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How did your first solo trip change you as a person??

Eowyn218

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  • Added on: February 14th, 2005
I'm really curious to hear what sort of personal growth all of you have experienced, during and after your first trek out, all alone.

I got together with a good friend yesterday, who just got back from a month in Costa Rica. She has done a LOT more traveling than I (Kenya, Thailand, many places in Europe, and costa rica previously), but I believe this is the first time she has gone somewhere, without a companion, and without having people she knew to meet up with once she got to her destination.

Anyhow, I am floored with who has come back to Minnesota. It is the most amazing turnaround for her, and I am so happy for her -- when she got back, I realized anything can happen. For some background, she hasn't opened herself up to a relationship for 7 years or so -- anyhow, she comes back, and it turns out she had been the centerpiece of a mini soap opera down there...romance with three men!! Holy cow!
And now she's come home, with the recognition that she wants to get married and she wants to date and she wants companionship, whereas before she had been the tough girl who didn't want anything to do with men. And she seems much, much happier. Geniune happiness.

What stories do you have?? Any drastic changes in your personality, or in your outlook on life?? Any sudden realization on what you wanted to do with your life?? Changes in life goals? Etc.

Lynn

Liz Giles

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  • Added on: February 14th, 2005
Well...I don't have a story like that one, but...

My first solo trip was last year. I've since taken several shorter jaunts by myself.
I now LOVE travelling by myself -the ultimate freedom to do as I please.

I wouldn't say anything changed about me, per se...but I am different in that I'm a stronger person. I now know that I can handle myself out there in this big ol' world of ours. I'm more confident in my decisons and more sure of myself in general. It taught me to go after what I want. I also realized that life is not a rehersal, this is life and I better live it.

It also renewed my love of learning. I learned so much on a daily basis, be it about people, culture or history, and now I can't get enough.

So...not a change really, just a bit of a metamorphsis. I'm a butterfly now...
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Joey

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  • Added on: February 14th, 2005
I spent a week in Prague last year alone for my first solo trip and I must say it made me realize that I can do a whole lot more than I thought I could. It wasn't as overwhelming as I imagined it although there were some points where it seemed to get that way. It taught me to be patient with myself and also to test myself.

My 2 week trip to Morocco is going to be even more trying and I can't wait to come back and share that experience.
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rafo

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  • Added on: February 14th, 2005
I think its good to get away on your own sometimes, gives you space and time to sort your head out and think about things. with our hectic lives sometimes things get distorted or out of focus. i find traveling puts things back into the bigger picture, if sometimes a dreamy picture. i went to France on my own for 5 months, though that was to study and i met people there.
i like passing through places, the streets you pass though are where people build lives. you've heard it before, but travel for me opens up your mind to other ways of living, diffent values, ideas and for me i hope ive developed as a person by having the chance to think about all that on the road.
also that feeling of freedom as liz giles says is great.
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mina olen

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  • Added on: February 14th, 2005
I've travelled alone since high school and one thing I have noticed is that I tend to pick up a foreign language much faster (even just the basics) when I'm flying solo.

I thought I was missing something by not travelling with friends, fam, etc... but I am starting to see that that comes with a whole new set of challenges and is in many ways more difficult.
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Marisa

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  • Added on: February 14th, 2005
I learned to appreciate everything I have and not take things for granted.

SurfingDan

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  • Added on: February 14th, 2005
My first solo trip was a hiking trip. I spent ten days in Desolation Wilderness just outside of Tahoe in the Sierra's. The first four days I was fine, no problem; the nights were a little long under the stars alone, but overall fine. On the fifth day, I tried some trailblazing to find a secluded lake. I found the lake and after eating lunch decided to head back to the trail to make my way a couple miles to my next camp site. I made the bonehead mistake of not filling up my waterbottles and took for granted my ability to find the trail again. Well of course Murphy's Law took over and I missed the return trail and ended up lost -- not just a little lost, I couldn't find water for 2 days. It was August and around 88 degrees outside. I finally stumbled (literally) upon a huge reservoir and filled up, found the trail, and camped. I looked at my map and realized that I overshot the trail and ended up north by about 15 miles.

Needless to say, it scared the crap out of me, but it definitely taught me a lot about myself. I was almost surprised at the amount of willpower and ability I had when faced with adversity. Without a doubt it was the most empowering moment I've had personally. Now I almost prefer to travel alone, hiking or regularly, just to see what I'm capable of -- because I always end up surprising myself.
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xoom

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  • Added on: February 14th, 2005
eowyn, aren't you leaving for greece soon?

my first solo trip was in thailand for 3.5 weeks. it's weird, i feel as if i'm a stronger person when i'm by myself than when i'm in familiar settings (like back home). i was talking to a friend once and she said 'you know, i think you're stronger than you let on.' so i guess i'm not the only one that noticed. i still haven't figured out what it means, or if it means anything at all. i have realized that i see travelling as a solo female as sort of a 'dare' or a challenge. it's like 'yeah i did it once before for 3.5 weeks! time to do it again for 3.5 months in a country that's not as easy as thailand was!'
Freedom lies in being bold.

