This photo of Nashville is courtesy of TripAdvisor
I’m so excited! I just found out that I’ll be going to Brentwood, TN (just outside Nashville) early next year – and best of all, I won’t have to pay for my flight or hotel!
Long story short, I’m an alumnae adviser for a local chapter of my college sorority. When I was in college, I never got to go to this annual event, which is aimed at collegiate officers and alumnae advisers. Now, because of the office that I advise, I get to go to the event in February – for free!
Well technically, it’s not free. The members of the collegiate chapter pay for one adviser to attend this event every year. We did the same – when I was in school, part of our dues went toward sending an adviser every year. This year I’m the lucky person!
I am SO excited! Not only do I get to go to a new city without much out of pocket cost, but I also get to spend the weekend in the company of other members of my sorority! There is just something so warm and familiar about people from all over the country (and Canada too) who have never met before, but still share the same rituals and ideals, so that when we all get together it feels like we’ve known each other for years.
I did get to go to a similar sorority event while I was a collegiate – it was the first time I had ever traveled by myself (New York to Phoenix). So you can say that my sorority started me on the path toward individual travel! Since then, I’ve flown many times by myself – Ithaca to Philadelphia to Cancun RT/ Phoenix to NYC RT/ Phoenix to NYC and Harrisburg to Phoenix / Baltimore to New Orleans RT / Baltimore to Boston RT / Harrisburg to Chicago RT / and soon Baltimore to St. Kitts/PR… I’ve developed some pretty awesome travel traditions since then too:
- annual spa massage – Massages can be pricey, at $60/hr or more, so I don’t get them very often. When I was in Phoenix, I had to check out of the hotel at 10am, but my flight didn’t leave until 4pm. If you booked a massage at the hotel’s spa, you could leave your luggage with the desk and use the facilities for the entire day. My first spa massage made me fall in love with the lack of distractions, the sense of serenity, and the soothing scents. Since then, I book one spa massage per year, and I look forward to it for months! Can’t wait for the annual one in St. Kitts!
- airport margaritas – Some people drink because they are nervous. I was nervous the first time I flew alone, but since then, the airport margarita has been more of an on/off switch. Once I rush and hurry to get through security and find my gate, I normally have an hour to spare. So I find the nearest Chili’s To Go or airport pub and I grab a margarita (or beer if I can’t find margaritas). When I taste that sour limey deliciousness, my brain knows that it is time to relax, slow down, and enjoy the ride!
- carry-on only – I have only checked a bag twice when flying by myself – The first was actually my first solo trip, when my bag came back from the baggage handlers with a giant tear down the side, and another was shortly after we got married and I had a bunch of gifts my mom had been holding for us, and I needed to get them back to where we lived. But other than those two trips, I’ve never checked a bag. It is too much hassle to have to wait for luggage at the baggage carousel, and I’m worried about damaged luggage like that first trip.
- aisle seating – I have learned from experience that I have the smallest bladder imaginable. I can’t seem to get through a 3 hour flight without getting up to use the restroom (maybe it is all those margaritas!). Either way, I always book myself an aisle seat if possible. I get a little more room, and I don’t feel bad about bumping my neighbors when I get up.
I’m so excited for this trip! I know I’ll have a schedule of events I need to attend, but they tend to build a few hours for sightseeing into the weekend’s schedule. I’m looking forward to hearing some awesome country music!