Traveling Solo Seemed Far Too Overwhelming (And Lonely)
Instead, as crazy young people do, I got married. Unfortunately, it was to someone who I was incompatible with on almost every level. It took awhile, but I finally realized life didn’t have to be like this and we parted ways.
But then I was alone. So I waited. And I waited some more. I knew some day Prince Charming would come along and sweep me off my feet. He’d be tall, dark, handsome and bilingual! We’d travel the world, spend time in exotic places, hike tall mountains and he’d feed me grapes as he looked longingly into my eyes. I read that somewhere so I knew it must be true! But I’m still waiting. Damn.
Fortunately, I came to my senses and realized that if I waited any longer, I would never experience the world in the way I wanted to. I would never hike those mountains, learn that language, know the incredible people of the world and might even (gasp!) become a bitter old woman. Yikes! That was enough to get me off my butt!
I checked out Meetup.com and for the first time in my life was surrounded by like-minded people! I hiked, skied, snowshoed, backpacked, volunteered and met amazing people from all over the world. If you haven’t checked them out, do so. Now. It will change your life! I promise.
I began to find my place in the world and trust who I am. When I had the opportunity to go to Thailand with a friend, I jumped at it. Unfortunately, our travel styles were polar opposites. Seriously! She preferred to plan where to stay, where to eat, and on what day. I’m not known to be a planner in my day to day life so there was no way in hell I could be on a schedule while traveling. It just wasn’t going to work and I’d pretty much decided to skip the whole thing. I could always wait some more. Maybe Prince Charming would come this time!
Fortunately, I have friends who threatened to kick my butt if I didn’t go. They assured me Southeast Asia is one of the easiest places in the world to travel alone. The more people I talked to, the more women I found who’d traveled solo. They were not only completely safe, but loved every minute of their travels and the freedom that traveling solo brought them. If they could do it, then surely I could!
So I booked my flight and, yes, set off to Southeast Asia alone!
From the moment I set foot in Thailand, people were kind, generous and open. It amazed me. Here I was a strange white woman who didn’t speak the language and yet people wanted to engage me, know about me and what I thought of their beautiful country. They welcomed me, helped me when I got lost, and invited me into their lives.
Too many of us are convinced the world is a dangerous place to be; that we’re better off staying home with the covers over our heads. We’re selling ourselves short by buying into overactive imaginations and letting fear and uncertainty keep us from experiencing life fully.
The freedom of traveling alone is amazing. You’re accountable to no one but yourself! You eat when you want, sleep when you’re tired and see and do whatever seems right at the moment. It’s an incredible feeling!
“Alone” and “lonely” are two very different words. It’s a big beautiful world out there and even if you strike out on your own, chances are you won’t be alone for long!
So book that flight. Trust yourself. Trust your instincts. Trust the people around you. And just go!