In my previous article, “Rolling Solo: 5 things I learned after my first solo trip”, I talked about the most important lessons I learned after my first solo trip to Grenada. It was such a freeing, eye-opening and transformative trip for me, and I just knew I had to take the opportunity to experience that feeling again. I decided I had to take another solo trip to the next destination on my bucket list: St Lucia.
En route to St. Lucia, I remember feeling very unemotional about the trip itself. I’m still not sure why.
My plan was to stay at an Airbnb in Soufriere. A town on the west coast of St. Lucia that is known for The Pitons and the Sulphur Springs, hot springs popular for their mud baths that are said to make you look years younger. This was supposed to be an R&R trip…boy was I MISTAKEN.
I arrived in St. Lucia at Hewanorra International Airport (UVF). I honestly didn’t know what part of the island I was in. I just knew I was somewhere close enough? *shrugs*
Part I: Hold on, the taxi is how much?!
Once I got through customs and immigration, I had no idea how I was getting to the Airbnb. A man asked if I needed a taxi, and I said yes. I asked the price of the
I stopped breathing for a second. I found out the ride was about an hour and a half from the airport, so I understood. But sheesh!
Once I arrived at the Airbnb, the taxi driver told me about a friend of his who rented cars for great prices. I decided to go for it because I could not deal with those taxi prices at all! However, this would be my first time driving on the opposite side of the road from what I’m used to. How hard could it be?
Even though the Airbnb was more of a guest house situation, I had the entire place to myself, which was lovely. However, it got super lonely and quiet. I wanted to stay at the guest house to possibly meet fellow travelers more easily, but that didn’t happen.
Part II: When “swerving lanes” goes wrong…
I decided to go to the Sulphur Springs and Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens, while in Soufriere. I quickly came to realize that there is only so much to do in the peaceful town. It was so quiet, and quite frankly I was getting bored and lonely. I knew that Rodney Bay/Gros Islet area would be more my speed because the nightlife and accessibility to more people were better there. I decided I would take the 2-hour journey to Gros Islet the next day and stay the night.
On the way there, I was in pure bliss. I was driving through a lush Caribbean island all by myself! The scenery was beautiful, the windows were down, and I had on my favorite road trip playlist to keep me company. It was great.
I was about 45 minutes out from Gros Islet, and I was starting to feel very comfortable driving on the opposite side. I sped a little bit coming down the hilly road and all of a sudden I hear (and feel) a loud thud on my side of the vehicle. I quickly pulled over and get out to inspect the side of the rental car – but everything looked fine. “What was that??”, I said to myself. I get back in and proceed to continue driving. As I was going up a hill, I noticed that my side of the car was leaning and there was a weird sound. I got out of the car to check the tire and discovered a huge gash. You guys…….I destroyed the tire and completely scratched up the hubcap on this new. rental. vehicle.
I was SICK.
By chance, a man in the neighborhood heard and saw everything. He asked me to reverse back down the hill so he could help me. I’m not going to lie, I was hesitant. But what else was I going to do? Change the tire myself?
What are the chances that the guy offering to help me fixes cars and his shop was right at the bottom of the hill? He took care of me by swapping the destroyed tire for the spare one that was in the trunk, and I was on my way. I would just have to deal with the repercussions of this destroyed tire later and hit the road to continue my journey.
Part III: Stuck in St. Lucia
Gros Islet was exactly what I needed. I went to a boat-ride party and finally got to meet people in the area. I drove back to Soufriere (without incident) and was settled back into my original Airbnb. I was leaving the next day so it was about time to check into my flight to Grenada. I work as a crew member for an airline, so I was traveling as a staff traveler, also known as a “non-rev”. As I attempted to check in online I was constantly denied. I called the airline and they could not figure out why. “Why me?”
Come to find, this particular airline had a special way of checking in that I was completely unaware of. And my reservation was gone. You mean to tell me….I’m stuck here?!?
Once again….I was SICK.
I had no other option but to buy a new ticket to Grenada. More money….down the drain.
Part IV: Stuck in St. Lucia…AGAIN
The day for me to leave St. Lucia had come, and honestly, I was ready to leave because I was tired of being stressed and alone. I gathered my things and I was OUT. I made the hour and a half drive to the airport and upon arrival I realized: I couldn’t find my passport.
At that point, the tears started flowing. I was TIRED. I figured I must’ve left it in the Airbnb. I knew I would not be able to drive down and back and still make my flight. Welp…I was staying in St. Lucia another night.
I called the car rental guy and told him I needed to rent the car for another day. He gave me a different rental car; a much older one that smelled a little. But hey, at least he was able to rent it to me. I drove all the way back in tears.
I rented the Airbnb for another day and when I went back inside, I began scouring my room to find my passport. It was nowhere to be found. All of a sudden, I got a phone call from the car rental guy — it clicked instantly: I left my passport in the first rental car. I answered the phone and he confirmed my suspicion.
Yup, that’s right. I wasted an extra day in St. Lucia that I could’ve spent in Grenada. I wasted money on an extra night in the Airbnb. I wasted money on renting a car for another day. At that point, I was so defeated that I just had to accept my fate.
Part V: Light at the end of the tunnel
After everything that happened, I realized I hadn’t eaten the entire day. I needed to find food, but for some reason, everything nearby was closed. I found a nearby hotel with a restaurant and I decided to treat myself after everything I had gone through. The hotel restaurant had the most amazing view of The Pitons and I think that was God just reminding me that everything would be okay.
Although this trip had its hardships, it really made me fall even more in love with myself for my independence. I also realized that there is a divine protection over me because so many things could have gone even worse on this trip. So in the end, I was thankful.
Strength of a Solo Traveler
As you can see, solo trips are not always glamorous by any means. One of the biggest struggles with solo travel is when an issue arises, you have to take on all the stress on your own. To the point that you just wish someone was there for emotional support. But in the end, you can come out even stronger than you enter the situation.