1. Unexpectedness is okay
Some people plan the details of their trip from start to finish. Others don’t plan at all. I like to plan enough to cover the bases, but allow for spontaneity. The most memorable moments for me tended to be the unexpected ones.
I’m also a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and that we meet certain people when our lives are ready for them and they are ready for us. There’s no need to stress. It will play out exactly like it should and everything will be okay in the end.
Let the unexpectedness happen.
2. The freedom to choose
Each day is an empty slate. It’s a blank canvas and you can paint anything you want. You have the freedom to make it beautiful or ugly, boring or amazing. If you want today to be relaxed then you decide it. If you want to make it thrilling, you decide it. It can be as mellow or as adventurous as you want. You get to decide every single aspect of how your day goes.
Embrace the freedom to choose.
3. Time and health
These two things are our most valuable, finite possessions. Once they run out, they run out. You can never get them back. You can’t borrow health from a friend. You can’t ask the universe if you can do rollover minutes. It doesn’t work that way. Sucks right?
I know during my travels I am able to explore and enjoy it because I still have these 2 items. I also know that one day I won’t.
Be very particular about what you do with your time and health.
4. Raw conversations
If you meet the right people you can have the most raw conversations, full of openness and vulnerabilities. You’ll be free to speak your mind without any judgment.
I’ve encountered this a few times while traveling and maybe it’s the fact that we knew in the back of our heads that the likelihood of us meeting again was slim or maybe it’s the fact that we didn’t really know one another in the way our friends and family do so there’s none of the pre-judgments. Whatever it is, in a sea of small talks, it’s refreshing to have raw conversations every once in a while.
We just sat there and shared our stories, beliefs, and dreams until the moon went to sleep and the sun came up. It was amazing. One human connecting with another.
This is a small part of what life should be about.
5. Be who you want to be
Out of sight, out of mind.
Sometimes it’s not a bad idea to keep yourself away from certain people who try to mold you into who they want you to be. They will try to project their dreams onto you and tell you it’s what you want in life. They want to see their dreams fulfilled through you.
Is it selfish of them to do this? Yes. Is it selfish of you to ignore them and do your own thing? Yes. But on your death bed you’re going to have life flash before your eyes. Would you rather it be a life manufactured for you or one you made for yourself?
Once you’re away from all the noise you’ll see more clearly who you want to be. You’ll hear your inner voice much louder when the external ones are muffled.
Listen to that voice it knows you the best. It always have and always will.
6. You’ll learn quick
There’s a sense of safety when you do things in places where you’re most comfortable. You know there are people who will help you and bail you out in tight situations, but when you’re alone in a brand new world with all familiar faces being thousands of miles away, you have no choice but to learn each mistake quickly.
Take a wrong turn? After being lost for hours, you’ll learn. Got scammed? You’ll never forget it. Ate something that turned your stomach upside down? You’ll definitely remember that one.
There’s no need to be afraid because you’ll learn. You’ll always learn. And eventually the scary unknown will become the not so scary familiar and you’ll be fine all over again.
7. Discover who’s important
While being away for long periods of time you’ll have the occasional slow moments. These are moments where you’re lying there staring at the blank ceiling thinking to yourself. You’ll start to see who you really think about during these quiet times. You’ll see who’s still there by your side (figuratively).
At home we’re always surrounded by a lot of people. Most will come in and out. Some will stay a bit longer. Some will revisit later in the future. Not all of them will be good for us. And to be frank, most of them will not play important roles in our lives and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
The people who matter will understand you and will always be there to the very end.
8. Enjoy your own company
Actually for this one I’ve always been somewhat of a loner (surprise right?). I prefer to do things off on my own, but I know there are others who constantly need people in their lives. Traveling solo gives you a chance to learn to appreciate your own company. Enjoy time with yourself, with your own thoughts, and the fact that you can actually have a good time despite being by yourself.
If you can’t enjoy your own company how are other people suppose to? If your thoughts in your private moments are negative, make a conscious effort to change that.
It takes time, but it’ll get there.
9. Appreciate fear
It was scary for me to step out of the airport and not recognize a single character on the buildings, a word being spoken, and anyone for that matter. But I stood there, paused, and took a breather. I soaked it all in. The nerves. The fear. The excitement. I then realized, “Hey I’m still here. I’m still okay.” Fear quickly went away and I was just happy.
