Since completing the yoga teacher training last week I have: dived with sharks in the Great Barrier Reef, searched for crocodiles in the Daintree Rainforest, toured the street art scene in Melbourne, road tripped to the 12 Apostles, and encountered kangaroos, wallabies, koalas and fairy penguins. All of these things were done with two of my best friends, Katie and Erin, by my side. It was an exciting, coffee-fueled, “holy shit we are in Australia” kind of week.
I have to say, it’s a really bizarre experience to be driving along the Great Ocean Road with two of my best friends, singing Taylor Swift at the top of our lungs as the ocean flew by outside the windows. We used to the exact same thing when we were sixteen, except instead of the ocean it was cornfields flying by. Life is funny and amazing.
Anyways, about two days into the trip I started to realize something. I took my first “solo” trip two years ago when I backpacked through Southeast Asia. I use quotes around the word solo because it’s virtually impossible to travel solo. Technically, I am traveling solo at this very second but if I look up from my laptop I see ten people lounging around the same hostel common room. I could easily strike up a conversation with any of them. Or I could video chat someone back home. I am only ever as “solo” as I want to be. This is important because one of the only downfalls of traveling alone is, at times, feeling lonely or feeling really far away from home.
Part two of my realization was that since my first trip two years ago I have been joined on every subsequent trip I’ve been on. My cousin Brett and I went to Peru last January. My friends Jenn and Emma joined me on a trip to Ireland last summer. Katie and Erin gave up a week and half to join me in Australia. And in three weeks I’ll meet my sister and Jenn in New Zealand. It’s like I can’t get away from these people! (I kid, I kid).
I remember feeling a little sad when I was planning my first backpacking trip to Southeast Asia. Of course, I was scared to go by myself but nobody I knew was willing/able/crazy enough to put their lives on hold for two months and traipse around Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. At the end of the day, I decided the downfalls of going alone were heavily outweighed by the benefits of going at all. And I was right.
But like parts one and two of my realization prove, I’ve never really traveled solo. I’ve made new friends from all over the world as I’ve gone, old friends and relatives now join me when they can, and I have a team of people back home rooting me on from afar. I feel so grateful. So deeply grateful for all of these wonderful people in my life. How did I get so lucky?