Back in 2010, I was turning 25, and I was terrified.
I was scared because I wasn’t where my younger self expected me to be at that age.
I wasn’t a businesswoman living in Manhattan on my way to marriage with five kids by 30. Instead, at 25, I had a job that, once the newness wore off, wasn’t fulfilling anymore. The money wasn’t good either.
My image of what my life would look like was way off. So I panicked and joined the gym. I also decided to do something new every month leading up to my 30th birthday.
Some of the things I tried were: blogging, baking, eating new foods, and having difficult conversations with people in my life.
I didn’t only do a bunch of new stuff, but I spent quite a bit of time reflecting and being intentional.
So I guess it should be no surprise that even in my travel life, I naturally transitioned into an intentional traveler.
Being intentional about pouring into myself at 24; giving myself those new experiences and opportunities to grow in little ways was such an incredible gift I will be forever grateful I gave myself.
Success and growth doesn’t necessarily have to be buying a house, getting married or having a child. It doesn’t have to be the traditional life milestones that prepare you, or rather, present you to the world as a fully actualized adult.
As amazing as those accomplishments are, consider instead the results of you doing the work to focus and develop your sense of self. Imagine using travel as an opportunity to engage with the world in ways you’d never be able to have had you stayed in the comfort of your own neighborhood.
Preparing for solo travel by stepping outside of my comfort zone
At 24, doing certain tasks by myself was a foreign concept. So when I decided to try new things, an easy addition to the list was doing activities like going to the movies and out to eat at a restaurant.
“Why Did I Get Married Too?” was the first movie I watched alone in a theater, and it was like unlocking another world. Going to the movies by yourself is a fucking vibe!
Nobody is asking dumb questions. Nobody is getting up and going to the bathroom, getting something to eat, or taking a phone call and then coming back asking, “What did I miss?” I sat and thoroughly enjoyed my movie in peace and felt like such a badass doing it on my own.
My first solo meal at a restaurant was at a local sushi spot where I decided to try eel rolls for the first time. It was a little Forgetting Sarah Marshall, “table for one!” but I pretty quickly got over feeling like everyone was looking at me and enjoyed my meal lol.
I didn’t realize it then, but getting these early solo experiences out of the way in familiar settings made doing them in new and foreign places feel like second nature and prepared me for my future travel life.
Taking my first solo trip
I finally took my first solo international trip in January of 2017.
I’d booked a week in Martinique, rented a car and it was all thrown to shit when my flight got canceled just hours before take off.
I ended up booking a last minute Expedia package to Bermuda and had the time of my life. I stopped waiting on friends and family to be available to join. I gave up on waiting for a boyfriend to drop out the sky and plan the perfect romantic getaway.
I took the leap and bet on myself, by myself. With the help of seeing myself reflected in the beautiful Black women solo travelers of Instagram, I began to see that I’d been capable the whole time.
With a bit of encouragement (thanks Aneesah and Marissa <3) I was able to expand my worldview with first hand experience.
If you’re looking for help booking your first solo trip, I’ve got you covered. 25 countries (20 of which were solo), 7 roadtrips, 15 cities and over 200 episodes later, my Solo Travel Planning Guide, breaks down the 5 areas I focus my planning energies on. They’ve proven to be the most important factors to making sure I have all of my bases covered and enjoy myself while traveling. Whether I plan to be away for a single day or seven, this free guide will explain how I narrow down options and make the best choices.
What to hear more? Check out episode 173 of Travel N Sh!t Podcast!