My last two posts on the blog have been all about slowing down and staying put. Just last week, I wrote about how we decided to settle down in Playa del Carmen and had recently signed a six-month lease.

For some of you, this all may have seemed like the death knell to our traveling lifestyle. We may not actually know our address here in Mexico, but in theory, we have one; now that we once more have somewhere to call our own, surely we’d take some time to embrace our more stationary existence.

Of course, that is not how my life works, where irony seems to be one of the supreme guiding principles. Within two days of posting my last article (and a mere two weeks after moving into our new “home”) I was sitting on a plane, a nervous ball of energy, staring down the barrel of a 16-hour travel day making my way north to California for a conference held by Google celebrating their top AdWords partners.

After three years, long travel days are nothing new to me, so although I wasn’t exactly looking forward to being in transit for the better part of a day and hurling across three time zones in the process, that part of the equation felt like business as usual. What did feel wholly bizarre and more than a little bit frightening, was that for the first time in I can’t remember how long, I was tackling this trip without Tony by my side.

For the next week, I would be a solo traveler.

In the sky over California

I’ve always considered myself a fairly independent person. Moreover, as an unabashed introvert, the prospect of spending a lot of time on my own is kind of thrilling rather than unnerving. And yet, as I think back, I realize that apart from a few conferences I attended back in grad school and one day in New York City when Tony himself was attending a conference, I’ve never done the solo travel thing. True, the impetus for this trip was conference-related putting it in my solo-travel wheelhouse, but it really would be the first time in the last three years of near constant 24/7 togetherness that I would be somewhere new without Tony.

Consider me daunted.

The night before my flight to California, I ran through all the things that I alone would have to be solely responsible for, going over all the ways in the partnership we have formed that I rely on Tony in daily life and all the ways I was going to have to be self-reliant and manage on my own. Part of me worried I had forgotten how to function as a self-sufficient person without someone there to care for and keep an eye out for me; would I really be able to navigate the world alone?

The obvious answer is yes! Clearly I was able to survive out in the world by myself. What’s even better, however, is that I didn’t just scrape by, I thrived (if I do say so myself)! Things didn’t always go according to plan, but when they did, I felt enormously proud of what I had accomplished, whether it was successfully making my connecting train, or navigating to a nearby restaurant I had researched where I then asked for a table for one without a hint of shame. Tony and I do this kind of thing together all the time, but perhaps by being a shared accomplishment, we downplay and often overlook how monumental they can be. Not so as a solo traveler! Suddenly accomplishing the most trivial of tasks felt awesome and I, in turn, felt all the more awesome and confident for them.

Ramen in San Jose
Ramen for 1… but really enough to feed 2!

Of course, sometimes I hit a few snafus—like when my train was delayed and I missed the connecting bus, or when the restaurant I had planned to eat at wasn’t where it was supposed to be—but, as tends to be the case, I learned a lot from these moments too. In the case of the bus, there was nothing to do but check the schedule and realize I’d have to wait 30 minutes for the next one. In the case of the restaurant, things get a bit more interesting: I was tired and hungry, and so my default in this situation would be to melt down and throw a frustration-fueled tantrum. After 16-hours in transit, I was really looking forward to sitting down to a comforting bowl of Vietnamese food, and I was supremely pissed to be standing in front of an abandoned office building instead. On the verge of tears, I heard my own voice summon up from deep within me, telling me to get a grip and let it go. I realized that I had to be accountable to MYSELF for my emotions and actions and that if I let myself get all worked up, there wasn’t going to be anyone else there to calm me down and make things better; I had to make things better for myself and melting down would achieve the exact opposite of that. So I sucked it up, took charge, and focused on the positives instead: I had looked up a backup restaurant (just in case!) that was only about another 10 minutes on foot and the weather was blessedly mild and dry—a nice change from the heat and humidity of Playa—so the walk itself was actually really nice and something to be savored. In the end, I wound up sitting down to a pretty fab bowl of ramen which, as far as consolation prizes go, isn’t half bad.

