So what is my story? First, let me say “thank you” for stopping by to check out my blog. I hope you enjoy your visit here, become inspired to take your first solo trip, and share my story with a friend or two that might benefit from it. My purpose in sharing my story with you is to inspire you to travel the world, solo that is.
Many years ago, I met a guy that was everything I had dreamed of in a man. He was intelligent, charming, and smooth. The relationship was perfect in the beginning. Long talks late into the night, trips to the lake, and endless romantic dinners that always ended with the perfect kiss. Over time we fell deeply in love – we were inseparable. Years passed on and the love began to fade. He changed and NOT for the good. I soon noticed how unhappy I was being with him. I felt unappreciated and taken advantage of. I began to feel like I was wasting my time with him. And I know that time wasted is time lost you can never get it back.
Before I knew it, arguing had become our way of communicating with each other. Kisses were a thing of the past and spending time together was nonexistent. With other things going on in my life at the same time I felt a strong need for change. I started evaluating the relationships in my life and realize I was not only feeling unappreciated by him but by other relationships in my life. Every day was about someone else. I never had time for myself. The New Year was approaching and I was ready for change. I needed to do something differently, so I started detaching myself from unhealthy people, you know, those people that only come around when they want something. I call them NEEDY people. They can drain you mentally, physically, and financially with THEIR needs. I was determined not to bring them into my new year. And I didn’t, well except one…
I stepped into the New Year feeling more alive. With only a handful of people left in my life, I was able to continue to love and nurture those relationships. My new mindset was determined to find happiness – something that I had been chasing for years. But, there was one person that I was still holding on to, my ex. It was hard to let him go. Looking back now, I honestly can’t give myself one good reason why I held on for so long. I do know that things that are familiar to you can be hard to walk away from. For me, that holds some truth. I am a person that loves security and I’m not one for a lot of change. And his mess came like clockwork… which I got a little too comfortable with.
Change was coming – not in any way that I could have ever imagined. When I was younger, I was taught that everything in your life happens for a reason, the good and the bad. That you should never lose faith when you do not see any good coming out of your bad situation. In due time it shall reveal itself if you faint not.
I decided to take an all-girls trip to take my mind off the familiar for a while. The trip turned out to be perfect but I could not say that in the beginning. This trip turned into a week of wild partying, for them that is. While they slept the morning away and most of the afternoon I was up and exploring at the crack of dawn. I began to notice how much I enjoyed my own company and how much I was able to see and do before they rolled out of bed in the late afternoon. Ha! I was a bit frustrated at first because the trip had not gone according to plan. I quickly got over it once I realized how much-uninterrupted fun I was having. The time alone was amazing. It boosted my confidence and showed me how independent I was. And I craved more of it! It was not until almost a year later that I looked back at that trip to draw encouragement to take my very first solo trip. It’s funny how uneventful situations like that can be the catalyst to get you on the path to where you are now.
I returned home, back to an unhappy relationship. Thinking to myself “what’s next”. I decided to plan a nice birthday getaway for two! Yes, I convinced myself that we just needed some time away from the familiar – to go have some fun! I later questioned my judgment. On the plane, off we go! The first couple of days on the trip was perfect… laughing, having fun, and enjoying each other’s company once again. A gal could not be happier. And then came days three and four. It was a nightmare! Finally, we made it home and what I thought was a nightmare before was hardly that. Here I stood in the garage at midnight, tired, exhausted, and dying to get into the bed. But that did not happen until hours later. He began on one of his temper tantrums that lasted well into the morning. Cursing and calling me every name that he thought would hurt me. I never had to say a word to keep the fuel going to his fire. He kept it going all by himself until nothing was left but ashes.
As I pulled my luggage out of the car, tears rolling down my face, I watched him dance in them as if they were a puddle of rain. I remember my body shaking and trembling, barely able to walk to the door. I remember thinking to myself I can’t do this anymore! When I closed the garage door, as I watched him standing there looking senseless, I knew it was over. I knew that I would never allow him to waste any more of my time. I cried for a short while as I tried to figure out what in the hell just happened! Soon my tears of unhappiness turned into a plead to God asking him not to allow my heart to become hardened towards him. Telling myself that my heart has no vacancies for bitterness, hatred, or unforgiveness. Asking God to dry my tears away and make me whole again. I made a vow to God and myself that night that gave me the strength to remain single and celibate until this day. I remembered from past hurt and pain that if you have God’s peace you can endure any adversity that beset you!
When I woke up I felt different. I felt lighter as if dead weight had been lifted off me and it had. You don’t realize how much baggage you’re carrying until you let it go. I went to one of the mirrors in my hallway and I wrote “You will come out on top” – those words still remain there today. Those words encourage me through some pretty hard situations because I knew, no matter how bad the situation was I will always come out on top. Over the last few years, I have added over 50 quotes to several mirrors throughout my home as simple words of encouragement. I believe that the best encouragement that you can receive are the ones that you give yourself! Those quotes that I read every day quickly became part of my daily life. I drew a lot of strength and wisdom from the breakup which helped me to overcome many obstacles in my life, one being the fear of traveling solo. The breakup put into perspective how important life is and living a happy life. That relationship transformed me in how who and where I invest my time. Time wasted is time lost; you can never get it back! Over the last four years, that has been my driving force to get out and explore the world. I do not want to look back another decade and feel like my time had been wasted in an unhealthy relationship or not living at all.
