Travelling solo taught me a lot about myself
For many, the thought of travelling alone is full of dread. How can you possibly spend five or seven nights alone in a foreign country? What will you do? Who will you speak to? While those thoughts did cross my mind, it also sounded like this airy-fairy opportunity to relish in me-time and embark on a journey of self-discovery, self-reflection and self-connection. Basically, a lot of self-time.
As an only child, there was an abundance of occasions where I was left to my own devices. Alone time often meant conjuring up stories and using my imagination to have fun. Although, sometimes that led to poor decisions like cutting my hair with Crayola scissors and sticking plaits on a valentines card. We could look at that from many angles, a romantic gesture of self-sacrifice or pure stupidity, but I digress.
When I discovered a 5 star all-inclusive trip to Rhodes for less than £400, I was convinced this was my moment. Not to cut my hair again. But to spend some much needed time to reflect on my year and unwind. I was excited to see how I would react to travelling completely alone and spending the next 5 nights in a country I had little to no knowledge about.
While my first solo trip looked less like a Pinterest worthy adventure full of sailing across seas, hiking up mountains and having a holiday romance. My time spent alone in a hotel full of couples taught me a lot about myself. Mainly, that I’m so very single, but that’s another post, for another time.
I’m more creative than I even thought:
Despite taking this trip to unwind, I still needed to get some pictures for the ‘gram. Yes, it’s another asshole influencer concerned with taking pictures. But hear me out. Being alone and not having anyone to take my picture, forced me to think outside the box. While you might never find yourself desperately wrapping a flexible phone tripod around a staircase railing and taking photographs using self-timer. The entire process pushed me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to get creative.
Now for you, this may look completely different. On your solo trip, it’s likely to be more about getting creative with how you spend your evenings – which was something I struggled with for the first two nights. I found planning what I’d do each morning really helped. Even if it was merely; eat, lounge, swim, dry off, change clothes, eat, lounge, swim, change and chill in the room, eat and lounge with a drink in hand before bed. Having total control of your day allows for a different kind of creativity we aren’t used to. Especially considering how much our lives are so intertwined with other’s schedules and opinions.
Comfortable in my own skin (and my thoughts):
For once, I felt totally free and comfortable in my body. From interior to exterior. There was a sense of calm and confidence in who I was and how I showed up in the world. I can’t quite tell you why, but maybe a mixture of not knowing anyone around me and not caring what anyone thought of me, provided a blanket of safety and reassurance in myself.
It also helped that one of the people I met at the hotel told me: “if I had to vote on who was the best dressed you’ve won, and everyone can go home.” Shout out to you, Simon!
Grew a different type of independence:
There’s nothing like experiencing total autonomy. As mentioned before, our lives become so intertwined with what our partner, friend, parent, boss or family member want to do, it can be rare to have a whole day that doesn’t involve another person’s needs or desire with how we chose to spend our time. So, I relished in the freedom…possibly too much. But that’s what holidays are all about? Drinking. Eating. Sleeping. Repeating.
Despite being alone, I developed a better connection with those at home:
Do you ever dread the sound of your phone ringing? Ugh, who’s calling now? You’ve just got in from a long day, full of interacting with different characters and the last thing you want to do is have another conversation about your friend’s boy troubles or a new restaurant they’ve found, and you’ve got to try. I know, I sound like Scrooge. But I found myself feeling more and more like this. And who wants a friend who isn’t answering their calls?
Sorry guys! I’m changing my ways.
This trip left me with so much alone time, some times, I just needed to hear a familiar voice. Giving me time to reconnect with those I genuinely love.
Maybe, a monthly holiday just to call friends and family back is necessary?
Best one of all, I discovered I was never truly alone – even if it was the second to last day:
After spending 3 nights alone, it was refreshing when two older couples asked me to join them for a drink. Who knew having a few (too many) cocktails with complete strangers could be so fun? The day I spent with them ended up being the highlight of my entire trip. So, don’t be nervous to talk to those around you. The best part about solo travel is making new friends.
Opening image: @LydiaDinga