There's something so tranquil, yet terrifying in the act of simply being alone. In solidarity, we often find ourselves at a crossroad decision: to distract or to dive in. Sometimes distractions come in disguise - as text messages, as emails, as a last minute invite to happy hour. It's so simple to forget to stop, slow down and check in with ourselves the way we would an old friend. We must not only consciously choose to dive into those moments of solidarity but to create those moments as well.
That museum, that trip, that evening event you've been thirsting to check off your list? Stop waiting for someone else to give the green light and opt-in for your own adventure.
Look, I get it. Travel has always been my heart and soul, but even as an extraverted explorer, I could never seem to find the courage to venture solo. I made the excuse that exploring is less valuable when unshared. It took me twenty-four years to take the leap and realize how wrong I was. Committing to first-time solo travel can be terrifying, but the second you accept this new adventure? That's where you find tranquility waiting.
To date, I've merely dipped my feet in the water, opting for day trips, calculated missions, and mini-adventures. One day, I'll take the plunge; but for now, I've found peace in my push. For those ready to get the flavor of first-time solo travel themselves, here's your guide to the alone adventure packed with tricks of the trade so you can delicately, but delightfully make the most of it, too.
Tips for Solo Travel:
You're on Your Own Clock.
Pick something or somewhere you hate? Duck out without question. Find something you love? Stick around to soak up every last drop. There is something so shocking about the realization that the only voice or vote that matters is your own.
Notice the Noise & Sit in the Silence
It's fascinating how much you notice during first-time solo travel - or any solo travel for that matter. The clicks of people's silverware at supper. The ridiculous words that some people string together and believe that it's a good idea to say them out loud.
Yet at the same time, the silence seems to be louder than the noise. It can feel natural to try to avoid those silences, turning to outside distractions. Take a second to stop looking outward and to sit in your thoughts. The most thrilling and terrifying part of traveling alone is being forced to let your mind wander and watching where those thoughts go.
Put Down Your Phone
At least when you're sitting in a beautiful spot. I'm serious, I need for you to trust me here. This is single-handedly the greatest way to make your solo trip memorable. And yet, it's the hardest part. Just do it. Watch the people, breath in and really feel the air in your lungs. Just be present and let the people think you're creepy, it's cool. Journal, read, listen to music if you must, but peel your eyes off of your black mirror and feel the feels of standing alone.
Embrace the Selfie
Taking snapshots of the moment is entirely different from being sucked into your screen. It's in my blood to document. Through my writing and photos, I can build a live panoramic memory - which is no accident - my memory is shot. Want to document your own adventure? Selfie it up and give no shits about whose watching. Snap a selfie to remember your mindset. Call it a self-portrait if it makes you feel better. I’m still anti-seflie stick though.
You don't have to buy a plane ticket to make it a true solo trip. Scope out a map and pick somewhere in driving distance where you know no one. Go there for a few hours and simply wander. One of the best road trip planners is Roadtrippers, where you can scan your area based off of your mood or interest. Big hiker? Wacky art lover? They’ve got you covered. Meander through a museum and pretend to be an artist. Find a flea market and buy something special. Bring a book to a local lunch spot and sip a glass of wine.
Can I get a #TalesofSoloExploration? Now go on and get.