A lot of times we let thought scare us more than anything. Isn’t it funny how something that doesn’t even exist can paralyze us so much from doing something?
We automatically assume we won’t be able to pull it off. We surrender to the fearful idea before even starting. How many life-changing opportunities were never fulfilled because of this?
Let fear enter. Experience it. Appreciate it for what it is. Then let it go and take action.
10. All downs are temporary
If you think traveling alone is 100% rainbows and butterflies, you’re going to be in for a shock. This silly, roller coaster life of ours have so many ups and downs sometimes it’s so thrilling it makes my toes curl. Other times the downs are so bad it makes me sick to my stomach. But those down moments are those evil necessities. How can we appreciate an up moment if we never met a down one?
All downs are followed by an up. Every. Single. Time. Sooner or later, there will be an up. Don’t question it. Just believe it. The secret to getting through the bigger, longer downs is to really grasp this belief and ride it out until that next up comes.
11. The right people
We can’t help the cards we are dealt. We can’t control the environment and people we received from the beginning. We do our best and make the most of it. We connect with them because they’re there. We’ve known them for years from the same neighborhood, school, and work. It’s living life on the default settings.
Then one day you travel and meet strangers outside of your normal life by happenstance and out of the blue you click with them effortlessly. You connect so much more naturally and deeply. All of a sudden it’s like life’s settings were tweaked and personalized just for you.
These are the right people. They’re out there all over the world. And when you bump into them you’ll know right away.
Seek to find the right people. Don’t just settle for the ones given to you.
12. Look pass the container
I’ve always had this idea that our bodies are these containers for who we really are inside. Soul, spirit, consciousness, mind, it’s many names for the same thing. Learning to see pass the container and beyond race, gender, occupational titles, lifestyles, looks, etc. and seeing a person for who they really are at their core is how you can learn to love and appreciate another human being despite the superficial.
Having been around all types of people during my journey, I have learned to look pass these barriers. Is it always easy? Nope. But I still make a conscious effort.
Try it sometime. You’ll be surprised what deep insight a child may have or what wisdom your Uber driver may know.
13. Happiness is subjective
Everyone’s definition of happiness is so different. It took me a really long time to understand this. I couldn’t figure out why anyone would want to live a simple life. Why not live boldly? Do big things? Try new things and explore every nook of the world? Isn’t that a much more rich and fulfilling life?
As it turns out, not necessarily. Each person has already placed a priority on certain factors they see as valuable for their own lives. For me, those ideas listed are high priorities, but for someone else it might be the exact opposite and I had to learn that that’s okay.
Figuring out what makes your soul tick is 100% your responsibility. There’s no need to force anyone to adopt to another’s version of happiness as one size definitely does not fit all.
I figured out my happiness for now, maybe it will change with time. Have you figured out yours?
14. It’s all made up
Your neighbor is making it up. Your siblings, your parents, your boyfriend, girlfriend, boss, world and religious leaders–everyone is making it all up as they go along. No one really has this life thing figured out.
We think we should go to school, get good grades, get a good job, get a house, get married, pop out a kid or two, watch them go through the same process then rinse and repeat for the next generation and the next. But it doesn’t work like that. The time’s constantly changing. The world’s so complex and life’s so mysterious.
Like happiness, there’s no one size fit all and the cookie cutter life isn’t going to work for everyone.
Ultimately, no one knows how it should be done. There is no right or wrong way to live your life.
15. The world’s a mirror
Have you ever noticed that whatever you give out to the world, you’ll get back in return? Showing a little bit of negativity or sass? You better prepare for some salt coming your way. Showing genuine care and appreciation? Get ready to be pampered right back.
Life’s funny like that. I mean, people are funny like that. We like people who are nice to us. We naturally become nice to them in return. We feel what people dish out.
The world’s one big, shiny mirror reflecting the vibes we’re sending out.
“You give hate to the world, it will give you hate back. You give love to the world, it will give love back. You give happy to the world, it will give you happy back.”
-a random monk
These are a few things I picked up along my travels. I’m sure I’ll pick up a few more. What do you think? Have you ever travelled solo and experienced any life lessons?
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