Oh my goodness… it has been a while since I’ve published a post on here! Life gets in the way sometimes, doesn’t it? I have been busy eating and drinking my way around London, running around as many parks and green spaces as I possibly can, moving into a new apartment, getting adjusted to a new job, spending time with my wonderful family and trying to stay relatively fit despite many hangovers and not enough sleep. Quite a change from the 2015 version of Green Food and Running Shoes, but life is filled with ups, downs, changes, curveballs, sideways moves and ambiguity.
This post is all about my Solo Adventure #2…
As I write this, I am on a flight to Madrid, Spain which is the first stop on my second Solo Adventure. My suitcase is packed with fitness gear (of course), sunscreen, supplements, snacks (#alwayshungry…) and far too many bikinis. During this trip, I will visit Madrid, Valencia and Mazzarron. Bring on the sunshine, sangria and tapas! In May, a few months after terminating a long-term relationship, I went to Croatia and flew (literally) solo for the first time in my life. It was exciting, nerve-wracking, unsettling and thrilling. The trip propelled me straight out of my comfort zone and I had no choice but to find my own way, embrace the beauty of the Croatian coast and find ways to never feel alone or unoccupied. During this trip, I learned a lot about myself and thanks to some extremely friendly girls from Hawaii, New York and the Netherlands, I wasn’t actually alone for a lot of it!
After a few months of dating, I find myself single, frustrated with the botched “Tinderized” state of dating and relationships in the city of London, and yearning for another journey of self-discovery and adventures. A few weeks ago, I impulsively booked a one-way flight to Madrid and a return flight from Alicante, and that is where this journey begins. But why travel alone? Not only am I blessed with a vast network of friends in London, the US, Australia, Canada, and all over the world, but I am also fortunate to have a wonderful family who would gladly jet off with me. Travelling alone was my choice, to make this adventure my own, escape, find some peace, and to have a “Solo Adventure” in the true sense of the word.
Traveling alone has its own unique attractiveness and long list of benefits. Below are my top six:
(1) What Comfort Zone? First and foremost, traveling solo pushes you outside of your comfort zone and you have no option but to rely on yourself and trust in yourself, your instincts and your decisions. Feeling uncomfortable? This is where you will truly grow, both spiritually and developmentally.
(2) Confidence building. If you are lost, facing language barriers, in need of company, you simply have to pluck up the courage and go for it! Ask a stranger for directions, order a drink in Spanglish and risk embarrassing yourself and approach a stranger, because you might just make a friend.
(3) Self-discovery. When you are travelling alone, you can relax and be the true version of yourself. No colleagues, friends, or family members to shape your actions, thoughts or behaviours. The only person shaping your experience is you. Spending time alone may teach you things about yourself that you were previously unaware of. It can be scary, exciting and extremely empowering.
(4) Meet Strangers. In everyday life, most of the people you meet are friends of friends, colleagues, friends of colleagues or an acquaintance in some form or another. Rarely do we meet complete strangers. Even Tinder, Happen, Bumble, and other dating/friendship apps match us based on an algorithm that detects similarities and shared interests, using social engines like Facebook or Instagram. When travelling alone, if you actively seek out other travellers, it is likely you may have nothing in common. These are people who can offer you unique perspectives, stories, experiences and you may learn more from these individuals than you could ever learn from your acquaintances back home.
(5) Take Risks. You are in a foreign country. You are alone. You can do whatever the hell you want and nobody will judge you, because nobody knows you. Go and live your life. Find activities that get your adrenaline pumping. Taste foods from the local market that you can’t pronounce the name of. Make friend with the locals. Go dance until dawn even if you have two left feet. Do sunset yoga on the beach. Run until you get completely lost. Love every minute of it.
(6) Escape. If life has given you a big serving of bitter lemons, throw them in the trash and jet off somewhere exciting. If something, or everything, in your life isn’t going quite to plan or as you’d like, take a break and break away. Sometimes, “dealing with it” isn’t the best option. Sometimes, removing yourself from the situation allows you to process the thoughts, feelings and emotions, and find some peace within yourself.
So, these are my thoughts on travelling solo. I hope you find the inspiration to do the same. Try it, I promise you won’t regret it. Check out this Instagram (@emmaloumor) for photos of my travel adventures and this Instagram (@greenfoodandrunningshoes) for photos of my food adventures. You can also find me on Snapchat (@elmorg). Happy Saturday (or Sunday, depending on which time zone you’re in) fellow foodies, travellers and fitness lovers!