I have always been an envious person.
As a little girl, I’d observe my friends and acquaintances and ask myself, “Why don’t I have what they have?” And instead of going after it, I locked myself in my room and bawled my eyes out. My envy only grew with time and instead of being solely envious of others, I was in the thick of depression and anxiety. Despite my parents being loving and generous people, they didn’t understand my disease. If I showed any sad emotion, I was told to go to my room and be quiet…so that’s what I did for 20 years.
As I am writing this, I firmly believe that my need for attention and love is what ruined all of my friendships, even today. I wanted them to be my emotional support and all they wanted was to be kids and have fun - I took it as another form of rejection, first being my parents. I realized then I wasn’t good enough and if anyone is going to like me I have to be just like them.
I fell into a routine of mimicking the people around me and as soon as we got close enough the real Anita would peak out. Eventually, my friends stop sitting with me in class, didn’t wait for me to walk home and phone calls literally stopped.
“something is wrong with you”
“I don’t want us to change but I want the Anita I remember”
“you’re so ungrateful”
How One Moment Can Change Your Life Forever
Fast-forward to my adult life, I feared hanging out with my friends because they would talk about their boyfriends, husbands, babies and vacations. I would make up excuses not to have lunch or hang out with them as it literally made me sick. What’s the point of going out with friends if you have nothing to contribute to the conversation? I don’t know what’s worse, being lonely because people don’t like your personality or being lonely because people don’t know you.
I would love to say that it was my first ever solo trip to St. Lucia that changed me into the person that I am today but that would be a lie. It was that moment when I decided to fast-track out of high school, get a full-time job and make something of my life that truly paved the way to a life full of struggle and self-awareness. However, stepping on that plane, alone, for the first time did change me. It was that very moment when I bought that ticket to St. Lucia that I knew I’d never be the same.
I faced my fears of traveling alone and now the world seems full of possibilities.
First-time solo travel mistakes
It still feels like yesterday when I decided to take my first solo all-inclusive vacation and boy did I make a lot of expensive mistakes.
I was sitting at work staring at my computer, completely overworked, with a few minutes to spare and decided to research healthy all-inclusive retreats (just for fun). One link led to another link and so forth and before you know it I am calling up The BodyHoliday to ask for single occupancy rates. They advised me that September was their solo month and there was a promotion.
Next thing you know I am booking a flight to St. Lucia, confirming a room and scheduling a car service. It all happened so quickly and with usual Anita fashion, I left myself barely a month to prepare for it.
So what mistakes did I make my first time around?
I didn’t look for other resorts in the country. All of my clicking and perusing landed me at the spa/resort and after reading the description, I fell in love. I didn’t stop to think that St. Lucia had other resorts cheaper and/or comparable.
I didn’t confirm the hotel room right away. After my initial call with the resort, during their popular solo promotion, I didn't make my decision until the next day. Suddenly my pretty affordable room became an expensive Oceanside room but at that point, I was emotionally invested.
I didn’t look for cheaper flights. I went straight to the two companies I knew of; WestJet and AirCanada and looked up St. Lucia. What I should have done was research the cheapest month to fly to that destination and inquire about accommodation rates during the low season.
I didn’t read any non-website reviews. I was so eager to book this trip (and stop my anxiety from changing its mind) that I satisfied myself with the basic necessities (i.e. bed, shower, healthy food and beach safety) that I didn’t bother to read reviews on the resort or how to get from the airport to the resort. It was the person who took my room reservation that advised me I needed to hire a personal driver to take me from the airport and back. That was another expense to add to this ever increasingly expensive spur of the moment vacation but what’s a girl to do?
I didn’t research the resorts' schedule well enough prior to picking my arrival/departure dates. I only stayed (financial reasons) for 3 nights and missed out on some weekend activities like a sunset cruise, meet and greet, parties, etc.
So, How Can One Moment Change Your Life Forever ?
I felt free.
I was free from all of my envy.
I was free from all of my self-hatred.
I was free from all of this guilt I placed on myself.
I was free from thinking I couldn't afford to travel.
I was free from thinking you need another person to enjoy life.
You are too scared to travel alone
I don't remember my exact emotions when I booked this vacation, maybe it was despair. Actually, I think it was a fear that I was going to continue on the same path in life, stagnant. All I ever wanted was friendship and honest communication, I wanted to be able to relate to someone.
If you are reading this because you are too scared to travel alone, please get over it. I am serious.
I don't know how many times I cried myself to sleep at night because I didn't have any friends, family or boyfriends to travel with. If only I was courageous enough to venture out on my own sooner in life, I’d probably be a completely different woman today. I am not saying that you shouldn’t travel with another person if you have that choice but if there ever comes a day where the only choice is to travel alone, then do it.
Take whatever precautions and safety measures you must in order to do so but never let the possibility of entertaining yourself stop you from travelling alone or experiencing life solo. How many times have you waited for that other person to be available? Meanwhile, they are off enjoying their lives, without you.
If you are reading this because you took that plunge and traveled solo, I applaud you. No, I am not applauding you for being a courageous woman who went against society’s so-called rules but because you seized the moment. You overcame your fears and/or obstacles and took a leap of faith.
"Faith that happiness, excitement and curiosity are waiting for you at that new destination."
Curious about The BodyHoliday Resort in St. Lucia?
Read my post here: The BodyHoliday Resort in St. Lucia