I tend to be a fairly reactive individual, but I hope that going forward, I remember this moment. Without having someone there to immediately unleash all my stress, anxiety, and frustration upon, I instead gave myself a moment to gain some perspective and deal with my situation in the best possible way. I felt in control and a mastery of my emotions and myself that I don’t think I always set myself up for when I’m not by myself. I realized that when I’m on my own, I tend to just make the best of whatever hand I’m dealt, rather than complaining or agonizing over how crummy my cards are. I need to be better about staying positive, being proactive, and staying strong even when I do have someone there to lend a hand and offer support. Being on my own reminded me that it’s good to prove to ourselves every so often that we are capable of more than we think, that we have all the tools we need to handle what life sends our way, and whenever we don’t, it’s an opportunity to develop them.

Northern California by train

The other opportunity solo travel gave me that I haven’t had in a while is that it gave me the chance to really step outside of myself, take a step back, and become an observer. With no one to chat to in the airport, I watched the behaviors and interactions of my fellow travelers. With no one to chat with at dinner, I really paid attention to the food in front of me and every bite that I consumed. With no one to chat with on the train, I just sat back and enjoyed the ride, greedily drinking in the northern California scenery. I could have lost myself in a book, or work, or a movie on my iPad, but instead I focused on what was happening around me; rather than escaping my surroundings, I found my solitude anchored and grounded me to where I was and the present moment.

Perhaps the most important revelation I had as a solo traveler was realizing just how unusual my behavior was. It turns out most people are TERRIFIED of being alone. Wherever I looked, people’s eyes were glued to phones and tablets, as though they were too scared of accidentally making eye contact with another human being; the possibility of simply sitting and enjoying one’s own company didn’t seem to be something any one else really contemplated. I am nothing if not a contrarian and so it began to feel like an act of rebellion to walk into a restaurant and just eat, by myself, without any kind of technological shield to hide myself from prying eyes. I would keep my cell phone and iPad defiantly stowed in my bag, and just give myself over to my meal. It was actually really nice, and it made me wonder why more people don’t take time to just check in with and “refriend” the stranger who is themselves.

Riding the Capital Corridor in northern California

The irony that I was in California primarily for a technology-related conference, that Tony & I both make our living online, and that I write a blog hasn’t escaped me. Obviously I think technology and social media have the potential to make our lives easier and more efficient, but I do they can also have the opposite effect and cause people to feel stressed out and overwhelmed. At their core, these mediums are meant to help keep us connected, but I couldn’t help wondering as I watched people check their email while eating with someone, or tweet a meme during the conference, or just studiously watch videos on their phone on the BART if they weren’t all using technology as a crutch and an excuse to disconnect from the world in which they were actually living. Rather than reaching out and forming connections with the people around them, they were closing themselves off.

That’s the opposite of what we try to do here at 20YH, but I think that’s also the reason why our blog is always behind, why we sometimes go a week without logging onto Twitter, why we never update Facebook more than once a day, and only post pictures on Instagram when we have something worth sharing rather than the optimal 2 to 3 times per day: I don’t want to be so busy documenting my life online that I forget to actually be present and live it! I will always prioritize the immediacy of the here and now and the face-to-face, and I often find that in order to really recharge, we have to disconnect. There’s that irony again.

My week in California was a whirlwind, with the days flicking by quicker than people swiping left and right on Tinder profiles. The thing is, my days weren’t just full with activities and tons of “me time”; they were also full of people. In what might be the greatest irony of my entire stint traveling by myself, I was almost never alone. Within the span of a week, I finally met in person the woman who introduced me to AdWords and with whom I’ve been working for the past year, met up with a fellow travel blogger for lunch (the lovely Cassie at Ever In Transit, with whom I explored the Google campus and then enjoyed a wonderful Vietnamese lunch in San Jose’s Little Saigon district), and got take a quick trip up to Sacramento to catch up with one of my best friends from graduate school who I hadn’t seen in over three years! Even though I was on my own, my tribe has never felt stronger.

