“Oh God, what if I get kidnapped?” This was one of the many excuses I conjured up to put me off going on a MEcation for almost a year. To be honest it was more like I chickened out every time and forced someone else to go with me.
It’s ironic, for the recluse person I am the idea of travelling by myself terrified me. I couldn’t fathom the thought of entertaining myself outside the comfort of home.
But, after I had one vacation cancelled on me, an imminent one with unconfirmed dates and another which was too far away, my patience ran out!
I was temperamental and just plain antsy with anyone dare even breathe the same air I did. My tolerance for human beings was down to almost zero. I called a timeout!
No more waiting for someone else’s schedule to free up, or depending on another to go do things I want to do. A MEcation was critical. I wasn’t going away to explore the city I was in (not completely away). I was going away to focus on myself without the distraction of the presence of other people. It was one of the best things I did for myself in ages and I learnt a few life lessons along the way.
If you’re thinking of taking your first solo trip, here are 7 reasons why you should stop thinking and do it:
1 Self-discovery will heighten
When you are the only person you can depend on you learn or even awaken traits about yourself. In my case, I learnt to complain.
When I arrived at the resort I booked into, I found that it looked nothing like what was advertised. Actually, it was one tiny detail that made the stay there unacceptable. The room had no shower. This was a non-negotiable to me. A bath with a showerhead and a shower are not the same things. I had to complain.
This was the first time ever in my travelling history that I complained. I was not comfortable in the space and this put the goal of the getaway at risk. If this MEcation was going to be successful, comfort was key. Thanks to the very accommodating receptionist (see what I did there) I was upgraded.
Life lesson: “You don’t get what you deserve; you get what you negotiate for”.
Taking time for yourself is an investment in your greatest asset – you. Try writing down (or keep a mental note of) all the things you want to achieve on your MEcation. This will stop you from wanting to sleep in all day or galavanting.
I took this time to work on my vision board and a few articles. If I left that place not having done that, the trip would have been a failure.
Life lesson: “Work hard but also take time for yourself – recharge. Work will always be there, but you won’t”. (Translated from an African proverb: Mmereko ga o feli, go fela motho)
3 Awareness will intensify
To ensure that I was safe and in case of an emergency a friend of mine would call to check up on me. He was my emergency contact because you know paranoia about getting kidnapped.
The very first day I got to my location, I stopped at the local mall to get supplies. He called to ask if I had arrived. I had not and told him that I was at the mall to which he asked which one? I couldn’t answer. I feared getting kidnapped but I forgot to do an important thing – being aware of my surroundings.
Life lesson: “Don’t get so caught up in what you’re doing that you forget to look up and see how far you’ve come”.
4 You will embrace getting lost
You have arrived at your destination – the middle of nowhere. Google maps can and will fail you. If you blindly follow that voice you may end up lost, very lost. Not seeing things like tourism signage is a big giveaway.
Life lesson: “Don’t be so hard on yourself sometimes things won’t go your way and that’s okay”.
5 You become more flexible
Get comfortable with the reality that you may get lost. You will learn to appreciate more interesting things you find along the road you wouldn’t have travelled.
Life lesson: “When things don’t go according to your plans you need to learn to adapt”.
6 You learn to trust yourself and let go of control
I allocated one gallivanting day in my three-day trip (the one was a rest day and the other to invest in myself). That day, I left the resort having charged my phone. But with all the pictures I was taking and the constant navigating my battery started depleting before my eyes.
I panicked, and to make matters worse my phone had no signal and needed to navigate back to the resort. Luckily, I had learnt that crucial lesson from the first day and paid attention to my surroundings. I winged it. When my phone finally got signal it started navigating 1 km from the exit I was supposed to take. Had it not switched on at that moment I was going to miss the exit.
Life lesson: “When things aren’t going your way, trust your instincts and remember everything you’ve learned ”.
7 You can take the vacation home with you
If you suffer from mental health issues like depression or anxiety use this time to escape. Create an atmosphere in the space that you can recreate when you get back home. Use scented candles and shower gels different from the ones you usually use. This way you can transport your mind to a tranquil space when you use those products again.
Life lesson: “Sometimes the only thing standing in your way is you”.
So maybe your family is driving you crazy, or work is overwhelming. The idea of fake smiling throughout the day or opening one more email makes you want to pull your hair out. Take time out, by yourself. It’s not easy but when you find the courage to do it, taking a solo vacation can be a very liberating experience.
You came into this world alone you can see the world alone too.