How Solo Travel Makes Me a Better Manifestor • Lila
I’ve loved traveling every since I was little. My family and I used to fly from California to New York, and visa-versa, often and each time brought just as much excitement as the last. I remember tallying up every flight I had ever taken, adding a new one each leg of the trip. As I got older, I began traveling by myself. Never too far - either to LA to visit friends or back and forth from DC (to New York) for school. Yet, I still felt the same sparks of excitement every time I entered the airport regardless of the destination, only this time with the added adrenaline of being on my own.
Studying abroad in Italy during college introduced me to the idea of real travel and the reality of how big the world truly is. When I graduated a semester early, I took the extra time to set out across Europe alone. I had saved up enough money from babysitting throughout college, summers & semesters. I had also manifested a free place to stay in DC when I got back. Although nervous at first, this first solo trip introduced me to the pure magic of solo travel.
Traveling solo gave me independence, courage, confidence and introduced me to magnetism.
Albeit a bit dramatic, this statement is 100% the truth. I had always been an independent soul, but there’s a different level of independence required when you’re in a foreign city, without the modern powers of a smart phone and without an understanding of the local language.
There are moments when you can feel utterly lost and alone; this is where courage begin to take shape. The courage to keep going, to try new things and to open yourself up to new people. The result is a newfound confidence. My first solo trip lasted about two months and 13 cities. I had always been a bit reserved, “shy,” but each new city brought out a side of me I was sincerely surprised to see. With a growing self-confidence I opened myself up to starting conversations with strangers, venturing out with new friends and trying my tongue at the language with locals.
The hours I spent alone walking every corner of a new city without the distraction of my phone and music blasting through headphones were moments in which I got to know myself. I uncovered bits and pieces of my authenticity that had been hiding beneath layers of shadow and ego. I could feel my magnetism in moments of new friendships, in gifted meals and stories. It’s hard to put into words the magic of it all - so venture out for yourself and taste it.
Travel isn’t always easy. It can be lonely. It can be exhausting. You can miss your flights and get stuck on wrong buses. But these seemingly “shitty situations” are actually little disguised gifts and lessons. Take them in stride and ask what you can learn from each new adventure.
When you have only yourself to rely on in uncomfortable and unfamiliar situations are times when you can truly experience the most personal growth and self-awareness. At least that’s what I learned through it all.
How I solo travel
i. Plan a little, but not too much • Have a rough outline of where you’d like to go, but don’t over plan. Often people you meet along the way will recommend places to go. Part of the magic of solo travel is living by your own itinerary. Leave room for spontaneity
ii. Nervous? Start somewhere a little less uncomfortable, where the language is your native language or where you may have been before • This can warm you up to venture out a bit more.
iii. Use Google Flights • This is how I plan EVERY trip. You can set your airport of departure and see every possible destination with the cheapest price posted. I use this to set up where and when I’ll travel to find the cheapest routes.
iv. Stay in hostels • Hostels are great for solo travel if you want to meet people or have a cheap place to stay. Just prepare for shared rooms and communal bathrooms.
v. Take advantage of Free Walking Tours • Nearly every cities offers free walking tours. Times are posted in hostels, or just simply search online. I met a few friends in Scotland through a walking tour and spent the entirety of my trip with them. They’re also just a great way to see a city and hear about the history. It helped me get a lay of the land before I set out on my own.
vi. Taste the local food • As a foodie to my core, most of my trip planning is focused on where I’ll eat. Treat yourself to local fare for a taste of the culture. There are plenty of ways to eat cheaply: street food, tapas bars, cafes, etc.
vii. Bring a journal • Don’t pass up on the opportunity for some prime channeling time. So much comes to me when I’m in a new place. Write it all down to reflect on later.
viii. Stay in touch with new friends • It’s so special to have friends and connections across the globe. I’ve kept in touch with a few people I’ve met while traveling and they’re always inviting me to come visit them in their home countries/cities.
ix. Remember it’s never too late to set out alone • Even for just a weekend, you’re never too old and it’s never too late. Explore, wander, be open to new adventure near or far.
x. Don’t trust fear, but trust instincts • If that makes sense…learn how to understand a gut feeling versus fear of something uncomfortable or unknown. Traveling alone can have it’s dangers. Stay alert, but not fearful.