Sitting on the 6:20am train from Sacramento back to San Francisco where I would start another marathon travel day, I watched as businessmen chugged Red Bulls and bragged about how their all-nighter had bumped them up one slot in their company’s internal rankings, and gratitude washed over me. In a piercing insight, I realized how incredibly lucky I am. Not just because I was living my life and not theirs, but because I realized that my life is awash with amazing people and I am rich with friends; what currency is more valuable than that? It took traveling solo for me to realize that I have plenty of connections to keep me from ever floating too far from shore or feeling too adrift. I understand now that being alone is not the same as being lonely, and that both are just a matter of perspective. I may have only been a solo traveler for a week, but what better lesson could the experience teach me than that?

🎶Hey you/up in the sky/learning to fly/tell me how high/do you think you’ll go…🎶

A photo posted by Steph & Tony (@20yearshence) on

Written by: Stephenie Harrison


In another life, I moved from Toronto, Canada to Nashville, TN to pursue my doctoral degree in Psychology. That chapter of my life is now finished, but I did earn the right to demand you call me Dr. Steph (though I respond just as well to plain old Steph). I am an avid reader whose book collection is rivaled only by my many pairs of cute shoes. I also like to knit, hold impromptu karaoke parties, and try new and unusual foods. Generally not all at the same time. I also really love to learn languages, which may explain why I took 3 years of Latin in highschool. I'm turning over a new leaf, so instead of looking forward, I'm going to work on enjoying the present, so the country I'm most looking forward to is whichever one we're in right now!

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Read comments (36)

  1. September 7, 2015 at 2:19 pm
    Sep. 7, '15

    I have also not done a lot of travel and before my current trip, the longest solo adventure had been backpacking in Italy for 2 1/2 weeks. I had really enjoyed that trip and decided that I needed to do a longer solo trip and here I am – 2 1/2 months into a 3 1/2 month solo trip through Alaska, Hawaii and British Columbia. When I was on the move every few days I met so many people and really enjoyed myself but I have been in a tiny village in the Canadian Rockies for the past 2 1/2 weeks and I have to say, I don’t think I have felt this lonely in a really long time. I have made a couple of friends but with four days off a week and constant rain, I have spent a lot of time alone in my house. It’s definitely been challenging
    Katie recently posted..Sometimes you can’t go back: Revisiting Victoria

    • September 7, 2015 at 2:20 pm
      Sep. 7, '15

      Sorry I meant I had not done a lot of solo travel, I have travelled a lot but mainly with friends or with my fiance 🙂
      Katie recently posted..Sometimes you can’t go back: Revisiting Victoria

      • September 14, 2015 at 7:51 pm
        Sep. 14, '15

        Don’t worry, Katie, I knew what you meant! 🙂

        I am sure the fact that I was so busy during my week away from Tony certainly stopped me from feeling lonely—from the moment I got up until I was back in bed, I pretty much had something on the go and was generally with other people. It sounds like your recent stint in the remote Rockies was a far cry from that! I hope that since you’ve moved on, you’ve found yourself in better company (which is to say, in the company of others!) and the feelings of isolation are a thing of the past. Certainly solo travel is no walk in the park and has its own challenges, but I think those are part of what make it so worthwhile.

  2. Steve C
    September 7, 2015 at 3:23 pm
    Sep. 7, '15

    Hi Steph,
    I empathized with every word of your post! Looking back to my first trip 42 years ago, I was solo for 4 months backpacking around Europe. Then, my last trip, also solo was a 3 week trip by train across the US from Calif. to New England to see the fall colors. All my other trips in between, and there were many, were with someone else. This last solo trip was a real eye opener, travel wise. All that you stated above was exactly what I experienced.

    Now, I’m about a couple months away from setting out again, solo. Me and my truck camper. No, not with “Charlie”. I know how to do it, but it’s still daunting!

    I’m bummed that you didn’t say anything about your trip to California before you actually did it. As I live in Santa Rosa, 60 miles north of San Francisco, I would surely have driven south to buy you lunch on one of your “days off”, a meeting of another tribe member of sorts, to chew the fat.

    Now it’s Tony’s turn to do something similar. (and write about it or do it in drawings)

    As I will be getting a later start than I had planned (the world’s worst procrastinator), my original destination of Florida may turn into the Yucatan. You may see me driving up in Playa del Carmen, looking for a place to park my camper for a couple months. I’ve been through there a couple times over the years and know it’s beauty. Ah, Christmas in Mexico again.

