I have previously written about the joys of traveling solo but after a few more trips were added, I thought I would share an updated version. A solo travel 2.0, if you will. I think back on my first trip alone and just how far I have come since then. There has been a lot of growth, knowledge, soul searching and understanding of oneself that I’ve been able to experience.
My first adventure by myself was a road trip from Washington State to California and Nevada. I had fears and doubted myself, as I tend to get lost even with a GPS and I am admittedly a horrible driver. In fact, anyone who has ever been fortunate (or unfortunate) to be my passenger, has said that I am the worst driver they have ever met. I honestly hate driving, I have high anxiety and even a car driving along past me will cause me to panic. In any case, I took a chance on myself and decided to do it anyway. What led me to decide to do this? I had exited a long term relationship and both of my children had grown up into adults. At this stage in my life, I was truly alone and although I was independent, I needed to feel a sense of freedom. A moment that I look back on was driving past the Golden Gate Bridge with my sunroof open and screaming as loud as I could, “I did it… I f$ck!ng Did It!” This was the when I realized I had found my freedom. The rest of my road trip felt just as liberating as I ventured through LA, Orange County, Santa Monica and Las Vegas.
I never imagined that this would set a precedent for most of my trips in the future. After a memorable domestic adventure, I was ready for International travel. Although I traveled to Korea frequently, I never really considered it to be a solo venture, as I had family here. However, the majority of my sight seeing and overnight jaunts were done on my own, so I suppose it could fall in that category.
My second trip was Osaka, Japan and I have been there a couple more times since then. I carefully chose a capsule hotel in the airport (for ease of travel) and planned my own itinerary. I navigated my route on the subway and even got lost. I remember my own frustration and tears as I was walking through crowds of people and wondered why I thought this was a good idea. Life always has a way of putting you back on track even if you’ve taken the wrong path. I wiped those tears and remembered that I’ve conquered more than just getting lost on the subway. I found my way and ended up having an amazing time. I went to Universal Studios and felt like a kid walking through Hello Kitty Land as Hello Kitty greeted me by name. Harry Potter world took my breath away and I squealed with delight on the Spiderman ride. A couple days of shopping and sightseeing ensued after and I couldn’t have been happier that I decided Japan to be my first venture into solo international travel.
As life would have it, Covid struck world wide. International borders were closed and all tourism stopped. It’s been a long 2 years, hasn’t it? I immediately started booking and made reservations when given the green light. The first on my list… was Thailand.
I recall watching a reality TV show many years ago and the filming location was Phuket, Thailand. Since then, that had been my #1 dream destination, my bucket list. I told everyone that I knew, that one day, I would visit Thailand. More importantly, I promised myself. As I sat on the plane, I couldn’t contain my excitement….I had only dreamed of this!
When I landed, I was met my by driver who transported me to my hotel. It was close to 8 pm by the time I was checked in. I hadn’t even unpacked my carry on and headed out the door. I had to explore! As a solo female traveler, I am always mindful of safety and being cautious, especially while going out at night. I didn’t go out for very long nor did I wander too far from the hotel. Heaven forbid if I found myself lost like I did in Japan. My excursion led me to my first mango sticky rice vendor, which became a daily must have for me.
My Thailand experience is one that I will forever cherish and is etched into my memory forever. I was blessed to have visited Phi Phi Islands, the Big Buddha, Old Town Phuket, and the infamous Bangla Road. I was swimming in Koh Khai Island in the crystal clear blue waters, surrounded by palm trees and felt the sunshine on my face… I yelled without abandon ”I’m in F$ck!ng Thailand!” Besides the day that my 2 precious and joys of my life were born, this was unforgettable and one of the best days of my life. I remembered my San Fran Golden Gate experience and I felt as though I was dreaming. Ultimate freedom, again. A foreshadowing of what was to come and I had no clue. I’m beyond thankful and grateful for the unknown paths I went on to have led me to the one I am now.
Many people are perplexed or ask me how could I travel alone? Didn’t I want to experience these incredible moments with loved ones? I do experience these moments with a loved one… myself. You must love yourself, you must think you are deserving and worthy and to not consider yourself anything other than a loved one. It all starts with you. Don’t you feel lonely traveling by yourself? Absolutely not, I may be alone but never lonely. I have met and talked to some incredible people from all walks of life and locations while traveling solo. By the time by my tours are done for the day, I am exhausted by the time I go to bed. I am able to wake up to another day, another tour and new faces. I get to completely spoil and pamper myself by doing only the things I want to do, go where I want and dine at whatever food I am craving. I am on my own schedule and not waiting on other people. I am able to get lost in my own thoughts and self reflection. I was able to submerse myself into the country and culture, appreciating the similarities and differences. This is true knowledge by watching, observing and taking in your surroundings.
Solo travel is a way of pushing yourself and your boundaries. It can be a way clearing your mind, opening your heart and fulfull your soul desires. The experience will teach you about life beyond the one your used to. Traveling alone can open doors, help you understand/ appreciate your journey and self discovery. If you’ve done solo trips, I’d love to hear about your experience. Is solo travel something you would do or not?
Thanks so much for taking the time to read parts of world.
~In a world full of pants, be a dress~