As writers who are relatively well traveled, the experiences gained in each new place is invaluable.
It is said that experience is the best teacher, and we agree.
Matter fact, until you are able to travel and learn from new people and perspectives your views on the world will be slightly narrowed.
The value of solo exploration and trips can be undervalued, SURPRISINGLY it is a lot more fun than planning a trip with friends and family.
Traveling with others means you are guaranteed to have someone to at the least spend time with, or go out to eat, or sightseeing and who doesn't like companionship when making life memories?
What is less likely to happen though on partner or group trips, is time for solo reflection, thinking, and exploring.
I strongly believe that it just as important to cultivate relationships and spend time with other people as it is to be comfortable and happy in your own company. While I was in London, I didn't rent a car so I spent a lot of time taking the train, buses and cabs and it was nice to sit back while I was carried to wherever my next destination. It gave me the free time to think about my life back home(the good and bad).
This allowed me time to write my thoughts out, think about any changes that I wanted to make when I returned back home, listen to my favorite music and just relax. Sometimes it's necessary to take some time out for yourself and connect with yourself, especially if you are in need of a refresher, and taking a vacation to a far off land, or shoot a bordering city. These are all perfect opportunities to relax and focus on yourself.
Sometimes we get so wrapped up in life, and the daily hustle and bustle of obtaining a paycheck that we start to lose ourselves. We lose ourselves in our heads and in other people. So much so that we forget what really matters to us, we let our dreams slip through our fingers without even realizing it.
Familiarity can sometimes breed complacency though, and it might not be until you go to another place that you realize how much you might want or need a change.
Using myself as an example, I have lived in the suburbs for a majority of my life so I'm accustomed to being driven or driving to wherever I want to go.
So you can only imagine how going to a country that has one of the best transportation systems in the world, to the point where people rely heavily on public transport to get around can be a bit intimidating.
But here's where the self development comes in:I didn't allow my frustration to stop me from going out and seeing the city. I also didn't take the "easy" route and just be carted around by cabs. I kept trying to get a hang of the buses and trains and eventually I could get to and from places of my interest with ease and it felt AMAZING.
It showed me that with the help of other people and my own smarts, that I could do what I thought I couldn't do. Small scale experiences like that can be the difference in you starting your own business or continuing to feel like a slave to the clock because success is success. As a child you learned how to walk and even as early as a toddler, you gained confidence that helped you to progress to the next stage of life.
In the same like taking a solo vacation can be a turning point in your life, especially if you decide to go to a country where everyone speaks a completely different language. For example, it will be a challenge to get around and communicate, but it doesn't mean that it cannot be done. There is something about accomplishing something you had no idea you would. It does something for the ego.
There was a point in time when me and my friend were so stressed out with university and our full time jobs and we just wanted a break from it all. So we decided to take a 2-3 hour trip to New York, Virginia, Delaware, and some other places and look up cool places to shop, eat, and see. It was pretty inexpensive because we drove and an easy commitment because we were vacationing on our weekends. Our first trip was to Alexandria, VA and we stayed at the Aloft Dulles North, and that was one of our exploration points. We wanted to choose a hotel we had never stayed at just to be able to say we had experienced it. Then we found out where there was a local flea market and events around, and we parked our car and checked it out. Simply put, it was nice. It nurtured the inquisitive spirit within us that just simply wanted to be interested by something new.
What was more interesting was that once we took that first trip, we couldn't wait to plan our next inexpensive, weekend getaway, to a not so far off place just to be somewhere different to do something different.
It means to appreciate new and different places for what they are and as the old adage goes,
"When in Rome, do as the Romans do."
It was also an invitation to do just that, go to new places.