    Like you said, even though you’re traveling solo, you’re never alone. It’s always your choice.

    • September 14, 2015 at 7:54 pm
      Sep. 14, '15

      Sorry I kept my Cali trip under wraps—I really had a packed schedule, but it would have been nice to meet you for some grub and a gab. I don’t know if you “do” Facebook, but I did post about the trip on our FB page while I was in California, and we try to be a bit more current there since this here blog is always a wee bit behind. 🙂

      If you do head down to the Yucatán this Xmas, certainly let us know as we’ll be here until at least March. I have a feeling you have quite a few yarns to tell that we’d love to hear.

  3. September 7, 2015 at 6:28 pm
    Sep. 7, '15

    I’m guessing one of the reason you guys like doing home stays so much is because it give you the chance to meet locals, which is hard to do when you travel as a couple but so easy when you’re solo! I’ve done several solo trips, though none more than 6 months, and it’s very different from traveling with my husband — better in some ways, worse in others, but in almost every regard, simply different, and you certainly end up meeting more people.
    Carina recently posted..Running Quiz

    • September 14, 2015 at 8:01 pm
      Sep. 14, '15

      You’re right that traveling as a couple can sometimes make it harder to meet the locals. I tend to be quite shy with strangers, but when I’m by myself, I force myself to approach and initiate conversations with others more than I naturally would with Tony by my side. Ever since I’ve returned from California, I’ve tried to ask myself in certain situations what I would do if Tony weren’t there, which has lead to more conversations with random people in the past two weeks than I think I’ve had in the past 6 months!

  4. September 8, 2015 at 10:11 am
    Sep. 8, '15

    I wondered, after so many years of traveling together, how you would feel. I’m glad it was such a great experience.

    As I think I mentioned before, my first flight ever – and first trip anywhere outside of the U.S. – was to Italy. People thought I was crazy, but it was magnificent. I tried traveling with friends after that, and it wasn’t the same, so I also took a trip to Prague by myself. As you found, it really does open you up to experiences you just don’t have when you travel with a companion. I love it. 🙂

    • September 14, 2015 at 8:18 pm
      Sep. 14, '15

      I think it’s so cool that the first trip you ever took outside of the US was a solo trip! So many people use not having a travel buddy as an excuse not to travel, but obviously those that do are missing out in more ways than one. 99.9% of the time, I’m really happy to have a travel companion who is so in sync with me, but I do think I will likely seek out some other solo adventures in the future.

  5. September 9, 2015 at 10:30 am
    Sep. 9, '15

    Nicely written, as always, Steph! I too have had moments in my solo adventures where I have realized that if Sergey were to be next to me, I may have just melted into negativity of “why me” or “it’s so unfair” or “this makes me angry/annoyed” but when I am on my own, I just deal with it — whatever it is. I try to take heed of that whenever we are together, but it’s still something I am working on! We were in California just about the same time as you — but not close enough — hope our paths actually cross one day!
    Jenia recently posted..DC Like a Tourist: Chinatown

    • September 14, 2015 at 8:21 pm
      Sep. 14, '15

      Isn’t it interesting how our partners can not only bring out the best in us, but also the worst? 😉 I really do want to be more mindful about not simply unloading all the crap I don’t want to deal with or all my stress on Tony, because he doesn’t deserve that, but also because this trip really showed me that there are better ways to deal with less-than-ideal situations. I’m fortunate to have a partner who I know I can rely on, but I need to remember that I can rely on myself too! Maybe I need to take a few more solo trips to make sure this lesson sticks (or at least to serve as a reminder every so often!).

      Can’t believe you were in California too! So close, but still so far… One day our paths will cross, I know it!

