A slight hint of trepidation penetrated my heart as I awaited for my solo international journey to start. Was this a mistake? Would I be lonely traveling by myself? Wouldn’t it be better to experience Paris and Barcelona with a friend or a significant other?
I quickly stopped those negative thoughts and started to reflect on how blessed I was able to make the trip. If you have been reading my blog for a while, you know that I was laid off last year and spent the whole summer on my knees praying to God to send me a job. I was afraid, I questioned God and my faith, and worried how I would keep a roof on my head. I had no safety net to fall back on if I didn’t find a job before my severance pay and savings ran out. I had to humble myself and request unemployment funds….
But what a difference a year can make! In September of last year, I started working for a non-profit consulting firm and found myself financially stable again. Instead of worrying about how I would pay the bills, I was able to turn my energies to checking off items on my bucket list. A few years ago, I took my first solo vacation to New Orleans (you can read about this here). Towards the end of that trip, I told myself that I had to travel internationally solo and that I would go to Paris and Barcelona.
Last December, I found the perfect trip through Go Ahead Tours and I kept looking at it over and over again for several weeks. Could I do this? Could I really travel alone internationally for 9 days with a group of strangers? Maybe it was gumpton or a nudge from the Holy Spirit, but I pulled the trigger and booked the trip.
Holy cow! I am going to Paris and Barcelona!!!
So when the trip finally arrived, I did find myself slightly afraid. What if I didn’t meet any cool people? What if I got lonely? What if something happened? But as I boarded the plane for my direct flight from Dulles to Paris, a sense of calm came over me. I knew it would be alright.
And it completely was. From our first group dinner to our final pow wow in the lobby of Barcelona over Sangria, I have been blessed. Everyone in my group was so friendly and fun. I definitely had some favorites though: the Persians from LA, the couple from Boston that has been married for 38 years, and the two women that had been friends since high school.
The conversations we had truly enriched me. We talked about everything: men, dating, marriage, travel, family…I could go on and on. I learned a lot from my group and I definitely plan to keep in contact with many of them. They never once made me feel excluded; I was able to spend time alone as well as with each one of them.
Many of them remarked to me how brave I was and how they couldn’t have traveled alone if it was them. I guess I am brave. But I also didn’t want to wait my whole life to visit Paris or Barcelona for a man to come into my life. What if I never met the right one? Does this mean that I shouldn’t travel and see the world like I have dreamed?
Honestly, traveling solo taught me so much about myself. I learned how independent and courageous I am. In addition, I had the wonderful opportunity to really reflect on how great God has been (and continuously is) to me. I asked God to travel and I have several more trips lined up in my 35th year (more details to come in future blog posts ;-)). I am looking forward to all of the experiences I will gain from each of them and the wonderful people I will meet and reconnect with along the way.
I am determined to live this one life that God has given me. Again, what if I never meet Mr. Right? Does this mean that I shouldn’t live out all of my dreams or be miserable? Of course not! As I have mentioned in my unapologetically single post earlier this year, I am determined to be happy single. I will enjoy this season to the fullest because the single season is to be treasured. If I do get married, I won’t be able to do as I please any more. I will have to consider and compromise with my spouse. If I have children, I won’t be able to up and book trips as I wish. So why not do it while I can?
I am truly grateful for this experience to relax and eat/drink my way through Barcelona and Paris. I look forward to sharing with you more details about the trip and tips to traveling solo successfully in my other blog, Life, Love and Libations. I am one of three writers who are 30 something, naturalista singletons in the DMV area. You can check us out here.