Years and years ago, whenever I saw someone sitting alone at a restaurant or walking around a resort by themselves, I couldn’t help but feel a little sorry for them. Why were they all alone? Were they ok? Were they lonely? I honestly didn’t get it. I couldn’t grasp the concept of why anyone would want to eat by themselves in public or travel to another
country or state alone. And then, my dad died. Everything changed. I changed. My
perspective on life was not the same. Years went by and I still needed to heal. I needed to get away. I needed to explore other parts of the world and rediscover myself. I needed to do all of these things on my own. So I did. I traveled solo to Galway and Dublin in Ireland back in November of 2015. I went for my father to bring his dream to life and it awakened
something inside of me. I felt free for the first time. And then in July of 2016, I traveled solo to both London and Paris, and once again it opened up my eyes and changed my world. Now here we are on week 3 of 2017 and I can’t help but think about my next solo adventure for this year.
Until you decide to pack your bags and head out into the unknown on your own, you can
never fully understand what it means to travel solo. It’s one of those things that I think if you can make it happen at least once in your lifetime, then you should go for it. It teaches you so much about yourself and truly changes something deep within you. It gives you a whole new outlook and awakens your heart. Of course traveling isn’t always rainbows and butterflies and the truth is that it can be challenging at times. It can seem scary and
intimidating. Overall though, it is an experience that you will never forget. There is
honestly SO much that I have learned through out these travels, but I decided to narrow it down to my top 10.
Traveling solo has taught me…
1. Patience. Things will go wrong and that’s OK. As incredible as all of these solo
travels have been, nothing about them was perfect. I got lost several times, got stuck in the pouring rain with a huge suitcase and no umbrella trying to find my hotel, sat on a tour bus in 95 degree weather drenched in sweat [sorry, TMI], didn’t get to make it to all of my
destinations on time, fell outside of the London Eye and bled through my white jeans, got on the wrong train, couldn’t get a cab back to my hotel late at night. I mean the list goes on, trust me. It taught me patience though and more acceptance for when things don’t always go as planned. I learned that if I could deal with all of these things by myself in a different country, then I sure as hell could learn to deal with them back home.
2. How to put myself first. The beauty of traveling alone is that you get to be a little
selfish. This trip is about you and for you, no one else. It’s on your time and your terms. Don’t get me wrong, traveling with friends and family is amazing in so many ways, but when you venture out alone it gives you a different kind of experience. Sometimes we get so caught up in putting everyone’s needs before our own that we forget about the things that we want. It made me realize that I need to put myself first a little more and that when I do, it’s ok. Being selfish doesn’t always have to be a negative thing. There should be a healthy balance though, of course. Don’t forget to “treat yoself.”
3. To trust myself more. I really learned to listen more to my inner voice. They say to
always trust your intuition and let it guide you. I completely agree. I feel like I learned to do more of this when being on my own. I mean I had to. When you’re by yourself in different countries and cities, you need to trust your gut. If something feels right, then go with it. If it feels wrong, then don’t ignore that. When you trust yourself more, it’s easier to trust others. I can confidently say that my inner voice guided me in the right direction. The more I traveled alone, the stronger that connection became and I was able to take that and use it when I came home.
4. How to step outside of my comfort zone. This was such a big lesson. I’m so happy I learned it too because living outside of your comfort bubble is the best way to live.
Comfortability can be so crippling. I did so much on my own that I never dreamed I would do. I navigated my way in foreign countries and made friends with complete strangers. I tried new foods and experienced new cultures. I was able to check off so many incredible sights off my bucket list like the Cliffs Of Moher and the Eiffel Tower. Each trip was a risk in itself, but one that I am so happy that I took.
5. How to simply BE. I’ve always enjoyed the fast paced lifestyle, jumping from one thing to the next. I have constantly felt like I need to be doing something every minute of the day. I never knew what it meant to just stand still. I learned how to do this every time I traveled solo. I found joy in the simplicity of just sitting down and soaking up a new environment or walking around aimlessly with no set destination. It was amazing to leave the hotel with no makeup on and just be me, in my natural state. I learned to enjoy my own company without having to do much.
6. How to depend on myself. I am more capable than I ever imagined. More often than not we tell ourselves that we are not capable of doing certain things. We automatically allow fear to stand in the way or we rely on others to make things happen for ourselves. I realized how capable I am and that I truly can do anything I want. Sorry if this sounds cliché or cheesy, but it’s true. I don’t have to wait around for someone to make it happen when I can make it happen on my own. It helped me to alter my way of thinking and to believe in myself so much more. So now when I want to go somewhere and no one else can come, I will book a ticket, pack my bags and go anyway.
7. To love myself more. A huge moment for me was at Pont Neuf in Paris when I created a love lock. I wanted it to represent the relationship that I have been working on with myself. Self love is the best love and it’s the most important. It’s something that I struggled with for a long time and I realized that no man could ever love me if I didn’t already love myself. Through all the grieving and all of the struggles in my life, I sometimes lost sight of that love. Traveling alone to Paris helped me to strengthen that relationship. I am eternally grateful for that.
8. Everyone you meet teaches you something new. I will never forget anyone that I met during my solo travels, whether it was a cab driver, a server at a restaurant or a fellow solo traveler. I loved listening to all of their stories and every single person taught me something new. I believe that everyone you encounter in your life, even if for a brief moment, was put there for a purpose. Some of these people are angels in disguise, meant to help or guide us in some way. Often times when we are home going about our day-to-day lives, we ignore this. We forget about it. When you are traveling though, you learn to value someone else’s story. You literally crave it. At least I did. Always thankful for the new friendships I made along the way.
9. What I want out of life. When you’re completely on your own in a new place, you have the ability to be alone with your thoughts. Going to solo dinners and sitting in a café with a cup of coffee in a new city was definitely needed. It gave me the opportunity to think so much without distractions. I was able to figure out what I really want out of life and the
direction that I want to go in. I remember sitting outside by the Eiffel Tower for the first time. I think I sat there for two hours literally soaking up every moment and allowing myself to get immersed in my thoughts. It was incredibly inspiring and very eye opening. I was able to explore what lies within me.
10. The meaning of freedom. I will never forget the way that I felt when I visited the Cliffs of Moher. For the first time in my life, I experienced a moment filled with so much
healing and so much freedom. I was freed from all of the emotions that were caging me in for so many years. A huge weight had been lifted from my heart. I truly don’t think I would have experienced that in the same way if I had gone with friends or family. It was a moment that I needed for myself, by myself. When I traveled alone to London and Paris, I felt that freedom once again. I think all along there was this longing deep inside of me to venture out into the unknown and when I finally did it by myself, I learned what freedom really meant. I am craving that once again.
If you have traveled solo, I would love to hear about some of the things that it taught you. If you have never traveled alone, I hope one day you can experience this for yourself. You won’t regret it! Hope that you enjoyed this post. ❤️