Lessons learned while traveling solo to Oregon

Published 9:44 am Thursday, February 4, 2016

A few weeks ago, I traveled to Portland, Oregon, for a wedding photography seminar. I have read a lot of articles about how traveling alone is really good for oneself, so I took a leap of faith and decided to try it.

Here are some of the things I learned along the way:

• Airports and airplanes are wonderful for naps. I normally work overnights, so I sleep during the day. On my travel day to Portland, the only time I was really awake was when I was either boarding or getting off a plane until I got there.

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• Uber cars are your friend. I was skeptical about using Uber at first. It’s a ridesharing app on your phone. You tell the app where you need to be picked up and dropped off. Someone then comes to get you in their personal vehicle. The idea of getting in a random stranger’s car kind of freaked me out. I decided to utilize it a few times throughout my trip though. All of my drivers were very friendly and helpful.

• Public transportation is also your friend. I stayed at a hotel about a half hour away from where the seminar was, so that meant taking the MAX, Portland’s rail system there, every day. It was relatively easy to follow the routes and made for some fun people watching.

• Eat at locally owned places as much as you can. My first night, I went to a tiny, hole-in-the-wall bar for a piece of pizza. It was neat getting to see the people who are probably regulars there interact with each other. I also went to VooDoo Doughnuts, which I would highly recommend visiting if you’re ever out that way. Coolest. Doughnuts. Ever.

• Traveling alone means you don’t have anyone’s agenda to follow but your own. You can do whatever you want, whenever you want, however you want. That’s pretty neat.

• Everyone you meet has a lesson to teach you. My first night at the seminar, I listened to a man by the name of Jeff Newsom speak. He inspired my entire last column on his views on life. Also, I met two wonderful ladies by the name of Katrina and Gianna, who taught me to break out of my shell, as I was very shy since I was alone and didn’t know anyone. They also took me out for bone broth soup, which is a very delicious meal and something new I had never tried before.

I learned so much more, including things about myself, photography, business, people and life in general. While I did get homesick, I’m glad I went on this trip alone, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. If you ever are presented the opportunity to travel solo, give it a shot.


Erin Murtaugh is an undergraduate at Bemidji State University studying elementary education. She can be reached at murtaugh.erin@gmail.com.