Can you believe that I’ve reached the age of 29 and I’ve never been on holiday by myself? I’ve travelled by myself to meet people or had people meet me within a few hours but I’ve never done a trip by myself.
I love being by myself, or so I thought. I love being at home watching tv, chatting away to my puppy, mucking about on my laptop or chatting to people on the phone and then I realised that actually, I love being alone as long as there’s things to keep me occupied and/or people within easy reach.
So what happens when that isn’t the case? Last weekend I went back to Nice, France for 36 hours with the main purpose of completing my PADI Open Water diving qualification because inflammation in both my ears prevented me completing the course when I was there in September.
After a slightly stressful journey that I spent cramming in all the diving theory which I’d put off to the last minute, I crashed into bed, woke up while it was still dark and toddled off to complete my final dive and do my test. Once that was all done a big weight was lifted off my shoulders and I realised that I had the rest of the day and night to myself before my flight home early the next morning.
I’m not going to lie, it was an exciting and terrifying prospect to entertain myself. Our (my in-laws’) flat has no wifi or television and we don’t want to change that so after a leisurely lunch where I rather self-consciously tried to look like I dined alone all the time I headed back, watched a film on my iPad and had a nap. The 3G signal is patchy to say the least so it limits the amount of time I can spend on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter etc. which in this case is definitely a good thing.
That night I went down to the beach to watch the sunset and then went out for dinner where I indulged in an enormous plate of pasta and some delicious red wine and then a scoop of ice cream from my favourite ice cream shop in Nice.
I had to be very deliberate about putting down my phone because I live a lot of my life online including working in social media and it’s always my fall back when I find myself alone. But I did it. I put my phone down. And I just spent some time thinking about whatever popped into my head.
As scary as it was at the beginning it started to feel very liberating. I didn’t have to think about anyone else, I could eat and drink when I wanted and I could be selfish. I came home feeling refreshed and full of excitement to tell my husband about everything I’d done and seen while I was away.
Now while holidays alone aren’t really something that I want to make a habit, I do want to take some of these things into my everyday life.
I want to:
– make time each week to spend a few hours alone doing something to look after myself mentally
– put my phone down and look up
– be still without a purpose
– let my brain wander to whatever thoughts it wants to explore