Find Yourself – Take a Solo Vacation

David Clough

I recently went on a five day cruise… solo.

Now, I will admit, it wasn’t intentional… at first. I had planned this with a guest, and then an unfortunate event happened shortly before the cruise.
I had the option to look into transferring the ticket to someone else, or go solo. I decided the solo option would be the most exciting. As well as fitting. The name of the cruise I went on was Independence of the Seas.
I had to drive 4 hours South to the port in Ft. Lauderdale to get there. I knew once I got on the boat, that I would be powering off my phone for the next 5 days. I only wanted to buy wifi for an emergency or if it was on one of the islands. I truly wanted this time for myself and to live in the moment. 
Since I didn’t want to buy the alcohol package, I brought a bottle of champagne and wine. My cruise was stopping in Labadee, Haiti as well as Falmouth, Jamaica. The room I had reserved had a private balcony. So I planned on spending some time meditating and writing with an ocean view.


Day 1 – “You are quite impressive Elizabeth. Conquering this cruise alone”

I got on the ship around 3 PM, and we sailed away around 6 PM. I decided the first thing I would do is pamper myself. I went straight to the spa for a mani and pedi after saying my goodbyes to everyone through my phone. I then went back to my room and cracked open the bottle of champagne to celebrate my birthday.

While enjoying my champagne, we were already sailing away. It was peaceful watching the sunset over the horizon of the city.

Once I was ready for dinner, I went to the host stand and asked if they could sit me with a random group of strangers. I explained I was by myself and wanted a good group to mingle with. The host sat me by myself at a table for eight. Shortly after I sat down, a family of three arrived. They were from Orlando. A German man, his American wife, and their son. He was the one that told me, “You are quite impressive Elizabeth. Conquering this cruise alone.” That was a line I heard often during that week from several others. What a delightful and fun family to mingle with.
Then, two middle age gentlemen arrived. And two older ladies in their 70’s-ish arrived. Everyone was so engaging and very entertaining to speak with. We all shared stories. We all talked about where we were from and why we were there. We talked about previous vacations we’ve been on and our families. It was so enjoyable. We ended up chatting for hours, when we could’ve left a while prior after finishing dinner.
One of the guys told the waiter it was my birthday when I wasn’t paying attention. So all the waiters and the tables around sang Happy Birthday to me with a slice of cake and a candle. It was embarrassing, but quite memorable.
We discussed meeting at the same time for dinner the next day. A part of me was still deciding. Do I want to meet with them again because they were so enjoyable? Or do this again and meet others? I decided I wanted to mingle and meet others too.
Day 2 – “Would you mind if we sat you with someone else?”
This was an “at sea” day. I slept in, had breakfast then laid out by the pool on the upper deck for most of the day. It was hot, but very very windy. So windy, it actually felt cold at times. Silly me, I did not put much sunblock on that day. And well, it was obvious later that evening into the following days.
At least I got my Florida tan back.
Later, I went to dinner a little earlier since I wanted to meet another group of people. I again told the host to seat me with strangers, but this time told him to give me a fun group. 
Host: “Would you mind if we sat you with someone else?”
First guy at host stand: “It doesn’t involve a crying baby does it?”
The host: “No it’s one woman”
Guy: “Sure, she can join the party.”
Three guys, and two girls were then seated at my table. All of them, assuming I was in my 70’s. Then quite surprised to discover I wasn’t. The girls were from Buffalo, NY. And the guys were from Charleston, SC. The rest of that night was a ton of fun with loads of laughable memories. We all connected and had very amusing conversations. Enjoyed drinks, stayed for hours, went to the “Love & Marriage” show. Followed by a comedy show.
We discussed meeting the following morning to enjoy time in Labadee. I was happy to have met a fun group I could join. I wasn’t sure what the week would bring. I had zero expectations and figured I would do exploring on my own.
I was so worn out from being in the sun that day, that I called it a night right after the shows. We forgot to exchange information to find each other the next day. So I assumed I wouldn’t see them again and would end up meeting others.
Day 3 – “Please, come in my shop. I have something special for you.”
I woke up to music playing outside my balcony once we arrived to Labadee. It was so pleasant and exciting.
View from my balcony once I arrived to Labadee, Haiti
I ate breakfast, grabbed my coffee and headed to the Island. As I got off, I went straight to the beach. I quickly realized I misunderstood what they said about beach towels. I forgot to grab one from the exit off the boat.
I had to walk all the way back to the boat to get towels. As I walked back, I saw a guy with his camera taking photos of the beautiful rocks and water.
Photo credit by BAM Photography – Blaine Morgan. Labadee, Haiti

After he took a picture, I realized it was first guy from the group last night. Perfect timing. They were getting off the boat as I was walking back on to get a towel.

