A few weeks ago, I got back from a two week solo trip to Asheville, NC (check out my Instagram for lots of pics). When I came up with the idea to get away on my own for two weeks, a lot of different emotions and reactions came up. My mom thought I was nuts (“you’re going to sit in ISOLATION for two weeks??” <– haha, oh moms), and I have to admit that while I knew it was something I wanted to do, I was also really nervous.
One thing I’ve learned lately, though, is that when there’s fear, that also means there’s potential for growth. And I want to keep growing.
I posted to Facebook, gave some requirements for what I was looking for, and let my friends and family help me pick a spot to go. Asheville won.
So off I went to an unknown place but one that I knew was gorgeous, had delicious food (obviously a requirement) and would provide both a retreat-like feel and also a fun environment when I wanted it.
I had a couple of intentions for my trip:
1) to do a lot of work. The group program I’m coming out with in September is really personal to me and has required the most creative energy I’ve ever put into anything. I felt like in order to do this program justice, I needed space, calm, and the ability to be as creative as possible.
2) to connect to myself in a deeper way. You know how there’s all this talk about “falling in love with yourself” and “getting to know yourself” and “being your own best friend” and sometimes you’re just like “that all sounds wonderful, but what does that meannnn? HOW?”. Yeah, I hear you. While my relationship with myself has grown immensely over the last several years, I started to notice that I wasn’t totally comfortable ALONE. In quiet with myself. Without the constant distractions of my very full life in NYC. Again, like I mentioned before, where there is fear, there is growth, and like my mentor says, there are rewards on the other side of that fear. So naturally, I wanted to plunge in and see how I could get to know myself even better.
Fast forward a few weeks and I’m back in NYC and ready to share with you some pretty profound things I learned in Asheville.
1. I was right, being alone can be freakin’ tough, but also really beautiful.
I seriously struggled some days with just being by myself, with nothing to do, nowhere to go, nobody to talk to. I would get really frustrated and even cry, wanting my situation to change, until I would say to myself “well, this is the situation Jame, stop trying to resist it”. And then I would relax and the ideas would come… I’d take a bath. I’d go for a long, slow stroll outside. I’d nap. I’d journal or meditate. I’d sit and daydream. I’d go into town and read my book at a bar.
When I stopped resisting being alone, I found the beauty in it.
2. Getting quiet with ourselves can feel scary, but there’s nothing to be afraid of.
I have a lot of clients who are really scared to just sit with themselves and I definitely used to be this way. We’re scared that if we let the world stop and are just WITH ourselves, that we’ll experience uncomfortable things. We’ll realize things we don’t want to realize – maybe that we’re unhappy in a relationship, or we’ve been putting off a decision we know we need to make. But what we forget is that our truth, the voice within us that tells us these things, wants the best for us. Even if these realities are hard to swallow, and bring about a lot of uncomfortable emotion, after we accept them, we’ll be guided toward something far more amazing. Listening and accepting are the hardest parts, but then we’re empowered to make choices that only make us happier.
Don’t be afraid to get quiet with yourself. There may be some harsh realities to accept, but only good things are on the other side of that.
3. Part of loving yourself is being your favorite person to spend time with.
You know when you were a kid you could entertain yourself for hours? I found that again in Asheville. By the end of the trip, I was getting such a kick out of myself. My solo dance parties, my morning coffee by the fire, my dinners alone at the restaurant bar chatting it up with strangers, my long walks with nothing but me and my daydreams, my journaling sessions, my quiet time. I went into the trip scared of spending time alone, and left the trip feeling way more in love with myself than I ever have before.
Get a kick out of yourself. Be your favorite person to spend time with. (tweet this!)
Now that I’m back in NYC, I’ve been incorporating way more time on my own with no real plans. Instead of fearing these spaces of time, I’ve started to see them as opportunities and adventures. And most importantly, as sacred time to just be with me.
And now for you, my dear…
If this post hit home for you in any way, here are some suggestions that I have for you to take from this…
1. If you can, plan a solo trip! I know this isn’t always possible, but of course I had to suggest it. Even if it’s just for a day or two.
2. If not, put aside a solo day or even 4 -5 hours where you don’t have any plans for yourself. Trust that you’ll come up with brilliant ideas and just follow your gut to guide you toward different experiences.
3. Spend sacred time in the morning with yourself. Meditate, sit quietly for a few minutes, journal, or read an inspiring book. 10-20 minutes a day can work wonders!
4. Have fun with checking in with yourself constantly. Every hour, talk to yourself. “How are you doing, darling?” “Hungry?” “Stressed?” “Happy?” “Lonely?” “Excited?” Just get in the practice of adoring yourself and being there for yourself!
And that’s a wrap!
I would love to hear in the comments below, how do you feel about alone time with yourself? Does it scare you? Do you love it? Any tips for the rest of us for getting more comfortable with it?
The most important relationship you have in your life is with yourself. Check out the Master Your Life group coaching program to learn how supreme self-care can heal your relationship with food and give you rock solid confidence and strength.
P.S. Exciting things ahead! That group program I mentioned? Click here to get on the email list so you’re the first to know when we open for registration in early September!
P.P.S. The 21 Day Intuitive Eating Challenge is ongoing and you can start at any time. Click here to join us!
This is such a great post! As much as a solo trip scares me (specifically eating out alone – why is that so nerve-wracking?!), it also sounds SO refreshing. I love reading what you’ve learned about yourself and your honesty that it wasn’t all easy. I thought I was pretty good at spending time with myself, but it’s more that I’m good at spending time with the TV. I think I need to incorporate more real me-time 🙂
Thanks kelly! Yeah I think there’s different levels of “me time” we can have. And I hear ya on eating out alone. It used to freak me out but when I let go of all the insecurities (what would people think?) it became one of my fav things to do! xoxo.
Great timing! I’ve done a few overseas trip the last few years and one of my absolute favorite was a last minute solo birthday trip to Barcelona. I had the most amazing time and next week I’m heading off to Eastern Europe alone for 10 days – I’m flying into Prague and out of Budapest and I’ll make it up as I go along. I’m not sure what took me so long to travel alone but having done it, it’s the most liberating thing ever. And especially since I’m African American, you can imagine I stand out almost everywhere which doesn’t bother me one bit. I think solo travel gives you a feeling that’s indescribable. Among other things, It makes you trust yourself in a way you can’t do unless you step outside your comfort zone. The thought of waking up in foreign cities and deciding how I’d like to spend the day – whether it’s sightseeing or having a picnic lunch in the park literally gives me butterflies. It’s something I highly recommend to every woman 🙂
I came across this post at such an opportune time. I live in NC and decided to take a solo weekend trip to Asheville this coming weekend. I’ve never traveled alone before, so I am nervous as well. But I’m also excited. I am really needing some “me” time, and I hope to find some clarity in my life while I’m alone. Thank you for writing such an inspirational post.
If you are able to share, I’d love to know some of the places you enjoyed going to alone in Asheville, since I could use some recommendations for the weekend 🙂
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