“One travels more usefully when alone, because he reflects more.” –Thomas Jefferson
The road to clarity is challenging and insightful—unique to everyone, yet universal in its outcomes and demands. We all constantly pursue our purpose, but soul-searching is no easy task, especially when work or family consumes us. But breaking from the daily routine on a solo trip, if even for just a weekend, could be just what you need to unlock your raison d’être. Whether embarking on a backpacking trip through Cambodia or a weekend getaway to a nearby destination, these tips will bring the inner clarity you crave.
Be open-minded. Let go of any preconceived notions. Fully engage people of different backgrounds. Embrace new culture. Doing so can effectuate a strong sense of self. Even if the destination is unfamiliar or different, keeping an open perspective enriches your mind and brings pure joy and fulfillment. Having an open mind also breeds empathy toward locals—a mindset that allows you to give those we reflexively see as different a chance—gratifying you through goodwill.
Face your fears. Occasional fear is normal when traveling to a new place alone. But don’t let these thoughts inhibit your experience. Lean into your trip instead to learn to get comfortable with discomfort. Don’t let fear of eating alone keep you from that local restaurant. Similarly, try striking up conversation with strangers. You’ll learn the baselessness of most of your insecurities and that you’re capable of creating relationships beyond your perceived limits—a very empowering and emboldening feeling.
Meditate. Whether for five or 45 minutes, meditation is a simple, instrumental activity creating inner clarity and awareness. Moreover, being present brings joy and appreciation to each moment. And morning meditation sets positive intention for the day with detachment from habitual thought barriers and more presence throughout. Studies also show that meditation prevents stress and anxiety, minimizing frustrations that can accompany the newness inherent in travel. Read through these five techniques to discover your most effective type of meditation.
Free yourself from expectations. When planning your first solo trip, it is natural to seek your dream destination. But those with a demanding job, tight budget or three kids should be realistic about the destination and trip duration. The Great Wall is not the only place to find your purpose, for certain. Thank you, Grand Canyon! Approach Expedia with this mindset, and you will find a much wider net of attractive destinations, increasing the frequency with which you can get away to grow through travel.
And after booking your solo trip, it easy to let the imagination run wild, creating unrealistic expectations ultimately leading to disappointment. After determining where you are going to go, do only the essential planning. Then avoid thinking or talking extensively about it with others. You can post pictures of your therapeutic paradise after you return. The outcome will be a raw, unfiltered, more adventurous experience.
Now that you are equipped with these tips to discover your purpose, why not start planning a trip? You are only a click away from becoming an enlightened solo traveler. Bon Voyage!
Laura Berger, PCC and Glen Tibaldeo, PMP, CPA are authors and popular speakers at national conferences and for Fortune companies. Glen is a Business Transformation Leader and screenwriter for Radical Sabbatical, and Laura is an Executive Coach, both for the Berdeo Group LLC. Their Bestseller Radical Sabbatical is described by Dave Barry as "the funniest book I have ever held in my hands" and is available on Amazon, kobo, Barnes and Noble, and at other major bookstores.