At the risk of sounding a bit much, I am an awesome solo traveler. Like, really. I was very lucky to have the most wonderfully irresponsible parents this side of Gomorra, so I’ve been traveling on my own from a very young age. But I will admit on my bent knees and my hands in the air…the transition from traveling with my partner, to traveling solo again was way more difficult than I could have ever imagined. The dynamics you have on a trip with a partner, especially if you experienced an even more intense connection during these journeys in the past, are hard not to miss when you are doing it on your own.
…so peculiar that the hardest things to let go of, are the ones you actually never hold on to with your hands
Table for one last night, tonight again, and tomorrow night as well, and the night after… The very human desire to share the moment with someone when you see or experience something wonderful is just beautifully natural. Not having anyone around you when you feel that way stings painfully naturally as well…and the hard truth is, no Eiffel tower, Time’s Square, pristine ocean view, or snowy mountain top will ease your pain if you are not ready to let go. I find it so peculiar that the hardest things to let go of, are the ones you actually never hold on to with your hands. All that heavy energy is bouncing inside of you, exhausting you, taking you to sad, before it delivers you to lonely.
If you are planning a solo trip with the objective of perking yourself up, it is important that you have an honest sit down with yourself, visualize how you see the trip going before you book it. You know yourself better than anyone. How do you see those walks on the beach on your own? Going through all these new impressions without anyone to talk about them with, no back and forth, how would that be? On the other hand, you would also get to do the things you always felt like doing, things that perhaps you couldn’t or didn’t feel comfortable about doing with your ex. You can also decide how the entire composition of the trip will look like, timelines, accommodations, itinerary, pace, you can plan it exactly how you want it to be.
traveling by yourself might require you to open up different channels inside of you
There are a lot of pros and cons to taking that first solo trip again, and when there’s such a heavy presence of emotional and rational items, I like to make lists. Yay! It’s important that you do what you can pre-trip so you can increase your chances of this first solo trip being a success, and if a list gives me a bit more sense of control (over the things I can control) and visibility, then lists it is.
MY FIRST SOLO TRIP AFTER A BREAK UP CHECKLIST:
- How many days would I like this first solo trip to be?
- What sort of environment or setting would be the most appropriate?
- Do I want quiet or loud? Nature or city? Beaches or mountains?
- Do I want to stay in one location, or would it be better to move around a bit?
- Should I just book the first 2 nights, and leave the whole itinerary open and plan it day by day? After all, who knows how I will feel once I’m there.
- Should I get cancellation insurance just in case I decide not to go at the last minute?
2- THE POTENTIALLY SAD STUFF I SHOULD PREPARE FOR ON THIS VACATION
- How do I expect to feel once I arrive at the destination all on my own?
- That first meal by myself on a solo vacation, how do I see that?
- That first night alone in my room?
- If I have restless nights, how do I plan to deal with that?
- Do I see it getting better on the second day? Or as the trip progresses?
- Do I think I can get into “I want to enjoy myself” mode for most of the trip?
3- THE GOOD STUFF I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO ON THIS TRIP
- I want to get a huge positive vibe jolt from this trip, what experiences do I want to seek out to find this?
- I want to be awed and impressed! Which places could do this for me?
- Which will be the gorgeous belly button ripping meals I want to have? Which restaurants do I want to plunder?
- I want to explore places I have never seen, surprise me!
If I see more pluses than minuses, even if it is marginal, I’ll go for it. If not, I’ll wait a few weeks and run it again until the plus column lights up. But even the most careful and detailed planning is not completely waterproof. I would prepare for the occasional rain at least.
Now let’s put things in context here. Outside of the getting over the memories phase, there is something after all that jazz, which you should expect to come across at some point. The understanding that traveling by yourself might require you to open up different channels inside of you. Your senses will be more….sensitive. Where’s a thesaurus when you need one. You will do the same things you did before, breath, see, smell, experience…but now you will have more time for each one of those. Sounds trivial, but it’s not.
Just try this…the first smell -hopefully pleasant- you come across as of right now, take it in, and keep it. Let it stay with you long enough for it to leave an impression on you. Now as you exhale it out, just take 30 seconds to think about what you just smelled, remember the aroma. Think of the imprint it has made on your senses today. Now try and remember a smell from 2 days ago. Nothing really jumps, does it? But a week from now you will remember what you just smelled today.
You had more time, and you gave this event your attention. Something very mundane can turn out to be more memorable simply by adjusting the focus. Giving all of your attention to your senses during you solo trips, could lead you to experiences that have a lot more character and depth. You will be much more perceptive, and what you perceive, you will be in a much better position to understand and enjoy.
Even if you never felt limited in your previous travels with your partner, you have the most basic sense of freedom in this setting. The best way to explain it, is like this:
You see, you like, you do.
This can be a bit overwhelming at the beginning but it can offer you one of the best possibilities you will ever have in life to really discover who you are. And if that is the road you take, you have chosen a mighty interesting direction.
This direction is all about you. The introspective part that becomes so much more natural in a setting that lends itself so perfectly to you opening up to yourself. It’s there if you want to go in that direction. One that will take you to the place where the full blown understanding of “traveling” will descend upon you. Things like, “it’s not the destination but the journey” make complete sense now. You understand what every word of that sentence means, you know that you are the journey, the destination is the facilitator of the experience.
- You might also be interested in: