My names Marteen and I used to be a serial dater.
I would jump into and out of relationships faster than a Tinder download. I barely had time to give back my exes clothes, let alone digest my feelings before moving onto a new boyfriend. In fact, I was constantly in relationships from the 8th grade up to when I was 27, and that’s not an exaggeration. I wish I was lying.
Maybe this doesn’t sound that bad to you, but it should. Is it normal to find someone new within a week of breaking up with someone else and automatically date them? What about considering other options? What about learning about what you like and don’t like before diving head first into something new?
I guess once you’re used to having someone there for you all the time, you begin to crave it and feel lost when you’re on your own. Did I actually want to date these people or were they just the first thing presented to me during a time of vulnerability?
I finally broke the pattern about two years ago. My ex-boyfriend and I broke up and I haven’t dated anyone, in well, 2 years. Being single has its ups and downs, but ultimately it’s an exciting time to learn more about you.
Looking back, I realized that I began traveling solo right around the time I became okay with being single. Traveling solo taught me how to be single again and here’s how:
1. It Taught Me I Didn’t Need Constant Attention
Girls miss the constant attention that boyfriends provide: the good morning texts, the never-ending conversation throughout the day, and the feeling of being constantly wanted. I’ve experienced it at the end of my relationships and I’ve witnessed my friend’s experience it at the end of theirs. When I’m on the road, a lot of the time I don’t have WiFi or I’m in different time zones. Not to mention, most of my friends know that I’m away and don’t contact me to hang out. Not having texts or calls when I look at my phone becomes the norm. While I’m traveling, I’ve learned to ignore my phone and live in the present. This can be problematic since I’m running a blog, but I’ve grown to love unplugging and not being bothered by anyone.
2. It Showed Me How To Entertain Myself
When I’m traveling solo, sometimes I meet other people, but other times I’m left to my lonesome. I’ve learned to internalize my thoughts instead of constantly expecting to be having conversations with someone else. I’ve learned to love making choices on my own and even participating in activities alone. I began to appreciate the freedom of being solo, and I realized that I don’t need someone else there to make me happy. I laugh at myself, I become enthused with my own thought process, and I become the source of my own happiness.
3. It Made Me Realize How Much I Love Meeting New & Interesting People
The problem with accepting the first option that is available to you is that you may only be selecting them because of loneliness and not because it’s someone you actually enjoy spending time with. More so, you may be missing out on something or someone else that’s even better. When I travel, I have the opportunity to meet all kinds of new and exciting people. Maybe I’ll meet a man from Scotland that once rode his bike from Spain to Mongolia, or maybe I’ll meet a few British guys that quit their jobs and started a hostel. Maybe I’ll meet people from far away countries that spend their summers sailing the Mediterranean, or maybe I’ll meet someone just like me that enjoys traveling as much as I do. If I were in a relationship, would I ever be meeting these people? Would I even consider talking to them? Even more so, if I were traveling in a group, would I be talking to as many strangers as I do solo? I doubt it.
4. It Built Up My Confidence
I love the feeling I get when I exit the airport and step into a cab to go to my hotel, in a foreign city where I don’t speak the language. There’s a sense of accomplishment when I get to where I’ve planned on going on my own, however easy it may be. Planning and executing a trip completely independently gives me an emotional high. I have become more confident in doing things on my own. It’s exciting and I’ve learned to crave it. When I’m in a group, it’s not the same. My friends contribute to the trip planning and the decision making when I’m in a group. They help me when I’m lost or confused. When I’m alone, it’s all me. I did it myself, I got myself here, and I’m the only person I need.
Traveling solo is one of the best things you can do for yourself if you want to learn how to be independent again. Maybe it sounds silly, but try it yourself and tell me you don’t feel empowered. Tell me you don’t fall a little more in love with yourself each and every time.