Have you ever thought about going on a trip all by yourself? It sounds kind of terrifying. But if you’re like me, in the back of your mind, you kind of feel this nudge to do it. I’m here to tell you that I finally took the plunge and it was so empowering that I want to urge everyone to take a solo trip at least once!
^Rooftop hangs with my girl Alyssa of Runway Chef.^
Back in May, my husband was scheduled to head to the Kentucky Derby with friends for a bachelor party. Naturally I just assumed I would stay home and have some “me time”, but at the last minute I was like “wait, why should he have all the fun?!” and booked a trip to New York City on a whim. A solo trip had been something I’d wanted to do for years, but I always psyched myself out and let fear get the best of me. I didn’t think I was independent enough, I was afraid I wouldn’t know what to do with my time, and I worried because Matt is my favorite travel partner. Would I be able to entertain myself for a weekend? Would I get lost? Who would handle all the details? etc etc etc.
Taking that chance on myself rewarded me in ways I couldn’t have imagined. It was the ultimate compliment I could give myself: “You’ve got this. You will have fun and you will figure it all out on your own”.
That weekend I truly felt like my best self. I felt empowered and capable as I came up with plans and navigated the subway. I called a few friends who live in the city and was able to make plans to get together. And best of all, I came home in the best mood and felt like I was able to give that best self to Matt. Sometimes time away from the people and things we love is just what we need to put everything in perspective.
^Kendall of Styled Snapshots was my first blog friend and we’ve remained friends over the years – she’s a gem!^
Why you should take that solo trip
- Go at your own pace | Traveling with people is great, the memories made are priceless but the truth is, when you travel with other people it gets chaotic. When traveling by yourself, you can stay at that museum as long as you want or just breeze on through, not having to consider the pace everyone else wants to go. Linger over lunch, pop into random shops that catch your eye, go the long way to your hotel – it’s a luxury to go at your own pace!
- Leave room for the spontaneous | Another benefit to traveling alone? You can change the plans as many times as you want and can even leave the entire agenda open! You might meet some cool people at your hotel or out at a coffee shop and when they ask if you want to make plans for later, you can say yes and might just have the best time! That’s the beauty of being on no one’s schedule but your own. When you aren’t married to a plan or having to consider anyone else’s desires, you have the ability to entertain any adventure that comes your way.
- Challenge yourself | You may surprise yourself to learn you can do just fine on your own. We get so used to relying on other people for various things and forget that we can do them ourselves. We need to challenge ourselves to learn new skills or practice ones that have gotten rusty. Be your own hero. You might feel uncomfortable for a few minutes as you stare at the subway map trying to figure out how it works, but the accomplishment you feel when you get off at the right stop and walk up that staircase is something you’ll want to bottle up.
- Grow in gratitude | Without a doubt, traveling alone will make it very obvious where you normally rely on someone else and seeing sites on your own might make you wish someone was there with you. You will come home with a newfound gratitude for the comforts you became accustomed to on previous trips and life at home. This one was the biggest thing I learned on my trip. It was one of the most fun trips and I was so proud of myself navigating the weekend all by myself, but coming home to my husband was so sweet and I realized all the ways he makes traveling (and life in general) so amazing.
- Don’t put your life on pause because you’re waiting for someone to share it with | I hope this one speaks for itself, but don’t do that to yourself. Don’t let self-doubt keep you from your wants and dreams.
Where to go?
One of the hardest parts about booking a solo trip is the very first step: picking where to go. It can be hard when you start thinking of places, but know you’d rather see them with your boyfriend, or you worry there won’t be enough things to do by yourself, etc. For someone who has never gone on a solo trip before, I would recommend choosing one of two types of trips:
- A place you’ve been before. I chose a place I’d already been to before so that I didn’t feel like I needed to do “all the things”. Rather, I was just strolling and seeing what interested me along the way and calling friends when I was in their neighborhood to see if fate would have it that they were free!
- An experience. If you plan your trip around an experience, then you will not be so nervous about going to a new place because you won’t have as much down time. For example, a ski trip, skydiving, a camp or retreat, or even a trip that has been pre-planned by an agency. You’ll still reap the benefits of going some place on your own but won’t have to worry about every single detail of how to spend your time.
^Called up my best friend from high school when I was in his neighborhood and met up 10 minutes later. Love that about NYC.^
Have you ever been on a solo trip? If so, what was your experience? If not, would you consider it?!