10 Lessons I Learned From Traveling Alone

“Travel far enough, you meet yourself. “
      “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by,
         And that has made all the difference. “

Anyone who knows me knows I am selfless. I have a bad habit of always putting everyone before me. I also love hard and want acceptance from EVERYBODY. I always relied on everyone else to do something.

I never felt comfortable going to the mall alone or the movies, so imagine me wanting to take a vacation ALONE. HA! What a joke right? What a joke indeed. Fast-forward to May 13th, 2014, I was on a plane to South Korea, ALONE. I embarked on a new journey of self-love and discovery. I embarked on a ME journey. Not you. Not they. ME, Semeerah Abdulqadir. MOI.

I can’t sit here and tell you that it was all beautiful as Beyonce, but it was definitely EMPOWERING. There is something about self- reliance that can change your life. I knew as soon as I stepped on that plane I was never going to be the same. I spent 2 years in Korea and in that time I met the most amazing people. I fell in love. I got my heart broken. I became more spiritual. I became a better version of me.

I became too comfortable again. Why? Because I became reliant on the people I met and got distracted. Somehow, I got lost in translation. I was lost in translation. We had great times and I will cherish them all forever, but I had to get back on track to MY JOURNEY. I started slowly, but I started to do things alone. Can you believe it? I started walking in the evenings after work. ALONE, YES, ALONE. I started to go to other towns, ALONE. YES! ALONE! I then GRADUATED to actually planning on taking my FIRST vacation, well you guessed it. YUP, ALONE.

One of my Korean best friends went to Bali in May 2015 and I was supposed to go with her, but it was the summer I went back home to visit my familia. She went alone and that gave me the courage and motivation to really think about traveling alone, too.

I flew half way across the world to live alone. YES, I DID. I DID THAT!

I booked my Bali trip in April. I also booked my other trip to Myanmar in April. I cheated a little in Myanmar. You want to know why? HA! I had my friend and his family waiting for me with open arms (blog post on that trip soon). I have learned a lot from traveling and living abroad. I have grown so much and I have learned so much about myself. I now know what I want and don’t want. I will share with you 10 valuable lessons I learned as a single Muslim woman living and traveling abroad. How beautiful does that sound? Solo traveler. You ready? Drum roll please?

1. You discover how great your communication and social skills are. They are SHARP baby girl, they are SHARP.

This lady was walking with her husband and asked him to take a picture of us. Her exact words were:”Honey, let me take a picture with my sister.”
This is the power of traveling.

Tanah Lot Temple, May 2016

2. You get to listen to your OWN VOICE.

3. You learn that the media is not the most RELIABLE SOURCE, NOT AT ALL. You realize that it is better to be your own SOURCE.

TRAVELING=YOUR OWN SOURCE

The picture on the left was an old man selling drinks at the Elephant Cave.
I met papa on the right at Sandat Bali. He gave me the best reflexology treatment, ever.
Bali 2016

4. Self-love is the best love.

5. You can be yourself. No critics.

 

6. Life is what you make it

 Tanah Lot, Bali, 2016

Tirta Empul, Bali, 2016

7. You are not a loner.

Just because you are traveling alone doesn’t make you a loner. It means you are strong, you are daring and COURAGEOUS.
Working on yourself will help nurture the relationships you make with others.
Traveling alone makes you realize that being alone is not so bad after all.
Society has embedded in us that we must travel in packs, but sweetheart sometimes it is better to travel solo.
You also get to put your problem solving skills to test.
You actually learn so much more by traveling alone, than you will ever learn in school or with a buddy.

I had a lot of people wanting to take pictures with me. It was exciting as I was use to it from Korea, but it really got overwhelming towards the end my trip. I am on a lot of people’s phones all over Asia, lol.

These kids ran up to me to take a picture with me. They also were selling postcards and I bought some. This was one of my favourite moments during my Bali trip.

My students from South Korea. This was taken at my English Cafe, I ran at lunch time. They are now in high school and I miss them very much, sigh.

Traveling alone, allows you to become a local celebrity. You realize how important and valuable you are.

8. You can’t please EVERYONE.
9. You learn to RELY on yourself and to trust your INSTINCTS.

You discover your hidden strengths and a new found freedom of LOVE FOR YOUR OWN SPACE.

10. Life is too short. DO YOU! DO YOU, baby girl. DO WHAT IT IS THAT MAKES YOU HAPPY!

Rihanna said it best: “Life’s too short to be sittin round miserable. People gon’ talk whether you doing bad or good.”

South Korea, Hangang Park and River, 2014

BONUS: You get the travel bug. You realize that all you want to do is continue to travel alone. Traveling is addictive, but traveling alone makes it even more addictive. You discover how peaceful it is too be in your own company. You discover how loved you are by strangers, more than those close to you. You realize that sometimes, just sometimes it is just better not to deal with people. After all what beats peace and serenity?

Now, I want you to stop waiting on others. Just get up and go. I always say this to everyone; IF I can do it, then hell you definitely can.

 

“The hardest walk is walking alone. But it also makes you the strongest.”
“I hope that you, too, will choose to have a journey instead of just a life. Actually, I hope it’s a full on expedition.”

Now it is your turn. What life lessons have you learned from traveling? If you haven’t traveled yet are you ready to get up and go? If the answer is no, please email me to give you that extra push, or to give you further information on the importance of traveling.

E-mail me at: semeerah_a@hotmail.com or semeerahabdulqadir@gmail.com

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