I love travelling solo. It allows me to find the true size of myself, for isn't that the meaning of life ...to find the true size of yourself.
Traveling solo has built my brave, and my resilience.
Having visited more than 30 countries, I still love the sound the zipper on my suitcase makes as I'm about to embark on another solo adventure and the thump of a new stamp in my passport.
My adventures remind me that there's no language barrier in a hand shake and laughter fixes most things. And, best of all, in conversations with the least likely people, I have found some of my best life lessons.
Solo Travel has challenged and stretched me, but it has mostly taught me a greater sense of observation, interconnectedness, tolerance, patience and abundant gratitude.
I wonder what else it has in store for me.
Julie's Travel Highlights
Walking barefoot on ancient carpets in the Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Blue Mosque)
Istanbul in temperatures where you could fry eggs on stone
Walking into Petra
Standing on the bow of a ship drinking hot chocolate listening to pieces of the Hubbard Glacier fall into the sea
Greeting the Pretzel Seller in New York, as he began his prayers and I began my morning writing
Nothing like a brisk walk in Harlem to find your swagger
Becoming a wedding crasher in Paris
Discovering mojito at the world's biggest Buskers Festival in Ferrarra
Off to the races at a Palio de Siena
Bellini's taste better in Roma
A five minute lunch in Positano
An Opera in Verona
A Ballroom in Orvieto
A Riad in Marrakesh, called El Fenn
A villa in Marrakesh, called 'Favorite', at Es Saadi
Lunch in the Atlas Mountains at Kasbah Tamadot
Riding Camels in the Sahara Desert
A sunrise over the oldest Medina in the world, at Fez
A Palace in Fez called, Palais Faraj
Sleeping under the stars, in the desert, in luxury tents in Merzouga
My first Moroccan Tagine
The seagulls of Essaouira
13 Summers in Dubrovnik
A hotel by the sea in Dubrovnik, called Grand Villa Argentina
An African Music Festival in Essaouira
Almost spending my children's inheritance at Hotel Barriere Fouquet, Paris
A Beaujolais and Sashimi at Buddha Bar, Paris
A whiskey at the Ritz, talking writing with Hemingway
Taking a chance, sailing in Sardinia, in dry dock!
Meeting my Lebanese sister in Paris because I said YES rather than NO
A wine tasting at Wine Bar O , Paris, finds my soul sister
Rescued by the Italian Police in Sardinia
A ride down the Ganges with seagulls all around
JULIES'S TIPS FOR THE SOLO WOMAN TRAVELER
Whether you immediately lunge into the idea of heading off into the unknown, by yourself, or you travel with a large group, medium size group or you travel as a couple (a couple of girlfriends, a partnership, a mother and daughter) the idea of the solo travel experience is to find time where it is just YOU, alone, seeing, feeling and navigating your own experience. Let it just be YOU at a table for one. Let it just be YOU getting lost and finding your way. Let it just be YOU making sense of a language you don't speak. Let it just be YOU soaking up the sun, wishing on a star, gazing on a moon, dancing in the rain and just YOU in awe of a perfect sunset.
Follow the call of your heart, choosing travel destinations that call you. If you sit for a bit with travel magazines, travel books or you visit travel websites, trust me, your next destination will call you. Don't force a travel destination on yourself because you can get a cheap hotel deal. And, definitely don't travel to someone else's 'fav destination' expecting it will become your next fav destination too. The destination calling you has its arms full of lessons and rewards, just for you. New tribe members and memories that will live in your heart forever await you there. Allowing a destination to call you is where your true transformation travel experiences begin.
Pack minimally. Travel is about what you carry away from your experience... not what you carry to the experience! Trust me, if your heart is pure and open to learning and growing, your smile contagious, and your generosity flawless, you will look pretty to everyone in the same dress, every day ... and the same one color lipstick, everyday. Oh ... and take a pair of flats and heels to cover every occasion. Ellie would!
Be prepared to step out of your comfort zone, every minute of every day. I live by the rule that you get out of life what you give to life and if you do the same things every day your rewards will never change. What if there is more to life than the same old, same old ... and because you were not prepared to step out of your comfort zone... you missed the life in your life completely! I'm a Shirley Valentine kinda gal. Remember Shirley's famous words: "Wall, why do we have all this life if we don't live it? Why do we have all these hopes and dreams if we don't pursue them?"
Leave your preconceptions and judgement at home. If you travel with preconceptions and judgement you'll never find the true experience and you'll always be disappointed. Let life, whatever it is, teach and grow you.
Get excited about conversations with strangers. In their words are clues and lessons vital for the next level of your awakening. If you go seeking clues and lessons in the least likely people, clues and lessons will come seeking you through the least likely people.