Last month, I embarked on a 3 week trip to Portugal and Spain completely solo. Was it terrifying? You betcha! Was it life-altering? Meh.
Let me explain.
Solo female travel is always romanticized in books and film. It’s our moment to remove ourselves from our dull, quotidian and come into our own overseas (typically while perusing a market in white, billowy pants.)
But you don’t just “come into your own” because you stepped off a plane somewhere new. Travelling on your own is full of extreme highs and lows and lots of tears in between. The first couple of nights are the hardest. You’re jet lagged and full of doubt and regret, asking yourself questions like:
- Why did I do this?
- If I flew home tomorrow, how much would it cost?
- Did I pack enough ibuprofen?
- What if I have night terrors?
- What was that noise?
If only my reasonable inner monologue kicked in then, I would have known:
- Because you felt like this was something Tracee Ellis Ross would do, so you should too. It’s also snowing back home and 24°C here, so…
- Too much to even bother looking.
- Yes. You packed enough for a year.
- Let’s not manifest anything. (In retrospect, thank GOD this didn’t happen.)
- The fridge.
My disappointment didn’t lay within the trip itself. Spain and Portugal are beautiful countries worth visiting and I’m so, so happy that I did. But because women have almost been trained to believe we’ll have a breakthrough, or “Aha Moment”, it’s disappointing when you don’t.
Whether you’re travelling to find yourself, or to see something new – do it. It’s the one thing you buy that makes you richer (and a much more interesting dinner party guest.)