Don't get me wrong. I LOVE traveling with my husband. He's the best travel companion. We gave our relationship the ultimate test with an early-on ski trip together (and I had never skied prior!) that led to an engagement a year later and it set the stage for a life full of travel adventures as a couple.
I have always traveled. Apparently, my astrological chart confirms I was born to travel. And that I have. This rolling stone gathers no moss, for sure.
I inherited this from my father. He encouraged me to try out for one of two spots for fourth graders to go on a school trip to Costa Rica (which was still a third world country back in 1976 by the way). I had to learn Spanish, had to demonstrate I was not a picky eater and that I would respectfully follow directions. I was selected and off I went at age 10 without my parents.
Later, Dad gladly paid to send me on a trip across the pond to sing with my school choir in Cathedrals all across Europe.
He surprised me with a spontaneous trip to Germany to meet my family tree that was quite an adventure. Autobahn and all.
Before you come to the conclusion my family was wealthy I will stop you right there. We were not wealthy. Not at all. The thing is, my father believed in ensuring that my siblings and I experienced the world beyond whatever town we lived in. For that I am grateful...
Traveling with others can be a lot of fun. But there is something about going it alone... Traveling solo is good for the soul.
After my first marriage ended officially in 2004 I pulled money from savings and traveled to Thailand on a personal retreat. It was a 30 hour journey from Atlanta to Los Angeles t0 Tai Pai to Bangkhok to Koh Samui. I spent 9 days in the land of 10,000 smiles. My heart was healed and my life changed. Something about going all the way to Thailand all by myself was transformational. Once there, I met up with a small group and a teacher with whom I meditated, ate delicious meals and explored together. But it was the getting there and the returning, sitting in airports on layovers by myself that gave me time and space to contemplate my life at a very deep level.
Over the past 11 years I have traveled solo to the Oregon Coast, Sedona, Texas, Kansas, North Carolina, Alabama, Florida and Tennessee for various workshops and retreats. This year I decided to take another solo trip without any particular agenda. This time to Southern California. With all of my travel I'd never been to Southern California so I went. All by myself. No set agenda. It was my mini Eat-Pray-Love experience.
I actually had booked the ticket with intention of attending a retreat someone was hosting but the retreat ended up not being a fit for me so I decided to create my own solo retreat. Life changing decision.
I slept when I felt like sleeping often hitting the hay by 8:00 pm. I meditated with the rising sun, watched the waves roll in at the coast. I did a lot of people- watching and explored the streets of various neighborhoods in San Diego, Los Angeles and all up and down the coast between. I ate all of my meals (except one) alone. And I loved every minute.
While in LA I scheduled a private session with one of my mentors who lives there and I attended a 3 hour spiritual workshop with a teacher I've been wanting to meet in person. Other than that, I was all on my own. And it was lovely.
After a lifetime of raising children, caring for clients, attending to the needs of others, it's high-time for solo time.
When on your own, there's no agenda and no schedule other than the one you create for yourself. I highly recommend it.
But don't be surprised if being solo feels foreign at first. Give yourself some time to work through the discomfort of the unfamiliar and you will get to the other side and feel the freedom.
My final evening of my Southern Cali trip I was having a nice dinner at the bar in the hotel watching the football game and enjoying hearing the laughter and conversations around me. A woman came up to me and said, "How can you just sit here all alone?" I smiled and said, "It is glorious. You should try it!"
I returned home to Atlanta with a clearer mind, lots of inspiration, a collection of amazing photos, and a renewed energy. My soul was fed. And I will do this again. Regularly.