If you’re inspired by movies like Wild, Tracks, or plan to eat-pray-love your way to purpose and contentment this spring break, you’re going to need a few survival essentials. The path to finding your purpose is a steep one, both challenging and revelatory, unique to every individual yet universal in certain lessons and necessities. So regardless of whether you’re planning a one year trip around the world, or just ramping up to finally make that cross-country move or climb the corporate ladder at your dream job, these are the tools you’ll need.
Disclaimer: This is not for the weak of heart. This is not for anyone looking for quick fixes, or ways to bypass struggle to reach success. These are not life hacks, because you can’t cheat your way into happiness and fulfillment. This is for people who truly, whole-heartedly desire to become the best and most authentic versions of themselves. And if you’ve made it this far into the article, this is for you.
Solo Travel and Exploration of the Self
What to Pack:
Your doubts, fears, and insecurities
Pack these right on top. Put them at the front of your mind where you can’t avoid them. Even if you don’t realize it now, you’re toting these bangles and shackles around with you all day, every day. They are present in your decision making, your conversations, even your body language.
In your journey toward becoming your best self, you’ll need to confront your fears and doubts and break them down so you can break through them. You won’t be able to pretend they aren’t there, and you won’t be able to overcome them if you are denying their existence. At times, acknowledging your fears and doubts will be as simple as saying “What am I scared will happen? What am I insecure about right now?”
Working through and facing fear will make you stronger, more aware, and happier. Why? Because when you take your power back from fear, you outgrow fear’s cage and step back into your own potential.
Not just your ambitions, not just your goals, not just a list of to-dos along the way. Bring your dreams. Bring your wildest fantasies about how magical life could be and all that you’re capable of doing, healing from, creating, or overcoming. Do not be afraid of your dreams, and do not be scared to share your dreams with others. Do not downplay your dreams. It’s the difference of packing a map of your hometown or a map of the entire world. Go big.
Not everything happens overnight. Remember, though, that everything happening right now, struggle or success, is all part of the process. Success only happens in it’s rightful time, when everything lines up.
Openness and Willingness
Part of going on the journey toward finding yourself or living up to your potential is realizing that chances to learn and evolve are absolutely everywhere. As such, anyone and anything can be your teacher. You do not have all the answers, which might be a damning position to take in terms of social circles, but it’s a liberating position to take in life.
Be open to messages from the universe that will guide you along the path. Be receptive to lessons and wisdom that comes from unlikely places. And remember: you are always a student of life first. There is always something to learn, something to see, something to admire.
What to leave back at home:
Other People’s Opinions
And their best friend, your perception of other people’s opinions. What you think another person is thinking is typically wrong, ill-informed, or leads you to do stupid things with the expectation of approval from others. And none of it does you any good.
A Hope For Fame or Recognition
On my solo-trip to India, my digital camera lost all battery power during my flight. I had no way of taking pictures with it, which in the end served me to open my eyes, pay attention, and make memories only for myself, not for Facebook. This seemingly challenging mistake that turned out to be a life-changing lesson in presence.
Humility does much more than greed ever will. Remembering that you are part of a whole, that your actions should benefit or inspire another, and that no one gets to the top without the help of other people will keep you humble, connected, and moral. A want for glory or praise will only get your loneliness.
Excuses take much more work than action ever does. To have an excuse, you must first come up with the excuse, then subscribe to it, and finally, say it out loud over and over in all the areas you’d otherwise be getting sh#t done. Creating, believing and speaking excuses are a waste of your precious energy, the energy you will need on this wondrous journey forward. If you want it, go after it.
A Reliance on Comfort
You will have to become comfortable with discomfort. You will have to make friends with struggle, pain, and welcome exhaustion. You will have to invite the feelings of fear, doubt, uncertainty, and newness with open arms. You will have to work very hard, and you will have to give up you want to be lazy and comfortable in your old ways. In other words, you will have to come to terms with the fact that hardship is a blessing, especially the hardship of examining your true self because it’s where the greatest and most profound truths about your true self and your power is revealed.
It will not turn out the way you expect it to. It will not feel the way you expect it to. It will not look, taste, or smell the way you predict it to. This is one of the many incredible gifts of life: that everything is always, continually a surprise. Have no expectations, except the expectation of yourself to do your absolute best. Let everything else unfold in the miraculous experience we call living.
Have an upcoming trip planned, or a particularly interesting tale about self-exploration and solo travel? Share it in your comments below, or tweet them!
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