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A Travel Maverick

Don’t tell my favorite travel companion, but someday I want to be like Roy Sidlo. My favorite travel companion is my wife, Kim. Roy is a retired cinematographer from Chicago who travels on his own quite a bit. I met him on a Danube River cruise with Mayflower Tours in May.

We met early on when I noticed him coming back in from a walk late one afternoon. I struck up a conversation and figured out pretty quickly that Roy loves to head out on his own and learn a city from its streets and sidewalks.

Every afternoon after that, I’d find him on the top deck somewhere and ask him where he’d been. Sometimes he would do the morning guided tour with us; sometimes he’d head out on his own. For Roy, every day on this cruise was his to enjoy on his own terms. I’m sure his dinner companions figured that out as well. I can only imagine how they quizzed him each evening about where he’d been and how far he’d walked.

While most of us did an optional trip to Salzburg, Roy stayed behind and walked his way through Linz. While most of us spent an afternoon walking through Bratislava, Roy crossed a bridge and walked to a local carnival. When he told me that, I got up, turned in my room key, grabbed my boarding card and walked over there myself.

My best time with Roy was in Vienna. I spent all afternoon in the city on my own and caught a shuttle back to the ship with a few other members of our party. As we drove past an empty railroad station about a mile from the ship, I looked over and saw Roy sitting there by himself, letting the world go by.

I waved and he waved back. When I saw him back on board, I asked him if he knew it was me who waved at him. He said he figured it was but wasn’t sure.

Not that it mattered.

Mac Lacy

Mac Lacy is president and publisher of The Group Travel Leader Inc. Mac has been traveling and writing professionally ever since a two-month backpacking trip through Europe upon his graduation with a journalism degree from the University of Evansville in 1978.