Traveling alone without feeling lonely

Hello everyone:

I travel through Orlando, Florida once a month, to go visit my widowed father and take care of his condo. Initially, it was difficult to see myself surrounded at the airport by happy families and honeymooners while I was by myself. I found a way to overcome those feelings, first by finding a family that is not focused solely on their handheld devices and talking to them.

I ask if they are headed to see “the Mouse” or “a large rodent”- they generally smile and say “yes.” If they aren’t going to Walt Disney World, then the kids haven’t usually picked up on my reference, and we chat about where they are going. If they do plan a visit to Mickey and Minnie, I share how I was an original cast member when the park opened in 1971.

Another way to keep your mind off of traveling alone in the midst of folks traveling together is to fitness walk before your flight, keeping in the general vicinity of the gate you will be leaving from as the flight gets closer. [Note: Visit the gate at the beginning of your walk so that you know exactly where it is and keep an ear out for announcements of gate changes.]

BTW, it is easy to know when you ought to visit the restroom before a flight. Once the incoming plane lands, you have about five minutes before folks start coming out of the plane and heading for the nearest bathroom. You need to beat them to the bathroom, unless you enjoy standing in line. If your plane is already at the gate, you can figure out how long before you board by keeping an eye on whether or not the door to the hallway leading to the plane is open or closed. If it is open, then you will begin boarding pretty soon. You still have time to make it to a nearby restroom, unless you dilly dally.  If it is still closed, then you have a longer wait to board.

Once on the flight, pull out that book you have been dying to read and get started.  The book is also a meal companion, should you want to look engaged when dining out alone.

When you land, please keep in mind that the nearest bathroom might not be the one to go to, especially if you are female.  If time is not of the essence, then you should wait until you get to the second bathroom because the line will be shorter than in the first restroom (unless a flight just landed near that one). The first stall in a given bathroom is frequently the one to use. Studies have also shown that the bacteria count is lower in the first stall because fewer people use it. The majority of folks feel that the privacy in the first stall is not as great as in the later stalls, so they are more likely to use a stall further down the row.

Enjoy your next trip!

Dr. Sheri

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