In 26 years I have been to 26 countries, some of those twice even thrice but I have never done a solo trip. After a long 18 months of getting my mental health back on track I made the last minute decision to pick up and leave for a 3 week adventure to New Zealand, solo. I had three weeks between booking to departure and for anyone that knows me this is a big deal. I am someone who likes things organised in advance with hours of planning and preparation, but I did the unthinkable for me and I booked within 2 hours of finding the deal of a lifetime. YOLO right?! After a year and half of rebuilding myself it was time to concrete my progress with a final soul-searching chapter to cement how far I’d come. And did I ever!
On my way to the airport a mini panic attack set in and a rush of silly thoughts overcame me “what are you doing, why did you do this, what if?” This was the first time travel has ever made me nervous, nervous of the unknown and with no travel companion to fall back on. I quickly snapped back to reality of what was happening, I am doing this I told myself and I will never wait for anyone to come with me because I have too much to see in this beautiful world. Don’t hold back!
When you travel solo you learn to embrace all the people, all the places and you truly make the most of all the experiences that lie front of you. One thing I loved is how often I was shut away from social media when wifi or service was not available. At first you crave for the habit of grabbing your phone and at times wanting to show the world all the amazing experiences you’re apart of, but soon shutting away from the tech-savvy world was so incredibly detoxing and the feeling to check your phone constantly passes.
I hiked a freakin’ glacier, jumped into a canyon with a 60m freefall, ziplined through the canopies, hiked and biked. Tested myself and my abilities and was rewarded at every corner in rail, hail or shine. Not every day is the same, there are ups, there are downs but you learn to roll with the punches. You meet amazing people along your journey and you learn to be more capable to do what you want alone and enjoy it. The sense of freedom you get when you travel solo is just different to all the other times I have travelled, I really just felt at peace even when my day started before the sun rose. Imagine just sitting on a picturesque cliff face at sunrise, dancing under a waterfall or taking a morning hike without having to make conversation with anyone.
Traveling alone has become a new part of my reality. I absolutely love doing it and I’ve learned many lessons along the way. The best relationship you can have is the one you have with yourself and this trip gave me the chance to slow down and reflect on many aspects of my life; how far I have come, what I have achieved and the more I want to achieve. I am more self-assured than I have ever been, I know who I am, what I want and I refuse to settle for anything less than I deserve. My spirit has been renewed in the most positive way, I have become more fearless and confident in figuring out things on my own. I don’t want to say I jumped out of my comfort zone, but instead I have stretched its boundaries and my capabilities. Once you take the plunge, you’ll feel a sense of empowerment. A successful solo trip can inspire you to tackle even more things in life you’ve been afraid to try and bring back the beauty of you within the mess.
The journey isn’t about becoming a different person, but loving who you are right now.
FACT: The best stories are found between the pages of your passport.