You guys, I am so excited to start featuring guest Lady Tips on Welcome to Ladyville! As it turns out, my wisdom is finite (so, so finite), so I’m asking some badass ladies I know to share their advice. If you have any insight you’d like to share, please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. For my first guest, I’m so stoked to welcome Mandy!
My name is Mandy, and I blog over at ohdizzle.wordpress.com. I was so flattered that Kerry asked me to share one of my lady tips with you, as I am the master of giving completely unsolicited, invasive advice.
Every so often, a friend will tell me that she has been given a fantastic, cheap opportunity to travel. She found a great fare, or her flight miles need to be used immediately. Or, she’s always had a dream to travel to Fiji learn how to surf, and she just found the perfect surfing school there!
I get excited and start rattling off all my packing tips, but then they stop me and say, “Well, I’m not going. I don’t have anyone to go with.”
Travel is a wonderful thing. You get to see places you’ve never even imagined. Ridiculous, gorgeous foods (and not so good foods) suddenly become a reality in your life. You get to try out new activities, new routines, and maybe even slightly new identities. And you can do all of that by yourself.
I understand that it’s scary to go off on your own, especially when the place you’re going seems completely foreign. What if you don’t understand the locals? What if you get lost? What if, gasp!, you get lonely?
I’m going to be honest with you — all of those things are likely to happen. In my solo travels, I’ve ended up completely lost in the streets of Dublin, I’ve eaten countless meals alone, and I’ve wondered what the heck I was doing while on a small ferry on very rough seas. And you know, it was all worth it.
By traveling alone, you pull on all your inner strengths. No one else is there to help you figure out the subway map, so you do it by yourself. It’s such a self-confidence builder to realize that you don’t always need to ask for help.
Also, you discover the true joys of being quiet and alone. You get to choose where you visit and for how long. You want to spend the entire day in the Louvre? Go for it. No one will be complaining about how hungry they are or how small the Mona Lisa is. Or maybe you want to skip the whole art thing and spend three hours writing at an outdoor cafe while sipping espresso. You can do that too! Every choice is yours to make.
On the flip side of being alone, I find that I make friends more easily when I’m traveling solo. Whether it’s the other tourists in my hostel or locals in the bookstore, you are less intimidating to others when it’s just you instead of traveling in a large, loud pack. You may have to take some of the initiative in starting a conversation, but once you do, I’ll bet you’ll find that people will open up to you.
And yes, there will be times that you may be lonely. But is that the worst thing in the world? Why are we all so afraid of being lonely? I believe that it’s really important to learn how to be still and enjoy your own company. It can be uncomfortable to not be distracted by others and to have to really delve into your own mind and emotions, but you shouldn’t be afraid. Being alone is the time to evaluate your own wants and needs. Those are kind of important things to know, don’t you think?
Traveling with others is amazing and super fun, but when the opportunity comes up, go it alone! You will be shocked at how much you get out of the experience when it’s all up to you. And facing your fear of solo travel? There’s nothing more empowering!
Image via bawkbawkbawk