Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links to support this blog, my traveling habit, and my special-needs dog. Opinions are my own.
Not sure about you, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, I’m having deep conversations with myself about what I want the rest of my life to be. I turned 50 in May and because of what has been happening in the world around me, I feel as though I’m facing my own mortality.
At first, it was weird not traveling, not finding some offbeat adventure on the weekend, and staying home after work because of the pandemic. However, I gave my body and mind much-needed rest and decompression.
Solo Travel Girl’s Debut Book!
Two months into this, I ditched my off-work time of vegging in front of the television binge-watching a good show on Amazon Prime (and there are some awesome shows out there) with adult beverages. Instead, I opted for being productive now and laying the groundwork for my future.
I’m pleased to share one of my accomplishments, my debut ebook, A to Z of a Solo Travel Girl: Traits of Women Who Travel Alone, Not Lonely, will be released Aug. 14, 2020, on Amazon. (It’s only $2.99!)
But I digress…
Use Idle Time Now to Plan for Later
Lately, I’m hearing a lot about hopelessness and uncertainty. I keep reminding myself, where we are today is not where we will be tomorrow, next month, or next year. Use this idle time not only to pass the hours but be productive. Use it to plan for that bucketlist trip you’ve always wanted to take.
Releasing a travel book during a pandemic may seem fruitless. However, you should be planning now for a solo trip after the pandemic. Here are the reasons why.
Learn to Enjoy Your Own Company
For extroverts and those not used to being alone, now is the time to enjoy your own company. I’m an ambivert, a combination of introvert and extrovert, so I’ve mostly loved the time home and away from others during the pandemic. However, I know others haven’t been doing so well with self-isolation and social distancing orders and enjoying your own company can be hard for those who thrive around people.
If you plan to travel solo, you’ll be spending time alone. Get to know yourself and be comfortable with being you. Use this alone time to appreciate your accomplishments, abilities, and dreams. If something needs to get done and you typically rely on someone else to do it, try doing it yourself. This could be a simple DIY project in the kitchen or washing your car. YouTube is great for finding videos for almost any project.
Enjoy Writing it Out
Begin journaling or blogging about your thoughts, daily activities, or creative story ideas. Not only will you be documenting your life, but you may tap a creative vein you never knew you had. Perhaps you begin blogging to earn some extra cash for traveling.
Caveat: check with your employer before blogging, sharing to social media, or engaging in any online activity. Someday, I’ll have a story to tell.
Or, if journaling isn’t your thing, write postcards or notes to friends, family, even yourself. I love a handwritten postcard, but I’ve become a fan of TouchNote. I upload a photo from my phone, design a postcard how I want it, write a (legible) personal message, and send it off. The recipients love them and plus, they can easily read the note vs. spending time deciphering my handwriting!
Staying connected to those important to us, during COVID and when traveling, is important and feeds the heart and soul.
Follow Others Doing Good to Find Your Purpose
Find a cause you’re passionate about or organization that aligns with your values and see if they offer trips. Follow and engage with them online with the intention of traveling with them when it’s safe to do so. Two organizations I’ve traveled with and supported their causes are Clean the World and Global Exchange.
Clean the World takes used hotel soaps, shampoos, etc., and recycles them. I joined them several years ago on a soap distribution trip to Guatemala.
Global Exchange is a human rights organization “dedicated to promoting social, economic, and environmental justice around the world.” Their Reality Tours educate delegates on international affairs through people-to-people interactions. They lead tours to parts of the world that aren’t high on an American’s must-visit list, like Afghanistan, Cuba, and Iran. Reading The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini inspired me to take a Reality Tours trip to Kabul, Afghanistan, a trip I’ll always remember.
Inspire Your Mind
Read a travel book or watch a movie for inspiration. Some of the terrific reads and flicks for female solo travelers including Eat, Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert; Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes; and Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed. Growing up, the Little House on the Prairie series of books by Laura Ingalls Wilder was my inspiration to seek adventure and write.
Learn a Language
Feed Your Curiosity
Whether you’re a foodie or not, if you have a destination chosen, research the culture and cook up some of the country’s beloved dishes. Taste is an important part of connecting with a destination and its people.
Brush up on Your Etiquette, Please.
Learn and practice local etiquette. Again, YouTube is a terrific resource for finding and learning from experts of places you want to visit. If Europe is your destination of choice, check out Rick Steves’ content. Planning a trip to Asia? Read up on different practices, such the significance of the number four, the color of red, handling currency, and what to expect when you have to go.
Exercise, not just to rock a new swimsuit or look a certain way, but to build endurance. Traveling can be physically demanding especially when changing time zones or altitudes. Better shape you’re in, the more you’ll enjoy your experience.
Check Your Passport
If you’re planning on international travel, make sure your passport is up to date. Reviewing mine, it’s expiring this fall so I need to begin the renewal process ASAP because the pandemic caused a backlog. On Aug. 3, the U.S. State Department issued a statement indicating you will experience delays before receiving your passport,” unless it’s a life or death situation.
Do Something Out of Your Comfort Zone
If you want to travel alone but have hesitated, why? What’s holding you back? Is it fear?
Do something non-travel related to broaden your comfort zone and build confidence. Conquer fear by doing something now, something you don’t think you’re capable of doing. Then, work hard, crush it and carry that confidence with you.
Wanting to do something special in celebration of turning 50, since I could not travel, I booked a photoshoot and the process is pushing my personal boundaries. But, preparing and planning is fun and reinvigorating my soul. I can’t wait to share the experience!
Solo Travel is About Empowerment
If you don’t think you can travel alone, what is holding you back? Is it fear? Take on something you think you cannot do and attempt it then crush it!
Solo travel is pushing boundaries to the uncomfortable point because that’s where the magic happens. Oftentimes, I find myself in awkward, uncomfortable, embarrassing, or sometimes dangerous situations. When I’m able to resolve the situation, I feel an adrenaline rush in being able to figure it all out.
Traveling solo is more than a selfish adventure out on your own. It’s about building confidence and feeling empowered. When you succeed and have confidence in one area of your life, you can apply that confidence and knowledge to another aspect in your life.
Carpe diem! Seize the day! No one knows when the COVID-19 pandemic will end or when we’ll be able to freely travel around the world. As the saying goes, make hay while the sun shines and now is the time to prepare and plan for a solo trip after the pandemic.