(originally posted on everything i did)
I love being by myself. I mean, I do truly love hanging out with friends, but I treasure my alone time to think and reset. I’ve traversed the states by myself, solo hiked through Southern California deserts, and as I’ve gotten older (and braver!) I’ve broadened my on-my-own adventures across the sea.
As I reflect on the past few days I recently spent in a Costa Rican beach town, here are my tried and true travel tips for the solo traveler. Happy travels!
Dream up an adventure. Make a plan. Pack your bags. Go. Toss the plan. There are some definite perks to being on your own and you won’t have to check to see if anyone else is interested before stopping in at that silly roadside shop. Or stopping to pee. Again. Traipsing the globe (or your own state or your own town) is a wonderful way to get to know yourself, practice trusting your intuition, and see what the world’s all about.
Go on the exciting once-in-a-lifetime-excursion. Sit with a new friend at mealtime. Taste the local faire. Trust others. Saying “yes!” or “sure, I’ll give that a try” while you’re away opens up the doors for possibility, understanding, discovery, intrigue, inspiration, and something/someone/everything you’ve never even heard/dreamt/thought of.
On second thought, don’t eat those fried-in-who-knows-what-and-why-does-it-have-seven-legs delicacies. And don’t take that shot of tequila just because the smooth talking fellow-traveler bought it for you. And don’t go to that too-advanced yoga class just because it’s on the beach at sunset and the hottie from breakfast invited you. Set some boundaries. Find your limits. Trust yourself.
Whether you’re feeling the lag of the jet or just think those hammocks look inviting, give yourself permission to stop, drop, and do nothing. Release that FOMO (fear of missing out) attitude and just BE. Allow the expectations of your daily life drip off your shoulders.
After you’re done doing nothing, get up and get going for at least part of your day. See the sights. Walk in wonder. Experience the world. This is what you came for.
create a little routine
Before you take off, take a few moments to set some intentions for your trip. Why are you going? What’s the purpose for the getaway? As always, it’s a good idea to set intentions based on how you’d like to feel, rather than on what you hope to achieve (this is where intentions and goals differ). Do you hope to feel adventurous? Relaxed? Inspired? These driving desires will help you choose activities that will incite these feelings. They can also help you create a little routine for your time away, which can be especially helpful if you’re in a new place with different customs and flavors and smells. For me, this looks like journaling in the morning, yoga each day, walks in nature, down time for reading, and seeking out nourishing food.
remember why you're there
Set some intentions for your return. If there are some specific reasons you set out on your own, how do you want things to change when you go back to where you began? But don’t think too hard! Let “being away” work its magic.
bring a good book
An actual book. I mean, this is just good advice for life. Airport. Airplane. In line at the ATM. On the train. A book is always there for you. And it’s tradable with other travelers!
call your mom
Or dad. Or trusted friend. Let someone know you’re okay. Whether you’re running away or just getting away, there is surely someone wondering if you made it safely and if you’re feeling free and happy. This is also a decades old fix for when you’re feeling a bit too alone or a tad out of place.