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Traveling Solo: A Tale of Two Trips

Updated on November 13, 2019
Carolyn M Fields profile image

Carolyn Fields is a lifelong learner, musician, author, world traveler, truth enthusiast, and all around bon vivant.

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How Was Your Trip?

Upon returning home, I reflected on my recent trip to Phoenix, Arizona. I was having mixed emotions about how I felt it had gone. That’s when I realized that I had actually experienced two trips at the same time. One was very nice, and a positive experience. The other one sucked. Allow me to share my reflections, and you can decide for yourself how my trip went.

The Bad Trip

The start of my trip wasn’t too bad. I got to the airport in plenty of time. Then there was the TSA screening. Mind you, I’m a middle-aged woman with a slight limp. Not what you might “profile” as a security threat. So when they had to “re-screen” my electronic devices because they were not properly separated into their own bin, I felt mildly annoyed. I also didn’t appreciate being patted down because my artificial hip showed up as a suspicious area on the whole body scanner.

I flew basic economy, which means that I didn’t get to pick my seat. I also had to “valet” check my carry-on bag, because there was limited overhead space. The flight was a full three hours of just sitting there reading, as I didn’t know how to log into the in-flight WiFi. But at last it was over, and after a somewhat choppy landing we were on the ground.

Phoenix has a slightly different system than most airports in that the rental cars are a bus ride away. And since there was construction around the airport, this took a little longer than usual. I did find my rental car company right away, but when I went to look for my car, the aisle I looked in didn’t go up to the number I was looking for. After trying to ask a worker in the garage (who didn’t speak English), I randomly looked around in different directions until I finally found my car.

The Bad Hotel

I got on the freeway, and located my offramp. However, when I went to find my Hotel, I couldn’t find the side street where I was supposed to turn. It took me three circles around the area to finally pinpoint the correct pathway. Upon checking in, the Manager informed me that someone had hit the street sign, and it was no longer visible from the main road.

I checked into my room, and found out that I was on the third (highest) floor, and right next to the freeway. This meant that I could hear the traffic 24 hours a day, nonstop. Also, there were only 25 channels available on the TV, about half of which I would never watch. There was no business center downstairs, due to remodeling. Other minor annoyances included a hair dryer cord that was so short that I had to squeeze between the toilet and the countertop in order to dry my hair. Also, the toilet was so low that my knees were higher than my bottom when seated. Finally, the stir sticks for the coffee were twice the height of the coffee cups, making them prone to fall out.

The Good Trip

Okay, now that I’ve whined about all the petty annoyances and inconveniences that I experienced, let me tell you about my good trip. It started with friendly and capable employees at the airport, who patiently explained how to properly load my belongings for scanning. Then the airline employee who called the flight had a wickedly funny sense of humor.

On the plane, I sat next to a gentleman who merely wanted to sit quietly and read his book, which gave me a chance to read my book undisturbed. I did have to get up once to let him out, which reminded me that I really should stretch at least once during a three-hour flight for the sake of my arthritic joints.

When I got to the Phoenix Airport, everyone I asked (except the one person who didn’t speak English of course) was cheerful, and answered my questions readily and politely. I liked the car that I was assigned, which was much better than what I expected.

The Good Hotel

At the Hotel, the Manager was super nice to me. When I got to my room, I really liked the fact that I could see my car from the window. Also, I was right next to the stairs, which prompted me to get more exercise and gave me excellent access for emergency purposes (which thankfully was not needed). I loved the fact that the drapes closed completely (which is not always the case). The air conditioning unit was quiet, performed well, and kept me thoroughly comfortable.

There were plenty of pillow to choose from, in a variety of softness levels. The WiFi was strong, and my iPad worked perfectly. The lighting in the bathroom was bright, and great for getting ready. Lastly, they had “Order Inn Hospitality Services & Solutions” to deliver meals (which I didn’t use, but I appreciated the fact that it was available).

The Reason For My Visit

The reason for my visit was actually a funeral. That part sucked. But being with family was a super positive experience. And I felt blessed that I was able to afford the trip, and take the time to pay my last respects. This aspect of the trip was neither bad nor good. It was just part of the journey of life.

Your Choice

Okay, it’s your turn to choose. Did I have a bad trip, or a good trip? You see, life is truly what you make it. I could have said that up front, but I think to story conveys the point much better.

How was your last travel trip?

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Carolyn Fields

Comments

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  • MsDora profile image

    Dora Weithers 

    4 months ago from The Caribbean

    When you're attitude is positive, your mind highlights the positive. When your attitude is crappy, your mind underscores the negative. I like your illustration. A good read!

  • abwilliams profile image

    A B Williams 

    4 months ago from Central Florida

    I’d say you had a great trip Carolyn!

    I attended my Uncle’s funeral a few months back, I too traveled alone (I drove) the timing wasn’t the best, but....

    I wasn’t prepared for the seasonal weather, Floridians rarely are.

    I was busy at work, etc., etc., but I made the decision to go.

    I was so glad that I did! No regrets whatsoever, only contentment.

    Thanks for sharing this, I love what you did here.

  • Nicoartz profile image

    Jason Nicolosi 

    4 months ago from AZ

    I live in AZ and I hate Skyharbor airport. It is very confusing and the parking sucks.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 

    4 months ago from Sunny Florida

    I like that way you separated out the good and bad and just made 2 trips out of the one visit. It seems there are always frustrations when you travel, yet most of my trips have been more good then bad.

    My husband and I drove a 1000 miles over 2 days to see our granddaughter ad family. We just didn't want to have the airport headaches. I use a walker since my 2nd back surgery, so that also makes airports where you walk a long way a headache. We will probably fly next time though as you sure get tired driving back and forth for that distance.

    I enjoyed your article, Carolyn.

  • Eurofile profile image

    Liz Westwood 

    4 months ago from UK

    This is a very balanced, interesting and well-written article. I found myself empathising with much of what you said. I also have had mixed experiences with airport security and hotels whilst travelling.

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