  6. September 9, 2015 at 2:52 pm
    Sep. 9, '15

    I loved traveling solo this last trip. Of course, it was tough to say goodbye and I definitely missed Tyrhone, but I find the actual ‘travel’ side of traveling easier alone. I guess being totally responsible for ourselves and not having someone else to worry about/rely on is good sometimes.
    Plus, let’s face it, absence makes the heart grow fonder… am I right? 🙂
    Sarah recently posted..Blessed by Bali

    • September 14, 2015 at 8:26 pm
      Sep. 14, '15

      re: Absence and affection—Well, I certainly know that I was very excited to see you following your amazing adventures in Bali, so I can only imagine how Tyrhone felt! 😉

      I love traveling with Tony & there were definitely things on this trip to California that I would have loved to share with him, but then again, I do know that there were certain experiences that I could only have had on my own, and so I’m grateful for that too. I tend to do most of the travel planning and logistics stuff when Tony & I travel together, so I suppose that side of things doesn’t feel so different when I’m by myself.

  7. September 10, 2015 at 9:49 pm
    Sep. 10, '15

    I can completely relate to you. Aaron and I have been together for 14 years and aside from travel to Europe with a friend back in the day, I have only ever traveled with Aaron by my side. There are so many people who only travel solo but I am so not one of those people. That’s why whenever I do travel on my own I am nervous wreck about it. I’m glad you had such a positive experience. My two or three solo excursions have been a bit challenging, slightly scary, but really positive. That’s not to say that I’m not REALLY nervous about having to travel solo to Bangkok next month for TBEX. Consider me daunted…
    Justine recently posted..A Vegetarian’s Guide to Phnom Penh

    • September 14, 2015 at 8:30 pm
      Sep. 14, '15

      I think there is something to be said for the fact that I wasn’t really traveling anywhere exceedingly challenging our geographically outside of my comfort zone too—I’m not sure I would have dealt so well if there had been language barriers or been somewhere completely foreign and unfamiliar to me! I’m sure I would have muddled through, but there is definitely something comforting about having a buddy with you when you are thrown in the deep end!

      I am sure you will do great at TBEX and I hope you have an awesome time in Bangkok! At least you’ll be attending a conference as well, and travel bloggers tend to be a friendly bunch, so I suspect you’ll come out the other side with a bunch of new friends!

  8. September 11, 2015 at 3:50 pm
    Sep. 11, '15

    I totally feel you Steph. Recently Tom and I spent a long weekend apart and realized that it was the longest we had been apart in over 5 years! I know other people think it’s nuts, but when you travel full-time and run a business with your partner, you just don’t spend too much time apart! We both had a great time with our respective friends that weekend, but that trepidation is always going to be there beforehand, right?! So glad you had a great time in CA, though sorry we missed you!
    Jenny @ Till the Money Runs Out recently posted..Diving Isla Mujeres’ Underwater Art Museum

    • September 14, 2015 at 8:33 pm
      Sep. 14, '15

      This wasn’t the longest Tony & I have ever been apart—that was last summer, when he had to go to Minnesota and finagle us a car while I stayed behind in Toronto to look after the dogs—but it felt different from last summer because I was at home then whereas this time I was somewhere new. It definitely felt strange to be apart, but we splurged and got me a week of data on the phone so that I was able to keep in touch, so even though we weren’t physically together, our codependency still had a lifeline… 😉

      Also, I can’t believe you were in the area while I was in California; if only I had known! Next time, I promise to keep better tabs on you two!

  9. September 12, 2015 at 12:42 am
    Sep. 12, '15

    Interesting! I had always been a solo traveller until I went away with a friend of mine in 2009 – and I was feeling daunted about that!! Interesting to hear things from the other side – and yes, you absolutely do connect with co-tribalists while travelling solo… and that can be so rewarding 🙂
    Tim UrbanDuniya recently posted..UrbanLegends: Andy loves Almaty!

    • September 14, 2015 at 8:36 pm
      Sep. 14, '15

      It takes a very special friend to be able to travel harmoniously together, so I can understand being nervous about taking the plunge and traveling with someone when you’re used to being on your own. I guess I consider myself lucky that I’ve always had someone in my life who has made a good travel buddy, but it was really interesting to dip my toe into the solo travel pool after spending the last three years pretty much constantly with Tony. I hope to take my solo travel lessons forward so that even when traveling as a couple we can hopefully continue to seek out and connect with other likeminded wanderers!

  10. September 16, 2015 at 1:34 am
    Sep. 16, '15

    Everybody needs to travel alone once in their life – even if it’s just for a week!

