Solo travel trips. Why I feel everybody should brave the strength inside of them and just do it.
You get a chance to really observe others
You see people, who they really are. Kind of like watching a play. Like the day back in Paris last year when I went for dinner at sunset, I had the river sienne as my view, the traffic was just starting to become a little more mild. I felt I could trance out and zone into my own land. The two women sat next to my table averaged around 55 maybe, they were very happy women, I heard lots of giggles coming from their way, both of their body languages were rhythmically intertwined, I cant even really speak French so I couldn’t understand a word they were saying, but I felt the conversation had between them both. They were very smiley happy women, their arms moving at a pace to really show the power of their happiness was so moving.
I remember this one evening in Paris I was sat on a bench right in front of the river sienne, working away, notepad in hand. I gazed over to my right, where I saw a very tall slender lady wearing a lusciously long, yet very fine delicate evening gown. Her date was wearing a very well tailored suit without the blazer, it was 30degrees this day in Paris. Hand in hand they strolled closer and closer towards me. They sat on the bench right next to the one that my bum was perched on. And that’s when I saw the real love for Paris, its true romantic Parisian love. The lady sat on her man sideways and they kissed lightly, a beautiful kiss. The lady then pulled up her oh so fine, long, emerald dress and sat on him front ways on, the kissing became more intense and passionate. It actually made me feel a little awkward coming from the UK where we are all like ”errrrm get a room”. My awkwardness made me turn the other way, I felt like I was invading this passionate couples privacy, I wasn’t, but it took for a group of lovely old aged American’s to walk by to truly see what was happening. The old men and women just stood right in front of this couple, all of them smiling and talking of how lovely it is to see such a passion and love in front of them, they even took pictures? Naturally I felt myself being able to be more open and comfortable in this setting. I allowed myself to see without feeling awkward. Parisians have such a lovely way of life, they are true lovers. They aren’t worried about what the next person is going to say about their expressive romantic love affair. It was this moment that made me start to understand and look at other people. Its easy to assume everyone in the world is the same just with maybe a different language but that’s not true. Each country, some cities, they are all really different aren’t they. You really see this when you sit back and observe. It is within the people where you will understand. We look for the beauty in architecture and where’s ‘trip advisor reviewed’ , but the true life experiences of what you open yourself to see come from really taking the time to observe others.
You experience more seeing a place alone than with other people
We’ve all gone on holiday somewhere and/or done things on that trip that we really didn’t want to do. Or maybe your friends were the ones who wouldn’t have done that little something you wanted to do and instead of just doing it anyway you gave this person your time and put them before yourself. The last holiday I had (before going solo) was with my younger sister. I really didn’t want to go to Kavos in Greece but I did anyway for her. I wanted her to see a new kind of life, it was her first ever holiday without parents so I was so happy that she’d be able to let loose and act her age for that week too. Me, having already done the party holidays numerous times in Ibiza I was so excited for her! Don’t get me wrong I absolutely do not regret this holiday at all, it was fun, but I was at a different stage in my life by this point that it was more of a waste of money for me. Whilst the whole cheap drinking was right up her street (she can handle it! I’m a lightweight), I hate the whole 5 drinks for 10euros crap, I prefer a nice cocktail bar with a little background music with good cocktails made from real fruit juices, not alcohol served in cups that smell of the sick a youngster had probably threw up in the night before. This all being said I was in bed almost every night before midnight and always woke up feeling fresh as I cant consume lots of alcohol, I also did not like the alcohol. So as the next day rises I feel like I want to venture of out and explore and see some of that so so beautiful Greece! Not the crappy one street Kavos that stinks and looks like a crap bomb. I wanted to get a bus out to go to different towns and see other places, my sister didn’t want to. She was always hung and just wanted to chill. There is nothing wrong with how she was on this holiday we’ve all been there haven’t we. If she wasn’t my younger sister id have probably left any friend to go and do whatever I wanted, but lets face it any older sister see’s the little sister as their own offspring. She’s my little baby that I want to nurture and giving her the best time possible was at the forefront of my list. And this is exactly what this title is about. I’m happy that I did this for her and she really did enjoy it too! Result! But then after this trip I realised that I hadn’t really done anything for me and my happiness, its always been putting others first all the time and that’s ME treating ME badly! I don’t want to do that to myself! And that’s when I booked my first trip away alone :-).
Venturing off into a new place that you are personally drawn to is the best experience you will ever have. From the excitement of being at the airport, to being on the plane, to stepping foot into your hotel room, all of it! Everything about the trip taken alone is incredible, you don’t miss a thing, you are not involved in a conversation that over powers your mind. You can relax, get excited, feel whatever it is you feel. Its also one of the most proudest moments of your life. Its scary, but makes you laugh at the same time. Like did I really do this all on my own? Going solo you only have yourself to think about. You want to stop at the cute little café with old dusty bookshelves you go do it! When I was in Paris I caught a bus to the Eiffel tower, I didn’t want to get the bus back, being alone I saw the river, it was either left or right that I needed to follow to find my way back to my hotel room. I guessed right and I was right. It took me more than 40mins to walk back. Had I have gone with any others I wouldn’t have gotten this chance. I didn’t want to see Paris through bus windows, I wanted to see all of Paris and that’s what I did. I walked at a pace that suited me, I stopped when boats went by to view them just because I could. I ate and drank at any place I wanted, I googled places to dine and set myself little challenges to find these places. I did 7 things on this trip that I wanted to experience and I was only their for 4 days! I also had days where id wake up early go get breakfast and take a short stroll to the Louvre museum gardens. Id take my book with me and sit on a bench next to one of the beautiful water features and have a read for a couple hours. All of this holiday was for me, about making me happy, doing what I wanted, going at my own personal pace. I have never in all my life felt so alive and really truly living, and like I said this was just 4 days! The solo travel life is so amazing that in December I booked to go away to a Spanish island for a month in may this year. I cannot wait! If a few days spent alone can have such a massive impact on my own welfare, how will I be after a month? Well I’ll let you know when that trip has passed.
