Whether it’s a day trip to the beach, a road trip across the state, or a vacation to a foreign country, there’s a special kind of magic that occurs when you travel alone. The benefits of traveling alone strengthen our self love so much that I encourage you to include it in your personal self care goals as much as you can. It can be incredibly scary, but when you are able to conquer the fear and fully immerse yourself in the benefits, you will wonder how you ever lived your life without it before.
I’ve been traveling alone since I started to go camping by myself in 2016 and I haven’t stopped since. But let me tell you, I was absolutely terrified and things went wrong. In fact I don’t think I’ve had a single solo-travel experience where things went perfectly. During my first solo camping trip my stand up paddleboard flew off the top of my car onto the highway, the campsite I went to was full, hornets attacked me every time I tried to make food, and my car broke down on the way home. My second solo trip was a long road trip from Oregon to California National Parks: Point Reyes, Yosemite, and Sequoia. This trip was comically messed up from the start: my Amazon package with important camping supplies didn’t arrive on time, the ten hour drive to my first location turned out to be a fifteen hour drive because of construction, I didn’t have any firewood, I had set up my tent in the pitch dark (my Amazon package had my lantern in it), and I had completely forgotten that at high elevations the air is colder, so my dog and I were freezing the entire time.
However, I wouldn’t change any of these experiences. These challenges I faced taught me lessons I could never learn anywhere else. And above all, as I faced and conquered these challenges, I grew stronger in my confidence and my decision making. And this gave me the tools I needed to conquer other challenges in my life, work and my personal relationships.
Traveling alone can be full of scary things, but it’s by facing these challenges and growing through them that you can become the self loving, self confident badass you are.
Try these four challenges when you’re traveling solo so that you can gain confidence and self-assurance:
Catch those Curveballs. Things will go wrong! And sometimes all you can do is laugh through them. But whatever you do, don’t let those curveballs ruin your trip or day. Nothing is as bad as it seems in the moment. I challenge you to laugh through the things that come up and try to keep calm. There’s a solution or a plan B somewhere. You just have to be in the right mindset to find it.
Do Something Embarrassing.This can be hard for a lot of people. But having the ability to laugh at yourself and do something completely embarrassing will change your life. No really. So go somewhere new, and do something new. Like a yoga dance class (yeah, you read that right) and do it with a smile on your face and know that you’re probably never going to see these people ever again, so put your heart into and laugh at yourself when you mess up. Trust me, you’ll be a role model to those around you.
Let Google Maps Guide You, not Direct You. Your GPS gets you where you want to be in the most efficient way. But that doesn’t always mean the best way. And sometimes we have our heads so close to our maps that we miss the beauty and the world around us. I challenge you to find the general direction where you’re going and head that way, but take a ‘wrong’ turn here and there, follow the sounds of music playing up the street, or go into a shop that looks interesting. You’ll make it to your final destination eventually, but the journey there will be much more interesting.
Make an uncommon friend. Sit down at a bar, or go to a local event (farmer’s market, theater production, etc) and strike up a conversation with someone. Try to make it someone who you wouldn’t usually surround yourself with. Talk to someone who isn’t in your age group, someone who is the opposite attitude than you (if you’re quieter, talk to the talker; if you’re the talker, talk to the shy person). By doing this you will not only break out of your comfort zone, but you’ll place yourself in a position to challenge the social norms you’ve grown accustomed to - and this can really only be done by interacting with new and different people. And it will always be a beautiful thing.
Traveling alone and facing new challenges is one of my favorite acts of self love. By conquering challenges and facing the unknown you’ll grow in ways you never could have imagined. And the world needs more exploring, growing, badasses like you.