To me, solo travel means freedom. It means adventure and uninhibited exploration. And it means opportunity. When I think of trips I’ve taken alone, I think of all the creativity and excitement that came out of being by myself and not having to be responsible for anyone else for a few days.
The inspiration for my first solo trip was a decision to no longer skip destinations because my spouse, friends or family didn’t want to go. As much as I love international travel, I also want to explore all 50 states. For most people, there’s nothing exotic or sexy about places like Idaho, Wyoming, or Utah, but I think there’s beauty everywhere and too many people often overlook what is at home in favor of what is abroad and may get more social media clout. Also, when you live and work with your spouse, solo time is healthy for both partners to maintain individuality within the union.
Speaking of marriage, I have to note the biggest risk I ever took on a trip—leasing a condo in Montreal. My wife and I fell in love with the city on YouTube. We went up for a weekend and ended up leasing a condo. It was one of the most spontaneous and wonderful decisions we’ve ever made. Also, I LOVED the poutine!
It was also the memorable for me personally. I’d never realized the burden of living in a constant state of fear and polarization until I left the states to gallivant in Montreal. I could walk my dog at night alone without distress. There was never a thought that a gunman might enter a private establishment and start a massacre. It’s funny because I was born in Toronto and am a Canadian by birth, but I was raised in the States and completely detached from Canada until a few years ago. The locals were fantastic, and it was refreshing not to worry about random violence, nauseating political discussions. Realizing how much that weighed me down at home was enlightening to say the least.
Traveling alone gives me time to find unexpected inspiration from new people and places. I write for a living—both corporate and creative—so traveling alone gives me time to inject freshness. I think it also keeps me open-minded to people who live differently than me and more empathetic overall even when there is an obvious difference of opinion and belief system.
If you’re thinking about traveling alone, use common sense when it comes to safety, do your research, and just do it. Embrace the chance to live unscheduled and more imaginatively. Use common sense when it comes to safety measures, research your location and locals before you go, and go or it. You’ll be fine. Even if there are hiccups or unexpected challenges, you’ll grow as a person from figuring out how to navigate them on your own.
Cheril N. Clarke is Founder of Phenomenal Writing. You can find more about her here and follow her @cheril.n.clarke.
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