Courtney Giardina, a contemporary romance novelist from New York, takes a solo trip to Wilmington, North Carolina and discovers the relaxing benefits of solo travel in this week’s Women Who Travel Solo.
How did you get started traveling?
My best college friend and I made a vow upon graduation that we would do one girls trip each year to a new destination and explore new things. We’ve kept that promise and since visited many fun places across the country.
Why did you decide to take a solo trip to Wilmington, North Carolina?
I was in the midst of writing my third novel and progress had become really slow. I had so much going on in my everyday life I was finding it hard to sit down and focus only on my writing because were so many distractions. At brunch one day, one of my friends suggested I take a trip to the beach. I thought it was silly at first, but after thinking about it I thought why not? I packed up my car that afternoon, called a hotel to make a reservation and hit the road.
Tell us about your experience as a solo traveler in Wilmington.
I loved it! I felt it to be a very calming experience. I didn’t have to worry about being anywhere at any specific time. I had no plans and no agenda and it felt great. I actually took a notebook and a pen to the beach each day I was there and wrote pieces of my novel by hand. It was very freeing not sitting at a desk in front of my computer.
I’m also a huge One Tree Hill fan and since Wilmington is where it was filmed for all those years, I took myself on a self guided tour throughout the town. I found the famous bridge and the houses where they filmed. It was a neat experience to see it in real life after all those years on television.
What recommendations do you have for solo travelers in Wilmington?
I loved Wrightsville Beach. It wasn’t at all crowded and the beach was clean. A great place to relax.
Also make sure to make your way to the Riverfront in downtown Wilmington where in the summertime there’s live music, festivals and farmers markets. It’s also a great place to walk around as you can walk the boardwalk along the Cape Fear River. The downtown area also has tons of food options. I made sure to stop at Port City Java for my morning coffee and had some amazing sweet potato pancakes at Dixie Grill.
I also made a stop at the Bluewater Grill. It was the inspiration for a restaurant in my first novel and I had never been so stopped for dinner one night. Although a bit pricey, the food was delicious.
I of course recommend the tour for any One Tree Hill fans. You can find the addresses pretty easily online to plot your route.
What was the best part of your solo trip to Wilmington?
I think the best part of the trip was how liberated I felt. Walking into a restaurant and eating alone can be a bit intimidating so I was proud of myself that I was able to do it and conquer that fear that everyone was staring at me and judging me.
What advice do you have for women who are traveling alone?
Always have your cell phone charged. Pay attention to where you are and just use common sense. Everywhere you go these days things can happen, but you don’t want that to discourage the amazing memories you’ll make.
Do you have anything else to add to inspire women solo travelers?
Do it! You won’t regret it. We all need a little bit of time for ourselves.
About Courtney Giardina
Courtney Giardina is a contemporary romance writer who is inspired by everything around her. When she’s not working on her next novel she loves to listen to country music, workout and travel. There is still so much she has yet to see and her dream is to one day plan a cross country road trip and spend time exploring her heritage in Italy.
Women Who Travel Solo
Women Who Travel Solo is a weekly column that shares the stories of women’s solo travel adventures in hopes of spreading the message that traveling alone is not only safe, but wildly rewarding. Inspire other women to travel solo by sharing your story with Something In Her Ramblings. Email Lauren at firstname.lastname@example.org.