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Having toured around North America for the past 6 weeks as a solo traveller, I’ve picked a few tips and trick for getting and surviving the experience as well as learnt a few things about myself.

  • Airplane travel in Mexico and Cuba will be late, don’t stress, I think they build delays into the itinerary
  • Travelling solo has its advantages:
    • No need to ask to go somewhere
    • Don’t need to consult any about changes or diversions
    • You can eat and drink where ever you want and what ever you want
    • No need to share a room (Unless you’re in a Backpackers)
    • Forces you to open up to strangers and meet new people if you want to have a conversation
  • Travelling solo also has its downsides as well:
    • No one to share experiences with
    • No one to complain to
    • No one to say “Do you remember when?” to
    • No one to talk to unless you make a new friend
    • You have to rely on yourself for strength and to lift your own spirits, even when things are looking a bit down
  • The Australian Accent isn’t the conversation starter I thought it would, in fact so many people cant understand a word I’m saying
  • Crossing the US, Mexican and Cuban Borders were easier than I thought they were going to be. US/Canada was the only real test, Once I’d explained what I was doing they were cool but it was a bit hair raising when it happens twice, once with a car and you are not sure if you can continue
  • You need to find the positive in all situations, e.g. a train is cancelled is an opportunity to spend the night in Cleveland, Not being able to withdraw money in Cuba is an opportunity to walk around and see ‘the real Cuba”
  • Have hard currencies on you at all times, you never when an unexpected expense (Airport exit taxes) will come up or when you will not be able to exchange, withdraw cash or pay by credit card
  • Research as much as you can before you go, winging it can be exciting and lead to unexpected adventure, but it can also mean you miss tickets to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing
  • If you book the venue with breakfast included don’t book a flight for early in the morning, you will miss breakfast
  • Not all beds will be comfortable, some will be downright torturous, just remember, you booked a cheap room
  • When booking accommodation check the following things:
    • Price and quality go without saying
    • Location to where you are being dropped off versus where you want to go and how will you transfer yourself between all of them. I like the public transport options
  • Take different travel options, Variety is the spice of life and a cross-country train trip is certainly a different (if not slower) way to experience a country. For transfers personally I like mass transit options instead of taxis
  • Don’t be afraid to splash some cash around, otherwise you miss a great game of hockey or eating some awesome ribs
  • If you want to meet people and have a fun time a hostel is for you, if you to relax and have some alone time a hotel is for you. I like to mix it up, being around others can sometimes stress me out
  • I realized that I’m not shy, I’m just very picky to whom I open up to
  • It can be a bit dangerous for me travelling alone, I think at one point I was starting to enjoy my own company a bit much, but at the same time I did miss speaking to people I knew. Once I got back to people I knew I realized I am quite boring without them to speak to
  • Be careful not to take too many photos save some memories for yourself, plus the last thing you want to do is remember only taking photos somewhere
  • Not every second of your adventure needs to be doing something. Take time to stop and sit or sleep or do nothing
  • Remember, not everyone wants to hear about your trip, talk about something else unless they ask questions about your trip. People get very bored with how much fun and excitement you are having when they are not
  • Realizing that returning will be a whole new adventure, having been on the go for 6 weeks, returning to “normal life” will require a certain amount of patience
  • Try not to cross borders too many times, authorities become suspicious when you enter the country for the third time in a month
  • Some statistics from the trip:
    • Planes used – 11
    • Bus used (Excluding city public transport)– 1
      • Public Buses used – 4 (San Jose Del Cabo, Havana, Winnipeg, Las Vegas)
    • Trains used (Excluding metros) – 9
      • Metro systems used – 4 (Mexico city, New York, Washington DC, Toronto)
    • Cars (excluding taxis and shuttles) – only 1 thank god
    • Countries visited – 4
      • USA – States – 17 (New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, Ohio, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, California)
      • Mexico – 4 (Baja Sud, Mexico City, Yucatan, The one Cancun is in)
      • Cuba
      • Canada – Provinces 6 (Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Manitoba, BC)
    • New York Times 52 places to go in 2015 destinations achieved – 13 (25%)
      • Cuba (6 nights), liked probably wouldn’t go back
      • Philadelphia (1 night) loved, need to go back
      • Yellowstone National Park (1 night, park was mostly closed) liked, need to go back
      • Lower Manhattan, New York (2 nights) Loved, need to go back
      • Steamboat Springs, Colorado (2 hours) need to learn to ski to go back
      • Cleveland, Ohio (1 night) liked, only return for an event
      • Campeche, Mexico (2 nights) loved, would return
      • Greenland (I wish)
      • Bend, Oregon (4 hours) Liked, would like to explore more
      • Squamish, Canada (6 hours) would like to explore more
      • San Jose Del Cabo, Mexico (2nights) Liked, would love to return
      • The Catskills, New York (1 hour) would like to explore more
      • Quebec City, Canada (2 nights) loved, would return
      • Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico (1 hour) need to learn to ski to return
    • Other Places visited
      • Los Angeles – 2 nights, was alright, need a car from the outset, would return
      • Mexico City – 6 hours, would return, but need more research
      • Cancun – 2 nights, would not return unless going wild and staying on the strip
      • Toronto – 3 nights, loved it, would live there
      • Montreal – 1 hour, would love to return
      • Winnipeg – 4 hours, would love to return
      • Washington DC – 3 nights, loved it, would return, didn’t see everything I wanted to
      • Edmonton – ½ hour, would love to return
      • Vancouver – 2 nights, would go back for an event
    • Done with a Car (travelled over 7000 kms, used about 100 gallons of Gas (400 liters of Petrol), slept in the car for 6 nights)
      • Whistler – 1 night, need to learn to ski to return
      • Seattle – 2 hours, would love to return, but not driving, there is no parking anywhere
      • Cape Perpetua – 4 hours, loved it, very beautiful, done everything I wanted to
      • Boise, Idaho – ½ hour, would love to return
      • Craters of the moon, Idaho – 1 hour, done it
      • Cody, Wyoming – 2 hours, would love to explore more
      • Denver, Colorado – 3 nights, loved it, would live there
      • Taos, New Mexico – 1 hour, would like to explore more
      • Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico – Didn’t stop but have heard great things
      • Grand Canyon – 2 hours, spectacular, but probably wouldn’t go back
      • Monument Valley, Utah – 2 hours, spectacular, but probably wouldn’t go back
      • Crater Impact, Arizona – 1 hour, was spectacular, but wouldn’t return
      • Winslow, Arizona – 1 hour, have done it, but would go back
      • Flagstaff, Arizona – Didn’t stop but would like to return to explore
      • Hoover Dam – 2 hours, done it
      • Las Vegas – 1 night, would like to go back, but wouldn’t be disappointed if I didn’t return
      • Vasquez Rock, California – ½ hour, done it
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