It doesn’t matter if you’re a woman or a man. Traveling by yourself can be an extremely liberating experience. It allows you to see places in ways that you never imagined possible.
I wholeheartedly encourage you to travel – SOLO.
I’ve taken my share of day trips, even long weekends, by myself. I’ve always been independent minded, and had no fear of traveling on my own.
I recently took solo travel to a whole new personal level, and went on my first ever week-long journey, by myself, out of the country to the Dominican Republic.
Was I afraid? I sure was.
There was a lot of internal dialogue back and forth with myself. Should I go? Maybe I shouldn’t go. Can I do this? Yes, you can do this! What to heck was I thinking?
That last question came after I committed and book and paid for the trip. That last message seemed to resonate the most until a few weeks before the trip and I settled into my decision and figured that there was no going back at that point. And if there was, it was sure going to be one heck of an expensive mistake!
Here are some things that I learned traveling solo for the first time, and here’s my set up on the plane there.
Embrace Alone Time
I think that nowadays, we are so connected to outlets such as social media, we forget what it’s like to take time to quiet our minds. I’m not necessarily talking about mediation or yoga (if those are your things, great)! I’m referring to the lost art of disconnecting, from e-mail, from text messaging, from Instagram, from updating our FaceBook status….Sit at a table in a restaurant and observe. Look around at your surroundings, people-watch, and plain savor your dinner. Being alone doesn’t have to be intimidating or awkward, it can actually be quite liberating.
I sat by myself in restaurants almost the entire time. I got many unusual stares from couples and families, probably wondering where my entourage was. I was ok with that.
On that note….
Meet New People!
I’m what you’d consider a social butterfly. I love to meet new people. Traveling solo gives you the perfect reason to strike up conversations with total strangers.
The 24 hour beach bar was the perfect place to make new friends. I met several couples from Canada as well as some friendly guys traveling together from Nashville, Tennessee. Not everyone you meet at a beach bar is sober, mind you, but that can lend itself to a whole different level of entertainment.
Oh, and then there was Cedric and Jonathan from Florida. Those two were a hoot. We started chatting while sitting nearby one another on the beach, and shared some fantastic conversation and many laughs.
If you’re typically shy or quiet, try stepping out of your comfort zone, and striking up a conversation with a complete stranger. You never know, you may just form a new friendship!
Explore at Your Own Pace
Organized tours and activities are fantastic. Tugging your child along while you peruse a museum can be, well, not so fantastic.
Read more about my visit to a local school in a poor neighborhood that I took with Punta Cana Mike’s Munchies of Macao Tour It was a life changing experience.
When you travel solo, you can go at your own pace.
Maybe the museum isn’t exactly your thing, so you decide to cut the visit short. You can do that without potentially disappointing your art loving spouse or travel companion. You can also change your itinerary. Maybe you now need 2 days instead of 1 to explore. Flexibility is the key word here. You don’t have to stick to a rigid schedule. It’s your call, and your call alone. Nobody to disappoint here.
I loved the freedom of solo travel. That’s not to say that I don’t cherish traveling with my family or my friends, because I do. But those are “different” kinds of vacation, where you have different dispositions to consider. It’s not just about you doing what you want when you want.
If you haven’t traveled solo before, give it a try. It’s different, that’s for sure. But it’s eye opening and will probably change your perspective, in a really good way, forever.