One of the best things a person can do for themselves, at least once in their lifetime, is to consider traveling alone. Many women, especially mothers, feel that taking off by themselves is a selfish act that they are not worthy of, though they are exactly the folks who need and deserve it the most. Traveling alone gives you a chance to unwind, reconnect with yourself, because let’s face it, playing wife, mom, daughter, sister, and business executive, can make you lose your sense of self.
Truth be told, scheduling a trip around your family’s busy schedules and then finding a place where everyone wants to go can be downright impossible as well. And sometimes the thought of travelling with a certain high-maintenance girlfriend can also convert that dream destination of yours into more of a nightmare. The Buddhist saying goes: “Travel only with thy equals or thy betters; if there are none, travel alone.” So why not travel to that place you’ve always wanted to by yourself? Afraid you’ll feel lonely? Don’t, my friend. Solo travelling can actually rid you from those awkward lonely feelings you might experience in your day to day environment and force you to grow both spiritually and intellectually.
For one, it takes you away from your home-grown dramas and the energy-draining characters in your normal life. Travelling alone actually pushes you towards interacting with people you may not otherwise consider talking with when you’re travelling with a caravan. Being a tourist on your own allows your psyche to expand without the responsibilities of your normal life to dampen your spirits. Choose to speak, dress, and behave in new ways, because you no longer have to hold back due to fear of being judged since you may never see the people you meet abroad again.
Be warned: many who have been on a singles vacation always say that the first day is the hardest. But that afterwards it gets better as you realize that you really can do whatever you want without having to convince someone to go with you or wait until they’re ready to leave or have to hear their impressions (which you don’t agree with) about that painting or temple. Many travelers also cite dinner as the time of day when they most miss their friends and family. So, be sure to make a reservation for one at that highly recommended restaurant and bring a book, your smart phone, and a notepad with you to busy up your time.
The folks from Lonely Planet, say that one of the best things to beat the loneliness beast when traveling alone is to make coffee and drink dates in advance. Before you leave, ask your network of friends if they know anyone in Mexico City, for example, that they can introduce you to via email or Facebook. Natives are always the best ways to get insider tips on where to go and often will introduce you to more people you can meet. Saying yes to all invitations (within reason of course!) is also the way to go when you’re travelling solo as well. Another tip is to head to the visitor’s center and pick up a free map upon arrival. While you’re there ask about walking tours, cooking classes, shows, and local events. Signing yourself up for a walking or biking tour of the city on your first day is also smart since you’ll get the lay of the land and feel more confident getting around town by yourself.
Traveling solo can be a transformative and rewarding adventure. In this essay posted on Refinery29, one woman travelling alone through Europe describes it like this: “I hadn’t spoken to anyone the entire day, but I didn’t feel sad. Instead, I felt privileged to be able to observe the world around me — going on without me — and being able to totally lose myself in myself. I was able to do what I wanted, when I wanted. I was lonely, yes, but I was also happy.” We just know you’re going to have the adventure of a lifetime.