Lessons Come In Unexpected Places

Waves Crashing on the Beach in Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

A few months ago I decided I wanted to go on a personal adventure. All by myself. I wanted to go somewhere I have never been, solo. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I’ve had the itch to get out of my comfort zone for awhile. I can’t explain it.

My original intention of going to Mexico was to expand my knowledge and passion of yoga. Yoga has been a big part of my life for a long time and has done incredible things for me both mentally and physically. I will share more on this at a later time. For now I want to share all the things I learned during my first time of traveling alone.

Scary Is Not A Bad Thing
While I was absolutely thrilled to go on this trip, heck I booked it, there was a part of me which was also absolutely terrified. I kept thinking, “why would someone ever sign themselves up to go a different country, a new city, where they know no one?” I still cannot answer that question,  even though I did it. Something was appealing to me. I landed in the Cancun airport and it set in that I really did not know a soul in this place I was in. I went through customs and saw groups of families and friends for spring break and definitely missed all my people in this moment. I went outside to see at least 75 people holding signs for different hotels, shuttles and car services. My heart immediately sank. I was all alone, with no cell phone service and no clue how I was going to get myself and my carry-on through this small music festival sized crowd of people in front of me. I wish I was exaggerating the size of this mass of people. In this moment I though, “why was I so determined to do this?” After finding my shuttle service and coming down from a mental panic I realized how grateful I was for this moment. This scenario put a huge grain of confidence in me. I was scared and I worked through it and everything ended up being perfectly fine. Imagine that.

Being Alone Is Nothing to Be Afraid Of
To preface – I am very much a social butterfly but also enjoy my own quality time. I am extremely independent and spending time with myself is nothing new to me. Never did I think I would struggle with being alone. After my shuttle situation and a 2 hour drive to Tulum, I checked into my hotel. This is when the whole “alone” feeling sunk in. I had no one to talk to, no one to get lunch with, no one to sit on the beach with, no one to admire the water with, I was alone. I kept thinking, “So, what do I do with myself? Should I fly someone out to meet me? How am I gonna do this for days on end?” I eventually told myself to chill and figure it out. I will be honest, this feeling lasted a few days and I was really uncomfortable sitting on the beach, eating by myself and aimlessly walking through the sand at first. I came to find so much joy and comfort within myself once overcoming a feeling of being uncomfortable. By the end I found myself swinging in hammocks and letting my mind wander for hours and being so happy about it. My mind went to places it had never been before and I grew mentally in ways I did not even know I needed to.

You Can Learn A Lot From People You May Never See Again
During all of this alone time I sparked conversation with a lot of people I had never seen before. On the beach, in restaurants, in airports, really everywhere I was, I would ask people any question to spark a conversation. I learned part of natural human instinct – or mine at least – is letting your voice be heard. I could go on and on about the things I learned, advice I received and incredible strangers who became friends. We all have so much to teach one another and have more in common than we think. I call it the New York mindset, to put your headphones in and run through the airport with your mind on your next task while simultaneously trying to zone out of the rest of the world. I do this every single day and now realize all the great people, conversations and such I have missed along the way.

We All Live In A Bubble
Oh man, this one was by far the most apparent. I have never been in a place where people’s background, views, lives, and beliefs were so different. We live in the sense of “normal” we create around ourselves and only put ourselves in front of people who are for the most part, just like us. It is easy to forget the world is a big place and the beauty of it is how vastly different we all are. While living completely separate lives from people, there is still so much to learn and you have more in common than you think. Give people who are nothing like you a chance.

We Are Wasting Our Lives on Social Media
Night one was a game changer for me. I was laying in bed, it was 9:30PM, I had no wifi and no TV. Another “what the heck am I supposed to do?” moment. I had this crazy idea to open up a book I brought and read. Something I never do before bed, I usually waste an hour scrolling through Instagram, Snapchat, and saving things on Pinterest. I ended up waking up the next morning with my book on my chest and thought about all the new things I had learned about food and nutrition. I was eating breakfast after my morning run, looking at the chia seeds in my fruit bowl and thinking, “you have this, this and this health benefit”. All which I learned from my book the night before. To think I usually would have been aimlessly scrolling away.

My time independently traveling to Tulum is hard to put into words. All of the above does not even touch the surface on the life changing experience I had, and I am just getting started on this whole traveling alone thing. I was petrified to sign myself up for something without a buddy and go somewhere to know no one. It ended up being a time of growth and discovery beyond my imagination.

If you have the itch, to do something out of your comfort zone – go for it! There is nothing to be afraid of and so much to gain.

Dallas Houston Fashion Lifestyle Blogger and Blog

  • Brooke

    Go Courtney!!! I’m so proud of you. You are incredible!!!