Discovering Inner Strength Through Solo Travel
Before I even start, I want to give mad respect to this group of travel lovers (Under30Experiences) for being unconditionally awesome and allowing me to tell you about my recent trip to the Emerald Isle, and how it ultimately began the positive change in my life.
Let me elaborate on that.
Throwing it back to my days filled with endless youth and minimal amounts of cellulite, I struggled with crippling anxiety.
Anxiety can come in many forms, but for me, I had feelings of low self-esteem, negative thoughts of doubt and failure, with a side order of inadequacy. Over the years, I have learned to check these feelings at the door, and put on a good face for the world to see, but sometimes, those thoughts and feeling would get the absolute best of me.
This mindset has led to many missed opportunities. Fear, doubt and lack of confidence in myself ultimately held me back from truly experiencing what life has to offer.
I could not continue to live my life this way. Here I was 25 years young with a negative view of the world, myself and the future. I decided that it was time to make a change in my life. I didn’t want to look back on my life and regret the chances I never took due to fears of rejection and failure.
I was determined to live a life where one day when I’m old and gray, I can sit comfortably in my recliner with all twelve cats and reminisce on the best days of my life.
I had to start somewhere, and that somewhere was with Under30Experiences.
Preparing for the trip began this change in perspective. I had never traveled alone, left the country, or been on an airplane. This was quite the big deal.
I would have never booked a trip like this a year ago, and here I am about to embark on the trip of a lifetime. I had several expectations going into this trip which included:
- Conquer fear of flying
- Gain confidence in myself
- Have a kick ass time
All three were accomplished, eventually.
I arrived in Dublin two days before I met with my other travel companions, and I was initially nervous about doing this, but to be honest, being alone in a foreign country definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone. I needed that push.
One day, just for fun, I hopped on the train and went for a ride. I pushed aside the fear of uncertainty and just went with the flow. I had never felt so completely independent in my entire life. This was a great feeling to have for once in my life.
Let me tell you about the first day I met my travel crew.
After almost missing my taxi to the airport, I arrived ready to tackle the day.
Then mother nature hit me. Talk about impeccable timing.
Once introductions were made, the trip leaders went over the plan for the day which included a stop at a quaint little market for a traditional Irish breakfast followed by a light hike along the cliffs in Howth. I cringed at the idea of any physical activity, but I popped a few Aleve, chugged my coffee and kept a open mind.
More Negative Thoughts
Let me say this, for a person who lives a sedentary lifestyle, this hike kicked my ass. Not only am I severely out of shape, but I am rather self conscious about my weight. I began doubting my ability to actually complete this hike without doing one of two things:
- Shitting my pants
I was determined to not let these things happen. Not today.
The first half of the hike was simply stunning. In my wildest dreams, I never imagined I would be walking on this beautiful trail on the coast of Ireland, miles away from home with a group of strangers.
As time passed on, I began to lose momentum, and the negative thoughts began to catch up to me. I thought,
"I can’t do this anymore. I’m feeling nauseous. Maybe if I lost the extra weight this wouldn’t be so bad? I wish I didn’t look this way. I can’t catch my breath. This deodorant is NOT clinical strength."
In all seriousness, this way of thinking is exhausting. I continued to struggle with these feelings throughout most of the hike.
Nevertheless, I continued on my way trying my hardest to push out the negativity. At one point my legs began to give out and I had to stop to catch myself. I had come this far, I couldn’t stop now. I told myself to keep going.
I had to focus on the present and disregard my thoughts. My goal was to finish this hike. I took another deep breath and continued.
Discovering Inner Strength
After climbing what felt to be the steepest hill imaginable, we arrived at our destination, and I felt utterly victorious! After the urge to vomit subsided, I was completely euphoric.
I have never done anything so physically demanding in my entire life, and I had done it. The feeling was indescribable.
In my mind, if I could accomplish this, I could accomplish anything. Not only did my attitude change, but my calf muscles were never the same, and I loved that sweet, sweet burn.
This day was one of the best days of my life. (And, the day was just beginning!)
For some of those in my group this may have been just a simple hike, but to me it was life changing.
Everyone has feelings of doubt, insecurity and inadequacy. What’s important to remember is that we are all truly stronger than we believe.
Stop telling yourself you can’t or you won’t. You can and gosh darn it, you will.
We are all capable of doing great things if we ditch the negative thoughts and learn to embrace the uncertainties of life and of ourselves.
I discovered on this trip that I can not only depend on myself, but I had strength within me that I never knew existed. I would not allow negative thoughts to hold me back from experiencing what life has to offer. I would keep going.
If I could make it through that first day, I could make it through anything.
And just like that, I gained self-confidence and I had a kick ass time.
Booking this trip was one of the best decisions I have ever made.