Love Letter #131: How to Get to Know Yourself

Traveling solo is not just about visiting a new destination; it’s a profound journey toward self-discovery. An amazing way to get to know yourself. 

At first, it might sound daunting, and there is definitely some loneliness in the beginning. But as you move through the initial discomfort, you’ll find yourself becoming more at ease with the solitude. The discomfort, however, is where the magic happens – it’s the gateway to self-reckoning. An opportunity to dive deep into what you like and don’t like without anyone else influencing you or making decisions for you. 

Often, when we begin to feel the discomfort of loneliness, we look for immediate distractions. Rather than filling the void with people and things, embracing solitude is an opportunity for introspection. Initially, that might not seem like fun, but therein lies its power. It allows you to strip away external influences and make decisions purely for yourself. 

Getting comfortable with your own company is key. Start with small steps. Take yourself to dinner in a restaurant. Go to the movies alone. It can be truly liberating, reminding you that it’s okay to prioritize your own desires, even if they differ from those of your partner or friends. The journey is about focusing solely on yourself – your needs, your aspirations, and your fears. 

I think most of us want these kinds of experiences and we’re also afraid to have them. I get it. When I took my first solo road trip around the country, I left Rhode Island and was doing great until I got west of the Mississippi. When I left Madison, WI, I would be traveling for several days without knowing anyone until I met with friends in the Pacific Northwest. There was a lot of nothingness along the way, and I felt like I’d been launched into space. It took a lot of self-coaching and positive self-talk to move beyond those fears. 

And, I would do it all over again. 

Interestingly, several years earlier I traveled solo in Italy for nine days, and still, I felt alone and scared on that road trip. You just have to do it scared…otherwise, you’ll never do it. The idea that you’ll do it when you are more confident is a lie. You’ll become more confident when you actually do it. I’ve come to embrace the discomfort as a stepping stone towards self-discovery and greater self-expression.

When I travel overseas, I love to bring back the experiences from my solo travels. I always like to take a cooking class while traveling solo and recreate those meals for friends when I return, sharing my experience over dinner. So, delicious. 

For me, solo travel is best when there’s a blend of carefully curated activities and lots of downtime for aimless exploration. When I was in Florence, Italy with two friends, they took a city tour one day and I opted out. I’d done that before and wanted to explore parts of the old city I’d not been in before; to wander the streets, pursue local shops, and see what hidden gems emerged along the way.

It was the day before we were to leave, so I took the opportunity to figure out the bus situation over a cappuccino and get bus tickets to the airport for all of us. It’s incredibly liberating to manage your self-talk and do things with the confidence of someone who knows themselves deeply. 

In the end, solo travel is not just about exploring new places; it’s a journey inward toward a deeper understanding of oneself. It’s about embracing the discomfort, prioritizing your one needs, and ultimately, discovering the immense power that comes from being comfortable in your own skin. 

With love,

So much spiritual and personal growth work is focused on “improving” yourself. But in my mind, there’s nothing to improve…simply your full, amazing, and perfectly imperfect self to “approve” of Join me in The Art of Self-Approval and discover how to be comfortable in your own skin.

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