Now that it’s mid-February, I’m well into daydreaming about where I’m going on my Solo Journey this year. I started at the end of December, when the Christmas tree was down and the holiday busyness was transitioning to the quiet gray days of January. I was feeling that pull to strike out on my own.
Over the years, people have asked me, “Why go alone?”
What I’ve found is that whether you go away by yourself for a day, a weekend, or a week, traveling alone is a way of reviving yourself without the constant conversations and interaction of traveling with others. You can choose to get lost, in a good way, as an act of letting go, wandering about in a sort of timelessness. You’re able to leave behind daily responsibilities and see your life with fresh eyes—from a distance. For me, it’s also a time of listening for what God is saying to me while I’m in a place of quiet.
After the question about why go it alone, the next question people ask is how do I choose where to go. This gets at factors for how I plan my trip.
There are 3 things I’d recommend to keep in mind as you plan your journey.
First, I consider what is calling me. What type of environment do I need this year to be renewed? Do I want a natural setting or to be absorbed in the culture and activity of a city? This takes into consideration my personality as well as what type of year I’ve had.
When I took my life coaching course, one of the things that was new for me was paying attention to my energy. I learned to look at my energetic response in making decisions about what I really wanted.
While your head may be slow to recognize your desires, your body holds the truth.
If I feel my heart quicken with a certain idea, I know I’m on the right track—as it makes me feel my energy increase. If it seems more like drudgery to think about that destination, the planning involved, the logistics once I’m there– then I don’t have the right place in mind. For me, I most often feel my energy increase with going to any place around a body of water. If you ask the question, “Are you a mountain or a beach person?” my answer is always the beach.
While my first journey to Sedona was a serendipitous one, a happy accident, and I was at a small body of water– Oak Creek, the following journey that was intentional was to Jekyll Island, Georgia. I wanted to be at the ocean and feel the power of the surf and the possibility of vastness looking out to the horizon.
Secondly, when I’m cosidering where to go on a Solo Journey, I look at the circumstances of my life and what plan would fit– especially time and money. When I started taking yearly journeys, my sons were in college and I didn’t have a lot of money to spend–but that didn’t stop me. I stayed in hostels including one managed by Hostelling International on Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. Where on that island, besides a hostel, could you stay for $28.00 a night in a thriving international community of travelers?
Three years ago when I was still working as a school nurse and had two months off in summer, I spent two weeks at Artcroft in Kentucky. That writer’s residency was truly a gift and I paid a donation which wasn’t nearly what those 14 nights were worth. I knew that I should go then before I retired because my schedule may change and the summer wouldn’t be so open.
That was the right plan that year but wouldn’t work now with my year-round part-time research nurse job and caring for my grandson. So this year, it makes for a more doable plan to go closer and for not as many days—but still, a time away, alone, a time for renewal.
Third, I’ll go ahead and make my plan now, months ahead so the decision is settled. That will assure I have the time and place reserved, and will give me time to anticipate my trip.
Anticipation of a trip can bring as much joy as actually taking it.
I like having time to look up places in the area and narrow down activities I would like to do. It’s important to not go on a solo journey in typical vacation style—doing everything you can so you don’t miss anything. Drawing away for a while, is to have time for quiet, for contemplation, or for letting your mind, not think, just to be present in that new setting and see what happens.
When I go on my Solo Journeys, I start the day with a prayer that God will “Bless me and the people in my path” and then I watch to see how the day unfolds. Without the preoccupation of a schedule, to-do lists, usual routine, familial and friend conversations, there is time and space opened for the people around you.
Those are the ways I prepare for my Solo Journey. I’ll tell you in an upcoming post what place I’ve reserved and have been anticipating with growing excitement.
I hope you’ll make a plan of your own to draw away for a while and renew your soul.
How About You?
Have you or Would you take a Solo Journey?
What destination would make your heart quicken?
What will you do now to make that happen?