I’m a lucky one: I have the time and means to travel abroad by myself at least once a year. As someone who didn’t board a plane on their own until they were 22, or get a passport until 26, I feel like I have a lot of catching up to do!
A week ago I returned from a solo vacay to Colombia, visiting Bogotá, Medellín, Santa Marta, and Minca. Previously, I fell in love with Latin America on a trip to Mexico City and Oaxaca, and was fortunate enough to spend the past Spring Break exploring Kenya.
What I find most intriguing about traveling alone isn’t what I expected when I branched out years ago. While immersing in a new culture and acquiring knowledge is interesting and useful, I find solo travel an amazing experience in practicing mindfulness, awareness, and being your best self.
A land as abundant as Colombia requires your complete attention: streets bustle with millions of people, color screams from the biodiversity and art, and there’s overwhelmingly lush flora everywhere. Letting your attention slide for even a moment means you miss the toucan in the tree or the small panadería where the locals go. No place has grabbed my complete, undivided attention the way Colombia has, and I feel that’s why I was my best person when I was there.
Because Spanish is my second language, I constantly listened and spoke mindfully. Because no one accompanied me, I had freedom to eat, drink, and move in a way that felt best in my body. Because I could budget time for reflection, I could fully absorb each piece of the experience. Everything was an unknown: I sat with that. I approached everything with blossoming and welcoming curiosity, because I literally had no choice other than to express joy and fondness for the unknown that traveling solo brings.
For me, I am my best self when I travel alone. Many wish me caution as a solo female traveler, which I mostly appreciate, but I hope to share that fear is not in the equation for me or many other solo travelers when we embark on a new journey. We want to practice navigating the unknown, not fear it, and embrace it on our own terms before experiencing it without our permission.
Solo travel can be powerful and transformative when we create and allow that experience. The next time a dear friend shares with you their travel plans, instead of sharing your (often valid worries), I challenge you to instead help them manifest a beautiful journey! Help them cultivate the curiosity and joy they’ll need for a good trip, and leave the worrying to their mothers 😉
As always, sending love and light.