Recently my environment changed rapidly and frequently. After months of not leaving the house, I went to the beach to wait out some of the pandemic. I went with little plan other than where I would be staying for the first two weeks. I changed Airbnb’s weekly after that and was essentially living out of my car. This was my first time traveling solo for this long and my days were limitless. This was liberating and I have honestly never felt such freedom in my life.
The only trouble with this freedom was figuring out how to thrive in each new environment I was placed in. I knew I needed some sort of structure to stay sane, but I also wanted to live spontaneously through each moment. These are some of the ways I remained balanced.
Elements of structure:
I found an area to run in each new location. This allowed me to maintain a semi-regular exercise schedule. I scoped out a safe location and this made it easy to roll out of bed, into my tennis shoes and onto the trail.
I researched activities beforehand so I knew what my options were. Unfortunately, with COVID many of these were not possible but in the future this would be helpful. Interested in yoga? Find a yoga studio where you can pop in and experience a few classes. Love to sail? Reach out to a yacht club or sailing instructor to set up lessons. It helps to have events planned before you reach your destination.
Find a good coffee shop and a project to work on. You will inevitably have some downtime while traveling alone. My major focus while traveling was finding a job so I treated Monday-Friday like a normal week. Take time to draft some blog posts for the future, stock up on photos, or finally finish a book. This gives you a sense of accomplishment.
Elements of spontaneity:
Be open and start conversations. I sparked conversation at the local coffee shop I frequented and it turned into an incredible group of friends. They fully embraced me into their circle and gave me some of the best memories I could ask for. You never know who you will meet just by asking a question.
Always pack a bag with a change of clothes. I can’t tell you how many times on this trip and in life in general I’ve needed my bag of essentials. I’ve often gone for an afternoon cup of coffee that turned into dinner or drinks with friends. Ironically, being prepared actually allows me to be more spontaneous. I like to be prepared so I don’t have to opt out just because I don’t have the “right attire” or my makeup stash. (Yes this is superficial, but it makes me feel more confident).
Don’t be afraid to be alone. I say this while also saying trust your instincts. If an area doesn’t feel right, leave. However, don’t miss out on a cool restaurant because you’re afraid to eat alone. It took me a few days to work up to going to the beach alone (why this scared me I have no idea), but after I did I saw multiple other people alone. Everyone says this but it is so true- no one cares that you are alone. This allows these spontaneous friendships to happen and gives you time to reflect inward.
“Travel not to find yourself, but to remember who you’ve been all along.”