Having an anxiety attack in the SFO airport bathroom was not how I thought I'd start my first solo travel experience. But there I was, telling myself just to breathe. It was overwhelming to think that only three months earlier, I had decided to flip my life upside down and move abroad.
I was going to New Zealand for a year, by myself, taking advantage of the working holiday visa available for Americans in the 18-30 age group. People called me crazy, stupid, you name it. At the time I was only 26, but I knew that working two jobs for 16 hours a day was not the life I wanted to live. I had to get out.
In that airport bathroom stall, at the starting line to my new adventure, I couldn’t believe that I was already out of breath. How was I to continue on, not knowing if I’d make it or not?
It’s emotional to look back to that moment five years ago and see how far I’ve come.
My solo travels didn't stop in New Zealand. I ended up staying on the road for three years, seeing places I’d only dreamed about. As my world expanded, so did my mind and heart.
I began to uncover multiple layers of self-doubt, fear, and rejection. As I explored new places in the world, I also explored new parts of myself. I learned to let go, I learned to say yes to life, and most importantly, I learned to love myself.
These changes in my everyday life have shaped a new me; one that’s stripped of all the layers of nonsense. It’s allowed me to live in this lifetime rather than be an audience member. Traveling solo has changed my life so much, that I was inspired to start Travel Trust + Wanderlust, an online community of resources for female solo travelers.
If you're considering traveling solo, but have been unsure about taking the plunge, I encourage you to go for it! The experiences may not be groundbreaking for you, but they are bound to be life-affirming.
Here are six positive changes you’ll experience while traveling solo.