Embrace the Fear of the Unknown | Solo Travel

This year has been a year of travel. I didn’t plan for it to be this way, but it has just turned out to be so. I had been travelling non-stop for work and then due to some unforeseen circumstances, I ended up quitting my job and moving back to Auckland. This is very unlike me, because I’m a very planned person. I absolutely cannot proceed with something, unless I know what follows. Hence quitting my job without having something else secured, was a big risk that I took. I had always intended on taking some time off during the month of July. But given the circumstances I was in, I slowly saw that slipping away.

My brother said, just buy your tickets to come to Chicago and I’ll take care of the rest. I followed suit. I was making my way to Chicago on a semi-solo trip. He then also bought me flights and booked accommodation to go to Toronto. I was nervous and scared, this was the first time I was going on a holiday by myself. I had travelled alone for work, but when it’s a work trip there’s an element of networking, which ultimately means you’re only alone for a short period till you find someone to chat with. But this blog is going to be more about what I’ve learnt from my first ever holidaythat I embarked on by myself.

  1. Do not be afraid to get lost:

    This is a ying yang sort of concept. You’re in a new city and you must use this opportunity to explore and to explore as much as possible because you don’t know when you’ll be here next. But make sure you have researched on which areas are relatively safe or what the crime rate in that city is like. Once you have that information, just wander around, if you get lost, don’t worry, you have the information you need. And if you can’t find your way back, just get into a cab or an uber. If you’re luck is anything like mine, that ride is going to be an interesting one and well you’ll have a story to tell. Just rememeber you’re exploring a new city, so are you really lost?
  2. It’s okay to be the only one:
    There were times, when I was amidst a group tour and I could see families and couples travelling together. I couldn’t help but feel the absence of having someone to travel with. But that’s not always a bad thing. You get to know yourself better and what’s more you don’t need to work to someone else’s schedule. You can do things at your convenience.
  3. It’s a great way to meet and connect with new people:
    Whilst my blog on the Niagara Falls tour will be coming a little while later, there are some things that happened that day. I arrived at the pickup point and just to be sure I was at the right place, I said hello to the couple who’d also just arrived and looked as puzzled as I was. We chatted and got along rather well and well even though I may not have had anyone travelling with me, it’s not like I didn’t have anyone to talk to. I would like to mention another thing that happened, but I would rather keep that for another blog. I know I always blog about the funny and sad things that happen to me whilst I’m on the road, but I should also appreciate the good things, right. So I will post that in a blog.
  4. You get to know the real you:
    There are very few times in your adult life, when you truly get ‘me’ time. Sure you have lunch breaks during the day and once you’re done at work you come home and relax, but that’s not really ‘me’ time. Your mind is occupied with work/life stress, you’re constantly making mental notes of all the things you need to complete and the errands that you have to run. But when you’re on holiday, your stress and worry takes a pause. Your mind clears up so you can take in all that’s around you. That truly is ‘me’ time. For some people this may come in the form of going to a spa, but for me a holiday trumps it all.
  5. Discipline:
    Because you’re responsible for yourself and for the places you need to be at a certain time if you’ve booked tours, or if you’ve read up on activities that you’d like to do, you have to ensure you’re there. You have to follow a strict regime in order to make the most out of your holiday. Yes, travelling with companions mean there’s someone who can be accorded the responsibility of making sure everyone is ready on time, but this time it’s just you. And trust me, sometimes not having people to push and nag you around is a great way to dial up your responsibilities and to have the time of your life.

But most of all, if you’ve you been through a tough few weeks, I have learnt that sometimes being by yourself in another country (in my case countries) is exactly the therapy you need to rejuvenate yourself and to come back bigger, better and stronger and face the challenges head on.

Until next time,