Have you ever travelled by yourself? Not on business, but a deliberate trip for you and you alone. I took my first solo trip when I was 26-years-old. I’d been to Europe a few times, but had never made it to Paris or London. It was time. My next solo experience was to Cornwall, England to celebrate my 40th birthday. But since then, nothing….

Buffalo Mountain Lodge sunrise

The site of my recent solo trip: Buffalo Mountain Lodge

I find solo travel super relaxing and not at all stressful. It’s freeing. You can do what you want when you want. If things go belly up, there’s no one to point the finger at (and consequently, no one pointing a finger at you). I find January to be a depressing month, so when my schedule cleared and I was able to sneak away to Buffalo Mountain Lodge for a mid-week break, I took it ran away with it.

Taking Time for Yourself in Banff

Situated on Tunnel Mountain in Banff, this mountain lodge is surrounded by 9 acres of towering fir, pine, and spruce trees. You’re not downtown so it’s way more peaceful. It felt to me like I was all alone in the woods, yet you’re only a 15 minute walk or 3 minute drive into downtown Banff – not that I went.

The moment I stepped out of my car, I could feel my stress level plummet. I gave a silent thanks to the mom who took in Eve after school, while The Huz flew home from Seattle. I thanked him too, because any day you worm your way out of the school routine, is an awesome day for moms.

hotel christmas decorations

Luckily for me, the halls were still decked when I visited in mid-January.

I don’t know what it is about the scent of wood smoke, but when it’s in the air, I feel myself opening up. Releasing. My room was a delight. Totally bijoux. Rustic without the dust. There was a wood burning fireplace, vaulted ceiling with open beams and heated floors. The best part? I had it all to myself! (L’Occitane amenities came a close second.)

buffalo mountain lodge hotel room

My room. So sweet. So cozy.

 I quickly built a fire and poured myself a glass of prosecco. I jumped onto the bed piled high with pillows and a thick duvet. I turned on the TV. I turned it off. Now what, I wondered? I’m not used to chilling. Not mid week, not like this. Like a compulsive workaholic, I finished an article that was due in a few days time. Looking back, I regret not taking a bath in the super deep clawfoot tub. Hell, I regret bring my computer. The work always gets done, but I’ll never get that bath back. 

Dining at Buffalo Mountain Lodge

Eventually my tummy started rumbling, so I made my way into the hotel’s (newly renovated) Sleeping Buffalo restaurant. The last time I ate here was during my friend Lori’s wedding in 2001, so the new winter menu (it changes seasonally) wasn’t as big of a deal to me as it would be to frequent guests.

charcuterie platter

Time to pound some protein!

Still, I was able to appreciate the ambiance, which is pretty grand, yet not pretentious. I tucked into an amazing charcuterie board composed of wild boar pate, smoked duck breast, elk salami (good!) and some fantastic pickley things. The seared scallops were also a winner and something I’d come back for especially.

buffalo mountain lodge hot tub

A view of the outdoor hot tub in summer

It was my intention to hit the sauna or at least take a dip in the outdoor hot tub, but that didn’t happen. I was enjoying myself far too much in the Sleeping Buffalo lounge. Here’s a life lesson: never jump from wine to a Negroni. I really blew off steam. All of a sudden it was after 1 a.m. I fell into the deepest slumber in my cosy mountain room, but sadly, woke up far too early for someone with no responsibilities that day.

I can’t tell you how refreshed I felt driving back to Calgary. I was gone less than 24-hours, but it made a world of difference. I need to purposefully plan little retreats like this more often. After all, if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.

Have you ever taken a trip all by yourself? If not, where would you like to go?