the end of the book, she's revealed the flip side to every one of the negatives. Her chapter on eating alone is an excellent example. From picnics and room service to high-end Parisian restaurants, she offers practical tips based on personal experience as well as a way to look at situations in a new light. It's these ideas for changing a mindset that I found especially appealing. Sprinkled throuout the book are lists of more resources, many of them online.

While Lane refers to destinations all over the world, this book is a not a guidebook of places to go. It's a resource intended to empower those who want to travel but have a bit of trepidation about heading off into the unknown alone. I recommend it for those who have already discovered the joys of solo travel as well as those who haven't yet tried it.

Megan Edwards
4/11/08

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