#followmeto #takemethere #wewentthere #takemeaway the hashtags on social media are full of these & more. And while I do appreciate the beauty of these accounts & the photos & places they are visiting. I've been inspired by those posts before, the beautiful girl holding hands to her equally as handsome love headed in the direction of something incredible. It's made headlines through social media in the last few years. And while I do admire the photos and the places these couples are visiting, who's to say that you can experience that kind of moment out there on your own? What about #takeyourselfthere? What about experiencing some of the seven World wonders on your own and embracing the moment for everything it is & maybe even more because you did whatever you needed to do to get to that specific place/moment. I'm all for travel with friends & family or significant others or all of the above. I've done my fair share of travelling with friends before and I loved it. That being said I also love travelling on my own, and it's a completely different experience.
The first time I went on a trip I went big. I was going to Australia on a one year working holiday visa intending to stay there for the whole 12 months (or more if I could manage it). It had been my dream 10 years in the making & I couldn't believe it was really happening..and then I started to doubt my going alone. Then through Facebook of all things I managed to connect with an old coworker/acquaintance who seemed interested in going to Australia too & before I knew it 6 months later were on a plane together headed to the land Down Under. And just as quickly as we headed off together things went south. This person & I had only worked together for a few months back in Montreal and bonded over our hatred of the job & love of hockey but that was really all we seemed to really have in common with each other. Her vision of the trip & mine were in no way similar - I dreamed of exploring every nook and cranny of a place whiles she was keeping a little black book of conquests from every town we stopped in. Needless to say we were in 2 very different mindsets. With the final straw being her stating that "Australia would always be here so if I have to go home, then I have to go home". That crushed me, sure it would be there still if I wanted to return but given one opportunity to visit a country for a whole year after a decades worth of dreaming of it? That wasn't my mindset. And so within a few weeks of travelling together we went our separate ways. Then my trip really began, I started meeting more people, making more plans & enjoying my time a lot more.
The trips I've taken since that first one nearly 4 years ago have mostly been solo. I've taken myself to far off places, and experienced countries & cultures I'd never dreamed of because I wanted to. Sure now & again I have the urge to invite someone along on my wanders, and sometimes I do - and it's amazing. We have the best time, we have new memories to look back on & I have a great time. However, I never feel as if a trip I was planning wouldn't happen because such & such a person wouldn't be able to come. Which isn't the way I felt prior to my trip to Australia. To be completely honest I hadn't traveled much before 2010, and if I did I was going on a road trip or vacation with a friend. Then in 2010 I moved across Canada to Alberta on my own and aside from that I still kept taking trips with the new friends I was making there. Solo travel wasn't really on my radar, I didn't think I would like it. Then Australia happened and I realized I was pretty okay with the whole going it alone thing. Fast forward almost 2 years after that & I found myself with not one but two 1-way solo flights to Central America & New Zealand. It was something that I found out I was more than okay with. I was excited by the thought of going off on an adventure on my own. And now? It's just second nature. I'm not long haul travelling at the moment but I'm still doing as much weekend travel as I possibly can & a few other holidays in between to keep me going .
So what am I trying to express here? Go. Just go. Don't worry so much (if you are ) of finding that perfect travel partner & making sure they have the best time. Be selfish. Make sure that YOU have the best time. Make sure that you're going to a place because you want to, and because you've dreamed of it. #Takeyourself. Plain & simple. And if you do that and dislike every single second of it, then so be it - solo travel isn't for everyone. But I can almost promise that even if you don't enjoy it as much as I do, you'll come away from it having learned something about yourself. Trust that you can make the plans, book the flights, catch the buses, meet people & take that great photo (get creative). You deserve to do something for yourself, so why not take yourself on an incredible trip somewhere...
‘When you’re traveling with someone else, you share each discovery, but when you are alone, you have to carry each experience with you like a secret, something you have to write on your heart, because there’s no other way to preserve it.” – Shauna Niequist