So this time it was me and the three guys. We went down to the beach and laid out for a while with drinks in hand. Then explored some of the shops.

Quite an experience at the shops.

I felt harassed as the Haitians swarmed around. “Please, come in my shop. I have something special for you.” They said this in every shop. And they all had the same stuff in every shop. It was a pain in the @$$ to say the least trying to shop in peace.

The rest of the day was enjoying time in the hot tub and dinner again. Yet, the time changed back an hour, but on the boat it remained on EST. We agreed to meet for dinner at 7 PM.

Since my phone updated on the time and I didn’t realize it, I showed up at 7 PM, but it was 8 PM on the boat. As I walked up to the restaurant, first guy walked out of the restaurant. I said, “Perfect timing.” In which he replied, “Actually, no. We’ve been here for an hour. I had a feeling you had the time wrong and weren’t standing us up.” Well, crap. So we discussed I’ll eat with another group and could meet up with them afterwards.

As I approached the host stand, first guy came back out and said they had one seat left at their table so I could join them. It all worked out in the end! And, the family of three from Orlando ended up at that table too. What were the odds? Of all the people on the ship.

After dinner, we went to the piano bar. Where there was a young man from the U.K. playing and singing on the piano. He was quite fun and entertaining. He ended up mingling with us throughout the show, and we all connected, so he joined us for dinner the next day.

Day 4 – WWWD: What would Walter do?
After arriving to Falmouth, Jamaica – like most others, we decided to hike the Duns River Falls. We were lucky enough to have our own van, with our own personal driver – Walter. Oh, Walter. He was such an awesome character. He taught us a few Jamaican sayings:
Iremon!”A good feeling or sense of content
Yeah Mon!
No problem” – We don’t have problems, we have situations <- Love this.
We had such a fun hour and a half ride each way with Walter. He was kind enough to stop for us to pick up some Redstripe beer. By the end of our trip with him and throughout the rest of the cruise – the saying What would Walter do? became so popular.
The Falls were so beautiful as they cascaded into the Caribbean ocean. Of all the people with us, they chose the four of us to go another route.
We got to hike up the Falls on the more scenic route. A.k.a. the diamond level. It was harder in some areas than others. Yet, most of the rocks were pretty slippery. We all busted at one point. And myself and first guy, busted at the top of one of the falls which almost costed us our lives.
Funny to look back on now.
Day 5 – Goodbye Memories, Hello Reality
A few things I learned from the guys that I may or may not have heard before, or they made up. Yet we used quite often that week. Made for laughs.
  • You done f*cked up A A Ron – Key and Peele
  • He gone!
  • Let me learn you some truth
  • Ayyyyyyoooooo!! – Said countless times during the trip

Early in the morning, I was off the boat saying goodbye to the several people I met. I even ran into the two guys I met the first night as I was departing. This trip helped me get in touch with myself again and grow my independence. Spending time with yourself is key. I came back feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

These were the highlights of the week, but so many memories I can’t put into words. An unforgettable trip to say the least.


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About Elizabeth Cunningham 85 Articles
Aloha and Welcome! I am Elizabeth Cunningham - the sole creator of Elizabeth Dabbles - I graduated from the University of South Florida where I received my Bachelor of Art's degree in Creative Writing. Writing has been a passion of mine since I was a little, young peanut. I remember sitting by the window on rainy days writing poetry when I was in elementary school. Creativity has been running through my veins for as long as I can remember. I've dabbled in scrapbooking, creating greeting cards, poetry and now sharing my perspectives on life. I mostly blog about my deep thoughts, opinions and other perspectives. Focusing on finding the silver lining in every situation. As well has having a positive outlook on life. Some of my posts can be inspiring to others. My other main interests are Traveling and Fitness/Health. I truly live life to the fullest because, let's face it, life is too short! I hope you stay along for the ride!

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