There are some places in life where you can only go alone. Embrace the beauty of your solo journey. — Mandy Hale
Entry One. Monday, November 19th, 2018
I catch myself reminiscing about my first (and only) year of college; scrolling through YouTube, looking at people my age traveling the world, making money as they went along, eating amazing vegan food, exploring incredible, exotic cities. All I could think was wow, why is this not my life? How do I get there? How can I become the girl who just wakes up and decides that she’s going to travel the world, just because?
And 2 years later, I find myself exploring Thailand.
Solo-traveling really molds you. Forces you out of your shell. No matter how introverted, or “socially awkward”, or anxious, or shy. There are so many moments that I already look back and smile about because I am not the same person who left to begin this journey. Which is insane to me, because although my past solo-trips were great, none of my affected me quite this much. Perhaps it’s because, in the past, I had a set returned date and knew that it wasn’t permanent.
One thing I’ve noticed is that there is absolutely no pressure to be who you’re not. You’re able to re-develop your self-awareness and attract people into your life who are on the same path. You make these dream-like connections with people all over the world. Deep connections with people who barely even know your first name. And you wonder how that’s even possible until you realize that the how doesn’t even matter.
It really makes home seem so small.
But, that’s one of the reasons why I decided I should travel in the first place. Home is comfort– easy to return to– safe. That’s why I find the idea of exploring the world so captivating; embarking on this journey alone? Exhilarating.
There is such a big world out there, waiting to be explored. It makes the thoughts of returning home when there are so many places left to visit, people to meet, cultures to learn from, love to share, seem like it’s never gonna happen. Or at least not for a very long time. How could I possibly move backward when I’m already so far ahead?
It doesn’t make sense to stay in one place forever. Learn from one group of people, forever. Never extending outside of your own city your entire life? How can we grow this way? It truly feels like a trap. At least to me. A plan created specifically to fabricate my own failure. And of course, everyone has their own battles to overcome, as I’ve definitely had my fair share– but I was so determined to re-write my story, that I was able to create my dreams into my own reality.
Being able to say that I’ve done more for myself on my first 3 days of travel than I have in the past 3 years is crazy to think about. At home, I never could have justified getting a massage and pad thai from a street vendor at midnight (not that it was just a regular thing for anyone to do in Ottawa, dead of winter), or buying chopped mangoes on the side of the road at 2 am in the middle of a foreign city, or spending the entire afternoon in the water with new friends and stranger playing volleyball and taking poolside shots just because? Like… I mean, I don’t even drink, but how am I gonna say no to anything free, and vegan?
It’s amazing how many meaningful connections you can make when you just take your journey into your own hands, let go of expectations, and allow yourself to be unapologetically, compassionately, you. The fact that I’m able to do this while keeping on top of my work, and finally giving myself the time I need to sit and expand my creativity and grow my brand is such a good feeling.
You meet so many people who are living their best lives, so full of love. Whatever that means to them. Many come from regular lives or broken homes and left to try and break the cycle of the typical go to school, get a job, get married, have kids, retire paradigm. Realizing that there is too much to see, to only stay in your hometown. Instead, they’ve decided to drop everything, quit their job (or begin to freelance/ work remotely), and begin to travel the world. While in many cases, so many travelers of whom I’ve already met are being paid to just live. Be their amazing selves. Incredible. Could you imagine if everyone just decided, you know what, now is my time? To travel, to take on a new adventure, to quit your job and move to the other side of the world for a little while. I feel like if I have this much to say about my experience meeting so many beautiful souls in one night, I’m definitely moving in the right direction.
When I was home, I felt stuck. Not moving forward, but at the same time, it made me feel almost worst than moving backward. At least then there would have been some sort of tangible or explainable reason, to the setback. But it was truly just me keeping myself from doing what I knew I could. While I do understand that it is important to have a good bit of savings to fall back on while traveling, there was no need for me to isolate myself as much as I did.
For months, I would stay at home, and deny myself the right to socialize and enjoy life because I was “saving for travel”. Getting too comfortable with being comfortable. I definitely used to be very much a mix between my introverted and extroverted tendencies, but I pushed myself over the edge to the point of complete isolation. It wasn’t healthy and certainly wasn’t fair to myself, having the desire to grow.
Like yeah, I was eating good, practicing yoga every day, journaling regularly, and making an income, which is definitely something to be proud of myself for. But, I also didn’t leave the house unless it was for food, or to *maybe* attend a local yoga class. I was so caught up at trying to “fix myself” and save money before traveling, that I forgot to appreciate and create more meaningful connections with people outside of my own personal bubble. I got too comfortable with being comfortable.
Who knows, maybe I needed to see what isolation was so that I could truly appreciate new company while traveling. Because, of course, you do realize how important it is to enjoy who you are, as no matter how far you travel, you’ll still be taking yourself with you. But, when it comes down to it, it doesn’t mean you’re never supposed to enjoy anyone else’s company at all.
Perhaps it’s because I’ve tried so hard to attract a tribe that I could vibe with, and was so tired of meeting people that didn’t I didn’t share any of the same values with, that I just gave up on the whole city entirely. But abroad? In a new country on the other side of the world? I’ve met more people in the span of 48 hours than I have in years. The connections weren’t forced, I didn’t have to be selective. It just happened.
I found myself falling in love all over again with the idea of being me. Feeling the desire to actually want to know people. It was so liberating.
There is so much to come from this trip, and I’m so excited to share it all with you. Breaking my tendencies to retreat to my corner in order to make new friends, and meet new people. Introducing myself first. Taking more risks. Make sure you check out my brand new Travel Diary One video! So much more to come very soon.
xoxo Herbivore Beauty