TRAVELING ALONE: 25 Very Very Short Stories

We challenged writers to tell us their best solo travel tales in 25 words or less. But don’t let the small size fool you — at the heart of each of these very very short essays is an unforgettable adventure. Sometimes it’s crazy, funny, scary, surprising, meaningful, or disastrous, but never more than 25 words. Dive in and enjoy. 

Solo Travel: A Collection of Very Very Short Stories from

1. Thirty-six hours on Amtrak to see a production of my play. Migraine headache. No relief. Pressed an expensive bottle of wine to temples and neck. Click clack. Click clack. Relief at last. 

by Judith Fein

2. A hotel room of my own. What luxury! My music, my TV program. Read ‘till late. No toothpaste on the sink. I miss him.  

by Shirley B. Moskow

3. Heightened senses and awareness – feelings I can’t seem to hold on to – send me on the road time and again into parts unknown like the Falklands.  

by Rachel Dickinson

4. Trusting strangers. Shedding the familiar like winter layers on warm Spring days.  Learning the sound of the universe whispering, "it’s OK,I have your back." 

by Ariel Bleth

5. Widowed early, dug for "Inner Resources." Fortunately they were there.  Traveled the world as a journalist, published 20 novels. Next: A musical. Thank you, God. 

by Gwen Davis

6. Midnight landing, Italy, no rooms left. Taxi takes me to no-name town. On a bench a man speaks rapid Italian. I understand: "dinner, beautiful, time". Should I go?  

by Cheryl Alexander

7. A contemplative poet, I always prefer to travel alone, to experience the world without distractions, as I did near Race Rock Lighthouse, off Fisher’s Island.  

by Barbara Benjamin

8. Chinese food, U.S. prairie style: sliced white bread, a cruet of vinegar & Karo syrup. "Mix your own sweet-and-sour," the waiter smiled. 

by Paul Ross

9. "Tom's in an ashram in India," said Mary after the meeting. "We are worried about him." "Why?" I asked. "He's turned his back on Underearners Anonymous."

by Marlan Warren

10. Flying solo. En route to Sicily. Elderly couple beside me horrified I am alone. Two days later I leave their home with hugs and kisses.

by Ellen Barone

11. Apparently, “local flavor” in New Orleans means me alone in a diner with bottomless Cajun Bloody Marys and a very long straw. Business trip, indeed!  

by Sue Hansen

12. He follows me from the restaurant in the pouring rain near midnight.  I don’t know if my tent is safe. Dodging strangers in the night.   

by Stephanie Stika

13. It's 1 a.m. and the taxi driver says he's lost in Istanbul. An hour passes in circles. Fear rises like reflux in my throat.

by Elyn Aviva

14. He asked me for his passport from the drawer, and I found love letters to someone else instead. Lucky for him his flight was refundable.

by Kristin Mock

15. Traveling solo means never being alone. Empty seats fill quickly. But still... holding hands is nice.

by Andy Gross

16. Ida Pfeiffer, first published female circumnavigator and intrepid solo traveler (1840s) said, "I was never insulted by deed, word, or even look."   

by Vera Marie Badertscher

17. Worried about finding a taxi to a small Swedish town, when two men offered me a ride. I took a chance. Good company. Lovely time.

by Nancy King

18. Exotic voices float around me. Laughter punctuates their shared experiences. I travel inwards through the United Arab Emirates. Heightened awareness my unwavering companion. 

by Jolandi Stevens

19. Searching for heritage and grandfather's birth certificate. Dublin. Esteemed writers, lumpy beds, Nescafé, Jameson’s, Trinity, the Book of Kells ... Great-grandpa signed with an X.   

by Kate Buckley

20. Seventeen and ready for the world, I visit my mother's sister in Chicago, the wise and successful one. Her first words to me: You look just like your mother. Oh boy.

by Cinelle Ariola Barnes

21. Deep breath/no helmet/join the chaos/HOONNKKK!/I'm gonna die/eyes close/eyes open/still here/go with the flow/never slow/life in the know.

by Barbara Aman

22. At that time, arriving in Madrid alone at 2 am with no accommodation plans seemed like a perfectly sane idea.  Twenty year olds are invincible.

by Gina Sampaio

23. America Central dissolving into chaos: Drug War, violence, guns, ubiquitous plastic, mammoth potholes, death squads, bitter hatred, avarice, guns, overpopulation, desperation … --- … --- … --- and AHHH, love!  

by Shannyn Sollitt

24. New-fallen powder forms wings behind my skis as I draw a single undulating line down Matterhorn’s sun-drenched flank. 

by Barbara Radcliffe Rogers

25. Travel alone because the pain of a secular nomad can only be assuaged by the experience of the new and impossible encumbered by the known.

by Michael Housewright

Thoughts? Comments? Your Stories? We invite you to use the comment section below, our Facebook page, or to tag us on twitter to continue the conversation. We'd love to hear from you.  

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[photo credit: Ellen Barone] 

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