For my birthday back in January, I decided to take a solo trip out West to Colorado, Oregon, and Washington. With the decision to move to a new city again on my radar, I wanted to spend some time in Denver, Boulder, Portland, and Seattle to get a feel for what it would be like to live in each city. Today, I’ll be sharing a bit about my solo trip to Denver.
About a month prior to my trip, I started looking seriously at flights. It’s no secret that I love flying Southwest so, once I found an affordable flight into Denver for the day I was looking to leave, I booked it. Living in the DC area means I’m pretty fortunate to have three different airports to choose from, which gives me some flexibility and allows me to truly find the most affordable flight.
When I was three weeks away, I booked a nonstop flight from DC to Denver, and then another one-way ticket from Denver to Portland later the next week.
I spent quite a bit of time researching different Denver neighborhoods before ultimately booking a one-bedroom apartment on Airbnb.com — get a $20 credit by signing up here!
Keep in mind, this trip was solely intended to be an exploratory trip for the purpose of potentially moving. So, my criteria for booking an Airbnb was based more around staying in a neighborhood close to where I’d be looking at apartments and less about being close to Denver attractions. Because of this, I also got a rental car.
If you’re planning a move to a new city, I go into much greater detail about exploratory trips in my eCourse, Soul-Centered Moving, but I will tell you two big tips right now:
- Staying in an Airbnb versus a hotel will give you a much better sense of what it’s like to live in that city. For example, you’ll be interacting more with local residents instead of tourists.
- Having a rental car during your stay may also give you a better sense, especially if you’ll be bringing a car with you when you move. Aside from walking, having to navigate yourself through a city by car is one of the best ways to learn the layout of the city. Not to mention, you may realize how bad traffic is or how the attitudes of people behind-the-wheel affect you!
As I was booking my rental car, I started reading about the tollroad and how many rental car companies in Denver may tack on fees for the tolls. To avoid that altogether, I decided to take the backroads from the airport to my apartment. It was much more of an adventure than I originally anticipated. It was a little two-lane road out in the middle of the plains. And there was no other car in sight (not a single one!) for nearly twenty minutes.
It was just me and Colorado…
After arriving at my Airbnb and meeting with the host to get the keys, my first task was to go get groceries. (Another reason I love staying in an Airbnb — you can cook your meals in the kitchen!) I ventured to Whole Foods where I took my time, and also grabbed some food so that I could people watch.
FEMALE SOLO TRAVEL TIP:
When traveling solo, I try to be back at my place by night fall.
I know that some other women adhere to this and some don’t. I say, do what works for you. It requires a little more planning ahead to make sure you get everything done before it gets dark, but it’s certainly possible and overall, I feel better about not wandering out in a new city alone at night.
Note: You can find all of my solo travel-related posts here!
With my birthday on the horizon, I spent a good deal of time introspecting and diving deeper into the clarity I wanted to feel moving forward. I thought a lot about the things that were no longer serving me in life and the changes I wanted to make to step more into alignment with the woman I was ready to be.
I think that’s what I love so much about solo travel. Not only are we tested and pushed to our own limits, with the choice to either give up or work through the struggles in absolute perseverance.
We get massive amounts of alone time in cities where we don’t know a soul which oftentimes leads to us getting to know our own soul better than ever before.
And that’s beautiful.
(By the way, I share more about my solo travels & adventures as a single girl over on YouTube so be sure to subscribe to my channel for more!)
You treat yourself to a latte while you write and might be surprised at the number of people you meet throughout your trip. A big part of solo travel is about opening yourself up. While caring for yourself, protecting yourself, being diligent and smart with your travels, you may also meet people, exchange stories, and as you learn about them, you may learn about yourself as well.
You get to see the world through new eyes.
And then you walk through these cities with your music playing through your earbuds and everything comes to life. You feel the fullness of life all around you. Your senses pick up every scent, every color, every feeling.
And it’s almost as if you can feel yourself grow and shift and change and morph as you travel.
You either leave these cities with a greater appreciation for where you live or with the burning sense of wonder still within you to book your next trip and continue to expand.
I’ve spent the majority of my solo travels in various cities within the United States, searching for my new home. Seeing what fits and what doesn’t. I’ve learned a lot in the process. I’ve learned an incredible amount about what I value in a city and in a home. And, most importantly, I’ve learned why that is.
I’ve learned what it is within me that longs for a city that embraces creative types and supports conscious living. I’ve learned what it is within me that craves those gorgeous sunsets and the sound of nature within reach. We don’t all want the same things out of life, nor do we want the same things out of travel or what we call our home.
After walking through the city for a couple hours during a tour, I sat down for lunch with another solo female traveler who was visiting all the way from Oman. We talked about how much we enjoyed the freedom to travel on our own as women. I sat there exchanging stories with an almost complete stranger from the other side of the planet and yet I felt so connected.
To meet other people, no matter where they are from, who “get it.” Who understand that deep desire to explore. Not just to see what is out there, but to find what is within.
My solo trip to Denver was far from easy. It challenged me. After only a few days in Denver, I had conquered Altitude Sickness, two minor injuries, and then came down with a horrible cold for the rest of my stay, inevitably losing my voice and hearing out of one ear. But, it’s often through these trips and adventures in life that we learn what not to do or what to do differently next time.
It’s because of these experiences and in finding the courage to do things entirely on our own that we grow as human beings and as women.
I was ready to leave Denver and head off to my last location in Colorado — Boulder — before heading further west.
To catch me during my future travels, add me on Snapchat: ChelseaDinen or follow along on Instagram here! And be sure to sign up below so that we can stay in touch through email! You’ll also get access to my new 3-part video training on building confidence as soon as it’s available!
What U.S. cities have you taken a solo trip to? What lessons did you learn while traveling alone?
Let me know in the comments!