I met my husband when I was eighteen years old. He’s the best thing that has ever happened to me, but I went from travel with my parents and sometimes girlfriends, to traveling with my partner, now spouse. It took me many years, decades really, until I took my first solo trip. Now I don’t really count myself in the solo traveler category, however, I did sign up to travel solo and work at a few amazing conferences in Denver and San Francisco, I was also invited to a Lululemon Ambassador Summit held in Whistler, Canada – all of these “solo” travel experiences allowed me the opportunity to meet new people in a controlled environment, but I flew alone, ventured around town alone and even stayed in my own hotel room – just me, myself and I.
Now, while some of you might think this is no big deal. I have to say that as someone who has always traveled with people I know, these were quite empowering experiences! I am a foodie, so one of my favorite things to do when I am traveling is to go to amazing restaurants. I do the research ahead of time to see where the locals go or the new hot spots and I make a dinner reservation for one. Or, in one instance in Vancouver, the restaurant didn’t take reservations so I showed up and waited an hour to get my table! Luckily I brought a book and cozied up in the bar with a glass of wine! Even enjoying a meal alone in a restaurant is a bit uncomfortable, but equally invigorating! It is not something I typically do – unless I am hunkered down at a coffee shop in my hometown with my laptop. But, I am not usually one for a night out on the town by myself.
Last March I had an opportunity to travel with twenty women to Guatemala, many of whom did not know one another. I wish I could encourage every woman to take this opportunity, at least once. There is something very magical and meaningful about coming together with strangers in a new environment, where each person is out of their comfort zone. If the atmosphere is one of support, kindness and respect it is a life-changing experience. You no longer play your role of “mother”, “wife”, “girlfriend”, “sister”, “daughter” and so on…you are just you. You have no expectations, no demands nor responsibilities for that period of time. You laugh, you learn, you connect, you feel free, playful, fun and the list goes on. I am so grateful for the opportunity to lead another group of women to El Salvador in February and witness the profound transformation that will happen with each one of us.
Some call solo travel a movement. And, there are so many health benefits to traveling alone. Of course travel in general, but when you go somewhere alone, I can attest first hand that you are more likely to meet new people and make friends. Or, just simply enjoy your own company. A study out of Australia has discovered that solo travel can lead to “personal feelings of freedom, relaxation and discovery.” It sure can make the planning a lot easier. And, you return with boosted confidence, independence and a better sense of yourself.
Do you travel solo? Where would you be willing to take yourself on your next solo adventure?