In April, on an impulsive whim, I decided to book a round trip ticket to Portugal. Ten days, pandemic, and unsure of what I’d do alone. 

Many asked “why are you going alone” I wholeheartedly believe there is strength in traveling alone. It teaches many things: that you can live with less, inner security comes from within and the soul is nourished in solitude. Whilst alone many thoughts came to me. In 2015 I did Vipassana meditation, 10 days of pure solidarity meditation. This trip felt like another meditation. 10 days of soul searching and introspection. 

It is strength, it’s hardship, it’s lonely and above all it is faith. Faith in knowing the divine is with me.  As a woman on a solo trip to Portugal, I never felt unsafe thank goodness and felt welcome by everyone in my presence.

Today at the end of my journey, after 10 days of solo travel in a foreign country here are my lessons learned: 

Eating alone: learn to be present with food, mindful eating and taking small bites to relish at the moment. Take in the surrounding environment and people watch. The incredible things that can be observed about people when alone. One big observation: get off your phones and dive into a deep conversation if you are with company, or if alone, savor your food. The time we have on earth is limited, eat a meal without your phones, please!

Walking alone: My favorite activity and the most meditative of all. Walking alone teaches you that with each stride there is faith and purpose and the universe is conspiring in your favor. 

Traveling alone: be on time. There’s no one to help you so you can’t mess up. You can’t be late, miss a train or expect anyone to help you with your 50lbs of luggage that you unnecessarily packed. Figure it out and navigate ambiguity with class.

Meet people: smile, say hello, strike up a conversation with a stranger. I had surprisingly amazing meals with the most beautiful people, all complete strangers who left me with a feeling of familiarity. Come out of your shell and talk, you will be surprised how many people just want to be heard.

If you’re in a position to travel alone, do it. I highly recommend pushing boundaries, insecurities in order to find your inner strength.