how traveling alone has helped my confidence
I am over 1 month into Hawai'i. I just completed my summer course at Hawai'i Pacific University. I think this was the first time in my life I felt a bit nostalgic for a class to end. (lol)
Time has absolutely flown by. I know I am having the time of my life, because I am sad to think about returning home. I have just 2 weeks left here, and many more memories to build!
As I often share, I was a very anxious child. Now, I am a very anxious "adult" haha. Personal growth means so much to me because I am noticing my confidence blooming more and more each year, each month!
I often feel different from everyone else, but I love that. I didn't always love that.
This past weekend a group of us visited Waimea Valley, a botanical hike leading to a waterfall on Oahu's north shore. The trip was about a 2 hour bus ride to Haleiwa. We grabbed lunch in town before heading to the hike. The day was full of beautiful scenery, great friends, and a swim at the bottom of a waterfall.
By evening, I was ready to head back, but the rest of my group planned on staying at the beach for a while. Perhaps a few years ago I would feel obligated to hang around. I would push past my introversion, fatigue, low blood sugar, and stay because I didn't want to look "odd" to the group. I know personal growth has done me well, because I now release the shame of meeting my own needs and I am confident enough with my independence to do so.
Maybe they thought something was wrong, as I willingly took a 2hr night bus alone- but I just smiled and told them I would see them at home.
[For those concerned about the safety of the situation: everyone here rides the bus. Locals, children, tourists. It is very safe.]
Sitting at the bus stop, I watched the chickens around me, I looked up at the sky, the mountains, and I felt at absolute peace. Perfectly content with myself and the beauty around me. Just thinking about how lucky, how grateful I am to be here.
I love the bus. Weird? Call me weird! I enjoy looking out the window, music playing, and seeing strangers just..chat. I admit, I love to people watch. I appreciate people from a far. It is fun when traveling because everyone is from elsewhere, and to share a space (like a bus) together is just special to me.
Clearly, I am from a small town.
Headphones still in, I heard the bus driver say to me and the other 3 people still left "What are you doing? This is my last stop!" Awkwardly I stand up, disturbed from my moment. I overhear a man say he is trying to go to Honolulu. "Hey me too- " Still over an hour away, I follow him across the street and through a field until we get to a 7-Eleven about a half of a mile away, where the next stop is.
Back on a new bus, Honolulu bound, the driver stops. Bus number 2 broke down. It was about 20 minutes until the next bus came, so I crossed the street in another unfamiliar location to find the restroom. Still calm as ever, I pass the time by taking photos of the sunset. Headphones still in ears, still happy as ever.
I have been working hard at self love since I was 17, and I learned something that shows you if it's growing.
Being content when alone.
Surprise! It actually does not matter if you are an introvert, an empath, are shy, or even like alone time!
When you are content with yourself, being alone will not feel "lonely."
You will feel safe; safe to be in your own skin.
You will see things in a different way; think differently. You will ask yourself the questions you would usually turn to a friend to ask by instinct.
Traveling alone can be scary for many people. Even though I have made great friends here, I am still experiencing this on my own. Many of us find comfort in what is familiar, and when navigating a new place, it can be a comfort to find your way with a familiar face.
I didn't have a buddy to turn to and say, "hey, what do we do?" when my bus broke down 2 hours away from where I was staying. I wasn't alone though. I asked questions, found directions. It did not feel like a big deal at the time, but when I think back to me years ago..I would have had so much anxiety just turning to a stranger for any form of guidance.
As I write this post I am finding lessons to share, even though this has been my first time traveling alone. I am not an experienced traveler by any means. With learning, comes growing.
Personal growth is not easy. It is about where you were then, and where you are now.
It takes moments of getting lost, asking questions, feeling confused, and being alone to show you that you can depend on yourself.
It is self care, and confidence building to do what you want, and what makes you feel comfortable. Traveling alone allows you to do so. I had a perfect day adventuring with my friends. I was ready to head back when nobody else was, but that is OK. These small things do make a difference.
I am able to appreciate the beauty and excitement of my surroundings, while I appreciate the beautiful growth within myself as well.