Because I was scared for a long time.
There was a time that everyone and everything scared me. It was a dark time in my life. I often dreamed of far away places but it was my future self responsible for these fantasies.
I remember the day I decided to travel alone outside the US. The destination was easy to determine. I simply typed into the search engine, “What is the furthest distance in the world from the East Coast of the United States?” The answer was “the southern most part of Australia”
One hour later; I was the proud owner of a roundtrip airline ticket to Bali, Indonesia and Bangkok, Thailand. And there was no way I would be backing out of this solo adventure.
My favorite travel quote is, “Travel far away enough and you’ll find yourself.” I know the answers are inside but I needed to get outside of my comfort zone to start asking the right questions.
There is level of depth that seemed inaccessible to me at that point of time in my life. My marriage was falling apart, I decided to walk away from a high paying corporate job. I decided to invest full time into my artistic and creative side by purchasing a food truck. It needed to be hand painted and I was able to sell my fresh cut fries smothered in my famous sauce.
For many years, I played it safe. A good girl. Living someone else’s dream. It was time for me to experience real freedom and unleash fierce independence as a woman that was ready to explore her true self.
Choosing solo travel as a vehicle for self exploration is a hard core step towards facing fears. Intentionally, I hoped to be in challenging situations to learn more about myself, I treated my first solo trip as an experiment. I was curious how I would react to risky situations and how I would manage my anxiety stepping out of my comfort zone.
The experience was intended to manifest a brand new bad ass version of myself. If I could travel solo for 3 weeks roaming around Indonesia and Thailand without self destructing – I could do anything.
(Balinese Medicine Man in Ubud, who explained that my mind and body was “disconnected.”)
Many well intentioned family and friends warned me of the dangers for a woman to travel solo. Clearly, my destinations are considered off the beaten path and non conventional to the core.
I’d never allow my gender to prevent me from the same freedom as men. I believe there has to be enough good in the world to navigate most situations with assistance. The other reason I wanted to travel alone was to become a blank canvas. For a short time, I wanted to lose all cultural identity. This was in an effort to identify child programming from family, education and experiences and discover lost parts of myself.
Instead of relying on my “pre-programmed” series of usual reactions to situations, I can learn to respond. This environment creates a greater call to action for me to access a brand new response. In order to do this with success, it requires intention, mindfulness and presence.
Without the usual support systems in place, a portal opens to inner spirit. We begin to rely on self and it is a platform to feel empowered. Even just for a few weeks, I wanted to forget who I was. Relying on my home culture was limiting my capacity to take advantage of everything else the world had to offer.
Experiences along my life journey had left me feeling a disconnection between my mind and body. I wasn’t successful in bridging this gap back home. Maybe it would happen in a rice field or wandering the streets of Bangkok at 3 am but I was seeking inspiration and guidance to return back to self.
Many of us in the travel world become addicted to this experience and travel. The word for this is Wanderlust.
Perhaps solo travel is an escape but it doesn’t matter because the result is intended to become the best version of self possible. This can only result in a more peaceful interactions with others and healing to our planet as a whole.