The Wonder of Wandering the World — Confessions From a Solo Traveler
Do you ever get scared traveling by yourself? Don’t you get lonely? Are you ever bored? How do you meet people? These are questions I’m commonly asked as I sling my backpack over my shoulder and double-check my boarding pass. Whether I am crossing international borders or venturing over state lines in my Dodge Ram Promaster, one thing remains the same. The journey will never cease to amaze me. It has taught me more than any book or university course ever could, and it is even better than my imagination could have dreamed.
“If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine, it’s lethal.” — Paulo Coelho
The truth is yes, I am afraid of every new adventure I embark on, and I would be foolish not to be. I am aware of the risks every solo female traveler is faced with leaving the comforts of home and venturing out alone. However, my hopes are bigger than my fears. I have faith in people, the world, and in life. If I am kind and gracious I find that 99.9% of the time people will reflect this energy to me. Traveling helps build trust in yourself. I have learned how to rely on my intuition, common sense, and how to handle adversity. It helps me remember my ten years in the military, combative training and learning how to throw a proper punch at a Gracie Barra Jiu-Jitsu gym. Traveling helps me remember who I am and what I am capable of.
“Don’t be scared to walk alone. Don’t be scared to like it.” — John Mayer
The most ironic part about traveling solo is you are NEVER really alone. I have been one of the luckiest travelers in the world to have met amazing friends on the road. It’s as if the universe knows I could use an ally or sidekick for my journey. I usually have to actively try to spend time alone when I am road tripping or solo backpacking. My memories by myself are so precious to me, but there is something of deep value in a shared experience with people you care about who you highly resonate with. Traveling in duos, trios, and squads of international lifelong friends all present the opportunity for great adventures and unforgettable memories. So no, lonely is never in my vocabulary. This is mainly thanks to the amazing humans I meet along my path and the relationship I have cultivated with myself over the years which has proven time and time again I am never really alone, ever.
“Life is never boring, but some people choose to be bored.” — Wayne Dyer
I have to consciously choose to experience boredom when I travel. And that is the beauty of exploring, you are in the driver’s seat and get to decide exactly what your itinerary will look like. Stepping foot in unknown places can activate new interests, ideas, and passions that you may never have discovered while nesting in your comfort zone. If anything, being on the road or backpacking through foreign lands can be a sensory overload. Your brain is constantly forming new neural pathways from your novel experiences. Along with improving brain health, traveling can help you notice patterns you may have otherwise missed and help expand your mind and awareness of everything the world has to offer.
“A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.” — Tim Cahill
Imagine you are on a personal train navigating through the path of your life. Some friends will get on only for one stop and others may stay with you for your entire journey. The secret is to appreciate the memories you share with people, no matter the length of time. Especially in western culture, we tend to measure the success of our relationships in terms of time. This is not the case when you are wandering around the world. You will make best friends for 24 hours or travel with people for weeks or months at a time. I have made friends for life during plane rides, tours, hostel stays, or swimming with manta rays in Hawaii. Your vibe will quite literally attract your soul tribe if you remain open to life’s beautiful experiences and chances for true connection.