Last July I booked my first trip overseas by myself. I had traveled alone in the states before, and I had been out of the country with friends and family, but going alone was something I had never seriously considered. I guess prior to booking the trip, I hadn't had enough faith in myself or my ability to venture very far outside of my comfort zone.
Santorini was at the top of my travel bucket list for as long as I could remember. I was in a headspace at the time where I needed desperately to find some sort of inspiration after 4 years in LA. My energy felt stagnant and while I thought my jobs there were fun, I didn't feel incredibly passionate about anything I was doing. I had felt that passion in the past when I was traveling or playing music so I knew I had the capacity to feel it again. I had to listen to my heart... and my heart said Greece. :)
The first two days of being in a foreign country alone were half thrilling, half terrifying. Actually, I'm going to say more terrifying than thrilling. Not only was my brain totally fried from the 26 hours it took me to get there and running around London for a day, but it turns out that attempting to abruptly escape and clear your head can cause an uproar from the voices that you're trying to silence. All of the feelings that I wanted to avoid were magnified by the awareness that I was totally out of my element.. and totally alone.
The silver lining on that uncomfortable cloud was that it helped me to realize some of the things that I was unnecessarily holding onto. What was holding me back from being truly happy? I had to tackle these unwelcome emotions to realize how critical it was for me to let them go. I had to remind myself that while I hadn’t been that far out of my comfort zone in a long time, and It didn't feel good, I would come out a stronger person on the other side, and it would be totally worth it.
By the end of my second day there my jet lag had finally started to wear off and I knew the area around my hotel a little bit, so I started exploring a little bit farther. In LA a lot of my jobs had me talking to hundreds of strangers a day at conventions, so there was no reason I couldn't just use that confidence to talk to strangers in town, right? (I also lived alone in Vegas for 3 months and I would find people who seemed nice and say "Hey, I don't know anyone here, want to be friends?" Some of my closest friends came from doing that.)
The first two days I cried a lot. There was a lot I needed to address in my head and heart. But I ventured out, met new people, explored the island and forced myself to keep going even if I was scared. At the end of the trip I was crying because I had made some incredible friends and conquered so many fears and demons within myself that I wasn't ready to leave! Talk about a total 180.
Now, whenever I book a trip somewhere alone, I'm not scared that I won't be able to handle it. I know that even though I felt absolutely helpless in Santorini, I left feeling empowered and connected to myself and some awesome new people. Those are the feelings I want more of in my life. The more I traveled alone over the last year, the more comfortable I became, and now sometimes I actually prefer it. While there is something to be said about traveling with friends or sharing an experience with someone you love, there is also something so beautiful about leaving everything familiar behind and being fully present with yourself somewhere new.
Has anyone else ever traveled outside of their country alone? What was your experience with your first solo trip? Let me know in the comments..
Love you guys.