In order to find and define ourselves, we often need to get away. What is it about travel that can teach us about true presence?
This spring or summer, heed the call to get out on the open road! Travel can be one of the best ways to give yourself a break, a time for reflection and adventure. Although we often take trips with friends and loved ones, time alone on the road can help calm and center us like nothing else. We can also be more open to new people, adventures, and experiences than we are when we are with loved ones we may see every day. Traveling solo is empowering—if we are used to depending on others, we can feel good about standing on our own two feet, encountering different experiences that may greet us when we are alone. If you’re interested in traveling by yourself, check out these four tips to have an adventurous and profound solo trip this season.
1. Decisions, decisions: what place speaks to your heart?
What place feeds you? What type of landscape nourishes your soul? What are you missing in your day-to-day? Are you looking for stimulation and fun, or quiet and peace? Being in the city versus the country can feed the soul in vastly different ways. Do you thirst for the glitz and glamour of the city, the mystery of the desert, or the open skies and mountain ranges of the wild west? Each place has a wonderfully different vibration, providing inspiration in a vastly different way. And travelling solo means that you have complete choice about where to go.
In planning your trip, follow your heart and your intuition instead of your head. Has a certain type of landscape always spoken to you? Do you get excited or inspired when you hear of the mountains or the beach? Does the siren call of the jungle speak to you? Do you enter a realm of passionate imaginative yearning when you think of New Orleans, or New York City? Give yourself the time and the space to connect with what your inner self and your soul wants. Asking your inner self or higher power where to go and then sitting in stillness and waiting for the answer is a surefire method for figuring out where to travel.
2. Preparation makes perfect.
Although your logical mind can take a back seat for the first step, in preparing for your trip, the logical, rational, sequential mind needs to be driving. In order to have a safe and satisfying experience, you'll thank yourself later if you make sure your car is in tip-top shape, or you have booked a rental—that your house and/or pets are in good hands while you are gone, and that you have a basic plan sketched out for your itinerary. A few weeks before you plan to leave, write out an extensive list of to-dos and to-brings. Checking off a few items on the list each day will prevent you from procrastinating and waiting for the last minute to hurry through preparations.
Alongside these plans, make sure to decide what your budget will be for the trip and ensure that it will be realistic for where you are heading. Not factoring in some funds for fun and entertainment if you are going to Vegas, for example, will put a damper on the trip.
Although last minute, seat-of-the-pants adventures can be fun and worthwhile, to experience the freedom and expansiveness of a more personalized journey, it helps to take care of the practical concerns before you embark. If you are prone to worry and anxiety like I am, you'll find that you'll be more readily able to relax on the road if you have checked and double checked that the practical matters are taken care of.
3. Take off! And go with the flow.
You've selected your destination, made all of your preparations, and you are ready to leave and let go! The sense of safety you attained by going through painstaking preparations will actually give you more of a sense of freedom out on the road. If you think of your plans as a coloring book where you are free to draw outside the lines from time to time, you can use your plans as a launching point for an even greater adventure.
If you stick to your plans and basic itinerary, you'll be able to keep your trip within your budget, keep yourself safe, and allow yourself to meet new people and have new and novel experiences. The best of all worlds!
4. Allow space for reflection and change.
Interacting with different people, places, and landscapes can open us up to new experiences internally. When we travel mindfully we can experience ourselves in a whole new environment. How we react to that environment can give us keen new insights on ourselves. This is the essence of learning from a travel experience. If you keep a journal to record your realizations and reflections, learning from your experience doesn't have to stop with the end of your trip.
Transformation from this type of journey is almost guaranteed, especially if your destination was a place that spoke specifically to you on a personal level. Taking time out from your travel activities to reflect and process your journey can help cement any realizations or new insights you may have gleaned. And when you get home, you can savor the journey all over again when you read your travel diaries!