Thursday, June 26, 2014

Solo Traveler: Fear to Fearless

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

As I soar thousands of miles in the sky, I'm wondering if this is a good idea. Frolicking through the streets of Old San Juan in Puerto Rico or Jungle trekking throughout the beautiful island of Dominica...Alone! Maybe, maybe not!?! But at this point, there's no turning back! Am I afraid? A little! But that's what courage is about, charging your fears like a bull! Fear is a natural emotion but it's unnatural to allow an emotion to control your life.
Flying over Dominica

Traveling solo is an exciting and new adventure! I've traveled a few places within the states but always with friends and family. In the past, I would make plans only to cancel if I couldn't find a travel buddy. Though this world consist of 7 billion people, the idea of traveling "alone" seemed foreign and daunting. Despite fear, I booked a flight to Dominica and Puerto Rico with passport in tow and boarded the plane! That's how you go from fear to fearless, just do it! Nothing is ever as bad as it seems! Like I mentioned earlier, this world consist of 7 billion people! Essentially, we are never "alone". It's about perspective! There are so many opportunities to meet amazing people! For example, I met an interesting fellow name Cerni , en route from Puerto Rico to Dominica! As we boarded the small plane, he shared his story of growing up in a small country called Andorra (located in the eastern Pyrenees mountains and bordered by Spain and France) and how he recently quit his job to travel the Caribbean Nations! 
Plane Mate Cerni
Below are some revelations I discovered while traveling solo:

Benefits to Traveling Solo

One rainy morning in Dominica, I ate breakfast and then hiked 12.4 miles down to the Valley of Desolation and Boiling Lake, a UNESCO World Heritage site (only two in the world , second one in New Zealand)on the side of an active volcano! None of my family or friends would have been excited to experience this adventure, but i was ecstatic! Traveling solo gives you the opportunity to do or not to do whatever you want! Wanna sleep in till 2pm? It's OK! Wanna sign up for every activity available? Why not! Your free!

Breakfast View Jungle Bay Dominica

Valley of Desolation Boiling Lake
Valley of Desolation Boiling Lake

Another benefit of traveling alone is the fact that you are more flexible. You can stay in one place as long as you like and are able to change your itinerary on a whim. It is also very relaxing. You don’t need to make any plans for the day, and can take things as they come. While in Puerto Rico, I woke up at 5am and walked to Condado beach. After a couple of hours of exploring the area, I stumbled upon this amazing Jamaican Restaurant, Blessed (I know, I know! I'm in Puerto Rico but I couldn't resist the food and music). Later, I took a tour of the Bacardi Rum Factory and Listened to Live Salsa Music at Nuyan Rican Cafe till 4am (my flight departed at 650am). No agenda, No schedule, Complete blissful randomness!. 

Old San Juan Condado Beach Puerto Rico

Castillo de San Cristóbal (Puerto Rico)

Blessed Restaurant Old San Juan

Old San Juan

Yolanda At Nuyan Rican Old San Juan Puerto Rico

When traveling with friends and family, your focus is centered on the group. Your less likely to entertain others and are less approachable. When traveling solo, people are more likely to approach you and you can focus on meeting new people. My first night in Dominica, I had dinner with 4 German men and a Swedish woman name Nancy! My hiking buddies were newlyweds from Norway and England! Also joining me on hikes and excursions were a mother/daughter team from France and Mike from Philly! While hiking Trafalgar Falls, I met a Hungarian woman while soaking in the natural hot water springs! She was on holiday for two months and decided to island hop from Jamaica down to Trinidad. Dominica was her 133 country visited. Her goal was to visit all 196 countries in the world! 
Trafalgar Falls Dominica
Trafalgar Falls Dominica

Carlos At Jungle Bay
My new friends From France

Mike From Philly

I loved traveling solo! I'm so happy I didn't miss the opportunity to meet amazing people on an amazing trip because of fear! Hopefully my experience has taught you to never be afraid to pursue your dreams!

OK Tips for traveling Solo

Be safe & smart -Use common sense! The same precautions taken at home should be taken while traveling! If traveling international be sure to check the US Passport and International Travel  website for updated information and be sure family and friends are aware of your whereabouts!

Leave a paper trail! I made three copies of my passport. I gave one copy to my daughter, kept two copies on my persons at all times, and emailed a copy to my personal email address. I purchased a small lock that I use to store my passport and personal items safely.


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