If you have following the blog for quite some time now you know that I am a huge [female] solo travel proponent. The first trip I took out of the country was a solo trip that lasted for a week. The two times I have gone to Europe were solo trips and I have even spent holidays solo in warm locations to gain some solace. I even took my a leap and ventured off to Morocco as a woman traveling alone. I am the girl that has no problem going out to happy hour or events alone, because if I am in the mood, I know I could make a connection. I write all of this to say that I’m not new to this.
I feel proud whenever I figure out a city’s systems and public transportation routes. Whenever I conquer a new destination I feel like a fearless lioness. Navigating unfamiliar territory alone is exhilarating, challenging, and I love everything about it. Additionally, as an introvert, I appreciate some certified “me” time and I’m more apt to meeting strangers because I am forced out of my comfort zone.
But… there are some days while traveling solo, whether for a short or long trip, when there are some difficult moments. Moments you wish you could hug the ones you love, have a conversation in your native language, or just have that friend with you who knows -just- what angles you look best in to ensure that you slay in your photos. Sometimes you just need a reminder of home whether you want to admit it or not. Liberated or not, you are still human and want that connection.
Knowing the potential of an emotional rollercoaster while traveling solo is part of the reason why I appreciate my tribe of prayer warriors around me. The fact that most of them have iPhones so we can directly chat over wifi just makes things easier. I don’t know about other travelers, but while I am away, it is hard for me to revel in my hard moments. I am typically an extremely upbeat positive and the last thing I want to do is harp on negative moments that might trigger me to get more upset. One event that comes to mind is when I got extremely lost in the Marrakech’s Medina at night. The wifi in my riad’s bedroom did not have the best connection but I had a strong desire to vent to somebody, release the frustration, and feel as though I was back home for a few. As much as I don’t want to admit it, fear of missing out, “FOMO”, can be a real thing when you’re on the road. I love the travel life but whenever I am away for an extended time, I know I might miss birthdays, weddings, and other celebrations. It is an extremely bittersweet sacrifice that I and I alone am responsible for, but it’s a part of the life.
I remember one particular moment in Essaouira in which maybe Big Homie was putting it on my friends’ and MVP’s hearts to check on me. I hadn’t sent a text message all day simply because I was out of a wifi zone, but also because my nerves were bad leaving Marrakech and I just wanted to -get- to Essaouira. I promise you all, I almost burst out in tears when I saw the Atlantic Ocean glistening in the background. It warmed my heart that when I finally had some stable internet I received an influx of messages from people checking in on my safety, my mental well-being, and to let me know that they were praying for me. I was taken aback by how blessed I felt in that moment to have good people around me, even from afar.
Related Post: Finding Peace In Essaouira
As a travel blogger, usually when I am away or make a post, I get the typical questions and requests for recommendations from people that want something. I had been bombarded with questions about one European city while I was away but that person never even took the time to ask me how was -I- doing. They just to know where to party and where to stay. It gets exhausting, especially when I am going through a bumpy patch in the road. It doesn’t bother me as much when strangers do it, but if you are connected to me in my personal life, I don’t want to feel used.
How do I try to stay / feel connected while traveling solo?
- Create a shared iPhone photo album.
- Create a group text / What’s App chat / GroupMe
- Schedule FaceTime Calls (just be mindful of time zones!)
- Send postcards & letters
- Bring tokens from home with you (i.e. t-shirts / cards / photos)
I am sure that every solo traveler doesn’t intend on going out alone, but for those that do, there -is- a level of fearlessness instilled, but we are still human too. Being a black woman, we have been conditioned to be strong superwomen, but there are moments when we need to vent, cry, and let it out. It gets exhausting trying to fight and prove you’re not a drug mule, prostitute, thief, whatever, day after day. If you have someone you know, even if you aren’t the best of friends, but you know they are traveling solo, CHECK. ON. THEM. Don’t only bombard them asking when they are going to give you the tea about their trip. Bombard them with prayers for their safe travels and discernment in a foreign territory. Ask them if they need to vent about anything or if they want to listen to some music that just came out on Tidal. I can guarantee that it would be appreciated and not forgotten.
Kindness is free and prayers are powerful. Keep that person you think is “so brave” in your heart and reach out. Just because we travel alone, does not mean we want to feel lonely.