The Best Reason to Travel Alone
do the thing. travel alone.
I thought traveling alone would be lonely, scary, or dangerous. I thought I would get lost, and something bad would happen. My friends and family convinced me international travel was dangerous for women, so it was best to have someone travel with you. I wanted to go and see the world, but I was afraid of doing it alone.
I craved new experiences that people around me didn’t. I needed to see the world and taste new cultures. So in spite of those instilled fears and not having a travel partner, I bit the bullet, and took my first trip alone to Paris. My mom took me to the airport, but after security that was it. I was alone for the next 2 days until I met up with a friend.
I was so excited that I didn’t sleep a wink on the flight. I didn’t sleep for two days actually, filled to the brim with anticipation. I felt like I was on the cusp of something transformative. All my life, I felt like I was outcasted, like I didn’t belong. I thought I would find the answers in Paris. I knew I’d find the answers there.
I spent the majority of that trip navigating alone, without a map, and without a phone. The friend I had met up with had a life of her own, and so I was left to my own devices, thoroughly uneducated about the intricacies of the city and culture.
On that trip, I didn’t get hurt, and I was never in danger. But you know what actually happened to me? I got to be myself.
We may think we are our most authentic selves surrounded by the people we love. But think about it: do you worry about how the people you’re closest to will judge you for your deepest desires? I do. All. The. Time.
As much as we convince ourselves the person we are right now is the person we want to be, that's not always true. We hide that real us from the world because we are afraid of judgment. So we pretend that we fit this mould our friends and families expect of us, and we fake a smile.
Alone? You lose your inhibitions, gain new perspectives, and experiences. It opens you something about yourself you were holding back. If you’re in a city surrounded by people you’ll never see again, you’re going to go to that bar, jump off that cliff, kiss that person. You’re going to do the thing! There is nothing holding you back from saying yes, no fear of judgement.
And I don’t meant alone with your phone 6 inches from your face. I mean completely alone, just you in this new and foreign place. Away from the people you know, away from the comforts of social media where you can check out from reality.
That trip, I had dinner with a stranger, and got lost in the the winding streets of Paris. I got caught in the rain, and learned that I love traveling alone. After that I did it for nearly 2 years straight, and it taught me so much about myself, about who I am, and it led me to this. To writing about those experiences.
So trust me, you’ll never regret the day you decided to take that trip, to book that flight, to be the real you.