People always talk about “finding yourself” through travelling. You know what I mean – someone sets off with a bag on their back and comes back a whole new person. Life is different afterwards, they say. You see the world differently.
My First Solo Trip
When I took my first ever solo trip I did so with a plan; but not the one you’re thinking.
I wanted to show the world I could do It. I’m not sure I ever knew what It was, but I was going to do it anyway.
Fresh out of high school and ready to Prove Myself I slung my bag on my back and waved goodbye to a teary father at the airport;
He’s crying because I’m growing up, I recall thinking.
My first night in Mexico City saw me falling asleep to the sound of gunshots. I think this was purely incidental – but boy, at that point I was just about ready to call it quits there and then. I’m glad I didn’t because those few months put a perspective on life that I can’t describe.
Whoever came up with the saying ‘it’s a small world’ was kidding themselves.
It’s a giant world. A giant world with endless opportunities to grow and learn and experience and simply be.
This is not something you can realise until you’re on the other side of the world, falling asleep, thinking about the obscure little market you discovered today, wondering how many other cool places like that exist.
Solo traveling made me realise that it’s okay to do what I love doing.
More importantly, that it’s okay to do me. When you travel alone you get to spend the days exploring (or not) as you choose. You spend so much time with yourself that it becomes almost a little uncomfortable, and in being so, you learn how to become comfortable. You learn how to be you.
What I Learned About Finding Yourself
When we travel, we get lost. Both literally and figuratively. Without the constant bombardment of outside influences that characterise our every-day life it’s so much easier to get lost in yourself – to explore yourself. Being quite young, I found myself doing this perhaps a little more than others might, and I came to know myself more intimately than I ever imagined I would.
Ironically, as much as I set out with the aim of proving myself to the world, I never imagined I would come back having proven myself to me! Incredibly, I returned home so much kinder to myself. I knew myself, knew my limits and finally knew how to love myself.
I found that while I have wandering feet, they will always wander home. At first I felt almost a little guilty about that: “I’m not a real traveler…” I thought, but then I came to see that that was just me.
Home is where the heart is, and the heart is all over the world, but needs to recoup, back on home soil, sometimes.
I found that I am who I am, and I’m okay with that. I found me. It may sound lame and cliche, but the truth is, you really do find yourself when you travel solo.
So my advice to you, if you have the opportunity, is to go forth and adventure! Find your passions and your dreams. Find your muse and your joy. Most importantly, find you.
If you enjoyed this post you might like Georgia’s tips on travelling on a shoestring.
Georgia Geary also writes a Beauty & Lifestyle blog Student Makeup Struggles.