Just over a decade ago I spent the year traveling around the world on my own.
I went anywhere and everywhere that my heart desired. I had the best freaking time of my life. I did, really I did. That’s how to find yourself isn’t it? By jumping into the deep end and figuring out how to swim!
Looking back though, my memories, though mostly happy are littered with sadness.
I was traveling to escape my real life problems. I was traveling to figure out how to find myself.
My dad had just died, I’d just graduated with my honours degree and I wasn’t sure what my life plan for the future was. So off I went to figure things out.
I booked a flight.
I traveled from one place to the next and I know how lucky I was to be able to do that but when I look back at my travels, I remember this sad and lonely girl pretending to have the best time ever.
I drank more than I should have. Way more.
I slept for most of the day and partied for most of the night.
I look back at the amazing countries I visited and think of the things I could have seen and the experiences I could have had. I spent a lot of time on my own – reflecting on my life. I am sad about the things I didn’t do differently.
But I did a lot of figuring things out. I did a lot of “soul- searching” and I did a lot of finding me.
I am sad that I went on this great journey to find myself and fix my life and I found so much sadness in finding me.
I guess it needed to happen though because traveling changed me.
I needed to do it for myself and on my own and it changed so much of who I am.
I do wish I’d seen more of the places I’d visited.
I do wish I’d appreciated more of the people.
Instead of spending my time drunk with other lost souls, just trying to find their place in the world.
Do I regret it?
No, I don’t. I had some really great times but I do wish I’d balanced things a bit more and appreciated more of what I had right in front of me.
I needed the time and I’m thankful for every moment but I wish I had known how much more there was to see when I had the chance.
Did I find myself in the end?
I like to think there’s no such thing as finding yourself.
I’d like to think that we are human beings and we are who we are from day one.
We change and we adapt and we learn and we grow but in the end, we are never really anyone but ourselves.
So sure, I found myself. I suppose. I found the person I had been all along.
A person who was confident enough to face her grief. To stand on her own. To explore the world.
Sure, there were times when I was lonely and there was so much that I missed out on and didn’t do.
But what I learnt in that year means so much more than seeing a must see temple.
I found that I am stronger than I thought. I found that I am capable of doing things I didn’t know I could do. I found that I can face my fears to get where I need to be.
So how do you find yourself by traveling solo?
You just accept yourself for who you are!
I’d love to hear about your experiences traveling on your own!