Life Lessons from a Solo Traveler
Life as a solo traveler certainly has its challenges - but sometimes those challenges can prompt the most important lessons.
Today marks my 100th day straight on the road.
It's been a whirlwind of an adventure and one I'll never forget.
Travel is a gift to the self
Travel is one of the most valuable gifts we can give ourselves. It has brought me countless people, adventures,lessons, and experiences into my life.
Each one has left an impact that I'll cherish forever.
I'm grateful that my community of friends all over the world has never been bigger or stronger.
The impact of travel
I've been living out of a backpack for almost two years now and have grown accustomed to many situations that some of my peers wouldn't be used to:
- I don't mind sleeping in dozens of different beds
- I pay little mind to roaches in my room
- If I get lost in a city, I take a deep breath and know I'll figure it out
- I've had more dinners for one than I can recall
I've also been able to tackle insignificant fears that limit so many of our lives:
- Fear of what other people think of you
- Fear of uncertainty
- Fear of vulnerability
These are a handful of the fears that you'll tackle almost everyday on the road.
A one way ticket and a backpack will help you conquer more fears quicker than you could ever imagine.
Accustomed to the temporary
For better or worse, the temporary is something I've gotten used to.
A temporary bed, city, friendship, adventure.
There’s a saying in the ancient philosophy of Stoicism called "Memento Mori." It translates to "remember that you will die".
This is only bleak if you don't use this mindset to your advantage.
Our life on this wonderful planet is temporary so we have to seize the moments while we have them.
I'm always reminded to do my best, present my best self to anyone I meet, and make my time f*cking matter.
I've met countless friends on the road, many of which I'll likely never see again. It's one of my favorite parts of traveling, but it's also the most difficult.
I love sitting down at dinner with people from different parts of the world and learning about how different our lives are - and yet how similar we remain.
And most of all, I love experiencing the insanity of our paths colliding in a random corner of a foreign country, knowing all the while there's nothing coincidental about it.
The constant arrival and departure of people in your life
This is undoubtedly the most taxing part of travel.
Naturally, you won't bond with every person you meet on the road but every once in awhile, there will be a special person who you'll share a deeper connection with.
Sometimes a person comes into your life that will put a little chip in the wall you've built up after months of goodbyes.
This is the most difficult part of traveling. The part that never makes it to the instagram posts or facebook albums.
It's the feeling of separating from someone you truly, deeply, connected with.
Goodbyes are never easy. Anyone who has spent a significant time on the road is well aware of that.
Although you may not be welcoming and leaving people in your everyday life, I challenge you take a valuable life lesson from my experience living as a solo traveler on the road:
Be mindful of the time you have with those you love.
If you know this was the last conversation, meal, or experience you shared, would you approach the situation any differently?
I challenge you to ponder on the stoic saying of memento mori:
- How would you choose to live your day if you knew it would be your last?
- Who would you surround yourself with?
- Is there a good reason you're not doing that today?
Enjoy the small moments that expire quickly.
Laugh more, live immediately, and appreciate the people in your life.
The current moment is the only certainty we have.