“My first trip completely changed the way that I saw the world. My first solo trip completely changed the way that I saw myself.”
We’ve all seen travel blogs that talk about how solo travel is life-changing or how it can make you more independent yada yada. Most of what has been said is true, and a lot of it I can definitely relate to. However, a lot of them fail to make the connection between solo traveling and internal healing. A solo trip has the potential to change the direction of your entire life. Physically, mentally and emotionally. That’s a pretty bold statement to make right? I agree but, I’m living proof of it.
Last fall, I experienced what I think was lowest point in my life. For a long period of time I didn’t have an answer for anything. Seriously. Someone could’ve asked me what I was doing for the weekend and I would have scatter brain! I was experiencing post-graduate depression. I was very distant from family, and to top it my relationship was coming to an end. Huge face palm. I was losing at life. Prior to all of this, I decided a trip was in order because I wanted to do something “nice for my birthday.” In August, I just so happened to find an amazing deal on a flight to Amsterdam, I booked it…then I forgot about it.
Fast forward to November, I was still in the early stages of sorting through my problems with little success & now I have a trip to Europe that I haven’t really planned out (a champagne problem) but at the time, it was a lot to deal with. At the very last minute, I managed to book my stay at a hostel, a few activities and I was on my way.
My trip lasted just 6 days, but somehow in that short amount of time I managed to return home a brand new person.
During my solo trip I was forced to spend time with me and there was no way out. There was no routine to distract me. There was no work to distract me. There was no friends to spend time with. There was hardly any cell service. Solo travel put me in a position to look inwards for companionship.
Through dealing with the typical challenges of solo traveling, meeting new people, and having new experiences I was introduced to a whole new me. I had never met this girl before. She laughed easy, she smiled easy and she was outgoing. She reminded me of my passion for travel, and for people. She picked me up again.
For the first time in a long time, I felt encouraged to take note of all the things that I do know for sure. I also began to note the things that I really loved about myself. The change of pace allowed me to step out of my day to day circumstances. It showed me that I am always presented with a choice to wake up and choose myself, to choose happiness and to choose healing. I realized how often I was choosing others, choosing to be miserable and choosing not to heal.
After just one solo trip I can proudly say: “Not only am I my best friend. I am my favorite friend. I will choose me every time.”
Now I look forward to traveling solo, because I look forward to leaning on that same companionship. I look forward to unraveling a new layer of myself with each challenge, each interaction, with each day.
I hope you take any opportunity to travel, as an opportunity to heal as well. You deserve this.
If you are in a tough spot, I’m not encouraging you to run away from your problems. I actually want you to do the opposite. I want you to take a trip to an unfamiliar place so that you are forced to look inwards and acknowledge them all. You may not solve them all, and it’s unlikely that you can, but I guarantee that you’ll meet the person who knows where to start.
Until next time,
The Pint Sized Traveler
*The destination of a solo trip can be anywhere. I highly encourage that you choose a destination that is unlike your day-to-day routine. This could be a staycation in the next town/province over, a new state or a new country. The only requirement is that you are alone.