Earlier this month I took an entire week off of work – just because. I was stressed, over-worked, and I needed a b-r-e-a-k. Bad. So I took a vacation and spent some quality time with me, myself, and I!
I packed up the car, left the dogs with the boyfriend, and drove an hour outside of Austin to a little town called Wimberley. Population: 2,626.
I found a cute little cabin on Airbnb. I hunkered down for a few days. I drank wine. I ate popcorn. I binge watched Vampire Diaries (which, yes, I know I’m like 8 years late to that party but wow it’s so good!).
And I had the time of my life! (My social media shows it’s true).
And let me tell you – you learn a thing or two when you take a solo vacation.
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Things I Learned from Taking a Solo Vacation
(& why it’s so worth it)
Learn how to be alone
First and foremost, you learn how to be by yourself. I live with my boyfriend, so between work and being at home with him, I have very little time to be alone. Real talk? Sometimes I rush home at 4 just to have an hour to myself before Will gets off at 5:30. And even then there’s my 2 dogs to contend with. So true alone time is virtually nonexistent.
And this is the case for most people! Between work, home life, friends, family, school, pets, and everything else – we are often in the presence of someone else.
But for this vacation, I wanted to be (and was!) totally and completely alone.
And it. was. fabulous!
There’s something about just being by myself that is invigorating. If I didn’t want to talk? I didn’t have to. If I wanted to embarrassingly sing Mariah Carey classics? No one there to judge. Wanted to drink wine straight from the bottle? No one there to stop me.
Amazing I tell ya.
Learn how to be at peace
It wasn’t just being in solitude that was a perk. Taking a vacation alone allowed me to learn what being at peace means. I got to enjoy the feeling of not having to be anywhere or do anything. No worrying about emails or a to-do list. No sudden realizations that I forgot to make that presentation or meal prep dinner.
Literally just being in the moment? Taking a deep breath, not because I needed to calm my anxiety, but because I simply wanted to? Amazingly satisfying.I got to take a deep breath. Not to calm my anxiety, but because I wanted to. Click To Tweet
I was accountable to nobody but myself. And I decided that my only task was to be at peace.
I gave myself the freedom to be more present. I wasn’t stuck in my own head or distracted by trivial things.
I just was.
Now this might not be your experience if you decide to solo travel to a place that is more bustlin’ (and most places will be more lively than a town with 2,000 people lemme tell ya). But even so, taking a solo vacation will force you to accept what is and make peace with it.
You miss your connecting flight? Well sorry girlfriend, there’s no travelling companion to complain to! So just make your peace and keep on moving.
Learn how to listen to yourselfWhen I shut off all of the outside noise, I learned how to listen to myself. Click To Tweet
When I shut off all of the outside noise, I learned how to listen to myself. And I actually liked what I had to say.
When you travel with someone else, you’re more at the whims of what they want to do. They want to go to an art museum and you find art the most boring thing in the world? Well tough nookies, because compromise is a bitch.
But when you travel alone, you get to do what you want, when you want.
And not gonna lie…that can be kind of terrifying.
It took me a solid day to really listen to myself and be ok with what I wanted to do. I was so used to having someone else to bounce decisions off of that it was hard to decide what to do when (should I go to the river first or go to a coffee shop? Sleep in or be the early bird?!?).
But eventually, I started to tune in to myself more. I recognized when I wanted to push myself and keep going, and when I needed to slow down and chill.
Weirdly enough, it’s still something that I’m honed in to even though I’m back at work and my normal life.
Learn that you are enough
Combined with listening to myself, taking a solo vacation helped me accept myself.
Gone were the days of me having someone else to validate me. As much as I hated it, I actually had to give myself that validation.
I did a solo photoshoot when I was gone (because would I even be a blogger if I didn’t get some good photos?!), which means I had to look at the photos…by myself. There wasn’t anyone to tell me that I looked great or to make me laugh or to help me pose. It was all trial and error, baby and I’m not gonna lie…I got some pretty ugly shots.
Normally I’d look at my double chins and cellulite, call it quits for the day and pack er up. And there were a couple times that I almost did.
But then I decided to be own cheerleader.
I saw a bad picture and looked at what I didn’t like. My romper rode up and it was too much of a profile shot? Ok cool. Pull those shorts down and angle your body, girlfriend!
And you know what? Then I got pictures like this.
Were there imperfections and flaws? Absolutely. But taking a solo vacation taught me that I am enough, exactly as I am. My thoughts, my opinions, my downfalls, and my strengths? All enough.
I didn’t need anyone to tell me or validate it. I learned to know it, all on my own. I learned how to notice my smile more than my cellulite, and that’s an amazing feeling.I learned how to notice my smile more than my cellulite, and that’s an amazing feeling. Click To Tweet
P.S. Solo photoshoots are now my jam! I recently discovered tripods that come with wireless remotes and they are LIFE CHANGING. This is the one I bought, and here’s a slightly cheaper one, and a slightly more expensive one (for if you’re feeling sassy).
Learn how to dare greatly
My therapist once told me that I dare greatly.
And it changed. my. life.
Before then, I thought of all of my choices as desperate attempts to stay afloat.
But in reality, they were examples of me daring greatly. Making different choices so I could make changes. Living life with a little excitement (which I later found out is also a way to combat anxiety: fight heightened emotion (anxiety) with heightened emotion (exhilaration/excitement).Travelling alone? That was the ultimate adventure in daring greatly. Click To Tweet
I really didn’t realize how taken aback people were when I told them I vacationed alone. Honestly you would’ve thought I said I was backpacking through Timbuktu, naked, with only $1 the way some people’s eyes got wide.
But ya know? It was exciting to live a little “dangerously” and do something unexpected. It was fun to surprise people, and even more fun to surprise myself.
And at the end of the day, I can honestly say that I am a better person for doing it.
Psst! If you’re interested in how to dare greatly in your own life, Brene Brown has an amazing book called – you guessed it! – Daring Greatly. It will really inspire you to welcome vulnerability instead of fighting it, and it’s on my favs list for sure!
Which btw…would you like to hear about some of my favorite books or have you been on a daring adventure lately (big or small!)? Let me know in the comments below!
Until next time,