Solo Traveling: Lessons Learned About Self Discovery | Tips & Other Magic Potions – By Pascale Chemali
Spoiler alert: there are no magic potions and it might get a little bumpy, but let’s face it, themed parks are no fun without their roller coasters. This article is not a quick fix into self discovery but rather a little crack to let the light in.
If you’re traveling alone soon, whether it be to study, to work, to relax on a vacation, you’re bound to face a moment of introspection and it’s up to you and what you make of it. I spent a year abroad to pursue my masters. Let me rephrase that. I spent a year abroad stepping outside my comfort zone, facing my fears, and becoming my own best friend. Here’s what I learned, hopefully you’ll find it relatable. If not, that’s okay. If you made it this far, you’re still in denial, and that’s okay too.
Your Travel Checklist – Revised
- The voices inside your head telling you: don’t do it! These are always fun to bring along. They’re ready for your trip even before you start packing. Bring them along: your uncertainties, fears, insecurities, self-loathing. Even if you’re hiding them, they’ll manage to pop up in your daily conversations, commutes, and decisions while alone.
- Your goals and dreams. Aww… How fairytale like. Seriously though, knowing that your days have a bigger purpose than what you’ve set them out to be will scare you for all the right reasons.
- Courage. My favorite item to pack. This always comes in handy for the moments when you feel like packing and going back home, or any place that’s familiar because it’s easier.
An honorary mention goes to one main thing you should leave behind: people’s noses in your business. You’ll thank me later.
Tip #1: Take a Lot of Pictures
In no way, shape, or form will we discuss selfies. They’re cute and definitely important if you don’t have the equipment. They’re proof that you’ve been to places and are also a great reminder of the state you were in while taking them. However, let’s take it a step further. Take lots of pictures of places, food, strangers, new acquaintances, and moments.
Do it for yourself, not for the gram. Of course you can do it for both; there’s nothing wrong with that. At the end of the day you should and would want to express yourself through pictures. Go for it! This being said, be daring in your shots. Don’t be afraid of asking strangers to take candid photos of you too. There are no rules for this one; it’s a matter of capturing times that made you feel something, good or bad, it made you feel something, and that’s what matters. One day you’ll look back at them and be reminded of the time where you gave yourself the chance to explore, break-free, and put your well-being first. Be yourself and let your hunger for adventure radiate within you.
Tip #2: Get Lost Trying to Find Yourself
Both figuratively and literally. I remember so many times where I didn’t even recognize myself looking in the mirror. I was scared of being alone, which later turned into a fear of being lonely, which was something I frequently felt even while surrounded by a sea of people. Be present in that moment, give it a good cry, a nervous laughter, but don’t let it consume you.
Don’t forget, you might be coming from a very dark place, with societal pressures, family responsibilities, and toxic friendships or relationships, or you might have been simply living a very safe life. Either way, you’re in for the shock of your life, and this is where you need to get lost literally. Discover new places, avoid tourist attractions, take a random metro stop and walk around. You will feel inspired and left with a good sense of relief looking at people going on with their daily routine. You’ll also realize that things that used to bother or worry you simply don’t anymore. That’s not all, the best part is when you figure out how you become your very own best friend and companion: taking yourself on dates, doing things that make you happy, being creative in your alone time in a way that challenges your skills and mindset.
Tip #3: This is Just the Beginning
This article was never about a picture-perfect story of a journey towards the ultimate self-esteem and self-discovery. It’s about the little real, raw, and fragile things I experienced and wanted to share in the hopes of making someone’s journey slightly more exciting and memorable, not just for the books and the stories, but for the remaining days of their lives. Why? Because after the long trip comes real life. A life that is full of judgemental, superficial, and impatient people who’ve been sucked into the work-sleep pattern. Which is why it’s important for you to remind yourself while solo-traveling the real scenario begins after you’re done figuring yourself out.
What’s your tip for self discovery while traveling alone?
About the Author
Pascale is a digital content creator, English, French, and Arabic copywriter and scriptwriter who has a soft spot for a plane ticket and an exciting destination. Working in the fields of advertising and digital marketing, she made sure to dedicate a good amount of time for road trips and travel experiences away from social media oversharing, a place she’s familiar with due to the nature of her work.