An earlier post from today detailed my love of travel.
When I was single, one of my favorite things to do was to check out the airfare deals in the New York Times, especially during an arduous day in the office. I'd sit back and dream of being anywhere but there, listening to my shrill sales manager screaming, "It's Tuesday! The week is almost over. What do you have to show for yourself?"
Most of the time, I had the good fortune to scare up another thrill-seeking traveler, usually my roommate or a colleague. My friend Cathy and I once arrived in Dublin without even a hotel reservation. Our M.O. was to book bus tours to various cities (Galway, Kilkenny, and Cork) and find a family-owned Bed & Breakfast once we got there. We never had any trouble finding a decent place; breakfast the next morning invariably turned up hot, hearty, and delicious.
The great thing about staying in B&Bs instead of a hotel was being able to meet real Irish people, rather than uniformed clerks behind counters in huge lobbies. I once stayed in a B&B in Stratford-upon-Avon in England and had a pleasant experience there, as well.
One particularly sad and lonely summer, I was desperate for a change of scenery but couldn't find a travel companion. Undeterred, I flew to San Francisco by myself and stayed in The Red Victorian Inn on Haight Street. It wasn't quite a B&B, but breakfast was served in a common room, which forced me to talk to people I would never have met had I stayed in, say, The Saint Francis.
The result: I saw an independent film with a dancewear designer from South Africa. I walked around the city with an English woman who'd sold her business to travel around the world. I also had dinner and drinks with a man who owned a publishing company. Very exciting!
I came home a new woman, let me tell you.
I recommend the B&B experience wholeheartedly, especially when you want to expand your horizons and meet people.