Not all those who wander are lost.
In January I set off to Phuket and Boracay for my first solo holiday. Before I left however, I was really nervous. I was afraid of what it meant to go on holiday alone. Alone was such a loaded word because it evoked fears of loneliness, judgement and vulnerability. My mind reeled, ‘What if I don’t make any friends? How am I going to plan everything, I can’t adult; and isn’t it really sad that I’m going on holiday alone…?’
Leap, and the net will appear.
– John Burroughs
I stopped mid-thought and recognized what was happening. I was teetering on the edge of my comfort-zone, about to launch into a place where phenomenal growth occurred, and I was afraid of the unknown. Understanding that, I did what I’ve always done when faced with change, I took a deep breath and jumped.
What lay on the other side of my fear of being alone was a liberating adventure of self-discovery, growth and friendship. I met some of the most incredible people who I have no doubt I will stay in contact with.
Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another:
“What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”
– C.S. Lewis
One of my most memorable adventures was a spontaneous boat ride around the island. We sailed to Puka beach, a small-secluded beach north of the island. We sat on mesh netting and looked at the fish and coral below us as we soared across the ocean.
I was delighted when another two sailboats beached, bringing more friends from our hostel. The scene somewhat resembled Alex Garland’s The Beach, we had the cove to ourselves and spent the afternoon eating freshly barbecued chicken off banana leaves, sipping on rum and coke and swimming in the deep cool turquoise sea.
We were all free, if only for a short while.
It seemed like madness that we were strangers merely a few weeks ago because we all shared such a close bond. What I understand now though, is that although we came from different walks of life we are part of the same tribe because we have wanderlust hearts and nomadic soles.
Moving abroad and traveling alone has been the single most precious gift I have given myself. I better understand who I am and what I want from life. I have learnt that being myself is more than enough, and I will always find my tribe. Making one friend is all it takes, and in the meantime a book is an excellent substitute. I’ve learnt that if you listen, you will learn more than you could possibly imagine about the world, and human nature; and if you’re lucky people will trust you with their treasured stories and secrets.
To me, being alone means saying yes without hesitation. It means meeting strangers that become best friends and family. It means adventure, love, spontaneity and freedom.
I am alone, yes, but I am not lonely.