“Self-love seems so often unrequited.” – Anthony Powell
Intimate relationships have always been one of my greatest teachers in self-awareness and self-love. Travel, my other lover, provides me with the opportunity to live fully, face my fears, and ultimately engage in self-care. Both are powerful indicators for us to assess the trajectory of our personal progress.
Understanding yourself is an important step towards self-love. It’s helpful to start by identifying what fills your emotional tank. Getting in touch with what nourishes you, is often a foreign concept to many of us. Allow yourself time to pause and feel, before you go into response. Core needs are different than feelings. What you needed a week ago may be different from what you need now. Take the time to do a personal needs inventory for self-care. Refueling your emotional tank, is one of the most loving things you can do for yourself, and those whose lives you touch.
Despite travel being commonly considered important to most people’s wellbeing, few Americans actually travel outside the US. According to US census, less than 30% of Americans hold passports, and even less actually use it. In addition, nearly 40% of women over thirty-five, do not have a travel partner. Solo U.S. travelers constitute only 11% of all leisure travelers and take fewer trips per year (Source: travelhorizonsTM, July 2009). Those of us who are single, may therefore need to consider inventive new travel options, to meet our desire to explore.
If travel is on your needs’ list, how important is it? What is stopping you from making travel a priority this year? Is it the lack of partner/companion to share the journey? Or perhaps money or time? If it’s about holding out for that perfect partner or right time, don’t wait any longer. The time is now and that person is you!
Engaging in self-romance tells the universe that you are welcoming love in your life! Move towards having a self-love lifestyle, rather than adopting the average temporary/ quick fix solutions that leave your tank empty. If you exude this attractive ‘full’ energy while traveling, it’s easy to create on-the-road friendships or romance. That gives you the freedom to choose when you want to spend reflective time alone visiting some amazing tourist attraction, or engage with your new friends in the world travel community. This community is much more open to spontaneous outings than you will ever find at home.
So its important to be clear about what type of journey would fill your emotional tank. Is it riding on the edge of life’s adventures? Or connecting with new lands and kind people? Perhaps it’s lazing on a remote beach, or reinventing yourself in a romantic city? Maybe it’s communing with nature’s majesty, or taking a spiritual journey, or even exploring your historical roots? Stay true to that longing and you will be guided to the right course of action.
Trust the Universe to provide. However, for those who need more than ‘trust’, there are tons of resources available to you online. These resources will address your love of travel and handle those ‘yes – but…” excuses. There are many strategies for meeting your social, emotional, spiritual, and economically travel requirements. Really, the resources are abundant and it’s just a matter of you putting in the energy to discover them. Be willing to try new things and discover a new part of you.
By far my most profound travel tip is to go with an open heart and a good travel guide. Pay attention to where the opportunities reveal themselves, and if it feels right, go with it. If you feel there is a block in the flow, start conversations with other travelers and see if there is an invite to travel with them. Rare is the time when I have not been helped by a fellow traveler…it’s the code of good road ethics and is often beyond the support I would ever get at home.
Travel Resources & Forums For Unisex Cross-Cultural Exchanges:
HospitalityClub.org – A free hospitality exchange designed to foster intercultural understanding and to build peace through a worldwide network of open doors. People around the world offer to either host you in their house or show you around when you get there. Similarly, you can have a travel experience brought to you but hosting people in your home but it is not required to reciprocate. I have personally used this service by being hosted or shown around a foreign city. It was a positive experience that benefited me a great deal.
CouchSurfing.org – Couch Surfing is another worldwide network for making connections between travelers and the local communities they visit.
Travelchums.com – Another free resource that tends to be geared to slightly order travelers than the other two listed.
Boards.Bootsnall.com –Is an independent travelers resource.
MatadorNetwork.com – An independent online travel magazine.
Single Women Travel Network
A few resources that are geared specifically to women. There aim to foster international friendship exchanges and confidence/support in traveling aboard.
Hermail.net- A free e-mail international directory of women travelers.
Women-on-the-road.com – geared for women backing/independent travelers.
Womentravel.info-Tons of links dedicated to helping women. There are some helpful tips and some that are rather commercial.
Internet travel mating dating/companion services:
I have not used these services but they could be a great resource.
Meetmarketadventures.com- A free online travel matching and dating.
Singletravel.com -This is a membership travel dating site etc
Blogs about travel and love that may be interesting to read: MatadorNetwork.com ; JourneyWoman.com.
A Few Tour Operators Known To Specializing in Solo Travelers:
SingleTravel.com- A tour operator for solo travelers. Reportedly slightly more women than men participate, general age range from 30-55 but with some older and some younger. Free newsletter.
Osolomio.com -A singles specialist, offering tours either for the 30 + age group or for the 18-35 age group.
Limited Time Getaway Ideas:
Consider single weekends trips organized by specialized operators. There are also single cruises trips (with or without shipmate matching service) designed to meet new people. If you are on a more spiritual track, then go to your area’s yoga studios or health centers where there are built-in activities, workshops, and welcoming holistic health conscious community.
Charity/Selfless Service Aboard Opportunities & Spiritual Journey Resources:
CharityTravel.blogspot.com – Adventurous journey around the world, combining exciting traveling with supporting small-scale charity causes.
EmbracingTheWorld.org and Amritapuri.org - How you can be a part of volunteering for Amma’s organization. She is arguably one of the greatest humanitarians on this planet. Receiving worldwide recognition by the U.N etc.
OffTheMatIntoTheWorld.org – A yoga community action/project organization.
CrossCulturalSolutions.org – Programs are available in over 20 program sites in 12 countries from 1-12 weeks.
Wwoof.org – A worldwide network that helps people share more sustainable ways of living. In return for volunteer help, WWOOF hosts offer food, accommodation and opportunities to learn about organic lifestyles.
• Check out the book, “From Here to Nirvana” by Anne Cushman and Jerry Jones. A comprehensive yoga journal guide to spiritual India. One of my favorite spiritual travel book resources.
Honoring my call to travel, has taught me a lot about myself. It brought me to incredible experiences I would otherwise have missed. Most importantly, it served to expand my heart to new possibilities and love in general.
Enjoy the Journey!
-Melinda London, Travel Lotus