    And such a good point – the thing bloggers need to do to keep things going (ie. be always plugged in and on) can be the very thing that sucks the freedom out of being a blogger.

    (BTW, thanks to your title I now have that Spice Girls song stuck in my head lol).
    Karyn Jane recently posted..Letting Go

    • September 20, 2015 at 9:54 am
      Sep. 20, '15

      Well, Karyn, once *I* got that Spice Girls song stuck in my head, I felt it only fair to inflict it on everyone else! 😛

      I really hate whenever I begin to feel like I’m a slave to the blog. I love how liberating this space is, but I keep it that way by only writing when I feel inspired and only writing about the things that feel important and true to me too. It’s important to take a step back every so often and remember that life beyond the blog is important, just as it was important for me to learn/remember/realize that there is life beyond the comfort of traveling as a couple too! I sometimes felt intimidated when I was on my own, but I know I also put myself out there more than I otherwise would and that was really liberating and validating too. So glad I did it, and I’m sure it won’t be the last time I dabble with solo travel.

  11. September 23, 2015 at 6:08 pm
    Sep. 23, '15

    What greater lesson indeed 🙂 It sounds like you had a great trip all-round, combining work, travel and friendship. Andrew and I only travel solo when we’re back in the UK, it would be fun to try it abroad sometime though. Congrats on finding success in your Google role too, it sounds very interesting.
    Amy recently posted..How we can afford to travel full time

    • December 6, 2015 at 3:26 pm
      Dec. 6, '15

      Thanks for the kind words, Amy! It’s really great to have found a job that so nicely matches my skill set and that I can do from the road… pretty much everything I could have hoped for!

      Tony & I are pretty much joined at the hip wherever we are, but it was surprisingly nice to take a solo trip. Still, I’m glad we’re back together and get to share this adventure with each other. 🙂

  12. September 24, 2015 at 4:41 pm
    Sep. 24, '15

    What you were describing about getting to the “restaurant” that turned out to be an empty building, and you wanted to have a meltdown but didn’t let yourself because no one was there to calm you down – I totally do that. I totally have meltdowns about things I shouldn’t when I have Andy to lean on. When I travel solo, I probably have more frustrating moments because I’m helpless when it comes to maps and I get lost all the time, and I panic in my head, but for the most part, I hold it together. It’s when I talk to Andy after it’s all over that I break down because he’s there to listen to me cry and comfort me.

    And those seemingly trivial moments that are actually huge accomplishments – yep, I totally get that. Solo travel does that for me too, and I love the confidence boost from it. I still prefer traveling with Andy, but I do think I need a little solo travel now and then as a reminder that I CAN do things on my own.

    I’m glad you had a good solo trip to California!
    Ali recently posted..23 Ways to Travel With a Purpose

    • December 6, 2015 at 3:30 pm
      Dec. 6, '15

      It’s kind of incredible how having someone to rely on can cause us to act out, isn’t it? I didn’t realize how much I relied on Tony to make things ok for me and “sooth” me until I was traveling on my own and that wasn’t an option—when things got tough, I just had to toughen up with them. And, miraculously, every single time I did. It was definitely an eye-opener for me, because I do consider myself a strong, self-sufficient woman, but obviously I need to do a better job of being that person for the benefit of my travel partner too.

      And yes, I definitely prefer traveling with Tony and being able to share all my good moments with him, but it actually was nice to be on my own for a bit too. I’ve gotten really good at compromising and taking someone else’s desires into consideration, so it was nice to just be able to do my own thing without any remorse or second-guessing for a week!

