“When the traveler goes alone she gets acquainted with herself.” — Liberty Hyde Bailey
2017 has been my breakthrough year. I accomplished 90% of the goals I sat out to and there’s still time to accomplish my last one. My big take-away from this year is, greatness comes from outside of your comfort zone. This past week was no exception.
You constantly read blogs and see on social media the promotion of traveling alone. The main reason is because it’s said to be an amazing self-experience. However, traveling alone was never something that interest me. Not only did this idea scare me, but because I tend to enjoy experiences more when I am with the people I love.
But life is unpredictable.
Since starting my job in September, I knew a trip to Toronto for training was in my near future. My supervisor made it very clear that it was an imperative part of the onboarding process. Yet the thought of going on this trip lingered an unpleasant feeling. All my brain could process every time I thought about the trip was, how I never been on an airplane, how I never been out of the country, and how I never traveled alone.
In life sometimes, you have to do things that you may not want to. Taking this trip was important for my job, so I had to do what was necessary to keep improving professionally. After I got my passport, the trip was booked. I could no longer keep those worrying thoughts inside my head. I pushed them aside and started thinking positive. The day before my flight, I brought a new luggage, packed, and did some research on Canada.
It was 5am when I arrived at the airport for my 6am departure flight. The check-in agent told me I was late and that I may have to wait for the next flight which wasn’t leaving till 12pm. I immediately panicked because I had a training from 10am-12pm that I couldn’t miss. He gave me my boarding pass and I ran through the airport like a madwoman.
Luckily, I made it on the plane. Once I was seated, I took a deep breath and prepared myself for my first plane ride. I avoided looking out the window the entire hour flight. When the plane landed, my body ached from how tense I sat. I got my luggage from baggage claim, went to currency exchange, and got in a taxi.
In the taxi, I texted my family to ensure them I was safe. The entire ride, I glanced out the window. No doubt it was a cloudy day, but the city’s beauty still shined through. The taxi took me to my job and I braced myself to make a great first-impression on my Toronto co-workers.
Despite I was apprehensive about the entire trip, it will forever be an experience I will be grateful for. The beauty of the city, the kindness of the people, walking around the city at night, the interesting restaurants, and the intense training I received will all be remembered. On the plane back home, I glared out the window the entire time and the rest is history.
I can’t say I am booking my next solo trip any time soon, but I can say I learned something very awesome about myself. I am BRAVE. All the uncomfortable things I encountered, I stood up to them. The fear of traveling solo is real, but so is overcoming it!
I would love to hear all your cool stories about traveling solo in the comments.