You don’t need an invite to go on an adventure.
I thought I did, years ago.
I saw other people traveling across the world and lived vicariously through them—still waiting for my time.
“It’ll happen eventually,” I thought. “When opportunity knocks.”
Well, opportunity never stopped at my door. And as long as I waited in my comfort zone, it never would.
I’d never travel outside of social media or the default screensaver on my laptop if I didn’t do something.
So, what was I to do? Make it happen. Read more about my first solo adventure here.
If I mustered the nerve to do it, so can you. Where do you want to go? What place feels out of reach?
We’re not getting any younger, and face it, 30-year-old you will get around Paris’ cobblestone streets much quicker than retired-you in 20 years.
Be empowered to travel outside your hometown. The time for self-empowered travel plans is now. Go near or far, but don’t be afraid.
Here are five steps to help you get going with self-empowered travel!
Step One: Believe
Whatever obstacle is stopping you—self-confidence and self-empowerment can solve it. No amount of money, time or good company will get you out the door if you don’t believe in yourself.
But, but, but.
No excuses. You are capable.
I didn’t have the guts to leave Georgia for a long time, but I took a chance. I learned from it and grew some guts. I developed the nerve to overcome my nerves.
Look in the mirror. You see that woman? She may not feel like she has it all together yet. Maybe one day, she says.
When we wait for one day, we don’t believe in ourselves today.
Leave your comfort zone and go somewhere new. Experience the beauty of the unknown. Travel is not just for vacation. It’s more than going to the beach on your kid’s school break.
Self-empowered travel a chance to explore the world and yourself.
Related Content: 11 Ways to Live a Remarkable Life Starting Now
Step Two: Decide
You decide where you want to go.
What do you daydream about as you drive toward your exit and contemplate skipping it? Where would you go if you kept driving?
Have you ever left the country? The state?
If you can’t think of anything, get cliché and throw a dart at a map. Or better yet, scroll through Instagram’s Explore page and go with the first post to catch your eye.
Once you decide where you’re going, think about what you want to do. Do you want to meet new people and learn a new skill? Is this a nature trip? A city tour?
Go alone or sign up for a retreat. There are plenty, from yoga retreats in Thailand to backpacking trips around the Pacific Northwest.
Choose your where and what, do your research, and build from there.
Step Three: Plan
“Get lost and see where the wind takes you.”
Those quotes are for t-shirts and bumper stickers. Not solo-travel mantras.
Figure out the details ahead of time so that you’re not driving around downtown Asheville, North Carolina, at 2 a.m. searching for a parking lot to sleep in, because it’s summer and every campground in town is full.
“We’ll figure it out when we get there,” we said. Lesson learned.
Plan for the basics: how to get there, where to stay, what to bring, what to eat, who to bring (if anyone), and how much will it cost. Then, plan for flexibility.
You can’t make a Plan B without first knowing your Plan A. Make a plan ahead of time so you can change if need be.
Planning ahead of time will calm your nerves when you finally leave your comfort zone—especially if you’re new to travel.
Step Four: Anticipate
Time to get excited.
You’ve done the work. Now all that’s left is to mark the calendar.
I secretly revel in saying my plans out loud.
“Sorry, I can’t make it. I’ll be out of the country… I’ll be in France.”
The anticipation is addicting. It’s part of why I love planning my trips so far in advance. Not only does this give me something to look forward to, but planning months ahead is also friendlier to the ole bank account.
This year, I’m going on a trip to Tokyo (eeek!). I booked the flight over seven months in advance. So, as November nears, the work-life grind doesn’t feel so dull. I know I’ll be on the other side of the world very soon.
Step Five: Go
The best part: GO.
Get out of here.
Take pictures. Learn lessons. Come back with stories. Repeat.
A few years back, I was in awe as I drove along Colorado’s winding mountain roads, my car packed for a two-month adventure.
“How am I here right now?” I kept asking myself. Traveling never feels real until you get there. And sometimes, the reality that you went doesn’t even set in until you’re driving away.
People have said to me, “I wish I could do something like that.” I want to grab their shoulders and shake them.
YOU CAN. I can. Anyone can.
Nothing makes me any more special than someone else. I don’t have money. I don’t have time. Most days, I barely have time to make breakfast or brush my hair.
I understand life has its obstacles, but travel is a priority to me. It’s important to my identity. So I find ways to make it work.
Travel lets me know that I’m capable and the world isn’t too big for me. And guess what—it isn’t too big for you either.
Self-empowered travel means you do not have to wait for someone else.
Be the person to send out the invite. Be the initiator. Be empowered to just go.
Whether you’re in your early 20s or creeping over the hill, make your dreams come true. Add to your bucket list and cross things off.
Not for Instagram.
Not for “vacation”.
Do it for you. For your soul. For the confidence of a woman who CAN and a woman who WILL.
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