“Being in an unfamiliar place can lead to personal change, renewal, and discoveries . . . It disrupts routine and day-to-day environmental cues that may be limiting or flat-out unhealthy. indeed, my aim wasn’t to master Paris. It was to master myself: to learn how a little alone time can change your life—in any city.” —Stephanie Rosenbloom, Alone Time: Four Seasons, Four Cities and the Pleasures of Solitude
Each journey we take whether it be to a foreign land or the journey of our everyday lives through this vast world of dynamic cultural change requires of us each to step forward, to engage. To become a player, a participant, someone who has the courage to be proactive which requires a bit of risk as the presence of the unknown is a permanent even though it may take different forms.
As I have been reading Stephanie Rosenbloom’s book I couldn’t help but appreciate the serendipity of its publication. It was in 2011 I put on my dream list to do something I will officially have the opportunity to partake in next week , and it was two years ago that I knew it would be a reality I could officially begin to let my excitement build in anticipation.
Trips of any sort for the traveler offer the opportunity to experience amazing gifts – some we expect and some unexpected. Traveling alone offers its own gifts as Rosenbloom reminds – the opportunity to power down, provide restoration, to care for ourselves as only we know how, to explore and define who we are, to experiment, to attain self-actualization, to problem solve, to think deeply and independently and to find fulfillment.
The traveler who travels alone need not spend every minute alone; in fact, there are many moments with others – many times the strangers of the culture or fellow travelers who happen to cross our paths will share in moments, but when we meet up with friends we know who live in other countries or who now live in distant lands, we experience them in a different setting and they us.
It can be far simpler for a traveler contemplating a solo excursion to quail and pass up an opportunity to hop on a jet plane or train or rent that car to travel across the country when they know they will not have a permanent companion. But our fullest self, our best self, needs us to heed the voice that begins to do the “happy dance” when the mere mention of our favorite place in the world is uttered. Our being needs to see with our own eyes what we think we know, so that when we do come to know, we can process with more accuracy and reach a better understanding of what we have accepted as truth about the world and what we need to adjust.
In a similar vein, in order to be open to what we might discover, we need, while allowing ourselves to become exuberant about the upcoming journey, to also be flexible to what will be shared with us when we do choose to engage.
“To anticipate is to court joy, to fall in love with a place the way it is in a book or a movie or an Eartha Kitt song. But to stay open to the unexpected is to embrace anticipation —to know that it serves its purpose before the journey begins and must then be set aside for reality, for whatever beautiful, strange, unpredictable thing awaits when we step off the ferry.” —Stephanie Rosenbloom
So now after two years of planning and a total of six years of dreaming and anticipating, and I will be doing my best to remain open to “whatever is beautiful, strange, unpredictable thing awaits when” I step off the jet plane in Paris.
Join me during my travels by following along on Instagram or stopping by the blog regularly. Four things that I can guarantee will happen when it comes to posting and sharing: (1) there will be a new podcast episode each Monday (June 25th is the annual Ask Shannon episode!); (2) This & That will be brand new each Friday; (3) the weekly newsletter will be sent to subscribers each Friday morning (subscribe here); and (4) I will post daily on Instagram Stories.
And now to sleep and awake in France. À bientôt!
~View TSLL previous posts from her French travels here.
~View more TSLL Travel posts here
Image lavender field in Montélimar, France
22 thoughts on “Traveling with Oneself”
Have a wonderful trip Shannon, enjoy every single minute ?
Thank you very much Anne. I certainly will do just that. 🙂
Am looking forward to traveling with you. While I wait for my copy of Alone Time, I’m rereading Alice Steinbach’s Without Reservations…her story of traveling alone to Paris London & Florence in the early 90s.
Thank you for sharing! I am putting it on my reading list! 🙂
Enjoy every minute of your trip! You’re going to one of our favorite places and I wish you safe travels and a fully rewarding experience. Travel, no matter where it is to, broadens our horizons and enriches our lives in unexpected ways.
Looking forward to reading all about it!
Thank you Deanne 🙂
Bon Voyage Shannon from Canada ?? Looking foward to your posts.??
Thank you Anita 🙂
Bon voyage chère Shannon✈️
Savour all your sweet spots and enjoy all the exciting nouvelities that awaits your curiousity ???☀️
Thank you Amanda. I will do my best. 🙂
Safe travels! Have a wonderful adventure, and I look forward to ‘traveling’ with you. ?
Happy to ‘bring you along’ 😉
You are brave Shannon!! I wish you a safe and joyful, empowering trip!!!
Take care!:) Can’t wait to see pictures.
Shannon you’re not ‘alone’ you”re an independent traveller and am with you every step of the way. Look ing forward so much to sightseeing with you. Weather is warming up now in la belle France just in time for your visit. We’re gearing up for Bastille day? Will you be here?Bon voyage et bonnes vacances??✈?
Thank you so much Kameela. I don’t feel alone with so much excitement from readers Yes, Bastille Day will find me in France! I cannot wait!
Have a great time.
Shannon, I loved this post and ordered the book. Since my divorce almost 5 years ago, I have traveled alone. Sometimes it is nerve-wracking as I alone have to navigate train schedules, restrooms with my luggage, eating meals alone, etc.. At first I discovered I was much less brave without a companion, but quickly my solo bravery muscle grew and now I love it. As a solo traveler, I miss nothing of the culture and people around me. Even if I don’t understand the language spoken, nothing can pull me back into my native culture- I’m a true observer of the present and gently assimilate into the culture around me. Solo traveling also allows me to connect to my natural creativity and openness and leave all the “shoulds” behind in a way I can only attain somewhere where no one knows me (or when having an excellent massage). I love it! I’m in total agreement with your reader who mentioned Alice Steinbach’s book “Without Reservations.” Alice’s second book “Educating Alice” is also a good read. What if we all went on a journey to “educate” ourselves??
Sharri, Thank you for sharing your experience, and well put – it is a muscle. It is something that initially is uncomfortable for the most part, but having confidence that we can navigate pushes us to do so. And when we do, we realize how magical these moments of solitude amongst a new world or culture or community can be. Thank you as well for recommended Steinbach’s book. I cannot wait to read it and will be sure to look into Educating Alice as well. Thank you again for your comment.
Welcome To France, dear Shannon. I’m sure that all your French readers will travel along just like I’ll do. So happy you enjoy our country and our culture… un très bon voyage !
Thank you for the warm welcome. I am so happy to have this opportunity to return. 🙂
Best wishes for a trip full of abundant simply luxurious pleasures! I’m already enjoying your IG posts!
Elizabeth, Thank you for the well wishes and for ‘traveling along’ with me. 🙂