Venturing out into the world on your own is so liberating!
Regardless if you go on a retreat, a long weekend to your favourite city or take a week off for hiking and camping in the wilderness. You get to experience your own decisions, go where you want, do what you feel like and start to create a relationship with yourself and the new found knowledge of what makes you tick. You begin to create your own patterns and routines that suit your own body clock and cycles. In doing so there is a deep sense of harmony that is created. There is no external pressure or stress of having to meet other people’s expectations and schedules and for some reason it is easier to get up and out of bed early!
I have traveled a lot during my life but especially during the past 16 years with friends, family, partners and on my own. These are times when I really got to know another person and myself. Regardless of how much we plan and map things out there is a constant chance of change and when this change comes your natural tendencies kick in before you can control our initial reaction. Maybe you go into fight or flight mode, maybe you surprise yourself and laugh or cry at a situation – whatever your reaction, this is your authentic self expressing your true nature. There is no right or wrong way to react, it is just the way it is.
The independent traveler writes, “People who have never traveled alone often describe their first solo trip as an almost religious experience. To take in new surroundings unfiltered by the prejudices, tastes or preferences of a traveling companion can be heady stuff. Traveling alone gives you the chance to indulge yourself fully.”
Humans are social by nature so it is natural to feel alone or in need of company or companionship. So when you travel solo you also need to get out into the world and shine, instead of sitting alone in your room waiting for the world to come knocking. When you are challenged and taken out of our comfort zones this is a real test of trust and self-empowerment. Do you continue to push situations to go your own way or do you surrender and choose the path of least resistance regardless of how odd it may seem? In my experience there is always a reason why some things unfold as they do. For example, the main reason why I landed in Bali was to be a resident teacher at a retreat centre here for three months but the unexpected happened, plans changed and now I am here for other reasons. And I have to totally trust that these reasons will be made clear, ideally sooner rather then later!
If traveling solo or travel in general is new to you, an amazing adventure awaits! An exploration of not only different cultures, food, languages and ways of life but it is a opportunity to explore parts of yourself that you wont get to meet by staying at home. If you are drawn to a yoga retreat feel free to check out the wide range of retreats I have coming up.
The feeling of loneliness usually doesn’t last long, there always seems to be a willing soul to exchange a smile with or to share their table with you. Even though you might be taken out of our comfort zone you are given the opportunity to develop more social skills than before. Being brave enough to strike up a conversation can be a huge hurdle to jump but once you have done it a few times, you develop a natural ability to communicate not only verbally but non-verbally too.
Most importantly you want to feel safe and feeling safe means avoiding situations and scenarios that could potentially put you in danger. There are a few simple rules I follow to ensure my safety. I pick up a business card from the place I am staying, sometimes on the back it even comes with a little map with the address written in the local language. I walk with a purpose and confidence so I look like I know where I am going and at the same time I take in my surroundings, mind mapping the area so I know the route home from the bus stop or taxi drop off point. You don’t want to draw too much attention to yourself by looking confused and lost! And most importantly trust your intuition or gut feeling above everything else. If you feel unsafe or potentially vulnerable then leave, step away, change direction, remove yourself from that area or situation to a safer environment and surroundings. You don’t want to be constantly paranoid but ultimately you want to be able to sleep at night so you have energy for the next day of sight seeing, people watching and immersing yourself in a new culture.
Many people travel solo and love the thrill and adventure of it. You get to trust your natural instincts, develop people and language skills and get the chance to see how beautiful this world really is. If you are concerned about green house gas emissions and your carbon footprint there are many websites designed to help you offset this and support the environment.
www.gutsytraveler.com writes an interesting fact: “Women– young, old, single, married, widowed and gutsy are fueling an explosive growth in travel industry. Estimates are that women will spend some $125 billion on travel in the next year.”
With this in mind I wish you all the best with your traveling solo voyage and may be see you along the way!