  13. October 2, 2015 at 1:23 pm
    Oct. 2, '15

    It’s fun to read your excitement at things us single folks do every day without a second thought 🙂

    • December 6, 2015 at 3:31 pm
      Dec. 6, '15

      Ha! You guys are like unicorns to us married folks… 😉

  14. October 10, 2015 at 7:31 am
    Oct. 10, '15

    Great post. We’ve been travelling for a while now as a couple and haven’t separated to travel solo yet but we’ve been contemplating it recently. Your insights into travelling solo like focusing on things right in front of you without distraction and “befriending” yourself is something that I think we all forget to do, myself included. Looking forward to reading more of your blog.
    Ross recently posted..Ultimate Safari Guide: Masai Mara on a Budget

    • December 6, 2015 at 3:35 pm
      Dec. 6, '15

      Thanks for taking the time to comment, Ross, and it’s nice to hear that my reflections resonated with you. I think one of the things most successful couples do is that we grow together over time, but I think a result of this can be that we sort of forget what we’re like on our own. I’m a proud introvert and yet, I think I still had forgotten how nice and satisfying it can be to spend some quality time with myself. My week away definitely gave me time to think and reflect on who I am as a person, what aspects of my personality I’m proud of and where I’d like to improve, and—best of all—it was so nice to see Tony at the end of it all! It was the first time in a while we’ve had the opportunity to miss each other… 😉

  15. October 24, 2015 at 8:27 am
    Oct. 24, '15

    I’m two days from the end of my first long solo trip (3 months) and this is something I’ve become more aware of in the last week or two – I am SO much more comfortable now eating alone, without technology. It hasn’t been a conscious act, really, and sometimes I still enjoy getting lost in my book while I dine. But I’ve noticed that often it doesn’t even occur to me to take my Nook or my phone out of my purse. I pay more attention to my surroundings and am more appreciative of the food I eat. It’s a great opportunity to just be in the present. Now that I’m aware of it, I’m trying to make a conscious effort to do it more often 🙂

    • December 6, 2015 at 3:38 pm
      Dec. 6, '15

      That’s fantastic, Mary! I really thought I would be self-conscious and would be instinctively reaching for my ipad as I like to have reading material with me at ALL times, but it was actually really nice to just embrace the here & now rather than distracting myself from the task at hand and my surroundings. It sounds like your solo trip was really transformational for you and has given you a confidence and sense of self-sufficiency that I’m sure you’ll keep with you even now that you’re home!

  16. October 25, 2015 at 1:31 pm
    Oct. 25, '15

    ” I don’t want to be so busy documenting my life online that I forget to actually be present and live it!”

    Cheers to that. This is something I need to remember more and spent this past week in the Bahamas really trying to follow =)
    Kristin @ Camels & Chocolate recently posted..Liverpool’s Waterfront Renaissance

    • December 6, 2015 at 3:40 pm
      Dec. 6, '15

      Well, I may have been a bit too good at following my own advice, since it has now literally been months since I last wrote anything for this here blog. I haven’t regretted any of that time away and have felt it was necessary (and I have legit been busy living life), but I think it’s time to get back to the writing/documenting! 😉

  17. November 12, 2015 at 4:33 am
    Nov. 12, '15

    Great insight about the need to always be connected. It is true that sometimes you can be so connected to gadgets and social media that you can be unconnected to the world around you. It is nice to slow down and take a look around. I have been out of the restaurant business for 2 years, and I don’t miss the 75 hour work weeks and returning home at 4am. My life is more full now than it was then.
    Drew recently posted..The Chaos of the World Travel Market

    • December 6, 2015 at 3:50 pm
      Dec. 6, '15

      Yup, sometimes you have to unplug to really connect! I love writing this blog and sharing our adventures online and connecting with the community we have built here, but I will always prioritize the here & now over sitting in front of my computer. It makes me a terrible travel blogger, I know, but I’ve made my peace with it! 😉

  18. March 4, 2017 at 2:28 pm
    Mar. 4, '17

    To my surprise, this is some inspirational stuff right here!

    I mostly agree with you, keeping your eyes glued to phones and tablets does not sound as time well spent, and most people really do waste it on social websites and doing trivialities online.

    I’m old enough to remember a time without the internet, and it’s an advantage. I noticed myself falling in this destructive pattern and tried to change. I find it too difficult to not check my phone, but instead I compromised and decided that, if I’m looking at my phone anyway, why not do something useful on it?

    This led to me researching and reading articles that would help me grow, listening to podcasts and maybe even doing some work while on the phone. And if someone hits me for a quick chat on facebook, it’s not that much of a distraction, I’ll take a short break.

    We have access to so much information these days, and it feels like a waste to not take advantage of it.

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