Traveling Solo Changed & Saved My Life!
Traveling solo was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made for myself. I didn’t plan it; it happened spontaneously and was spurred by an argument with my ex-husband.
Hello, beautiful ones! I pray that you’re doing exceedingly well!
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My first trip traveling solo was June 2009. My eyes 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 my solo voyage, and I am grateful for each of them. However, the lessons I learned during the journey have been invaluable and are my most prized gift to myself.
I had no clue how much this 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 marriage, it was also the beginning of me deciding 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, financially, and spiritually.
Traveling solo taught me the following about myself and saved my life:
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. Being too comfortable equates to settling for what you’re getting despite knowing that you need, want & deserve more!
If you deserve, need & want more, but you’re comfortable with the status quo, you’re settling!
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 duty 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 was always not doing something I wanted to do, eat, see, experience 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 certain foods although I enjoyed them tremendously. This example might seem trivial, 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 back burner. 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. As a result, I always had a feeling that I was missing out on something. I always felt unfulfilled. I didn’t realize that those gnawing feelings was my subconscious telling me that existing was slowly killing me and it was screaming to live.
Lesson # 1: 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 dream 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 authentic self.
Lesson # 2: It is necessary to be selfish sometimes for your sanity and to be true to self.
It is necessary to be selfish sometimes to stay true to self and maintain your sanity!
3. I was not intentional in my life. I was doing pretty much the same things in my life that I had always done. Yep, I tweaked a few things, but at the end of the day, it was the same thing. I was expecting different results simply because I made a few changes. Isn’t that the definition of insanity!!?
Lesson: God showed me favor so many times that I forgot that I have to actively and consistently work in and on those things that I want to bring them to fruition, in addition to writing them down. Sometimes God will grant you the desires of your heart because it is His will and obviously in His plan for you. However, to truly be in His will we have to intentionally ‘do’ what is in 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 17 to living with my husband at 19. Even after my 1st marriage ended, I wasn’t alone because my kids were still in the home and needed me. Less than a decade later I married again and was in the household with both my children 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 only 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 can is it possible for me to go in the direction that He has destined 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 feels like to do what you want when you want and how you want to do it without explaining why.
Lesson: Traveling solo taught me to never become dependent on anyone for validation of my existence in their life. Never give away my right and freedom to live passionately, fearlessly, authentically, and unapologetically. Never stop dreaming. Never forget that it’s ok not to know where I’m going as long as I keep going. Never forget that it’s alright to be afraid as long as I don’t let being afraid make me a coward.
The biggest lesson I learned from traveling solo 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 am beautiful, inside & out. I forgot that I am wonderfully & fearfully made in God’s image, and you know that God does not make any junk! I recognized that my authentic self is the best gift I could give anyone. If they don’t recognize this or want me to be less than who I am they are the problem, not me. I comprehended that I am worthy of unconditional, intentional love. Period. Point.Blank. I remembered that God did not give me a spirit of fear and it was time to slay my fears 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.
The very things that we are afraid to face are the ones that will give us the greatest joy!
Photo Credit: AlleyKat Kreationz @alleykatkreationz Location: MGM National Harbor
Sister-friend, traveling solo may not be on your bucket list or, as I like to call it, live life to the fullest list. However, I can tell you that, if you haven’t already done so, traveling solo will be on of the most enriching experiences of your life.
Are you in the midst of planning or considering taking your first solo trip soon? If you’ve traveled solo before, what did you learn about yourself? What are your thoughts about traveling solo? Can’t wait to read your comments below!
As always, keep it Chic.Classy.Spicy.