It was completely quiet except for the wind. It was just me, alone in this wild, remote place. And I loved it. I didn’t feel lonely or sad. I felt alive.
As I sat there, I realized I didn’t want to be anywhere else, with anyone else.
I was at peace.
Last week I wrote about my experience traveling solo through South Dakota. I’ve never done anything like that before; I’ve always had a travel buddy with me. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to relax and enjoy myself, or if the unrelenting solitude would drum a chorus of constant reminders into my head…
You have to travel alone because you don’t have a husband or family
Surprisingly though, the chorus NEVER popped up. Sadness, discontentment, and feelings of loneliness never surfaced, either.
I was good. More than good, actually.
It turned out that I enjoyed every aspect of my solo trip. I loved traveling on my own and would jump at the chance to do it again.
Since I’ve been back I’ve had a lot of people say things like, “I could never do that.” “I don’t think I’m brave enough.” “Weren’t you lonely?”
If I was sitting across from you at the coffee shop and you said those things to me, here’s what I would want to tell you:
- It’s okay to be alone
I was really worried about this. I honestly thought I might hate it. I’m not sure why, though. I do a lot of life alone. I like my own company. But traveling just seemed different.
I think the biggest question for single women traveling alone is always-
What will other people think of me?
It turned out that it didn’t matter at all. Honestly, most people were so busy corralling children and watching out for poisonous snakes (thanks, Badlands) that they never noticed me. I doubt I even registered in their minds.
Nobody cared that I was alone. Some people even seemed envious.
And, the freedom to come and go as I please was amazing.
Hold your head up high and revel in that.
- It’s easy to miss out on opportunities because you’re afraid
If only one thing sinks into your heart, let it be this:
Don’t let the fact that you’re single stop you from doing anything. Whether it’s solo travel, trying a new hobby, visiting a restaurant, going to a party, or anything else, don’t let fear become a deciding factor.
I almost didn’t go on my trip because I was so caught up in my own head. I was afraid. I was anxious. I was embarrassed to be seen on my own. I was worried about flat tires, creepy truck drivers, scary hotel rooms, wild animal attacks, and being forced to survive in the wilderness (have I mentioned that I have a very over-active imagination?).
But I knew that if I didn’t go, I would regret that even more.
Take more chances. Live with fewer regrets.
- Solitude is a beautiful thing
Our world shrieks at us- Television, social media, podcasts, audiobooks, music, conversation. There’s always so much noise.
It makes it hard to hear what we really need to hear.
I teach kindergarten, so I’m constantly surrounded by noise. I like to joke that I’m immune to it. I know it affects me, though. The clamor of social media does, too.
Being totally, absolutely alone in a remote area wasn’t frightening. It was life-giving. The chance to sit, breathe, and just “be” was refreshing.
I felt filled up rather than depleted.
- God is always with you
I was never truly alone! God promises that He is always with me, wherever I go. He knew where I was, even when I was in the middle of Black Hills National Forest and there wasn’t another car on the road.
One of the best aspects of my solo trip was the opportunity for long, quiet times of prayer, meditation, and Bible reading. There was no need to hurry and rush things. The solitude (and crazy driving) (and the possibility of meeting rattlesnakes) gave me ample opportunities to draw closer to God.
- You can choose your traveling companions
Even if you’re traveling alone, you can still choose the “companions” you take with you. Those companions might be fear, self-doubts, uncertainty, shame, or discontentment
Or they could be excitement, wonder, joy, peace, and contentment
The choice is up to you, but your point of view will color your whole experience.
Take a chance!
I love to travel. There are so many amazing things to see in the world. Don’t let the fact that you’re single prevent you from seeing any of them. If you get opportunities- take them and run!
You’ll be better for it.
This week, I’m so thankful for the blessing of trips that take me out of my comfort zone. I need them. Together, let’s celebrate every SINGLE blessing!