Whether you’re the first to jump on a cross-country flight or the last, quick to drive state to state or not, let’s all agree that there’s an overwhelming sense of freedom and joy that comes from leaving your backyard. Sure, a family vacation or girls trip is needed every once in a while, but would you ever dare to travel alone?
Transitioning from one life event to another, the end of a relationship or beginning of a new one, spending time alone in a new place - and the journey therein - is a great way to reimagine yourself. As she who has flown, driven and cruised solo many times, here are five (of many) things you’ll learn by traveling alone:
What You’re Afraid of
In preparing for a solo trip, a lot of red flags can come up within yourself: if you can be away from work, if you can spend time alone without being bored, if you even have what it takes to plan a whole trip. In planning for my first cross country road trip, I realized that most of my fears were actually my mother’s.
Safety is priority, of course, but there may come a point when one is so blinded by fear of what-if’s, they decide to never step but beyond their yard. When you’ve reached your destination, you’ll still have to wrestle through what-ifs. Fear is necessary; it can save your life — but don’t let it keep you from living.
How You Are in a Crisis
One of the most challenging things about traveling alone is holding your own when crises arrive. If you’re driving alone, you may have to deal with a popped tire, running out of gas in the middle of nowhere; if flying, keeping your papers and passport in order, making sure your bags transfer planes with you, being at Gate 4 of the North side of the airport rather than G4 on the South side.
How do you handle yourself when something goes wrong? Is the trip over? Do you panic? Do you make the best of the situation? Again, safety is of upmost importance so prepare well - BUT, things happen. Plan to have stories you can't plan for.
How to Keep Yourself Company
So you’re deep into the road trip, or nuzzled into the perfect airbnb, or on day four of the safari. What happens when you’re bored? Will you give yourself space to be bored?
One of the reasons I like traveling alone is that I’m forced to be with myself. I begin facing my own thoughts, fears, dreams, goals; it can be scary sometimes, being alone. In a world so obsessed with noise, though, it is becoming necessary to step away and reimagine yourself apart from the worlds to which you are obliged.
Who Your Truest Friends Are
I’ll never forget the moment when I was halfway into my cross-country road trip, blasting a mix of Cardi, Alessia Cara and Queen Bey when I all of a sudden became deeply saddened that I was alone; I began thinking of who I would want to share these moments with.
Don’t get me wrong, I can have an incredible time alone, but its often in those moments I wish - and remember - who matters to me the most. Who’s the first person you’d call after something hilarious happened? Who even knows you’re on a trip? Taking a trip alone will remind you of who you call yourself closest to; absence truly makes the heart grow fonder.
How Adventurous You Are
We tend to have a bit more courage being in a new place around new people; do you know how silly you can be? When’s the last time you befriended a stranger? There are numerous ways to meet new people or have different experiences. Write in a local coffee shop, go on a bike tour of the city, ride a camel or even go hang-gliding! When’s the last time you pushed yourself beyond your comfort zone simply for the sake of becoming the best version of yourself?
There are so many things you’ll learn by traveling alone, and I hope you’ll be so bold as to learn them. In living our most joy-filled, adventurous lives, I hope this becomes true of you:
“And in the deepest part of me, the rumor of adventure started a fire.”
travel well and often,