10 Things Traveling Solo Taught Me About Myself
Traveling solo is one of the most fulfilling and empowering things. It’s the ultimate gift of self-discovery and self-love. I didn’t realize what I was missing until I had the motivation and courage to just go for it.
As a lady in tech at a major corporation, an entrepreneur, a life long student and mother of two, I strived on being busy because I love what I do and I love my little peeps, and busy was good because it meant “progress”.
My yoga instructor once said “Don’t confuse movement with progress. Be still.”
Being my passionate self who wants to do everything and please everyone (which I did for many years), it led to stress. I confused stress with accomplishment.
When they say stress leads to disease, it’s true. I was recently diagnosed with a chronic illness which I haven’t really opened up about to many people. I don’t want it to define me.
Illness is our body’s way of telling us what we need more of and what we need less of. It’s taught me to be present, to be mindful of what I spend my energy on and it’s taught me to spend more time on myself because everything that surrounds me, begins with me. In order for me to feel and be at my best, I need to focus on my health and the things that make me happy.
It drove me to take my very first solo trip in May of this year. The experience was so beautiful, so healing and so rewarding. Only 4 months later, life was urging me to go on another solo adventure. I just got back and I am now ready to share 10 things I’ve discovered so far while traveling solo.
- I can overcome fears. So far, I’ve conquered being alone: wandering alone, hiking alone, dining alone and sleeping alone. I also overcame being stuck in a cabin late at night with no one to save me from a really big spider.
- I’d rather spend money on experiences and not things. I was so content traveling light and it wasn’t the things I had with me that brought me joy. It was the experiences and exploring nature that made my solo trip magical and it was 100% free.
- I am more creative when I’m alone. Since I’m not distracted by my list of “to-do’s” or people, I find myself more inspired to create.
- I love wearing colors other than black. I wear black almost every day. I joke that it’s my uniform color. But when I packed for my solo trips, I decided to not wear any black except for one dress and a workout top. I also decided that every piece of clothing I wore made me feel comfortable and beautiful in it. It makes all the difference.
- I appreciate people even more and the smaller things in life. When traveling with others, you engage with them so much that you don’t notice certain things or even people. Being in solitary, I can admire the details of my adventures, see more of the beauty and it opens opportunities to meet new people and have deeper conversations with them that I otherwise wouldn’t have. And since I’m away from my loved ones, I learn to appreciate them more too.
- I believe every person I met on my trip was meant to teach me a lesson. I heard the right things that came at such perfect timing in my life. I even had profound “aha” moments from some of the people I met. It brought to light the things I needed to hear while on this journey of striving for optimum health and happiness. These are words that I will carry with me forever.
- I enjoy (like, REALLY enjoy) “me time”. As much as I love my family and the people I work with, I am around them ALL. THE. TIME. I work in an open space and I’m constantly in meetings. Then, I get home and everyone wants my attention ALL. AT. THE. SAME. TIME. I don’t understand how they can all have their own different conversations with me and speak at the same time but not hear each other. Like, what happened to taking turns? My brain can get pretty over-stimulated by all the “noise” each day. Solo trips are perfect for the all-encompassing quiet “me time” experience and it’s taught me to create more space for “me time” in my daily life.
- Embrace not having an itinerary. Travel in wanderlust. With a few exceptions of attending yoga classes, massage and healing ceremony appointments, I just went wherever my travels took me. With no outside influences and no constraints, I got a little indecisive about where to eat, where to go and what to do. I’m the people pleaser, remember? And I’m generally happy with whatever. But with so much freedom and no itinerary, it’s stress-free and liberating to just go where life takes me and do what I want when I want. I realized that I LOVE PLEASING MYSELF!
- I am beginning to appreciate the rural way of life. I was born and raised in Seattle. I never imagined I’d say this but I actually don’t like the busy city life as much as I love the quiet and slow island life. I can slow down, take a step back, enjoy the view and take deeper, more mindful breaths.
- I’m a gypsy at heart. My sister and hubby (the two people who know me the most) have always called me a “gypsy” from my curious, creative, adventurous, optimistic and free-spirited nature. I would just laugh at those two crazies. But I have to admit, these first two solo trips have really validated that I indeed have a gypsy soul.
Gypsy soul: “A person in need of change or an adventure. A gypsy soul seeks for the next best thing in any situation. They can be very passionate and inspired by different ideas, attitudes and experiences. They make deep connections with people and care more about people’s intentions rather than appearance. Wanderlust is in their blood.”
My first few solo trips were filled with discovery, relaxation, art, “aha” moments and personal growth. It’s a ritual that I need to do more of to be my very best self.