Taking a break from sharing all the holiday stuff and giving you some
#NewYearGoals & #NewYearResolutions
I hadn’t had a breathing moment in so so sooo long. I had been working non-stop, juggling between work and life and everything in between every waking minute (and yet there was still plenty of pending work that needs to be completed). I had barely managed to get 5-6 hrs of sleep everyday. I had purposefully left the laptop behind at home. I couldn’t wait to get on the plane. I couldn’t wait to shut off my thoughts. And I couldn’t wait to forget all about work and life (minus the baby and hubs of course, because they are always on my mind) and just live in the moment. Starting with trying to catch some zzz’s on the flight.
But in reality, I was too wired to forget all about work and life. I was too wired to sleep on the flight. As I boarded the flight and settled in, sleep didn’t come to me, but a million ideas did, all at once. Ideas on what needs to be done, ideas on how I can improve my and my family’s lifestyle, ideas on how to best balance this work-life thing (because this current lifestyle of being busy 24/7 is not sustainable, more on that in a different post), ideas on what needs to be done for my baby, ideas on how to achieve my goals. So instead of fighting those thoughts, I figured I will compose an email to myself (I did not want to connect to wi-fi on the flight). And so I began typing, enegergetically and fierecly, those random thoughts which were all over the place. It felt liberating to have that long overdue conversation in my head, I felt light after putting pen to paper. Slowly but surely I am trying to impelemnt those ideas, taking baby steps. I will keep you all posted on progress in a few weeks/months.
Thus, the power of SOLO TRAVELING slowly began to sync in…
Last month, I went on a solo trip to New Orleans #OneTimeInNOLA (for the first 2 days, and then a bunch of my girlfriends from the east coast joined me). Contrary to what my impression about solo traveling has been all these years, I quite enjoyed it, sure I missed my hubby and baby (a ton), but at the same time I also realized the immense value of traveling alone, now more than ever, especially after becoming a mom, and when I have way more responsibilties in life now than ever before.
I couldn’t have chosen a better place than NOLA (New Orleans) for my solo travel, it is such a fun and vibrant city to explore both with friends and family or on your own. And I couldn’t have chosen a better and safer hotel to stay at than The Windsor Court in NOLA during this solo trip. More about Must-Do and Must-See in NOLA and my experience staying at the luxurious Windsor Court Hotel (where I lived life queen size ;)) are both coming to the blog soon. Stay tuned…
All these years, I didn’t give much weightage to solo traveling, Vinay and I love love love to travel, and we love traveling and exploring places across the globe together (you can read more here and here). So the thought of traveling without my partner-in-crime next to me was never something that appealed to me.
And you have to understand that traveling alone for pleasure when you are a mom is one of the hardest decisions to make, both logistically (especially when you are his primary caretaker at home when the hubby is at work during the day) and emotionally (did my baby eat on time? did he get enough veggies and fruits today? did he hurt himself being his usual monkey-self? so on and so forth).
But thank god for I have such an amazing husband who didn’t once question my decision to go on a trip and enjoy my time away while he had to handle the impossible-little-monster-so-full-of-energy all by himself for 5 full days while also working (which was going to be the reality, but we were able to figure out an alternative just days before my trip). Infact, when I was giving Vinay instructions on Aarush’s daily routine, he said ‘just go there and have fun, make the most of your time and don’t worry about things back home, we’ve got this’ (I know, I got extremely lucky!).
And here’s how my perspective about solo traveling completely changed and reasons why traveling alone is absolutely amazing and you should totally do it too (especially if you are a mom/parent)…
- You have to enjoy your own company (such a powerful feeling) inorder to enjoy traveling alone – sure, that sounds simple enough, but in reality it is not that simple. You simply cannot afford to get bored when you travel solo. Once that is in order, you will have the time of your life.
- Solo traveling is so good for the soul – spending time by yourself, with yourself does something to you that you can’t quite explain. It is not the same as being by yourself locked up in your home office for hours. No, this is different, and this is quite liberating.
- Discover (or rediscover) yourself and your passions – you start to introspect more, you look at things from a different perspective, evalute things that you have been putting off for far too long, and most of all, you chatter with yourself all day long, you connect with your inner/deeper thoughts, you start wondering about your life choices, etc, well, you get the gist.
- Make zero plans, go with the flow, and enjoy every minute of doing nothing, or barely doing anything – which is so unlike my usual travel style. I am a planner and I always have an itinerary but not this time (which was mostly thanks to the hubs and his wise words of wisdom as he drove me to the airport).
- Slow down and enjoy the quiet and calm moments – this rarely happens when we travel because there is so much to see and do in those new destinations, but thanks to making no plans it allowed me the freedom to take things slowly and just live in the moment (without thinking ‘oh I want to chase the sunset so I need to be at the beach by 5 pm, nope, not this time), and people watch.
- Be spontaneous, change your plans as often as you like – while I didn’t plan much to begin with as I started out my day, I still constantly changed my plans by the hour… got on a random bus and went to the Bywater neighboorhood while I insitally set out to explore Garden district as I left the hotel (both in completely different directions). PS: Taking public commute is the best way to explore a city, but I realized NOLA’s public transportation isn’t the best (more about it to come soon).
- Meeting locals and learning things about them and their city is such a joy – sure, Vinay and I connect with locals when we travel together too, but it is a completely different experience to chat up locals when you travel solo. And more often than not, it was interesting and priceless to see people’s reaction after I’d mention that I have a baby boy and I am here traveling solo. That in itself was an experience!
- Get real ‘me time’ – sure, I might have an hour here and an hour there (so called ‘me time’) to just do what I want by myself during a regualr week, but this isn’t the same. When you travel solo, you have all of 24 hrs to yourself and ‘me time’ takes on a completely new and different meaning. There’s no thinking about regular routine, work, or chores that you need to tend to (unlike your ‘me time’ when you are home), it’s you and only you! A much-needed break if you will.
To summarize, solo traveling kind of brought me a sense of incredible achievement!
Sure, I only went for 2 days but it was still such a rejuvenating experience. Those couple of days opened my eyes about a whole new world of traveling alone and why it is so so imporant in life.
Being parents (especially moms) we rarely disconnect from the real world and our responsibiilities. No matter where we are and what we are doing, a part of us is always with our littles, thinking about them and their needs so much so that we negelcet our own. And for once, it was so refreshing to completely disconnect from the real world and just enjoy my time alone, talking to myself and doing things by myself, as I explored a new city.
I am even encouraging Vinay to take a solo trip.
And maybe we will make this an annual thing, let’s see how that goes!
As you go, tell me if you have ever traveled alone? If yes, how was your experience? If no, would you ever go on a solo trip?