Traveling alone was something that I might have wanted to attempt, but never something I thought I could do. Key word: could.
I always held on to self-limiting beliefs that prevented me from trying new things because I was either too afraid to be alone or believed that I wasn’t capable. But now, I feel like it is something that I can scratch off my bucket list. Learning how to travel by myself has been one of the most memorable and liberating experiences.
Back in November 2021, my business partner, colleagues, and friends surprised me with a round-trip ticket and a fully booked Airbnb to Honolulu, Hawaii for my 32nd birthday. Not knowing what to expect, I was very confused and curious as to why I was handed a piece of paper for a birthday gift. Of all the gifts, I sure wasn’t expecting paper.
When I opened the letter that contained my flight ticket to paradise, I was in complete awe. I felt shocked, excited, and scared all at the same time. It was never easy to get to travel because I have always had a physically demanding job. So receiving this gift meant so much more to me.
Not only did I learn how to travel alone, I also learned how to be present and truly experience being alone. It truly is a life hack.
Here are the 6 Lessons I learned:
- Do not be afraid.
Being scared to venture out may be more in your head than not. At least, for me it was.
I am an over-thinker and an over-worrier. I tend to indulge in catastrophic thinking more often than not because I’m afraid to step out of my comfort zone. I feel like I’m wired to expect the worst, although I have been actively trying to re-wire my thoughts lately.
Maybe because I was already told that Hawaii was a safe place for women to travel alone, I surprisingly found myself quite comfortable. But, I had to teach myself not be afraid to go eat at a restaurant or that tiki bar alone, explore the Waikiki strip, go to the Diamond Head Crater hike, or talk to whoever crosses your path.
2. You are capable. You can do it.
Self limiting beliefs are in your head.
You can figure out how to rent a car. You can figure out how to get around the island by yourself. You can be alone. You can go into a restaurant and eat by yourself. You can explore by yourself without depending on anyone else. You can plan adventures. You can have fun by yourself.
3. Be adventurous.
Opportunities like this don’t come too often. At least for me it hasn’t.
Working a completely different schedule from everyone else doesn’t present you with much options to travel together. Having felt confined for so long, I was scared but so excited to be adventurous and take part in outdoor activities. Back home, I wouldn’t go on adventures alone, I would wait for friends to go with.
But once I was given this ticket to go, I was fully able to apply; When life gives you lemons, go make lemonade. When you’re given the opportunity to go to a different state or country, you gotta go experience it. You need to break out of your shell and take advantage. Or else, you may look back and regret not having done so when you could’ve. So just get out there and just do it.
4. Be open.
Being open to trying different things and staying present in the moment changed my life in so many ways. I learned how to enjoy the moments regardless of what was going around in my surroundings. I learned how to really enjoy exploring the environment, hole in the wall places, or even just exploring how I dealt with myself.
Be open to talk to the people out there and be open to new experiences. You don’t know what kind of people you meet and experiences you may go through without being open.
5. Be mindful and aware of your surroundings.
One negative thing about traveling alone was the deep fear of losing your only line of connection.
When you’re traveling alone, you find yourself not having anyone to rely on in the case of an emergency. I found myself holding on to my lifeline, my phone. It was how I was going to get back home, rent a car, plan my day, map the city, and call my friends or family if I missed them or was in need of help.
Learn to let go a little bit but make sure to be mindful and be aware of your environment. Never put yourself in a situation where you cannot pull yourself out of.
6. Learn More About Yourself
Before traveling, I never knew what kind of traveler I was. I also didn’t know that I had no problem being by myself, but rather preferred to be solo. As a repercussion of getting older, it becomes harder to keep up with others that you don’t find yourself vibing with. Your tolerance for people and nonsense wears thin.
I didn’t know how I would act in certain situations, but I also didn’t realize how frustrated I got when I felt like I wasn’t making the most out of my time. I have yet to explore if that is actually a good or a bad thing, but it made me realize how much I valued productivity. Life is about growing with each day, and if you’re not learning and becoming a better version of yourself, what’s the point?
Fast forward to my present situation back at home, I am much more aware about myself, and specifically what drives me or prevents me from wanting to accomplish more.
If I had not put myself out there to experience the things I wanted to, I wouldn’t have grown more confidence in myself and grown from it. So my advice to people contemplating booking that flight out, Go and do it.