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SurfingDan

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  • Added on: February 14th, 2005
xoom - i completely agree with your statement of "being stronger when you're by yourself and in an unfamiliar setting." It always amazes me how we as human beings are able to adapt and overcome.

Where are you heading for 3.5 months?
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Bubbha

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  • Added on: February 14th, 2005
My first solo trip was a 2-day jaunt I did in 1990 in Taiwan, which was essentially a quick training trip in preparation for a planned solo trip to Southeast Asia.

I took a bus to a certain location, and it so happened that I got off at the wrong stop, or took the wrong bus, or something. Anyway, I was not where I had planned to be, and there was no bus to my final destination for the night. So, thinking quickly, I decided to hitchhike, and within a minute after I stuck out my thumb, I was picked up by some students, who took me to my destination.

This brief experience showed me that I could solve problems quickly. It gave me the confidence I needed to make my first solo trip to Southeast Asia, which turned out to be very rewarding and educating.

I'd say that one thing subsequent solo travel has taught me is self-reliance.
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"Qian li zhi xing, shi yu zu xia." - Chinese proverb

Justine

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  • Added on: February 14th, 2005
I agree with all the posts: more faith in my own abilities in any situation, optimism that a bad situation will always turn around, stubborness ....because I know everything I want is out there to be had and there's NO reason to settle for anything less. I've seen it, I've had it. Smile

And best of all, just seeing the world and the people in it more universally, realizing how much we're all connected, how one country's politics and culture do affect another, how the universe works WITH you if you're being your positive self helping others, and ....there's just a lot of good people out there.

I mean really, who can be down about life after realizing all of that?? Way too much to live for. Smile
"From this hour, freedom! From this hour I ordain myself loos’d of limits and imaginary lines, going where I list, my own master, total and absolute." –Walt Whitman

Liz Giles

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  • Added on: February 15th, 2005
Oh, and I'd like to add that time to myself was especially rewarding in the writing/photography front.
I could easily sit in a cafe for an hour and write every little thought in my head (in fact, makes some solo meals seem less 'table for one').
Also, my photos of Europe were some of the best I've ever taken. No snap shots here. No one complaining about waiting while a cloud passes or a shadow falls just so. I could induldge myself in getting the 'perfect' shot.
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Laura M

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  • Added on: February 16th, 2005
I prefer to travel by myself but I've always been kind of a free spirit that way. Maybe it's cause I was raised an only child and my mom worked so I walked home alone when I was seven years old (we lived in the suburbs) and let myself in.
But when you travel alone, you're really never alone. I went to Cairo knowing no one but met people within my second day in the city. There's a site called hospitalityclub.org which hooks you up with people worldwide. I always meet people eventually when I'm by myself, actually more than I would with other people. And considering I'm a shy person who when I'm home likes to be in my little hole it's ironic. But when I traveled with a group the experience I had was not a good one, but maybe it's just a personality thing with me as I'm not a clique-y person and these people, while I liked them personally, simply were in a different place than I was so, in short, I wasn't enjoying myself. But when I went off alone to where I wanted to go in the first place, I met people like me and had a better experience. Just something for thought.


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Eowyn218

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  • Added on: February 16th, 2005
Laura,

I think I'm kind of like that too. When I'm at home and in my 'comfort zone,' I am in fact more reclusive and shy..although it's not that I'm shy per se, it's that I tend to hang out w/ a few of my good friends all of the time, and I never meet new people. I don't set myself up to meet new people, I guess. I'm lazy when I'm in my comfort zone. It's definitely one of my weaknesses. But then when I'm forced to be by myself, in a new situation, I in fact become more sociable, and more outgoing. So a different side of my personality might come out. It's weird. Maybe like xoom was saying..I become stronger..or my strong nature comes to the surface.

And as far as the group trip goes - I'm not that into groups either. In fact, I kinda hate them. Smile I would probably become anti-social in a group setting, whereas on my own, I'd be 'forced,' so to speak, to get out there and introduce myself to people.

So, I guess I have no idea what my first solo trip will be like - I think there will be millions of emotions that I'll experience in those 3 weeks on my own (2 months from now - eek!!). I'm confident I'll grow, and I'm confident I'll gain confidence about myself, and I know I'll just naturally become more outgoing, just because I'll be thrown into a new situation...on the other hand, I forsee some loneliness and hard times. But it'll all be worth it, I'm sure. Smile

Lynn

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  • Added on: February 16th, 2005
Lynn,

you've taken the words out of my mouth. That's me to a T. Right now with me working from home, I meet ZERO people - it's getting quite frustrating really - that I gotta start doing something. Maybe take up a brainless job as a reception desk person at the local gym I go to...


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