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Can you really skip town for a whole month?

If you’re craving something different, feeling stressed, or grieving like I am, it’s a good idea to plan a trip. For some people, that may mean taking off for an afternoon, or even just an hour. For others, the only answer is to get out of town for a while and recharge. I recently came back after taking my longest solo trip, a month in Europe. I can’t tell you how many times I almost cancelled. Boy am I glad I didn’t do that! If you’ve been feeling on-edge lately and your nerves are shot, here are a few ways to make the most of your big solo trip:

Time for something new – heading out for a month in Europe! Photo by @boylessix Jeff Boyle

Solo trips are a great way to learn more about yourself.

Learning about yourself is one of the most important things you can do. You’ll learn so much more about who you are than if you’d stayed home doing nothing but watching Netflix or pouring over social media looking at other peoples trips.

Think it’s impossible? Think again! I have found solo trips aren’t just possible—they are downright essential for anyone looking to truly explore themselves outside their comfort zone. Here are just some of the things I learned after my most recent solo adventure…

Being in a new place can help you develop new routines and habits.

If you’re going to be living in a new place, it’s important that you have an idea of what your daily routine will look like. If you don’t have any routines or habits in place, it can be hard to know where to start. How do people get around? What are the best places for food and drink? Where do they go after they’ve been exploring all day? What do they do when they need a break from exploring?

These questions might seem obvious, but the answers aren’t always obvious at first glance. Asking around and being open about what you’re looking for can help fill in any gaps that may exist!

Be sure to download the transit apps in the cities you are visiting. Familiarizing yourself in advance is key! In London I used an Oyster Transit card. ©Amy Boyle Photography

Getting away from your routine can give you perspective on what parts of your life are working and which need some work.

You may be wondering, how can you possibly not work for a whole month? The answer lies in the benefits of taking a break from your routine.

  1. You’ll have more time to focus on hobbies and interests that are important to you.

  2. You’ll have time to really explore the feelings that you’ve been having. For me, it was processing and being with the grief of losing my mother last fall.

  3. You’ll have more time for self-care, which is crucial for your mental health—and this might even extend into the next few days after getting back from vacation!

Sleep in, get up early, stay up late – the choice is yours! Self Portrait

If you don’t enjoy your own company, how will anyone else? Take yourself on a date – no one knows how to treat you better than you do.

Stop and enjoy the view – You made this happen! ©Amy Boyle Photography

It’s true—your body and mind are all that matter, and if you don’t love them, who will? The only person who can make sure that your needs are met is yourself. So go ahead and take care of yourself like the queen/king that you are!

Solo dinner at the marvelous La Maison Rose in Paris ©Amy Boyle Photography

How do we do this? By making it easier on ourselves in future weeks by planning ahead with these tips:

Use the time away from your day-to-day life to treat yourself well and build new habits that make it easier for you to do so in the future.

When you spend a month away from the daily grind and responsibilities of life, it’s important to learn how to take care of yourself. This means learning how to relax and unwind. It will help you become less dependent on others while also building your confidence in yourself as an individual—and that confidence can only grow from there!

Long walks and picnics for one in Versailles did me a world of good! ©Amy Boyle Photography

Plan ahead! No matter what’s going right or wrong in your life right now, the more prepared you are, the calmer you’ll be.

The most important thing about any trip is planning ahead. You should have everything you need before you go, including your travel documents and insurance policies. This is especially true for long vacations; if you’re planning to be gone for a month or more, don’t forget to make sure that all of these items are in order! I also try to make sure to have contacts (or friends of friends) handy in any foreign city that I might be traveling. It’s a huge help if you ever find yourself in an emergency.

If there’s anything that can ruin an epic adventure more than slow WiFi in a hotel room, it’s being unprepared when things go wrong on the road. Having all of your ducks in a row will mean that if something bad happens—and believe me: something will happen—you’ll be prepared with enough backup plans to make sure nothing gets too crazy while you’re away from home. Read about my recent experience with Airbnb and how I solved it, here.

Solo trips are a great way to relieve stress and learn something new about yourself.

When you’re by yourself, there’s no one to judge you or yell at you for being late—you can do whatever you want without worrying about anyone else. A solo trip is also an opportunity for self-reflection, which gives people the chance to figure out what they really care about in their lives and how they want to spend their time going forward.

If none of these reasons sound appealing enough for a solo trip, take a look at some other benefits that might make it more attractive:

  1. You’ll be able to explore new locations without having anyone else’s interests or needs influence where you go

  2. You’ll get the opportunity to meet new people while traveling alone

  3. You’ll have complete control over what activities or events happen during your stay

Happy, rested, and grateful – Packed and ready to come home. ©Amy Boyle Photography

I hope this post has helped you get excited about the idea of a solo travel trip and given you some tools to make it happen in your own life. It can be scary to take such a big step out of your comfort zone, but I promise that it’s worth it. I took my first solo trip a few years ago and was so glad I did. Take the long bath, explore a new city, and make time to really listen to yourself. What do you truly enjoy? Be sure to journal your thoughts, so that you remember all the new lessons you learn about yourself! Solo travel has given me confidence that I’ve carried with me ever since! My husband and now grown sons were very helpful in the support of my trip and I am very grateful for their enthusiasm and encouragement!

I am here cheering for you too.

And I can’t wait to hear about where you go!

PS One last tip for now, while you are sending postcards to others be sure to write some to yourself. It’s such a moment in time experience and you made it happen. Remember to celebrate that as well!

Be sure to write postcards to yourself too – I sent one a week. What a treat to come home to these! ©Amy Boyle Photography


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