In my time, I've learned a thing or two from traveling. At 19, miserable and lost, I left university and started backpacking in Europe. I caught the travel bug, as you do, and my 6-month hiatus became 6 years out of university. Even now as I write this, I don't think I can say that I "stopped" traveling or ever will. It's become a part of who I am. It's how I learn, how I grow and how my Spirit gets nourished.
My first few trips abroad I always traveled with either a friend of a partner. At that age and place in my life, I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. There are incredible benefits to traveling with someone, and these trips have bound me for life to some of my closest friends. We have memories and inside jokes that we will never forget. I didn't have to worry about getting lost on my own, and there's just a general comfort I got when I was away from home with a familiar face by my side. I couldn't imagine climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, seeing the pyramids for the first time or watching sharks while scuba diving on my own. Those are experiences I want to share with my friends for life. However there is a cost, you see things in people that bother you, you might have to do things you don't really want to do, and sometimes you want your space. Learning to accept another fully and get over the things that bother you are incredible lessons, and I would never trade these experiences for the world however after many partnered trips, I was called to some solo travel.
I have traveled a significant amount on my own now, in Europe, Central America, and Asia. I love the experience of making decisions based solely on what I want to do and the experiences that unfold when it is just me, such as meeting new people. There is a feeling of spaciousness and openness to just being able to go through your day with only yourself in mind. Spending Christmas wandering the streets of Barcelona or a month to myself in Nicaragua were perfect solo. However, on these solo journies, I fluctuate between feeling confident, proud, empowered and independent, with lonely, not belonging, intimidated and unsafe. I know these feelings are not true and that I do belong wherever I am, I am never alone and always safe in this world. And solo travel allows me the opportunities to see these fractured parts of myself arise and tend to them, which really is a gift. When I travel on my own I am faced with seeing parts of myself I do like and parts I don't, and I genuinely feel like I have learned so much about myself that I wouldn't have discovered any other way.
So what's my verdict then? Well, as a bit of a solo kind of person, I do love solo travel. However, there's another way to have a bit of both...
I started running yoga retreats about four years ago in Mexico and then hosted some in Scotland and Bali. I wasn't sure how I would like it as I usually prefer solo travel however, I found this to be a perfect balance.
On a retreat, you get the best of both worlds. There are people around if you want someone to discover the town with, to figure out airport transfers with, or to climb a volcano with. But we also create a space for an inward journey to occur. You are allowed to eat on your own, spend the day on your own or sit in silence by the pool, and no one would think that was weird. It's a place of total acceptance for how you want to learn and discover the land you are visiting. For me, I love having the choice. I want to be able to wake up in the morning and decide then and there if I want to adventure with friends or lay in bed a bit longer. Either way and most importantly I think, is allowing yourself the opportunity to understand yourself a bit more, which can be done in the presence of others or simply on your own.
Join me in Bali this March!
There is no light without darkness. There is no sun without the moon. Our invitation is to learn how to live our lives without preferring one over the other. Our work to living a full, conscious life is to honor both sides and see all aspects of ourselves and the world around us. The shadow and the light.
Join Steph for this soul and nature-centered week in the Balinese Jungle. Running in conjunction with Nyepi Day, Bali's New Year's Day, we will explore and honor the infusion and merging of the sun and the moon, the masculine and feminine, the fire and ice, the yin and yang.
Through our yoga practice, we will explore both vinyasa and yin yoga to discover the dynamic play of these two forces within our inner landscape. By humbly honoring Balinese culture as guests of the island, we will participate and witness the New Years Eve Festival and the silent day that follows. Together, we will see and observe the dance of the masculine and feminine in both our internal and external world.
Dates : March 3rd - 10th
Accommodation: Gorgeous jungle Villas in Ubud, Bali
Prices start at $1695 USD