Guest Post: I see France.
Yesterday was a bit rainy, but I survived another Valentine’s thanks to a pedicure, a few writing assignment deadlines, a venti chai tea, and MAC Ruby Woo.
Ever thought of traveling by yourself but the thought scared the crap out of you? My dear Carly from the blog the day to follow your heart shares why we should all get on board. Alone.
I’m feeling pretty successful in my solo adventure to Calgary. What is it besides an extended vacation?
This time of year marks so many anniversaries in my life. It’s for good reason that I celebrate February as my favourite month of the year. It has been six years now since I did the single best thing I’ve ever done for myself. After a lifetime of dreaming about all things French, I got bored of waiting for a partner in travel and boarded a flight by myself.
Visiting Paris alone is hardly the boldest thing anyone has ever done, but for me it was a big step in that direction. Since then and probably thanks to that experience, I’ve never balked at the opportunity or the whim to take off to someplace new.
While I believe travel to be essential to life, I also believe solo travel a must. It’s my opinion that at some point in a lifetime everyone should hit the road all on their lonesome and without someplace to be, someone to see or something to do; to explore not only the terrain, but also themselves.
When I first arrived in Paris, I hadn’t really prepared at all. While I had arranged my accommodations and mapped out the things I wanted to see, I hadn’t given any thought to the psychological reality of being alone. In hindsight, I may not have spoken to anyone outside of service folk for the first two or three days. I am extremely shy and that shyness was amplified by the circumstances. Eventually, for the sake of survival, I overcame that paralysis. I had to. My trip, my Paris was riding on it.
Travel, I’m not sure that I could live without it. For the past two years, I’ve had to exist on minor indulgence and it’s been a major struggle since there is little that fills me with as much anticipation and excitement as a plan to take off someplace new. The possibilities, the adventure.
Traveling alone strips us of all the security blankets that we have in place. When there is nobody else to rely on for help, to consult with or to formulate a solution, we need to exercise some muscles that we don’t necessarily always flex. As independent as I am, traveling on my own has shown me how much I rely on others to speak up and to make decisions. It’s shocking how much I am willing to endure to avoid the cost of saying something and, similarly, how far I am willing to walk or how much I am willing to pay to avoid asking. Being solo also removes any of the roles we are expected to play. How much of ourselves is based solely on what is expected of us? I know I was surprised with what I found when I explored that.
Travel affords us the opportunity to explore other cultures and to meet new people, it let’s us see some of the most amazing things we’ll ever lay eyes on and to become the people that we dream to be. Doing it alone makes not just that experience, but every one that follows something much richer.
Looking back, Paris was one of my favourite trips ever. I don’t have many photos of myself to share for I was far too shy to ask someone to take them, my souvenirs have long faded or melted away and I’ve lost touch with all but one couple I met while overseas. While this February I travel with my one and only Valentine, I still remember fondly that year when, for the first time, I spread my wings and flew on my own.