Well it has taken me 9 months to actually get round to writing this! I've no idea why! But it's something I feel really passionate about after my solo trip to Bali in May last year.
Bali was always somewhere I wanted to go. It was top of my bucket list for I don't know how long. Then life happened and I just never got round to it. I got a job, then engaged, then started a business, then got married and time just kind of got away from me. But last year the perfect opportunity came up for me to take this trip to Bali. Personally, I believe it was the Universe orchestrating it for me because I'd had it on my vision board for ages and then this opportunity presented itself to me, in what felt like perfect timing. It was a wellness and personal development retreat which was about 1 week long. It seemed perfect because I was well into my self-growth journey and ready for the next level. This was it!
So I took a leap of faith and booked the retreat before even booking flights or accommodation or anything! It just felt right. When I told people that I'd booked onto this retreat on the other side of the world, with no one I knew and would be extending my trip to do some solo travel, I got three main responses. 1. Omg that's amazing! You're so brave, I would love to do something like that. 2. Are you crazy? 3. Why isn't Jake going?? (I mean hello it is the 21st century, I'm allowed to go places without my husband!) It did make me feel a little crazy bit that's only because it was so spontaneous. I wasn't scared at all and wasn't going to allow other peoples projections to scare me either.
Fast forward to May 2019 and the start of the retreat. I was sooooo stinking excited to take this first trip on my own that I didn't even feel nervous. I was ready and I couldn't wait to finally get to Bali. The flying there on my own was absolutely fine (to be honest I'd done it a million times before as a teenager because I used to live in New Zealand so was used to flying back and fourth alone). So the actual journey there wasn't entirely new and unfamiliar to me. I do have to admit, once I got there and got to the place I was staying, I had a bit of a cry. Not because I was sad. I think it was more a mixture of feeling overwhelmed, proud, relieved (that I made it there in one piece), alone and just really tired from flying.
In this blog I'm going to share my 4 biggest revelations from traveling alone that will hopefully encourage you to give it a go!
1. Learning to be alone.
There is a difference between being alone and being lonely. Sometimes we feel lonely but in reality we are just alone (i.e. not surrounded by other people). This was a really powerful lesson for me because going there I thought I was totally okay with being by myself. In fact, as an introvert I actually love spending time alone with just me and my thoughts. However, when I experienced it in another country and completely out of my comfort zone it did feel strange. But I think it is extremely important and very healthy to be able to be alone. I think a lot of people avoid being by themselves to avoid their thoughts. They constantly surround themselves with noise and people to block out their insecurities and fear of being alone. So by traveling on my own, even I was challenged to find a new level of comfort in being alone. It was weird and uncomfortable to start with but then it was magical and totally liberating. If you are someone that has a mini panic attack at the thought of being alone then I highly encourage you to start small (maybe don't hop on a plane to Bali straight away). Take yourself for a coffee or go for a walk alone and see how you feel. If you feel uncomfortable then it's probably something you need to work on.
2. You can do anything you want.
This is something I loved about traveling solo. I know in our lives we can technically do what we want but in reality we are restricted by work, other people and responsibility. When traveling alone you get to call the shots. I got to choose what time I wanted to wake up, what I wanted to do that day, when I wanted to eat, where I went for food. I had complete autonomy over what I did everyday and it was just a level of freedom I've never experienced. It was exciting and fun and completely empowering. Something everyone should experience.
3. Getting to know yourself.
This kind of links to my first point of being alone. When you are alone, you have the time to really get to know yourself. You have the space to notice your thoughts and understand why you think the way you think. You get chance to really appreciate what it is you like and what you dislike. You become aware to the things in your life that feel important and all the things that aren't. Every aspect of yourself is highlighted when you travel alone because you spend a lot of time with just yourself, and for me that involved a lot of self reflection.
4. You make friends with like minded people.
I was lucky enough to be on a retreat for the first part of my trip which allowed me to connect with a group of like minded women that were all there for the same reason. So this was magical. But something I was nervous about was making friends outside of this created environment when the retreat ended. But I actually surprised myself and made a couple of friends that I really connected with and had so much fun with! I think as an adult it can be challenging to just all up to someone and be like, 'hi, shall we hang out and be friends?' but when you travel, you instantly have something in common which makes the conversation and connection flow a lot easier.
5. Feeling empowered AF.
This was the most amazing outcome of my trip. I did it. I flew across to Bali (basically the other side fo the world), on my own, with no real idea of what to expect, and not only did I survive but I thrived. When I got back from my trip, there was this feeling of, if I can do all that, then I can do anything. It just felt so empowering to have achieved something so incredible, all by myself and I am still really really proud of myself for doing it.
I hope this has inspired you in some way to experience a solo trip of your own someday. It honestly was life changing for me (in a really really good way). And even though I'm married I will definitely be doing more of it in the future!
If you have ever done any solo travel, I would LOVE to hear about it and get your tips and recommendations of where to go! Hit me up via Instagram or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.