Last month I did something that I have always dreamed of doing, something that though it may seem significantly simple to others was never an easy thing for me to do. I traveled, on holiday, on my own….
….as odd as this may sound to those of you who’ve been regular readers of my blog and follow me on any social channels because I am often jumping onto a plane solo for work.
I host for Travel XP therefore often travel to filming destinations on my own and I also travel every month with journalists on externally organised press trips. So I’m often travelling physically on my own but there’s always a task at the end of the runway and someone to meet me on the other side to emotionally attach to. Last month however, for the very last time I took a trip that was just for me. A week’s worth of relaxation and a little adventure with just my own thoughts and mobile notifications to keep me company.
I grew up as a sibling with a brother and sister to always have by my side and from the moment I left home I’ve always had a boyfriend, this, on top of my great group of friends has always secured me constant company. Then, when I moved to London at the age of 20 I met my ultimate best friend and the man who is now my husband, Mr C 😉 Having someone to travel with has never been an issue for me, spaces are filled within seconds when it comes to Chakici trips and I’m so grateful that this has always been the case throughout my journey in life and whilst seeing the world. That being said, I’ve always been fiercely independent and doing big and brave things on my own has always appealed to me. It’s incredible to have the support of family and friends but sometimes taking time for yourself, though it may be ridiculously under-rated nowadays, is so very important for the soul.
Gearing up to my seven year wedding anniversary and having completed all of my set career goals these last few months have been a real thinker few for me. I decided that now, with both time and the money on my hands, was the perfect month to book a fully inclusively solo escape. It was one of the best things I’ve ever done and will, no question, be booking more solo trips in the future.
Whilst remaining present on social media and documenting my up and coming stay at the time, I was asked so many questions about travelling on my own and I decided to upload an Instagram poll to see how many (if any) of you would also choose to travel alone. By doing this I gained an amazing insight into the fears and apprehensions that some may have when thinking about travelling solo, especially women.
The most common reaction when posing the question of ‘would you travel alone?’ was that most of you thought it would come across selfish. A word that I’ve heard being thrown around left right and center in my own personal life recently and one that I really resonate with at the moment. From the messages I was sent there was a element of being scared about upsetting friends and family by choosing to travel alone. It’s something that I understand and empathize with but a worry I had no idea so many people felt. For me though, I have always struggled with this unwritten rule that as soon as you have a significant other, everything must be done with them. Society dictates that if we do something alone, or take time just for ourselves then we are either selfish or lonely and I just can’t seem to get my head around the logic of that. Today’s mental health problems and issues are at an all time high and I genuinely believe that a grand reason behind this is our desire to live our own lives a certain way to impact on others rather than living them for our own personal happiness. Whether that’s proving ourselves to people, or succeeding against other people’s standards. Why should it be seen as wrong to want to take the time for yourself? If you are single you are not a loser for travelling on your own and if you are with someone it doesn’t make you selfish. How about it just being a trip that you wanted to take for yourself?
The other woes that came up were things like being lonely without company and eating alone, even safety came into play from a lot of women who responded and these are all very valid reactions. I started with a ‘baby step’ trip by booking into Elivi Resort Skiathos for my solo stay and this for me, was the perfect first escape. I’ve written all about it here. Everything I needed was within the vicinity of the resort which made me feel safe. It also allowed me to get to know the staff a little for daily human interactions and also meant that if I didn’t fancy heading out for dinner room service was available as a pretty sweet alternative 😉
The other thing that came into the negative aspect of travelling alone was something again, bought up by a lot of you, the cost. It is inevitable that the cost of traveling alone will be more than when travelling with someone else or as part of a group. You cant share accommodation costs or airport transfers and taxis etc, you cant even split a meal when the budget is really tight (we’ve all been there!). The main cost though, is actually having the spare budget to afford a trip of your own on top of any other pre-existing trips with friends/partners/family. To pay ‘extra’ can cause quite the strain on a relationship (here we steered back to this ‘selfish act’ again) but in my opinion there shouldn’t be a stigma with spending money on yourself just because you are part on a team. The same outrage doesn’t come about if you were to treat yourself to some new shoes or a facial but the act of spending money to spend time away from people just seems harsher by society standards. It’s something I’d really love to change but it’s not something I think I can.
I was lucky enough to partner up with the resort that I chose to spend my week away with so it was far easier for me to justify the stay but that being said, having had that week to myself, it will be something I now plan on doing every year regardless of collaboration or costs.
I had such an incredible time away with my own company and I learned so much in my short stay. I am actually, so it turned out, far more productive on my own. Taking photos (as part of the collaboration with the hotel) was a real challenge and I needed some serious confidence to be able to set up my tripod on the beach and take some bikini snaps of myself but I managed it. In fact, I felt pretty darn rocking about the confidence I have gained over the past few years of travelling to even be able to take on such a task!. Years ago just walking down the beach in my swimwear would have freaked me but here I was full on posing in the near-nud and just accepting that it’s all part of my job.
I also learned that I actually really enjoy eating alone when I am travelling, this, as with a few of you who reached out to me before my trip was something that I lent a worry to, we’ve all heard the tale of ‘no-one wants to eat alone’ but I actually quite enjoyed it. I savored my food more, sipped my wine slower, took in my surroundings fully and didn’t feel the apprehensive hesitation of taking those obligatory snaps of my dishes 😉
I also enjoyed spending time at the beach on my own, wandering, wading and swimming to the ‘beat of my own drum’, taking away all senses of schedule when going about my day and not having a care in the world as to where and when I needed to be at any given time of day. Every evening I watched the sun set with a glass of wine in my hand and my favorite spotify soundtrack in my ear and every morning I had a new thirst for life and appreciation for everything in my world.
Going about your day on your own in a resort filled with families and couples isn’t a easy task for everyone and I appreciate that but I’m naturally quite a confident girl by nature but having someone by your side for so long allows and almost encourages you to become dependent on having someone with you. Having to stand on my own two feet and being able to effectively was honestly a breath of fresh air. It also made me feel bizarrely proud of myself which is a feeling rarely felt by me but absolutely appreciated and welcomed when it happens!
I’d love to hear your thoughts about solo travel and if my story has perhaps inspired you to take the plunge and book your very own then please let me know, I’d love to hear all about it!