Travelling solo – what the hell was I thinking?

well hello lovie!

Sadly the time has come to wrap up this fabulous jaunt in Italy and when I was thinking about what I enjoyed most and what I got out of this trip, I kept circling back to the fact I did it solo.  Travelling solo – what the hell was I thinking?  Let me explain…..

So when I told my family and friends I was going to travel around Italy for 3 weeks the most common question I got was, “so who are you travelling with?”.  When I would respond by saying, “no one, just going solo” – I attracted a range of reactions from confusion to concern, disbelief, wistfulness and excitement (this one was in the minority).

I totally get it!  This is what would be considered by many to be a unique opportunity – travelling by yourself for 3 weeks – cray cray! I realise a lot of people have a partner, family, pet, work commitments that wouldn’t allow them to do this even if they considered doing it.  I’m fortunate – I’m at a time in my life where I have no commitments other than my awesome work family who were 100% supportive of my taking off (thanks team xx).

So I wanted to share with you why I did it and what it’s like to travel solo.  Let me start by giving you my background story.

The last 12 months for me have been tough….really tough.  I found myself unexpectedly single –  ending a 16 year relationship, had the joy of sorting out the separation of joint finances, selling property and all that goes with that, found a new place to live and furnished it from scratch (ok that was fun), had a few health issues (all good now) and mourned the loss of my dear Nan.  On top of this I have a pretty demanding yet awesome job which requires a lot of energy, passion, travel and dedication.  So about 6 months into all this drama I realised I needed to set myself a goal and visualise something to look forward to (yes, I’m a KPI kinda girl).  I also realised after my relationship ended that I’d really lost the true essence of myself and I wanted to get it back!

I thought back to when I was happiest in my life and it was when I was backpacking around Europe as a young,carefree redhead and in particular Italy, where I discovered my passion for food and wine.  So, I decided then and there that I had to do something for me, reignite my passion and empower myself to rediscover my authentic identity.

So again – travelling solo – what the hell was I thinking?  I wasn’t sure exactly what I’d get out of this trip or discover about myself but this will give you a snapshot of how it went down.

  • Being solo allowed me to create a truer version of myself.  For those who know me well you’d think I have a pretty clear view on who I am, but when you get an opportunity to  remove boundaries, labels and expectations along with time to reflect, you really figure out what is important to you.  I was able to craft each day filled with things I love to do, it allowed me to rediscover my passions and solidify things which I genuinely enjoy – like doing yoga every morning when I woke up!
  • Without having someone to cover my back my senses heightened and experiences were richer. – By this I mean that I was always alert, whether it was at a train station, dining in a restaurant or walking down a street.  I took in more colours, sounds, smells and I even found I ate slower.
  • The experience was also really empowering. When you’re in a situation where you barely speak the language and you’re surrounded by different customs/traditions your problem solving skills kick in and when you get an outcome – you feel awesome!  For me this ranged from speaking to strangers until I found out which train to jump onto when the one I was on broke down, pushing my comfort zone by trying new experiences like hiking trails in the Cinque Terre or having a day planned to perfection but it all going wrong and coming up with new ways to spend your time. For me the most empowering feeling came from situations where if I didn’t love it then I didn’t compromise and I changed what I was doing.

There were so many more benefits that I could share but these were the main ones.  So how can I bring these great experiences into my life when I get home?  I’ve made some commitments to myself and I want to:

  • continue to find my true self – own it and be authentic and by doing so inspire those around me
  • do more things solo whether it’s sitting in a bar for a few hours reading a book or walking through a park – so I can carve out time for me and take in what life has to offer
  • push my comfort zone and continue the empowerment.  Run my own race harder, more passionately and determined than before but still mindful of keeping a healthy balance 🙂

Finally, I want to challenge myself to take time out once a year – let’s call it my wellness sabbatical and travel by myself to continue reconnecting with what’s important to me.  It could be for a few days or a week, locally/interstate or overseas – it doesn’t matter.  it’s just about ensuring I keep my identify, passions, values and don’t lose myself again.

Who else is willing to give it a go?  You won’t regret it!

Be fabulous xx