1. Spend quality time with your inner self
There are pitfalls of being a solo traveller on tour (such as the exorbitant single surcharge fees which can quickly chew into your holiday budget), but the rewards can be just as saccharine sweet. I am not one to feel uneasy in my own solitude, but mental quietude is an elusive state with bosses / partners / parents / friends and acquaintances jostling for time and attention.
Which is why nothing could beat the supreme beatitude of spending quality time with your inner self (if only once in a while).
Of course, this is no mean feat in today’s hustle and bustle. Learning to say “No” to everything and everyone around you would be a good start (and the more strategically or sparingly you use this, the more effective it becomes). It also works wonders to schedule in “me time” on a periodic basis to unwind, reflect, and gear up for the next chapter.
It isn’t hard to re-assess and reprioritise your centre of focus if you take the time to listen to the inner murmurs of your heart. Things that weighed heavily on me in the past, whether that be stagnating career prospects or recent discord with a loved one, at once lost their potency. I am not suggesting that such matters are no longer important; it is only that their ability to wreak havoc in my life has significantly diminished. The landscape has not changed, but my perspective has.
2. Rejuvenate the body and soul with a healthy diet
As a full-time professional slave in a high pressure cooker environment, too often have I let my health fall to the wayside in the thankless pursuit of the next deadline. It wasn’t until this trip that I realised how discomforting comfort food can actually be. Jam packed with processed glucose and saturated fat, I had booked myself a one-way ticket to premature listlessness. (The fact that I had gained no visible weight despite it all provided the perfect guise that all was kosher).
However, with time now on my hands and no external demands to cater to, I found myself constantly foraging for the next feed of fresh fruits and greens (I acquired a taste for exotic fruits including berries of all denominations, star fruits, cantaloupes, and even physalis). If I was a burst of energy before, I am a turbo-charged atomic nucleus now. And I won’t be looking back.
3. Pursue a new challenge or activity
If there is one thing that my travels have taught me it is this: I am way more inquisitive and adventurous than I have given myself credit for. With an almost insatiable appetite for the new and unknown, I have set my sights on compiling a comprehensive bucket list as a way of burrowing out of the perennial PTB.
I have finally learnt to cycle since returning home (which has always ranked high on my agenda but somehow misjudged the commitment required). My bucket list is already a mile long, decorated with all of the challenges I have prescribed for myself: horse-riding, parasailing, abseiling, quad-bike riding, hot air ballooning (and the list continues).
4. Embrace holiday hopping
As the adage goes, there is no better way of recovering from an old flame than to launch yourself into a new relationship. So too applies to beating PTB.
There is an undeniable element of spiritual salvation in poring over glossy travel brochures in search of the next destination (whether that be somewhere similar or somewhere fancifully different). Most of my travel companions have dived headlong into this endeavour and I know I won’t be long behind them. Time and resources permitting, holiday hopping is arguably the sure-fire way to nurse an aching wanderlust. Most importantly, it has all of the upside and none of the unpalatable aftertaste that goes with experiencing relationships on the rebound.
5. Meet new people (or reconnect with old friends)
Humans are ultimately social beings. We crave to forge new relationships, whilst at the same time retaining meaningful, fulfilling relationships with the old. It comes as no surprise, then, that the key common thread in the enjoyment of our travels is the people with whom we have had the fortune to bond en route. I am under no illusions that I will reunite with my travel companions again one day, but what we have shared during those finite moments together will be remembered and cherished for eternity.
An eventful adventure has further lent me the courage to explore the possibility of new beginnings back home. In addition, old friendships have been rekindled, with the promises of keeping in touch being pursued with vigour. In short, I have become the story-teller I never was, and am now keen to find a like-minded audience.
6. Discover the Writer in you
If to travel is to live, then to write is to re-live. It is not writing which ignited my passion for travels, but my travels have been one of the most therapeutic influences in reigniting my passion for writing. If I loved something less, perhaps I would be able to talk about it more. But I have poured every ounce of my soul into chronicling the otherwise unspoken and unspeakable, in the mere hope that I could carry the memory of you for just a little longer…
After all, don’t we all wish for Time to be gentler sometimes, to pause for a while and allow us to revisit the moments which brought us the greatest joy?