Why did Shannon spend her Thanksgiving break solo? “I wanted to go with someone but no one wanted to go. I just went.”
That’s the spirit!
Shannon’s family is in California and she lives in D.C. It doesn’t make financial sense to fly to California at the end of November and again for Christmas just a few weeks later. That means Thanksgiving isn't a family event for her. “I never go home for Thanksgiving."
And where we work, Thanksgiving is a four-day holiday, so why not zip off for a little rest and relaxation somewhere new?
Shannon happened upon Quebec online. "It looked cute," and it was French-speaking and she thought it would “feel like you’re in a foreign city,” without the effort and expense of flying to someplace in Europe. In fact, the official website reads, "Quebec City: So Europe. So close."
It didn't disappoint.
Off Shannon went, using air miles for a free flight and staying at the famed Fairmont Le Frontenac Chateau hotel, inside the walls of Old Quebec. “It was not that expensive.” And it was really nice, she added.
She wandered around the city, shopping for presents at two Christmas markets, snacking on French bread smothered with melted cheese, and visiting exhibits at the Musée des beaux-arts du Quebec.
She tried rabbit poutine, a twist on the Canadian dish of French fries with gravy and cheese curds, at Le Lapin Sauté, a restaurant specializing in rabbit dishes. Throughout her trip, she enjoyed French dishes, including onion soup and seafood.
Like many solo travelers, Shannon didn’t feel comfortable dining out alone for dinner. Instead, she ate her main meal at lunch, dining late in the afternoon. “The good news is that restaurants have free wifi.”
She ate dinners at the hotel bar. “Mainly, it was just convenient,” she said. And, “The bartenders were nice.”
Shannon’s assessment of her solo trip?
“It was a perfect experience,” she said. “I liked the city.
"It has a European feel with its French language, old architecture and French history. And it was decorated for Christmas.” The festive lights “were pretty in the snow.”
Sold on solo travel? Not quite...
The time and place were right, but she doesn’t picture another place that would work out as well.
“I feel like it was the perfect thing. I wanted to go. No would go. I had the time off.” And she had the free airfare to a relatively nearby city that seemed European. “I have no regrets.”
I get it. Solo travel isn't always a preference. But why miss out on a particular trip you want to do? Solo travel is a great backup plan.
Next time, I hope Shannon's friends are up for an adventure she'd like to take, like the trip to Cuba she also took this year---in that case, with two friends.
But if not, who knows? Maybe there will be another trip she ends up taking on her own because it just seems right, even though her friends can't, or don't want to go. She knows she can do just fine on her own.
Happy New Year to all my loyal readers, and welcome to all of you who started following Boldy Go Solo this year.
Wishing you peace, joy, and fun and safe travels in 2018. Whether you go solo or not.
Photos: Fun snow photos by Shannon.