Thursday, January 24, 2019

why you should take a solo road trip... annually

It's been four months since I took my most recent solo road trip... and I'm just now writing about it. I was worried that if I waited, I wouldn't have that same elated feeling that I had when I got back... but going through my pictures is bringing it back and reviving me all over again. 

I've done a solo road trip before; I drove down the California coast when I was going through a break-up or few. It was so therapeutic and life changing in ways that I thought I could never redo a trip like that. 

I was wrong. 

When you travel alone, there are things that happen that have taken me a couple months to really reflect on and realize and now I'm ready to tell you why you should do it. 

Let it be known- it's going to be scary. The days leading up to this trip, it was kinda hard for me to talk about it or plan a whole lot. I didn't know if I was going to be able to do this again. There were a lot of thoughts like "do I really have to do this again?" and "maybe I should just see what friends I can meet up with along the way." The truth is- I could EASILY do it again, and I didn't need any plans, friends, or safety blankets to help me out. 

So, reason #1- You'll conquer some fears. 

When I decided to book this trip, I knew I was in some sort of funk that I needed to kick before I got to the iHeartRadio Music Festival. I've always been proud to be fiercely independent, but after moving in with the bf, I quickly built up a lot of dependency on him. He helps me find everything I lost, calms me down when I'm over-stressing and working myself, and gives me that comfort of not being alone. Somehow I had subconsciously let myself think that I couldn't do things without him anymore. Honestly, this made me hate myself. Of course it's nice to have that person to help you out, but everyone should have some independence in a relationship... and if you're anything like me, you have to find a lot of ways to remain your independent, self serving person while keeping the relationship happy. [Let me know if you have any real secrets or tips for that, btw.] As soon as I had my first meal out and alone, while talking to the bartender, I realized I hadn't "lost myself," she was just put on a back burner. 

Reason #2- You will empower yourself and ignite independence and strength.A lot of people immediately ask "but where do you eat?" when I tell them about a solo trip. What do you mean where do I eat? I eat at whatever bar or restaurant Yelp and Facebook suggest to me, duh. I typically sit at a bar, so I can talk to the bartender, other solo visitors, or my phone. There's no pressure to talk or not talk, but the option is there if you want it. It's brilliant, and far less awkward than it feels when you arrive at a place before all your other friends and you're impatiently waiting on them. The best part- 

Reason #3- You can eat wherever you want. Order as much food or drinks as you want. No splitting checks, and no judgment. 

That "no judgment" thing is big. I think one of the biggest issues people have with solo trips is worrying about what other people will think about them doing everything alone. Let me tell you what they'll think- the same thing you're [probably, hopefully] thinking right now- that's badass. Bartenders high fived me, and fellow hikers offered to help with pictures, then literally applaused or said "oh WOW!!" when they saw I already had the photos under control. [I would set up my GoPro on a tripod, then look at it/control it from an app on my phone.]  People at the hotels and hostels were welcoming and helpful and friendly [although I was a little nervous to tell some of them I was staying alone.. but it ended up being nbd]. When's the last time you didn't care about what people thought about you? Unfortunately, it's not often enough for me anymore.

Reason #4- You'll realize the world really doesn't give a f#@% about what you're doing... and it'll free your mind to also not care about what your self is doing. 

Speaking of other people... when you plan a trip with others, whether it be one or ten other people, you have to plan things with them. Where do they wanna stay? What's their budget? When do they wanna be there or leave or move on? Do they even wanna commit to a trip? It's exhausting. You know what's not?

Reason #5- You get to live on your own time and on your own budget. Your plans can change whenever you want them to. There's no one to answer to. 

Something else that's in your control- what you listen to along the road trip. After reading "my Bible" on my last road trip, I decided to try some books on tape to give me that same feel. [What I didn't realize before this trip is that it wasn't just the book that changed me in California.. it was the whole experience.] I listened to "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck" and "Creativity, Inc" to help revive my brain and give me some real therapeutic thoughts. Maybe you'll want a podcast, or music blasting as you sing along.. or, get all of the above.

Reason #6- The time you'll have with yourself and the road is magical. You can let your mind go wild and the scenery will [hopefully] make it all okay. 

I kept setting my GoPro on the dash because the views were unbelievable. A lot of them are still on my Insta Highlights.

THE ULTIMATE REASON: You will come back invigorated, confident, excited to share everything with everyone you know, and ready to take on anything in this world.

I should clarify why I specifically say road trip and not just any solo trip. When you're alone, you need to stay active so that you don't feel that lonely factor. The more I discovered, the more badass I felt. The more I traveled, the more I learned... about the world and myself. I can't imagine going to a beach resort or one city for a couple days by myself. As much as I love a good drink and meal, I don't want to be drunk trying to explore my way home. I also don't want to just sleep on the beach alone all day. Booorriinnggg.

So my trip started in Denver, went through Utah, and ended in Las Vegas. It was only four days alone, but I wanted at least one or two more by the time I got to Vegas and had to answer to people again. Three days would be enough to get all of this goodness, I think.. and is a fair place to start for those
who are a little worried. And maybe "annually" is a ridiculous goal, but it's what I'm going to aim for. There's no reason for me to put something so beneficial to my life and health off. Maybe it won't always include National Parks, a full week away, a plane ride to my first destination, or my sweet minivan named Bonnie... but I'll always try to make some time for myself.

Now that I've gotten into all of this again, expect some details about each place that I stopped [and all of the amazing places I got to stay as a solo traveler] in the next couple weeks. Maybe you'll be ready to book something for you and yourself by then, too.


1 comment:

Min said...

I love this!!! When I was in sales. I drove up the coast of California one week hitting offices in the morning and the afternoon but the rest of the time I was all by myself. It’s very liberating and I loved getting to know myself. It would be amazing to do that again. ❤️ ~minna