As time went on, I started contemplating on taking a trip that would be so amazing that it would erase the bad memories of the last one. One that was uninterrupted by foolishness and sure to end on a pleasant note. I began seeking places that I had always dreamed of visiting and the Grand Canyon came to mind. Its spectacular views that I had always heard about were sure to erase any bad memories from my thoughts. So off I went, solo. Well, not completely solo – I did join a tour company to get me there. Ha! But this was my very first solo trip, unaccompanied by anyone I knew. I remember the moment and the feeling of pure excitement when I uttered those joyful words “this is the best trip ever”! I was sitting on the side of a cliff after a long hike up the Bright Angel Trail, looking out at a picturesque view, eating a fresh deli sandwich and purple grapes. Listening to the beautiful sound of nature and the faint sound of the water running along the Colorado River below us. The trip was perfect and I craved more of it.
The next year rolled around and off I went on another trip, solo. My newfound confidence in being single and traveling solo was my driving force. I had one solo trip under my belt and plenty of room for another. But this trip did hit me with a bit of anxiety. I was leaving U.S. soil. I had never traveled internationally in my life and now I’m doing it solo? I didn’t know anything about foreign currency or how to read a Canadian street sign. And I have to cross the border? So does that mean I can’t bring my pet chicken, iguanas, or goats with me? Joking. I don’t own any chickens… I had a lot to teach myself before this trip so my research began! Now I’m all fired up and ready to go enrich myself into new experiences, diverse culture, and some serious me time.
Getting my first passport stamp, while crossing the border SOLO, is an experience I will never forget. I felt so many happy emotions run through my body as the border patrol guy said “enjoy your visit.” Well, that was after he searched my car for who knows what. Guess he thought I had been drinking because I was so fired up. I incorrectly answered all of his questions. Ha! I was just excited about the whole experience of getting my first stamp, crossing a border, and doing it solo. Every time I think about that experience I get chills down my spine. It was life-changing. Empowerment hit me like an atomic bomb, it sealed the deal. I knew right then that solo traveling was for me. I needed to travel solo. I had to travel solo. I love the feeling of traveling alone, having uninterrupted fun, and feeling independent. Not relying on anyone else’s mandate. And that I was confident enough to get myself somewhere unfamiliar to me and have a good time. It was the best feeling ever and in my opinion the best way for ME to travel the world. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy traveling with my family and the memories that we make but my desire to travel solo has brought life back to me.
This trip taught me a lot about myself and how I enjoy seeing the world. I spent three 12-hour days exploring beautiful Canada, uninterrupted and on my own terms. Everything that I learned on that trip was self-taught. I didn’t have a tour guide to take me places, explain things to me or prevent me from getting lost. It taught me how to follow my own intuition and judgment. I quickly learned to read Canadian street signs, maps, and guide books. And sometimes just wander around for a few minutes until I found my way. No one to lead me down the wrong path…. Don’t know how many times that has happened when I traveled with others. I was able to spend as many hours as I desired listening to the beautiful sounds of the rushing water coming off Niagara Falls. After doing quite a bit of driving on this trip it boosted my confidence to try a short road trip next. I had always heard that the California coastline offered some of the most beautiful drives in the world and I had to see it for myself.
The next year rolled around and off I went. Sunny California here I come! This trip was very significant to me. It was the celebration of my 3-year single/celibate-anniversary. I had made a vow to myself that I would remain single for at least 3 years and I did. Wow, I’m celebrating three years of being single and being happy the whole time. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that I would find so much happiness while being single. Or after a nightmare of a breakup 3 years prior. It is possible and I am living proof. Even though I’ve been single for a little over three years now, I never felt alone or lonely. I know it had a lot to do with the promise I made myself and the newfound happiness of traveling. And planning. Planning a trip is just as exciting as actually taking the trip.
California yielded some amazing experiences that I will never forget. From my first whale watching tour, off the gorgeous Southern California coastline, to hiking the famous Tuolumne Grove Trailhead in Yosemite National Park to walking on some of the most pristine beaches my eyes had ever seen. And not to mention the opportunity to swim with harbor seals and sea lions as they bask in the beautiful waters of La Jolla Beach. To driving down one of the most iconic highways in the world, Highway 1. As I set out on my 3-hour drive from San Francisco, Ca to Big Sur, there was nothing that could have prepared me for the first glimpse of the rocky, unspoiled coastline of Big Sur. From the twisting, cliff-hugging routes to towering mountains on both sides of the narrow, isolated strip of paradise, my eyes were in a spell not knowing which way to look. I was surrounded by miles of beautiful, untainted, and unspoiled land. Nature at its finest. I remember gasping as my eyes sparkled with anticipation of what I would see next. Mountains so tall they looked as if they were touching the sky. The roar of the ocean as it came crashing against the side of the rocky cliff. The Big Sur was a wonderful experience to have had. You can never go wrong when you commune with nature. California coastline is nothing short of wondrous!
My life is far from perfect. I am no stranger to pain, disappointment, or adversity, but I can honestly say that I am happy! After many years of being in unhealthy relationships, I could not honestly say that to myself. I now do more of what makes Tiffany happy. Tiffany first – after God that is.
I walk my own path and live on my own terms. Why shouldn’t I? It’s my life, right? I’m responsible for my own happiness, not anyone else. If what you are doing does not bring any harm to you or anyone else, I say do it! We have one life to live and it’s up to us on how we live our lives. Please do not live another year in regret, wishing you had taken a solo trip. Don’t miss the opportunity, out of fear of being free, happy, and independent. Make up your mind, write out your plan and start saving. Know that I’m here to inspire and encourage you through sharing my solo travel experiences. You can also reach me on Instagram, link below. I look forward to hearing from you.
Again, thank you for stopping by, I hope you enjoyed your visit here and that you have decided to stick around for a while. I have tons more to share. I truly hope my life experiences have inspired you to travel and live a life of happiness.
When life throws me lemons, I eat them!
June 22, 2016