September 25th, 2017
This past Spring I had a longing for the West, so I decided to load up my truck and head for the mountains. I spent some time in Coloroda, then took the scenic route home through Wyoming and South Dakota. A few months later I made the trip back to my birthplace of Sweden, to visit family and explore my homeland. These trips had a huge impact on my life, so I wanted to share a few things I learned from traveling alone- both cross country and overseas:
1. It’s Freeing. Not having to worry about when someone else wants to stop, or eat, or pee. You can listen to the same song 27 times in a row if you want to, just because. You can sing at the top of your lungs with no judgment. There is no indecisive back and forth about where to eat or what to do. It’s all up to you.
2. As nice as it is to travel alone, there are times you might wish someone was with you . Especially if you are a woman. Something as simple as getting into an elevator with a stranger, for example, can make you think twice when you are alone. You might find yourself watching your back as you enter your hotel room, or holding your wallet closer walking down the street. But aside from the security that comes with having a travel companion, there may be times you wish someone was there for the experience as well. Times when you might say out loud “Did you see that?” Or “Isn’t that incredible?” But no one is there to take it in with you. That brings me to my next lesson….
3. You will learn to love your own company . While sharing experiences with someone else can be special, there is also something to be said about going it alone. You can appreciate the steps you took to get where you are, and you get to take full responsibility for the moment you are in and the attitude you have towards it. You can always share the photos with others later, even though they hardly do justice. But that means you kind of got the beauty of that moment all to yourself, too. And that can be pretty special!
4. Be prepared to rethink your life, even if it's only for a day. Going wherever you want, doing whatever you want to do, without the influence of someone else might make you think about the rest of your life. Are you making decisions for yourself or for someone else? Are you where you want to be, doing what you want to do? Being empowered, even for a short time, might just filter into the rest of your life. And that’s good.
5. When you do return home, you will have a new appreciation for everyone and everything. As freeing as some time alone can be, it is always good to see some familiar faces. You will appreciate the people who love you, who were concerned about you, who can’t wait to hear your stories. If you’re anything like me, you’ll also appreciate that fact that you made it home safely. Maybe your travels make you want to sell everything you own and never return. Or maybe they were just a much needed break from the stresses of life, not necessarily the place you live. Either way, nothing helps you to appreciate what you have until you are without it for a while.
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