I’ve always dreamed of traveling the world. I grew up in a small city in Wisconsin and every trip I took outside of it always left me wanting more. When I turned 18 and moved out for college, I was so excited for the adventures I was going to have. Instead, I fell in love and got married at 19, thinking that I had met the person I was going to share all of those adventures with the rest of my life. And we did have many adventures. I’m so grateful to be able to share those memories with him, but as we grew older and navigated tough choices, it felt right to go our separate ways and file for divorce last year. Don’t get me wrong though, that’s just the sugar-coated version. To put the experience lightly, it was painful, but there were so many amazing things that divorce opened up the door for, and one of those things was solo traveling.
Divorce made me face my fears.
I had always wanted to take a solo trip but was too afraid. What if I got lonely? What if I got lost in a foreign country? Or what if the things I saw in the media happened while I was there? I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to get past those fears, but my cousin said something to me shortly after I called her crying post-divorce that ended up being exactly what I needed to hear.
She said, “You’re going to be scared, but you’re going to have to do things that scare you. These next couple of months are going to be filled with hard things.”
And it just hit me when she said that, that she was right. I decided I was going to take a solo trip because it was the most terrifying thing I could do at that moment, and if I could do what scared me most then, then I could do anything. That was the moment that divorce started to look a lot less scary and more like a door opening.
If you’re thinking about solo traveling for the first time, I hope this blog post is a push for you to just go for it. It doesn’t take a divorce to do it, but it does take courage. What I’ve learned is that everyone has that courage and capability in them, whether they actually believe it or not. One of my favorite things that I learned from solo traveling was that even in a place where I didn’t know anyone, I wasn’t alone. I met so many people who were really kind, funny, and interesting. I also got to know myself and learned that I really like the person I am. I’m kind, funny, interesting, and really handy with a camera.