You see another side to the place
On one of the trips to Ibiza that I had, my room mate and friends were all fast off sleeping. I awoke early from having an early night, it was about 8am in the morning. I decided to go for a walk along the beach. This wasn’t even a solo trip but I wanted to go somewhere and I did. Walking across the beach that early in the morning, hearing the sounds of only cleaners cleaning the pavements and tidying up last nights mess. Only the cleaners in sight, an empty calm beach, all the boats are docked. The beauty of a place comes from seeing it a different way, at different times to everyone else. How often is it that you really get to see a beach empty and be able to just sit there hearing the soothing calmness of the tide. You go to the beach by midday and everywhere is buzzing, the beach and sea are full of life full people, the sounds of the heaving restaurants people ordering food, the souvenir shops, everywhere is full of noise and people walking. At these times you cant possibly concentrate on seeing any beauty or distinctness about the place, the noise takes over your mind, and you’re just like everybody else, following the crowds and seeing where to dine, pushing past people, being held up behind slower people etc.. It is up to you to see what you want. Even if you don’t go solo at any time in your life at least see the place where you are, at a different time to everyone else, you are able to see more about a place when there are no distractions. We can really connect with a new place when we really see it.
You become more mindful
This is most definitely my upmost powerful part in all of this. I didnt really understand mindfulness until I went away alone, but being alone forces you to stop, look and really induldge in all of your senses at all times. It really is so powerful! I was constantly aware of everything at all times. Not having that person holding hands and guiding you or the friend saying your name ‘can we stop here’ ect. You are alone, You walk, you see, but you really see. Its kind of like you become a scientist of awareness, you get this radar where you see, feel and hear on radiowaves. Instead of just taking the usual photo of the Notre Dame Cathedral, you stand back, you view all about it, you take it all in, you look at all the little details of archetecture that make it what it is. When you sit by the river with the sun just about to set, you look at the way the sun looks on the river, the different movements of the current and how it changes, you notice the massive difference in the heat slowly fading. You become more mindful of your time spent in a place when alone. You use your time to suit your needs and happiness. You can endure so much more in an experience, at a museum you can read every write up of information next to a peice of art, you can look at a painting for half an hour if you like, the main thing is seeing what you want to see. You can learn a whole lot more by giving all your time and attention to one specific. Its all about being and living in the present moment. Being aware of your feelings in that moment. Forget your past, stop thinking about the future. Being present and enjoying this moment, right here right now. All it really takes is to just stop, be open minded at what is infront of you, and allow yourself to be there. Its easier to concentrate and be happy all the time when being mindful, being alone gives you this space and freedom in your mind to be your happy self.
Refreshes and cleanses your head and you meet a new you that you never thought existed
Solo travel made me become more contented with who I am, I began to see all that society has ever done to me was drifting away from my soul. I was nurturing myself. I stopped thinking negative emotions, I wasnt scared of the unknown anymore, I stopped worrying about all things that were completely meaningless and only made me suffer. I started to switch off from all restrictions and limitations (there are none by the way). I saw and found inside of myself what really makes me happy as a person, no amount of materialism makes anybody happy. You dont need to spend spend spend to be a happy person, you need to find what it is that makes you happy without all of that. If spending really made us happy, why do we constantly chase that buzz like a heroine, somethings are addictive in bad ways. I used to shop every week, buy new clothes, more than one outfit a week sometimes, the buzz was short lived and almost all items of clothing I bought spent more than a year cooped away in my wardrobe with the tags still intact, then after the year was up and fashion had changed I’d donate them to charity. This a way of life? No it isn’t. Having personal time and space allows your mind to freely wander to wherever it wants to be. It can set up a lovely little cottage of a home inside your brain. When the weather starts to change slightly on the outside you get to make that beautiful fire of homing warmth and bring it to life from the inside. This is how it works. A certain amount of time and personal space allows us to disconnect from all around and find whom we really are. All humans love nature, we need it for survival. Being intouch with nature, reading books, disconnecting from the phones too maybe, not having people around constantly communicating, this all inturn helps personal growth. We get this realisation within, suddenly we start to look at nature and really love and care for it so much more, we begin to take the planet and all life on it into massive consideration as this ends up meaning more to us. We hope we can better the places we live, we try to take care more and more of all life and the planet. This is what is really important to us. We are care givers.
Travelling alone can also make us more creative. I usually draw sketches of new ideas of clothing when I feel inspired. My trip away caused so many of these moments. Nowhere sold plain paper sketch pads, just gridded pads and pens, no pencils. This didnt stop me, I knew I needed to draw this up, to bring my image to life before I forgot it. It was honestly one of those quick, need to run get paper now moments. I love these moments. Exciting, and they always lead onto something more inventful too. Its the little things that make us happy. If sketching up new items of clothing makes you happy, just do it. You dont need anything expensive to start. A musical artist with no equipment would probably use natural sounds, or a fork as a drumstick. Its about being in the present and enjoying that moment, feeling utterly alive, secure and contented. This is what home feels like.
If you feel as though a little something is maybe missing from your life, or you ever feel overwhelmed with all around you then I’d at least delve a little deeper into some research and start booking and explore somewhere new alone.