I travel to foreign countries for weeks at a time. I pick somewhere new on the map and then jet off for a while to experience something new. I love traveling. I really love it. Travel isn't always easy though, and some times it makes me incredibly anxious.
I didn't have a problem while in South Africa thanks to the fact that one of the other new volunteers, a very social one at that, was on my flight and therefore we shared transport from the airport to our house. Because of her I instantly felt a bit more comfortable, feeling like I had an ally going into my new adventure.
I didn't have a problem while I was backpacking in Europe because I was there with 2 people I've known my entire life, 2 people who are like my brothers.
I struggled in Bali. That struggle is not something I really talked about when I came home, because let's be real most people only share the highlight real of their trip upon return. I had so much anxiety while I was in Bali and looking back at it I think that is because of culture shock. There were moments during my morning yoga sessions that I had to hold back tears and fought unsuccessfully with my own mind to try and focus only on the current pose. But each day I got out of bed and went to yoga, no matter how hard it felt. I struggled on my way home from Bali too. I had a 22 hour layover in Taiwan and instead of taking my day to explore the city I found myself staying in my hotel lobby, unsure of how to get myself to go explore.
And here I am now, a day and half solo trip in Miami that is merely a stop over between my family vacation and work. I spent my time today feeling a little on edge, with that anxious feeling in the pit of my stomach.
Despite it all though, I love solo travel. I love running off by myself. I am pushed to step outside of my comfort zone and I credit solo travel with helping to majorly bring me out of my shell. In the last few years I have learned to be a better conversationalist, I've become better at being alone- something that my brief stint at college made me awful at- and i found a new confidence in myself. I still get anxious sometimes, today for example. I fall into old habits and don't want to leave my comfort zone, I worry about absolutely nothing, I get that uncomfortable feeling of anxiety in my stomach and chest. I have to stop and take some deep breaths. Sometimes I just let myself cry, even though I don't quite know how to explain the tears. I've come to learn though, that acknowledging and accepting those feelings even if I don't understand them is a hell of a lot better option than stressing myself out more trying to determine the source of my feelings.
At the end of the day I am always fine. Some times are easier and some are harder, but isn't that life? Not every day can be sunshine and rainbows. Most times I will force my self out. I make myself go to the morning yoga. I go out to dinner with the people I just met instead of retreating to bed to fight off the jet lag and nerves.I push myself because it is usually my best bet, occupying my time and distracting myself. I push myself because I don't ever want to look back at a trip and regret the things I didn't do. Sometimes though I do let myself have a night in because sometimes by allowing myself to relax it takes the pressure off myself. I'm really good at coming up with all these ideas of what I should be seeing and doing and then I overwhelm myself. So that's what I did tonight. I stayed in with some take out, some wine, and some guilty pleasure tv shows. And that is totally okay because tomorrow is a new day.
Tomorrow I will get up and enjoy my last day of sand and sun before going back to real life. And then I will keep mentally planning my next trip because at the end of the day you should never hold yourself back, do not stand in your own way.
Meet new people.
Acknowledge what you feel but don't let it consume you.
Say yes and know that the world is at your feet ready to be explored.