I sat at work one day staring into my calendar, recognizing 2016 is drawing to a close, yet I still had a good bit of vacation time remaining. As a wife and mother, all of my vacation time is with my family, but I instantly knew with my son in school and my husband out of vacation time, this option would not work. I also knew my busy season of work at year end is approaching, and some time to relax and decompress prior would be a wise move for self-care.
I decided to sign up for a women’s retreat, to spend time away for a few days, not too far from home with an amazing tribe of ladies. I was stoked and looking forward to the long weekend. However, I also realized I had 5 additional days off with nothing amazing planned. Immediately, I got online and searched for flights that week any place flying from Dallas Fort Worth. Alas, I landed upon Denver, which had the cheapest deals. I barely got a positive response from my husband before I clicked “Book It”.
Denver was a great option because I recently traveled there by car with my family over the summer. I was somewhat familiar with the major parks, cities, and bonus, I have several friends who live there. For a few days, I was glowing over the excitement of the upcoming trip, exploring new areas of the parks and mountains, and the opportunity to connect with fabulous friends.
Until the self doubt and fear creeped in.
As people began asking what I was doing with my time off, questions surfaced that many women have in traveling alone. Is this safe? Is this selfish? Will I feel lonely? How do I give comfort to my family that I will be okay? Where do I stay? I let so much fear control my thoughts I almost cancelled the trip. Let’s bravely address these questions.
Is traveling alone safe?
Violence against women is real. It is a tragic reality of the world we live in. I will not go deep into statistics, but with a little research, you find most of the danger is in our communities and local areas rather than during travel. Women should travel differently than men, but that’s also a fact about many things we do. Follow your gut. Do not do things you would not do at home. If you would not walk around alone at night at home, do not do this while traveling alone.
Is traveling alone selfish?
Honestly, this question beat me down the most. As a wife and mother, I am often putting my family before my needs. I was spending money on only myself. I was spending time on only myself. It was a bold step to say I needed to make this investment into myself, after a year of learning a challenging new role at work.
Women, let’s have a real talk. We need to invest in our self care. Our families do not need a frazzled and burnt out mother or career professional. Recovering, relaxing, re-energizing are vital to continue being the amazing women our families need. Our skills, passion, interests, and energy matter, and we should take time to remember who we are first, so we can secondly give the best to the people in our lives.
Will I feel lonely?
I am rarely alone. My house is filled with people and dogs. I carpool to work. I work in an open concept office, where collaboration happens continuously. However, while not alone, I can still feel lonely among a multitude of people. Solo travel is about enjoying time alone with yourself, which does not equate to loneliness unless you want it to. It’s incredibly important to enjoy who you are and time with yourself. There is no one else you are with more, than you. If you struggle with this, I encourage you to plan your solo travel with a retreat or a cruise, where there are activities you can easily join as a group. I am hoping to get a few hikes on my Colorado trip and have connected via hiking groups for events taking place while I am there.
How do I give comfort to my family that I will be okay?
If you run into family members or friends with concerns, have a conversation to understand exactly what the concerns are, as they can vary. Allow them to be a part of the planning and create a communication plan. You can set up check in times so they have assurance the trip is going according to plan and that you are safe. Have patience with those who love you that have concerns. While travel is not dangerous, for those who do not travel often, the comfort is simply not there. In creating a dialog, you can potentially create compromises to reassure their concerns.
Where should I stay?
I would find a centrally located hotel, resort, or Airbnb near transportation if you do not have a rental car. Check out the neighborhood. Research trip advisor pages and read the comments. Do a little homework here to ensure when you arrive, this is a place you feel comfortable. For my trip, the location of stay was a part of the concern discussed in our prior question. To compromise, I am staying with friends for this trip, and it made the best sense for costs as well.
I have traveled with work and to visit family, but this will be my first travel for sheer fun. I’m looking forward to updating you once I return.
Do you have additional questions? Comment below and let us help!