Traveling solo was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made for myself. It wasn’t planned; it happened spontaneously and was spurred by an argument with my ex-husband.
My first solo travel self discovery trip was June 2009. My eyes were opened to so many things that I wasn’t aware of about myself, the world, and life during this trip. I have many beautiful memories from the trip, and I am grateful for each of them. However, the lessons I learned during the trip have been invaluable and are my most prized gift to myself.
I had no clue how much this solo travel self discovery trip would impact my future, but I am ever so grateful for it because my life has never been better. Although this trip was the beginning of the end of my relationship, it was the beginning of me making the decision to live a fearless, authentic, unapologetic life. It was the beginning of me finally being brutally honest with myself. Traveling solo changed me for the better mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
My trip taught me the following about myself:
5 Things to Learn on a Solo Travel Self Discovery Trip
1. I was too comfortable.
At that time, I was too comfortable with being married so I stayed in my marriage longer than I should have.
The moment you become comfortable you allow things that you shouldn’t because it’s easier to stay where you are than to do the work necessary to be better, live better, do better. It’s easy to stay where you are because at least you have a home, are in a relationship, have a job, and so on. At the end of the day, being too comfortable equates to settling for what you’re getting despite knowing you need, want & deserve more!
Lesson: Every day presents an opportunity to grow personally, professionally, emotionally, mentally, financially, and spiritually. It’s my responsibility, and mine alone, to put the work in to ensure positive change in my life. It is my responsibility to show up, speak up, stand up, say no, and when necessary, walk away, if something or someone is no longer serving me, stealing my peace, my happiness, and or my smile.
2. I was not living and didn’t know what my ‘why’ was because I was only existing.
Throughout my life I was always trying to fit in, be what someone else wanted me to be, meet everyone else’s expectations of what they felt was right for me. Additionally, I was constantly looking for acceptance, seeking love from the very people that should have accepted and loved me despite my shortcomings. Also, I constantly pushed my desires to the background because someone else wasn’t interested, scared to do it, or didn’t like it. For example, my ex-husband didn’t like trying different foods so I would always eat at places that were acceptable to him. For almost 15 years I didn’t eat Mexican food although I really enjoyed it. This might seem small, but every time I gave in to what he wanted I was saying ‘no’ to what I wanted.
I was living in fear of being alone, put down, or even punished, directly or indirectly, so I put what I wanted on the backburner. As a result, I didn’t follow my heart. I didn’t do what made me happy. I did not do or speak up for those things that were authentic to my needs and my wants. Consequently, I always had a feeling that I was missing out on something, unfulfilled. I didn’t realize that the gnawing feelings was my subconscious telling me that existing was slowly killing me and it was screaming to live.
Lesson: Life is too short, no matter how long you live, to live it based on what others want and expect of me. Living in fear of what someone else’s displeasure with a decision that is right for me was no longer acceptable. Living someone else’s dreams was no longer tolerable. Living without being accepted for who I am – good, bad & indifferent – was not satisfactory. It was time for me to take my life back from everyone else and start living based on what I wanted to do, needed, and wanted. It was time for me to start using my voice and saying ‘no’. It was time to find, apologize to, love, nurture & protect my true self.
3. I had not been intentional in my life!
I was doing pretty much the same things in my life that I had always done. Yes, a few things had been tweaked, but at the end of the day, it was really the same thing. I was expecting different results simply because I made a few changes. It’s simply not possible!Being too comfortable equates to settling for what you’re getting despite knowing you need, want & deserve more! Click To Tweet
Lesson: God showed me favor so many times that I forgot that I needed to not only write the things down that I wanted and needed, but I had to actively and consistently work in and on them to bring them to fruition. Sometimes God will grant you the desires of your heart because it is His will and it is obviously in His plan for you. However, to truly be in His will we have to be intentionally ‘doing’ His will as well.
4. I was okay being alone and I enjoyed my own company.
I had never been alone with me, myself, and I my entire life until this trip at age 43. I went from my parent’s home to making a home for my 1st child and I at 16 to living with my husband at 18. Even after my 1st marriage ended, I wasn’t alone because my children were still in the home and needed me. Less than a decade later I was married again with both my kids and a husband. Hence, there was no time for me to figure out what it was like to be alone, who I was, or if I liked my own company. I had no clue what it was like to be responsible for only myself. I had no clue what to do with myself for more than 24 hours.
Lesson: I can’t be who I’m supposed to be or live according to my purpose without being in touch with me, myself, and I on an intimate basis. Second, I can’t truly live the life that God has planned for me until I know who I am. Only then is it possible for me to go in the direction that He has predestined for me. An active, honest, transparent intimate relationship with myself is key to staying true to my authentic self.
5. I enjoyed my freedom and self-reliance.
Throughout both of my marriages I was physically, financially and spiritually free and self-reliant. Hence, I had an idea of what it meant to have autonomy and confidence in those areas. However, I had no idea how to be self-sufficient mentally and emotionally. As I stated before, the need to be accepted was alive and well in my life so I was dependent on others to fill the voids that started as a child. In less than a week I got a taste of what it truly feels like to do what you want, when you want, and how you want it without explaining why you want it.
Lesson: Never allow myself to become dependent on anyone for validation of my existence in their life. Never give away your right and freedom to live passionately, fearlessly, authentically, and unapologetically.
The biggest solo travel self discovery I had was that I did not need anyone’s validation, except God’s, for my existence or to be loved. I realized for the first time that I was beautiful inside & out because I was made in God’s image, and God don’t make no junk! I realized that my authentic self was the best gift I could give anyone. If they didn’t recognize that, or wanted me to be less than who I am, that they were the problem, not me. I realized that I was worthy of unconditional, intentional love, no ifs, ands, or buts. I realized that God did not give me a spirt of fear and it was time to slay my fears for once & for all. I learned that the very things that I was afraid to face were the areas of my life that would give me the greatest joy.