Travel, United States

My First Solo Trip after Baby Gourmand’s Arrival + 2016 Travel Plans

I was coming up with every excuse that I could to cancel my first solo trip after Baby Gourmand was born.

“It’s not worth the investment.”

“You (my wife) just went back to work, it’s too difficult.”

“What if he forgets about me?”


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What can I say, I’m attached to the little guy. Those baby snuggles, and now that he’s a little older, baby giggles, are just too hard to resist. I don’t want to miss a moment!

Alas, I didn’t have a choice. I’m a freelance travel writer, after all, and had several articles pitched based on my trip to Jacksonville. As I enter make-or-break mode with my writing career, missing the trip wasn’t an option, because, as you already know, I don’t do well with authority.


First solo trip after the baby was born


Still, I continued to delay the inevitable.

I procrastinated packing until the last possible minute, throwing my clothes into the suitcase an hour after I planned to leave. This wasn’t completely my fault though. Baby Gourmand was up most of the night before causing us to hit delay on the alarm clock several times.

“I need a little more sleep if I’m going to drive 5 hours today,” I said to Mrs. G. as I justified sleeping in. Subconsciously, I realize that I was purposely delaying departure, spending more time playing with Baby Gourmand that morning than actually packing.


First solo trip after the baby was born


Alas, I had to hit the road.

That first half hour, I ran through everything I could have possible forgotten. This list seemed longer than normal – my external battery, flip-flops, beard wash. I tried to justify turning around, but realized none of those items were essential to my trip.

My new phone has a crazy long battery life and would survive that entire day without charge, the weather in Jacksonville wasn’t supposed to crack 60 degrees so I wouldn’t need my flip-flops for the beach, and I could use shampoo instead of beard wash for a couple of days.

Instead, I turned on an audio book and allowed myself to get lost in Tim Ferris’s 4 Hour Work Week. The book was perfect for the trip. The first section on lifestyle design made me spend some serious windshield time pondering what I wanted life to look like now that I have a son.

More importantly, how did I want to tie him and Mrs. G. into my travels.



First solo trip after the baby was born


I was becoming excited for my trip!

I needed the time away to further ponder my career path – to think about how I would start to transfer income from freelance writing to blog-generated streams. To figure out how I could start leveraging these press trips into more than just free accommodations, food, and drink.

Jacksonville would be my start.


First solo trip after the baby was born


The trip wasn’t without its low moments or doubts though.

There were several times when I felt guilty for sleeping uninterrupted through the night (sorry, Mrs. G), when I saw a family and wished Baby Gourmand was with me, when I was sampling my umpteenth craft beer and wondering if craft beer travel was the right travel for me.

This is where technology helped. Our nanny and Mrs. G. sent plenty of photos of my smiling son to help get me through difficult patches.

In the end, I had a great time in Jacksonville. I sampled some awesome brews and learned enough about the local craft beer movement to generate even more article proposals and pitches. I also enjoyed the long walks on the beach as I wrapped up 2016 goal and travel planning.

Even better, I came home to a reward of sorts from Baby Gourmand. As I picked him up, he held his head without support from me for the first time. He’s been rocking the self-support ever since.


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Jacksonville is the first of many trips planned for 2016.

I plan to work in a trip a month in 2016. Most if it is local to the Southeastern United States where I live. Shorter road trips make it easier to come home in an emergency.

Here’s what’s confirmed for 2016:

  • January – The #JaxAleTrail in Jacksonville, Florida
  • February – Craft beer with a space odyssey twist in Huntsville, Alabama
  • March – History and craft beer (Stone!) in Richmond Virginia
  • April – Southern hospitality and Georgia cuisine in St Simon’s Island, Georgia
  • May – Easter in The Villages, Florida
  • June – TBEX in Minneapolis and a possible add on family vacation in Minnesota after
  • July – Beer Bloggers and Writers Conference in Tampa, Florida

Still in the works is a potential cruise, a few nights in Greenville, a luxury villa in Mallorca, whiskey and beer exploration in Ireland, and our first family vacation.


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What are your 2016 travel plans?