Journal entry 001: Solo Travel & life lessons
Updated: Jul 19, 2021
[July 1, 2021 @ 10:01 PM]
The day I purchased my ticket and booked my hotel, I kept telling myself to just do it-- do it thoughtlessly and without fear of the unknown world of solo travel, as a Black woman. I knew exactly where I wanted to be and now was just as good of a time as any to stop waiting for the "perfect moment" and just take the leap.
Of course, there were a thousand and one questions and concerns that loomed in the corners of my mind. Up until then, I was doing something that was purely a beautifully painted romanticization in my overactive imagination. I'd seen videos and read blog posts about women that looked like me traveling alone, whether domestically or internationally-- there was something very evident with each woman I saw: they truly enjoyed the pleasures of solo travel.
I wanted to know what that felt like.
With a week off from work and a deep desire to hit the reset button, I made my way back to a place I fell in love with last year: Sedona, Arizona. It felt like more of comfortable ease into solo traveling, going back somewhere I was familiar with. I rented a car and splurged on what I presumed would be a particularly nice resort and spa hotel-- I definitely got finessed, but that's neither here nor there. I repeatedly thought to myself, "I'm actually doing this."
My trip wasn't long, but it was just enough time for me to gain a new sense of self and that's one of the many beauties of solo travel. I waited on no one, changed my plans at the drop of a dime, drove around aimlessly, and never compromised on what I wanted to eat (y'all know how it is when you're traveling with other people and it comes time to choose somewhere to eat, whew!)
The only person's time that mattered was mine. My heart's desires remained at the forefront of everything I did.
Truthfully, I spent my time doing two things, basking in my alone time with the beautiful mountains as my backdrop and remaining incredibly hypervigilant from the time I stepped off the plane in Arizona to the time I stepped onto my departing flight headed back home. How was I to know if the guy at the bar I was at simply was being kind or had a secret plan to abduct me, send me to a foreign country, and never let me see my family again when he felt I had my guard down? My advice: stay vigilant and always be incredibly cautious of your surroundings no matter how safe the place you're visiting is said to be.
Fortunately, my hyper-vigilance didn't detract from the beauty that I found in my first solo trip. I've never had a hard time spending time with myself, especially as an introvert, but traveling alone was like finding a golden key and unlocking an entirely new level. I had complete alone time and freedom to not only do things that bring me joy but to lean inward and have conversations with myself that I had been putting off.
What had I been doing for the past few months? Was I allowing fear to hold me back from doing the things that I spent hours daydreaming about? Did the decisions I was making align with who I was at my core? Was I giving myself the grace I needed as I continued to grow and heal? Was I simply having fun this summer?
It's pretty hard to keep running away from yourself when you're the only person that you can turn to on a solo trip.
I'm not sure if every time I travel alone, I'll encounter an array of divine revelations about myself like maybe some trips will just be fun and I learn one good thing about myself. And that's okay because this first trip was more than enough confirmation that solo traveling is something to be experienced endlessly, for me.
No one is meant to do life alone, I know that, but I think everyone should try exploring a new or old place on their own. Traveling somewhere that you've always dreamed of with zero expectations of what will happen, just simply living in the moment and getting to know yourself better. Tapping into the parts of yourself that you may hide from others and only bring out in the comfortability of your own space. It's worth it.
I made a promise to myself on that trip to live out the rest of my 20s doing the things that make my soul smile, challenging myself to push past my fears, and living a life that's authentic to me and me alone.
Thanks for reading, and don't forget... be great! xoxo