Fall in Love with Yourself and Traveling
"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime."― Mark Twain
After an unpleasant divorce and before COVID-19, I was determined to start putting “me” first by falling in love with myself. So, I decided to take a solo trip for self-reflection and love. At the time, I had no idea where I wanted to go, but after speaking with a friend and co-worker, I decided to travel somewhere in Europe. I recently learned that I have Irish ancestry, so I selected to travel to Dublin. I was really excited and enthusiastic about my trip, until when I arrived at the airport. I was so scared all of a sudden. I thought to myself, why are you traveling alone to a strange country? Are you crazy? I mustered up the strength to take this trip - remembering that I am doing this for me! As I boarded the plane, I started trembling, but I said a short prayer and boarded anyway.
The flight was great, and the flight attendants on Aer Lingus were excellent. I often wonder if they could sense my apprehension and the scariness I was feeling? If so, they never said anything. When I arrived in Dublin, I met so many friendly people along the way. I took the Trinity College Dublin-the Book of Kells Tour, the Malahide Castle and Gardens Tour, St. Patrick's Cathedral Tour, and a Walking Tour to see Downtown Dublin and learn some of this city's historical wonders. Of course, I visited the famous Temple Bar area, where I drank my first ever Guinness beer while listening to fantastic live music! There was a small cafe that I would go to at the end of the day to reflect on my journey and journal about my experiences.
I would encourage anyone who is thinking about traveling solo to do their homework. Research the country you are thinking about traveling to and review the US State Department's website to warn about that country and city. Conducting this research is vital for anyone, man or woman, traveling solo. Also, please stay in contact with friends and family by letting them know exactly where you are always. I emailed my friends and family my full itinerary.
In conclusion, the awe-inspiring feeling I felt at the end of each day was absolutely wonderful. The freedom to be adventurous and explore a new city has given me a lingering sense of happiness. This initial solo travel experience gave me the courage to travel to Tokyo, Japan; Taipei, Taiwan; Beijing, China, to name a few. If I could say one thing is not to be afraid to travel, whether you are with a group or solo, just step out in faith. Next stop, Seoul, South Korea! I will leave you with a lyric by India Arie "life is a journey, not a destination. There are no mistakes, just chances we've taken."