Travelling solo

Synonyms for solo (adj): Alone, companionless, unaccompanied, unaided.

That certainly paints a dreary lonesome picture. Other than my recent bike journey, I had never travelled solo before, and to be honest, I was not very excited to do it.

While I have always loved travelling, having someone with you along the way is tremendously comforting and also enriching as you can share formative experiences with someone else. Thus, the thought of spending a couple of weeks completely alone was really terrifying and I was mentally prepared for a lonely, isolated, and emotionally-draining experience.

I thought I would be afraid, both because there is a strong cultural message that women alone should be frightened, but also because I was afraid of having vast expanses of time in which I would be alone with my thoughts and feelings.

But a wonderful thing happened.

This trip has so far been the exact opposite of all of those things. I have felt embraced by the cities I have visited, I have met spectacular people, I have felt strong connections to friends both old and new, and have enjoyed the freedom, the perfect liberty, of travelling alone.

The soul of a journey is liberty, perfect liberty, to think, feel and do just as one pleases

Unknown via an  inspirational park bench in Amsterdam’s train station.

And I have done just that. I have wandered where I wanted, eaten when I wanted, and took a slow approach to exploring what each city had to offer.

I have had time and space to think about big and small things. To investigate what it means to trust, from simple things acts of trust, like staying with strangers through Airbnb, to more profound moments of working through complex feelings about trust and intimacy. This trip has given me such a  special time to grapple with these issues, which, as a wise person reminded me, is an incredible privilege that I mustn’t take for granted. I am incredibly blessed to be able to visit incredible places, meet new people, and have special experiences while having the time to peek into into the face of my grief. In doing so, I have started to realize that I am not terrified of my pain anymore. I am still sad, but I have felt that the healing process has begun and I am making my way to the place where I am can love my sadness and to be grateful for how this sadness may enable me to change my life.

On this journey, as I sift through the broken bits, I am starting to identify which bits are the best, the truest, the purest, and the most essential ingredients for a good life. This process of beginning again, while deeply unsettling, is a tremendous chance for me to evaluate my life. While continues to be an incredibly difficult process, in a very real sense, I am grateful to be forced to re-callibrate my life as it has already started seismic shifts that give me hope that I can become a more loving, compassionate, and all-around-awesome person and that I can build an even bigger, richer, fuller, and more vibrant future than I have previously imagined.

There is a certain amount of braveness to taking on a solo travel, but there is also a great deal of braveness necessary to embark on an emotional journey. And I don’t feel alone, isolated, companionless, and isolated, I feel independent, strong, and bold as I face the challenges of both important solo adventures. So whether it is the international exploration or the personal emotional investigation, I know that this is one journey that is permeant. That somewhere between here and there, I have been learning how to change my life.

Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living

– Fearghal O’Nuallain via A Wandering Nomad

So excuse me as I go out and wander the streets of a new city and absorb the sights, smells, and pulsing energies of this new place and new future.

Tiny Lovely Observations

A few points from outside the mean of daily life; a sparkle that darts out of the standard deviation and dares to make life a tiny bit more beautiful. 

[I haven’t done this bit in a while!!!]

1. This sign:

DSC_5368

2. A really terrific article about choosing a partner who is EXCITED to be with you {warning: explicit language}

3. This surprised, myopic fellow:DSC_5338

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2 thoughts on “Travelling solo

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