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October 26, 2016

The Most Important Skill You Need to Travel Solo

For those of you who don’t know, I just moved from the East Coast to the West Coast and took the opportunity to make it into an epic road trip. You can see some pictures onĀ Instagram and Facebook.

I had some illusions of writing a letter about eating on the road, or what I do on the road so I don’t feel icky and gross with the lack of schedule and homemade food, but of course, the post that wanted to be written was about solo travel.

I love traveling by myself. I always have. I like traveling with people too, but it’s harder to plan, so I often just go it alone.

And I know a lot of people, women especially, would love to travel solo, but they worry about it. This is the advice I give. This is the most important skill you need to travel alone.

You must cultivate a relationship with your intuition.

Your intuition will always tell you if something is wrong, if that person isn’t to be trusted, if this is a bad street to walk down, or if you’re making the wrong decision.

Your intuition will tell you.

But so many women bulldoze straight through that feeling. If they can’t logic it out it’s invalid. Or if someone else can logic them out, they dismiss their gut feelings.

This is how bad things happen.

After many years of personal research, I can tell you that every time I can remember being in a sticky situation, I had a bad feeling going into it.

But I didn’t listen, or trust, or maybe I didn’t even pause to explore what I was feeling. And then things got bad.

So that’s your job: cultivating intuition.

And once you have this relationship, you must be prepared to act on that intuition as though it is the will of God.

(Or whoever you make your virgin sacrifices to. This isn’t a religious post so read it with your metaphor glasses on.)

I’m not kidding you. I’ve walked out of restaurants and stores because I got a “this is not your place.” Same with picking a spot for a hammock or afternoon camp, same with skipping tourist attractions.

If my intuition says so, I’m out.

In fact, that’s the phrase I use if I need to explain myself. I say “My intuition told me,” or “Because my intuition said so.”

People might look at you funny, but when your sense of self is so strong and sovereign and aligned, you’ll stare right back as though they just told you you have a third arm. Wtf is wrong with them? Third arm? My intuition speaking is crazy or stupid to them? Boy bye.

But maybe you don’t have a big trip coming up. That’s great! There is no better time than now to start talking to your intuition.

Start small, just asking questions and seeing what answers bubble up.

What would you like to eat this morning? What’s the best music for today’s commute? How would you most like to move your body? What are your thoughts on this particular street? How do you like walking by yourself in the afternoon vs the evening? Do you want to finish everything that’s on your plate or might you be finished?

You can let your attention rest on people and see what kind of feelings come up.

You may find that you have some ingrained prejudices. That’s ok. This work is useful for those too. It’s helpful to be able to take time to explore what comes up without rejecting it. Microaggressions can be retrained. Your intuition is like a muscle that needs to be exercised and a relationship that needs intimacy and connection.

What do you think of this? What’s your experience with your intuition and solo travel?