On Realizing I’m A Solo Traveler

A couple of weeks ago I went to one of the most beautiful islands Thailand has blessed us with–Koh Phi Phi.

Everything about that place brought well needed rest to my soul: the dark silhouette of mountains in the night; the kisses of light rain on my skin in the morning; the multi-colored ocean, changing from turquoise, to sea green, to a dark, mysterious blue.

IMG_7487IMG_7481Every sensation around me birthed tranquility… except the people I went with.

Let’s just say my next trip will be a solo one.
Anyway, things got so bad that we split our ways, and honestly, it was one of the best things that could’ve happened.

5:30 A.M. my alarm goes off signaling that it’s time to get ready for the hike up to Viewpoint; I knew I wanted to catch the sunrise, gasp as the sunlight slowly melts down the island’s landscape.

It was a tough trek through the bushes: I was alone, it was dark, rain was just beginning to fall, mosquitoes were lurking in the tall grass, and my body had not experienced walking on an incline in months. I wanted to quit so many times, reserve this hike for another time when conditions would be better, but I was already so far and if I had given up I’d probably never try again. I kept going, putting one foot in front of the other, remembering a wise lesson I learned a few years back when I was climbing an even bigger mountain in Ecuador.

Anything that beautiful is worth climbing for.

When I finally reached the top I was sweaty, exhausted, and stinkin’ proud of myself! I looked out on the horizon and drank in all of the beautiful natural miracles I would’ve missed out on if I had quit, if I had listened to my body’s weakness. After a few slow, meditative inhales and exhales I picked out a good rock and made myself lotus.

A few minutes pass by and in the corner of my eye I see my two former travel bodies plop down on a rock to my far left. We didn’t acknowledge one another. We just sat. They talked for most of the time which made a small smile tickle my lips; I was thankful to be free from idle chat.

They stayed for about 20 minutes, just when the sunrise started to pour down the tips of the mountain tops.

I stayed for the next 2 hours soaking in everything, after all, I don’t think my body could’ve handled making another trip up. The tummy-tickling smile returned: if I’d stayed with them I would’ve missed out squeezing every second of this wonder.

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While I’m there I witness waves of people coming up, also sweaty, exhausted, and in awe like I was; I strike up some conversations and even made a few friends like Suzuki.

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And the sunrise just got better and better,
so did my soul.

Eventually we all made up and enjoyed the rest of our time together, but that morning I realized how much I love solo travel, how much I love the sweet space of individual exploration.

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In many ways life is better together, but perhaps travel is one of those tiny exceptions.
At least for me.

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