Flying Solo

By Holly Russel, Regular Contributor August 7, 2015

There’s a saying that the best way to get through something is to go through it. In other words, you can’t skip to the happy ending where the heroine overcomes heartbreak, survives rejection, or conquers disappointment – you’ve got to get there one step at a time. Processing loss takes a lot of work, and there are no shortcuts.

But I discovered something (after a particularly painful break up) that helped jumpstart my recovery: taking a solo vacation.


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When you really need to hit the reset button, getting out of Dodge can give you some amazing perspective, and you don’t even need to go far (a day trip to another city or a staycation in your own can do wonders for boosting confidence and healing a hurting heart). If the thought of going out into the world alone is intimidating, here’s my advice for easing anxiety and making the most of “me” time:

Do your research.

When traveling alone, it’s a good idea to over-plan. When I took a solo trip to San Francisco, I made a list of sites to see and activities to try and had the times and locations mapped out, so I always knew when and where I was going. This helps avoid that OHMYGODWHATAMIGOINGTODONOW feeling. You don’t have to do everything on the list (by my second day there I had relaxed enough to ease up on the schedule), but it’s good to have options.

Get local.

Ride public transit. Go to a yoga class. Attend a young professional’s happy hour. Talk to people! Yes, you’re traveling alone, but making new friends once you’re there can be an amazing experience – and way more interesting than visiting the obvious tourist traps. Not sure who to talk to? Start with the person sitting next to you. I chatted with a girl and her brother at a wine tasting and wound up invited to dinner that night with their friends!

Go incognito.

One of my favorite things about traveling solo is that it gives you a chance to try out different aspects of your personality. Maybe at home you’d never do karaoke, but on a solo excursion, no one knows that. Grab the mike! Wear that bright red lipstick! Tell people you’re a rocket scientist! Take some risks and stretch the limits you place on yourself because of others’ expectations. You have total freedom to be whoever you want to be – have a little fun with it.

Write about it.

Resist the temptation to post everything all over Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. This time is about you and you alone. There’s no one to impress or make jealous, so take a break from the constant performing the culture of social media promotes. Instead, write about where you went, what you saw, and how you felt in a journal. Hash out any lingering thoughts that are bothering you from your life at home, or make up a story about someone you saw at a coffee shop. Let your imagination run wild! Create something just for you so that you can return to when you need to feel that rush of empowerment again.

When you travel alone, you have no one to make happy but yourself – and sometimes that’s a good way to live.

After a devastating loss like a death or a break up, reconnecting to yourself and remembering that the world is a very big place with infinite possibilities can help you make significant steps in your journey forward.

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Have you ever traveled alone? How was the experience? What did you learn? Tell us below!

About Holly

HOLLY_RUSSEL_writer_bio_(1).jpgHolly Russel has a BA in Journalism from New York University. She’s a Senior Marketing Copywriter for a pet health company and counts dogs among her favorite things on the planet –along with tacos, books, social media, and the City of New York. When she makes it out from behind the computer screen, Holly spends her time practicing yoga, kayaking, and indoor cycling. She lives and writes in Wilmington, NC.


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