How I Battled My Demons While Traveling Solo

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.

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All my delicious meals I ate solo

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.

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Sunset in Santa Teresa

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.

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Valentine’s Day at Las Caracolas

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.

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Pura Vida = Pure Life

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?

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My air conditioned private bungalow at the Funky Monkey Lodge (kitchen suite was on the right)


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My private deck

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?

I’m Calling It…I’ve Been Ghosted.

I’m making it official. I have been ghosted. 4 days after our first date. I am in a much better state than I was yesterday and have come to accept that I will never hear from him. While it still boggles my mind…I now have no more time or energy to waste on someone who has a complete disregard for the feelings of another human being. If you don’t know what ‘ghosted’ means and the psychological affects of such an action…check out this article at Psychology Today ‘This Is Why Ghosting Hurts So Much‘. I will NEVER know what happened and why he decided to just vanish off this planet…but it was a cowardly thing to do…actually it is referred to as ’emotional cruelty’ for a reason.  I was distraught…not eating well…sleeping well…just feeling incredibly torn apart. I woke up this morning wondering how I was even going to get through the day. But after having several therapeutic conversations with my girlfriends…I have come to the conclusion that I had just been played. I ate up everything that he said to me…and it likely brought him immense pleasure…because he knew exactly what he was doing…and now he is onto the next swipe.

Being ghosted can make us feel like we did something wrong…and can wreak havoc on our self esteem. It was so incredibly painful to go through because you are powerless and have no information to emotionally process what has happened. I was not sure how long it was going to take me get over it. But it only took me 4 days. When I saw my doctor yesterday I even asked her for medication to help me feel more sane. In my 15+ years of having anxiety I have never been prescribed medication, but this time I was ready to ask. She validated my feelings, but also wrote me a prescription for  Ativan. But I never took it.

I knew that I would move on from this eventually…because I am such a resilient person…and now I am laughing about it. I have been through so much shit with relationships that I know that I will always pull through. This was no different. I am feeling back to my normal self and ready to take my power back. I had drafted and re-drafted my final text message to him so that I could achieve closure on my end and stick it to him a little bit…but I decided against it. As Michelle Obama says: ‘When they go low, we go high’. I felt that he did not deserve a nice good bye from me…he could just Fuck. Right. Off.  I deleted him from my Tinder, before he deleted me first, and I also deleted our text messages. I did not want any reminders of him. Period. I have become  pretty good with cutting people out of my life if they are toxic. I joked with my friends that being played to this extent was actually a new experience for me…so clearly I had to experience this just so I could add it to my list. Oh universe…you slay me sometimes!

The positive that came out of this? I did have an incredible night…but it also gave me something to write about so I could express my creativity. Writing has always been something that I thought about doing…but just never really followed through with.

So thank you Mr. Italiano Tinder…for propelling me forward with my desire to write and the honour of allowing me to share with the world your cowardly acts.

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On Edge…

We started off chatting on Tinder. Our profiles matched and he initiated by saying ‘There she is’. What followed was a sweet and witty and flirty conversation…he was open and upfront and we had agreed to meet on the coming Monday. I actually gave him my phone number prior to meeting, which I rarely do. The anticipation was building…and my body was on edge…Monday came and he told me that he was sick…so we had to postpone our first meetup. I was very disappointed but what could I do? Days went by…he never initiated texts…but I figured that he was sick so it was ok…but I occasionally checked in to see how he was feeling. We continued to click over texts and were on the same page with so many things.  He was filled with endless compliments…he was not the dating type and was more of a relationship kind of guy. He shared that he was extremely loyal and I told him how important reliability was for me. Finally, we arranged to meet on Friday night. He was excited as I was to finally meet. But I was also nervous to find out if our texting chemistry would transfer over into real life.

Our first date was incredible. He looked a bit different than his photos and I actually didn’t expect him to be that tall…we were the same height in my heels…but that was ok with me. I quickly warmed up to him and we chatted for hours…first having drinks…then dinner…then going to a lounge to listen to live music. We talked about everything and about future date ideas…our biggest fears…when was the last time we cried…he wanted to know everything about me…and I of him.  We decided our next date would be going to one of those pubs where we can play board games. We both have a competitive streak. He made it very clear that he wanted to see me again and I felt the same. I was giddy. I was open. I was vulnerable. We edged closer together…with him eventually putting his arm around me…then kissing me on my cheek and then…finally…our kiss was so sweet and so magical…I was melting. We couldn’t get enough of each others soft and tender lips…We were cuddled close and you would never have guessed that this was our first date. I did wonder if this was too good to be true…

We left the lounge and walked back to my car. He had walked to our date venue and so I offered to drive him home. We continued to joke and laugh and he told me I was easy to talk to. I stopped in front of his apartment to say goodbye…we talked about meeting again and I asked when…to which he replied ‘soon’. What does that mean? He said he wanted to see me ‘sooner rather than later’. Perhaps I was a bit pushy, but I wanted to lock down a day so we agreed on Sunday night.  We shared another kiss and then he asked me if I wanted to come up. I said ok, as long as there were no expectations. He said that there weren’t and that we had talked about this already. We had texted before about sex and both of us were on the same page…that we only sleep with people we are in a relationship with. So…I went up and we put on Netflix and cuddled on the couch. What we watched was not interesting at all, but it just felt so nice to be cuddled up next to him. I felt safe. After about an hour I said that I should leave…we started kissing some more and he said that I could stay the night…and we did not have to do anything. I felt that it was too soon to stay…I said that I enjoyed his kisses and he told me I didn’t have to stop…

At the door as we said our final goodbye…he said that if he ended up being free tomorrow night (Saturday) that he would let me know…so a final kiss and then a goodbye.

I drove home giddy and just in a cloud of heaven. What an amazing and unexpected 8-hour date. I went to sleep feeling pretty high.

I continued to think about him the next day…hoping that he would text me…but he didn’t. That’s ok…we were going to see each other on Sunday right?

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Sunday afternoon came and nothing…I sent him a message about meeting that night…and he never responded…I felt heartbroken…I am still heartbroken. It just didn’t make any sense to me. Why wouldn’t he respond? I replayed the whole night in my head…what had happened? He didn’t seem like the type of man to just leave me hanging…I couldn’t think of anything else yesterday…my thoughts were consumed by my confusion of the situation. Do I give him the benefit of the doubt? Perhaps he lost his phone?

So here I am…Monday…still with nothing. I know he is out there and has his phone as I checked his Tinder profile and his distance from me has changed. So…he is still alive and choosing to ignore me. I did not do anything wrong. But I still can’t help but dissect my own behaviour…was I pushy? Was I too intense? No…no…I was just being me. If the guy is into me then nothing will hold him back from being with me right? Nothing would scare him. I’d like to believe that I am good judge of character and have good intuition…but how did he fool me? He seemed so genuine and decent…if he changed his mind about meeting again…then the honourable thing to do would be to just share that with me…rather than to leave me hanging.

You may say…well this was only a first date…but you don’t understand…it was so much more than that…it was deep and intense…

This is not ok with me…to be in a state of feeling perplexed so early on…I don’t believe this nonsense of ‘guys are just dumb’ or maybe something came up…the man I meant to be with will never let me go…and will hold me close…even after our first date…

I can feel my emotions transferring from sadness to anger…how dare he make a fool of me. I will not make excuses for him and I don’t have room for this at this stage in my life. I wore my heart on my sleeve and no matter how many times I am burned by love…my heart always opens…and I remain hopeful…

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