Travelling with myself

During a summer where the feeling of change was persistently creeping up at my door and I was trying to accept and welcome possible amendments, I decided to do something I haven't experienced before, something out of my comfort zone; go on my first solo trip.

Conflicted between enjoying my time alone and a fear of loneliness, the thought of travelling alone made me anxious yet excited me. Nonetheless, fueled with a drive of challenging my path of personal growth, it became clear to me that I wanted to take on this task, as I briefly mentioned in a previous post (read here). As soon as the idea popped in my head, I wanted to try it, to test myself and to tempt my safe waters.

With some doubting thoughts spinning in the adult side of my mind, the can-you-really-afford-this sort, I tip toed around the idea for a few weeks. As the days went on I realized that that was my subconscious needing time to feel more at ease with the thought of trekking foreign streets alone for a few days. Though I was convinced and before I knew it tickets were booked and destination research had began.

I picked a location that was familiar to home to smooth my ingress into travelling alone; baby steps in a solo trip as I attempted to expand a summer of feeling vulnerable yet decisive.

Within a few hours of arriving, I had already made contacts, other travellers from my hostel. In my first night there I found myself dining with a group of 4 and I remember saying to myself 'I think this is going to be just fine' as I smiled to the strange, kind eyes staring back at me.

As the days hurried along, the activities and places to explore increased and I found myself running out of time to visit them all. With an initial mindset that five days is more than enough to spend on my own, in fear that I would get bored of my presence, I ended up wishing I had more.

Time was of the essence as I happily let trips to nearby towns exploring landscapes and local culture consume my days. Almost every afternoon I rushed to catch the sunset, to join the myriad of people photographing it, yet most importantly to be captured in its beauty and to remind myself of the many wondrous things that surround us daily.

Girl solo travelling in Greece

Somehow there was a balance of days being spent with others and days being spent alone. Something that happened naturally, without me planning a great deal of it. I'll admit that thoughts that I wanted to dismiss actually came to find me more frequently when in the presence of others rather than when I was on my own, which is what I was nervous for.

Yet I found this reassuring that my time alone didn't equal to a rush of thoughts. On the contrary, I felt completely comfortable. Besides I was doing one of my favourite things; exploring new lands. And doing so without any interruptions or discussions that usually arise while travelling with a group, instead I happily crafted my schedule and made changes whenever I felt like it.

Reflecting about this I began to realize that things that worry us or trouble us can appear at any time and place and shoving them away will neither make them disappear nor help you.

I don't believe in escape routes, they don't work, they're simply time and energy wasted of unconsciously being eaten up by troubles you've buried down. But just like a seed that's thrown away onto the ground, it will find ways to plant itself and grow again if you don't deal with it. 

Neglected emotions react in a similar way, you may think they've ceased because you no longer attend them but they'll make their presence sooner or later. So water your thoughts and feelings and stand by them while they blossom, that's your garden.

In a society and lifestyle where spending time alone seems, and even feels, peculiar, we don't know how to be with ourselves anymore. Over-consumed with digital updates and constantly plugged into our phones we forget the worth of being able to enjoy our own company.

With a need to feed the social media giants, we drown in social outings so extensively that when left alone we feel paralyzed. So I decided to ditch that thinking and challenge myself, thus was born my first solo travelling adventure. And I must say, I rather enjoyed it.

Here's a few things I found out about travelling alone:

-It makes you open up more to people because if you want company, you have to go look for it. 

-You're also more approachable and have experiences you wouldn't if you were with a larger group i.e. with other solo travellers or friendly locals.

-Having a flexible schedule is another perk as you can decide where you want to go and when. And if you want to make any last minutes changes, well you don't have to ask anyone. There's no waiting around for people, you're on your own timing.

-You can choose whether you want to be with people or not, because we all know that no company is far better than bad company.

-Most importantly, as I feared that eating out alone, having a drink alone, going to the beach for hours on end alone might seem weird to people, I found that nobody cares if you're on your own or not. All of these prejudgments are in your head and you can choose to water them or not.

As I reflect on it now, doing this short trip alone was a gift from me to me, to restore confidence that I can have a good time on my own and to rejuvenate my energy for allowing new things to come. Until the next one, I'll water my garden, prepare soil for it to grow and look out for more that's to appear.

Sandals at the beach in Crete

I'll close with what always concluded my travel blog 4 years ago when living in Spain.

Hasta la proxima,

Un Viajero