October 31, 2014

The Scariest Thing About Traveling Alone

I love to travel. The truth is, I also enjoy traveling alone. It may sound sad and anti-social, but the loneliest I've ever felt was at a crowded party while the DJ played another Lady Gaga song. If you're thinking maybe that was the problem, I must say my feeling had nothing to do with the music, or the space. Sometimes "the scene" just gets old- every push at the bar and scream over the music to your friend feels like an automated simulation. This is when I unplug. 

Solo travel is not for everybody. It requires a lot of research. I don't usually say "never," but when I do, it's a matter of life and death. So I will say it here that I have never spun a globe, picked a place on a map, and bought a ticket in one fell swoop. That my friends, is a suicide mission wrapped in insanity.* Picking a country, or even a new state, takes time. (If a decision seems "all of a sudden" to people it's because you're not a talker, you're a do-er, congratulations.) 

My most recent trip was inspired by a blog post about budget traveling. After doing some exploratory clicks, I bought my tickets, set my budget, and connected with a travel agency (shout-out to Sodha Travel). Then we came up with an itinerary. After tying up a few loose ends, (I would recommend looking into travel insurance), I packed, and took off for Kathmandu, Nepal. I was nervous, but full of resolve. Creating a situation that you cannot back out of, is the key to doing the impossible. 

I heard "brave" and "courage" a lot after announcing my travel plans. My ego appreciated the compliments, but every time I wondered if those adjectives really applied. I would think, "What if I'm making a huge mistake?" "What if my trip is just an excuse to run away from dealing with difficult people?" I kept thinking, and thinking, and thinking. "What if the airline looses my luggage?" "What if my ride to the airport doesn't show up?" Eventually, I ran out of "What ifs."

When I got off the plane at Abu Dhabi for a lay-over, it hit me. The scariest thing about traveling alone is letting go and taking it all in. After you've run through and prepared for some of the "What ifs," everything outside of your control comes into play. How do you react to foreign sounds and smells? Do you judge the way other people live? Can you handle hard stares and language barriers?* What do you think about when you are not taking Buzzfeed quizzes?

When you travel with your significant other or friends, you see them, then the sites. There are always long conversations about where to first, then where to go next, then when to leave. You have conversations with them about people you know, or other places you've been. It's a lovely time...
But when you're alone, you see everything else first for what it really is- you feel your heart and search your mind.

So if you ever feel like facing yourself and falling in love with what is buried, take a trip.


NOTES FROM THE AUTHOR
*Before booking tickets, Google the country and hit "News," and go to that country on Twitter. Ladies if you see "riots," "corrupt," or "rape" in the top three links, you may want to pick a new country. Generally, tourist areas anywhere are pretty safe, but if a country is going through a revolution your flight may be cancelled and there you are cancelling your trip.

*I can tell you right now, there was no one else in Nepal who looked like me and I am on some random 16 year old's Instagram because she wanted a picture.


DIAMONDS HAVE YOU EVER BEEN ON A SOLO TRIP? 
WHERE TO? WANT TO KNOW MORE? HIT ME UP IN THE COMMENTS!!! :) 
 


1 comment:

  1. The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As longs as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.
    The Outdoor Women

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