There is something so beautiful and gratifying about traveling by yourself. Travel has always been such a big part of my life but I will admit it was never something I wanted to do alone. I always thought that it was never fun to travel alone; that going on an adventure with another person or a group of people is always more fulfilling than going it alone. And then I found myself in a position where I had no choice but to travel alone and figure out how I was going to spend the week. A friend and I had planned a trip to Thailand which I was very excited about. It was a very last minute trip and we had nothing planned but our flights. But we were excited because my friend had been there before and we knew how easy (and cheap) it was to do things on the fly in Thailand. I mean we didn’t even have a hotel booked for when we landed! It really was one of those “let’s just figure it out when we get there” trips. Unfortunately, the night before we were supposed to leave my friend got very ill and wasn’t sure she was going to be able to make it. I remember going to bed the night before thinking that I was going to end up in Thailand alone. I just had this pit in my stomach that things were not going as planned and I was about to embark on a week long solo journey through a country I had never visited before. I remember still being hopeful that my friend would be able to join but also mentally preparing myself for the fact that I was headed out into the unknown on my own.
Sure enough 5am the next morning came and I was getting ready to head off to the airport when my friend’s husband messaged me saying that she wasn’t going anywhere. In that moment, I took a deep breath and said to myself “Ok lets do this”. And just like that I headed out, on a true adventure, just me myself and I. I was excited as I’d never been to Thailand before but I was also terrified. I had never really traveled anywhere for an extended period of time by myself. I boarded the plane thinking “Wow, I don’t have anywhere to go when I get there.” I had researched a few places the day before and earlier that morning but nothing booked. Luckily, I had a short layover in Dubai and told myself that I was not allowed to board the plane to Thailand until I booked a place. Procrastination at its finest. Yet there was something exciting about not having much of a plan and just going with the flow. I researched a few places, compared prices and within 15 minutes I had a place to go in Thailand! As I settled into my resort, I couldn’t help but feel this sense of accomplishment for actually going there on my own but also freedom. Freedom to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted without having to wait for anyone or anything. I was on my own schedule and my own timetable.
There is something invigorating about having that kind of freedom and it is a feeling I will never forget. I walked along the beach, taking in the sun and the sand of Phuket and all the stressors leading up to that moment all seemed to wash away. It was in that moment that I decided that I wasn’t going to worry about what comes next. I was simply going to enjoy the moment and take it day by day. It is remarkable the things you learn about a city and yourself when you don’t have the safety net of a plan. It forces you to get out there, explore the unknown and let go of all your fears/inhibitions. I knew of a few places I wanted to visit and knew that I was overdue for some much needed R&R. That alone was all I really needed to set myself up for some of the best 10 days I have ever had. While I still like traveling with other people and would never say no to it, I am a full believer in traveling alone. My excursion through Thailand was something I will never forget. It pushed me to new limits and new heights. It made me realize that we all spend so much time worrying about the things we can’t control that we end up missing out on some of the greatest things right in front of us. Sometimes all we need is a mental break and traveling somewhere unknown by yourself can be the exact break you are looking for. It may not be for everyone, I get that, but I wonder if we convince ourselves it’s not for us simply because we are scared. It’s crazy to me how often we overlook the ways life is trying to push us to our limits. We get so wrapped up in the day to day of our lives, we forget to take chances and push ourselves to be better versions of ourselves.
Traveling alone can be one of those outlets that allows us to push ourselves all while taking in a new city and culture. I never knew how much I was actually capable of until I moved to London and Thailand was another one of those experiences that pushed me even further out of my comfort zone. At the end of the day, I am a better person because of it. It all reminds of that famous saying: what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I’ve always believed this to be true but ending up in Thailand alone, with no plan and just a suitcase really brought this saying to life for me. It’s brought about this feeling of being limitless which was something I had never experienced in this form. It forced me to let go of all my inhibitions, find my way around and make new friends in the most unlikely places/situations. It even brought me to closer to an acquaintance of mine that is now a dear friend. I think it’s important to give ourselves time and space to breathe it all in. Remember there is a great, big world out there waiting for us to explore it and if we are lucky stake a claim in part of it.