It was about this time last year that I found myself starving. Not for pizza or chips and guac. Not for the crazy mix of popcorn and chocolate that I sometimes like to sneak in my bed at night – much to my husband’s dismay (what? You think that might disturb his sleep?….ok, so maybe I have a few annoying habits I still struggle to give up – for the past 12+ years – from my days of living alone), but rather for me. For quiet. For a sense of self. For a missing piece of my soul that I know only travel and time alone can provide.
I have long loved travel and long loved traveling alone, but I know the marrying of those two words travel + alone can sound terrifying to some people.
I’m hoping to change your mind because I think your soul needs the two together.
Like you, it is easy to describe me with many titles – and some of them are incredibly important to me – Mother, wife, business owner, daughter, friend, volunteer. But when I travel on my own, depending where I am, I’m Danielle, or Miss, or, if I’m lucky, M’Lady (my personal favorite).
I could probably talk for days about the benefits of traveling on your own, but I teamed up with flights.com to share a few solo adventures that have my focus.
7 Reasons Your Soul Needs Solo Travel
You Breathe: Life is a monsoon of activity. I have frequently lamented the lack of hours in the day and it hasn’t been so I can get more sleep, but rather because I am booked from 5:27am until 10:18pm. On a good day. Between practices and games, among homework, laundry, deadlines, meetings and yes….life, I miss taking time to simply BREATHE. A view like this will guarantee that you do just that.
Practice gratitude for the people you love and the chaos back home.
You Learn to Do for You – From booking your flight to making a reservation in a restaurant, from eating alone to navigating your way around islands and making plans to tour a village or snorkel, you are all adult. And it is good. If some of these skills are ones you already possess, stretch yourself and try something completely new. Take a sailing lesson, climb a mountain, try to learn the local language.
You Explore and Grow – We teach our children to explore the world around them. And then we grow up and all but stop this exercise. Follow a path. Try a new food. Visit with local farmers or fisherman. Consider canoeing, hiking, wine-tasting, cooking, paddle boarding, surfing or going beyond the ‘touristy’ areas to understand more of the culture. Learn how families create the wares they sell to those visiting.
You Control Your Destiny: You are at the mercy of only one thing: Your desires. You can plan a full minute-by-minute itinerary and then decide to scrap the entire thing. THAT is how much control you have. You can upgrade to First Class, skip breakfast every day, exercise at night, island hop or stay up until 3am for the first time since college. It is all up to you. And it is beautiful.
You Make New Friends: One of the most beautiful benefits of traveling alone is the opportunity to meet not only other travelers, but local people in the cities you are visiting. There is so much to learn, if only you are willing to listen. I find that more often that not, the people I meet are not from within 200 miles of my home, so their customs, their traditions, their likes and dislikes are so varied – and that makes them fascinating.
You Get to Know You: It is so easy to be absorbed in the lives of everyone around me, to identify with my family and business first and to forget what I LOVE TO DO. Traveling solo reminds me what I actually choose to do when I am all by myself. Do I sleep late or rise early? Do I watch every sunset, read three books back to back, take sailing lessons, indulge in daily dessert or skip it all together? Do I say yes to adventure or play it safe, happy to simply have the sand on my toes, the sun on my face and the sound of the waves as my soundtrack? By the time I come home, I know the answer and you will too.
You Find Happy: With only the sound of your own heartbeat for company, you have peace. You have explored. You have learned. You have accomplished it all by yourself. You remember everything you love about the life you have at home and you find peace in your own heart. This is happy.
Before you head off on any solo trip, do make sure your friends and family know where you are heading, both the destination and your travel arrangements. Safety is always a priority. And have fun!