In my previous posts I shared how I had faced my fears while surfing and zip lining in Costa Rica…but I did not mention the biggest fear that I was taking on – traveling solo and attempting to be comfortable with myself…ALONE.
When I had been researching where I wanted to travel…my hope was that I would have a traveling partner. But everyone was too busy…either with their marriage and kids…or because they had other things going on in their lives that they could not break free from.
So I was at a crossroad…I desperately needed a holiday to clear my head…so do I hold off a little bit longer until I had a travel partner…or do I just go ahead solo?
My mind was so chaotic and I had not been able to think clearly for some time. I am a very ambitious person and when I put my mind to something…I typically achieve it. But I was so confused about my life and what direction I wanted it to take…
So I couldn’t wait.
I needed to go.
The only way I was going to travel alone is if I was going to a retreat which would allow me the opportunity to socialize and be surrounded by other people consistently. I have traveled alone before and I did not enjoy it. Mainly because I had been living in England at the time…away from my family and friends…and so traveling alone did not provide the reflection it was meant to because I was already living a life on my own.
I researched yoga retreats in Hawaii…but they were too pricey. I continued to search and ended up coming across a yoga and surf retreat in Costa Rica. This retreat would give me the opportunity to have my own space…but to also be able to socialize in the common areas of the lodge. The retreat had amazing reviews and the owner was always available to check in with…and that was important to me…so that I would also feel safe.
I spent some time thinking about it…and the more thought I put into…the more I realized that I would actually relish the idea of being alone…being away from all the demands of my current life…and to just focus on myself.
I was ready.
I was excited.
But I was nervous too.
So off I went.
During my holiday…I battled a lot of demons in my mind…and a lot of them surrounded around the SHOULD’s. What SHOULD I be doing? How SHOULD I be behaving? How SHOULD I be spending my time?
1. I SHOULD be making friends. Typically people always ask if you made any friends on your holiday. My intention for this holiday was not to meet people and make new friends. I did not have to. If I made plans with people…then great. But if I didn’t…that was ok too. I did not need to latch onto anybody to feel worthy and to feel less alone. I let conversations occur organically and I definitely had some interesting conversations with people that I met. But I had to accept that I am a quiet person. I am an introvert. That’s who I am. I did not need to pretend to be someone else just to make friends.2. I SHOULD be doing things with other people. I had to let go of the fear of judgment from other people. I was alone…what if people are looking at me and feeling pity? Or think I’m a loser because I am on my own? It didn’t matter anymore…I had to own it…fear of judgment from others only meant that I was judging myself. The sunset was just as beautiful in my solitude. 3. I SHOULD be making a love connection. Now I am a romantic…and typically I end up having some small romance on my holidays…but this time I steered clear of it. I did not need the affection of a man to help me feel more comfortable with being alone and this would not automatically make my holiday even more special than it already was. Even on Valentine’s day…I enjoyed a lovely margarita and a delicious seafood lunch for one in a romantic beachfront restaurant. I also met a few young children from a local family and I gifted them with colouring books and crayons. 4. I SHOULD be more calm and relaxed. I’m on holiday after all! But my anxiety was not going to be cured during a 1 week holiday. Managing anxiety is a lifestyle. I am an anxious person and it is not easy to come down from that just because I am sitting on a beach. I had nowhere to be…yet it was difficult at times to relax on the beach and I would switch from doing my puzzle book…then reading…then going into the ocean…sitting in the sun…back into the shade…eating…going to yoga…but I just had to accept it. That’s just me and I was not going to judge myself because of it. 5. I SHOULD be out at the beach all day. There were times where I just felt tired and all I wanted to do was sit in my air conditioned bungalow and just watch Full House on Netflix. And that’s exactly what I did. Let’s just say that I finally learned the correct lyrics to the theme song (apparently I had been singing the wrong lyrics for 20+ years!) and it was running through my head almost everyday…all day! But hey…I am not going to judge myself for it! Who wouldn’t want to enjoy the beautiful and simplistic bungalow that I was staying in?
I just had to let go of any and all expectations…and just go with the flow…knowing that no matter what I did…or how I did it…I would be ok. I did not allow my mind to make me feel sorry for myself.
And as it turns out…being alone was not so bad after all…actually…this was one of the THE best holidays I have ever had. I did exactly what I wanted, when I wanted, and how I wanted to do it. What was initially a reluctant solo holiday turned out to be a blessing in disguise where I had to come face to face with my own demons…and I came back with clarity and ready with the mindset to move forward with the next vision for my life.
So if you ever have the opportunity to travel on your own and want to work on your self-growth…I highly recommend it.
I became comfortable with myself.
I felt empowered.
Are there any SHOULD’s that you are battling with in your life?