Written by Ilka Harrigan
Originally published by The COCO Magazine
I’ve wanted to take a solo trip for a long time; I believe I was inspired by Beyonce Knowles with her year off from work spent travelling around the world. Maybe my year won’t be exactly like Beyonce’s but I’ve incorporated a few days of travel from time to time in my busy schedule.
Taking a trip can be very healing but travelling solo can be a form of meditation with a triple delight of anticipation, moments and memories; it is less stressful, a time for introspection, relaxation and self-discovery. It allows for freedom and total control of a few days in your life.
I found myself sitting at the window seat and anticipating the completion of an eight hour trip; it was my iPod, a few books and I. It was a chance to get away from the norm, and have some alone time to reflect; I was heading to the tiny Caribbean island of Anguilla. I spent most if not all my mornings walking through a garden of tropical flowers and my afternoons sitting on the rocks while watching the waves dance. The independence of planning and vacationing alone allowed me to experience my vacation just the way I wanted to. I made a conscious choice to take random trips in between semesters. I was a full time student, a designer and worked part time; I found that these relaxing trips helped to rejuvenate me and they always ended with me feeling like I was ready to take on the world.
It is reality that we are sometimes overwhelmed by the daily stresses of life. It is important that we create a balance in life and dedicate some time out of each year to self-exploration and relaxation; surprisingly enough a large number of full time employees do not take annual vacations. This means that the average full time employee works approximately 260-262 days out of a year; the remaining days are weekends and holidays that we use to catch up on work, sleep, errands and thinking about creating fun experiences. According to a study conducted by Harris Interactive for JetBlue Airways, 57 percent of Americans will end the year without using their vacation days. Of those 57 percent the majority will allow 75 percent of the vacation they earned to go to waste. Escaping the stresses of daily living can have a beneficial effect on our overall well being, careers as well as personal and social lives.
You might argue that you can use your vacation days and spend that time at home which is true but be mindful that where you spend your time influences your state of mind. I’m sure you can identify with this once you realize that you can relax only in some rooms, or places. Escaping to a place of relaxation can evoke creativity and promote productivity by allowing us to reconnect with ourselves. Subconsciously we live to please others, well guess what you don’t have to worry much about that when travelling alone; this sounds intense but there won’t be a group of people debating on where to go first, and what to eat. Pleasing yourself first is not a selfish concept, it is only after you have tended to your wants and needs can you address the needs and wants of others. Take the challenge and give yourself a break this year, you’ll thank me later.