"They thought I was gon' fall off
I hate to bring you bad news!"
I am happy! I am sitting in the backyard of my Air BnB in Las Vegas and this lounger set has seen better days. After last night's rain, most pieces are damp and less than desirable. But luckily, I did find one spot that was warm, dry, and directly under the sun. After months of hiding away in my apartment, it feels amazing on my skin. I sit Indian style tilt my head back and take a few moments to take it all in. An unconscious smile spread across my face as I pick up my notebook and pen. I glaze off towards the mountains, feeling very much so like the writer that I am!
The only thing that’s missing is a joint, some music and a strong cup of coffee. In moments like this, I silently pray: God, please let this be my life. I never thought I would fall in love with solo travel. But it has taught me the power of silence and observation. Being alone has allowed me to pause and take in life. But I haven’t always felt this way. I can still remember my first solo trip to Florida. I was so anxious that I could have thrown up. Then I was so accurately aware of my loneliness. I felt self-conscious. I was so sure that everyone was staring at me and secretly judging. I found myself worried about what others thought of me. Did they think I was a loser? Brave? Or an independent woman?
It was then that it hit me that I have spent too much of my life living and thinking that way! I was always worried about what others thought of me. I would frequently find myself going back over the conversations, wondering if I said the right things. Then one day, I asked that question and the answer came so clearly : Why does it matter? The truth is it didn't matter at all. For the last three years, I have lived my life in a waiting pattern. I was waiting for life to happen to me. Waiting for my friends to remember they were my friends, waiting for my man to come back home, waiting for a miracle… just fucking waiting!
Then I would go on social media and see people living their lives. Yet here I was, over here paralyzed. Then I had a light-bulb moment. I could die waiting for things to come! From that day on, I decided right then and there that I was done waiting for friends, a man, or an opportunity. I would go on and live my life! I began to think about the things that brought me joy outside of writing and all my other creative endeavors. I rediscovered my love of food, art, and travel. I didn’t have a problem with two of the three. But if I am being honest, I was terrified to travel alone. While expressing this fear to a potential friend, she introduced me to the Black Girls Solo Travel group on Facebook.
Apparently, there were a lot of black women traveling solo around the world and loving it! The following day, I spent hours reading stories and testimonies of adventures from Paris to Milan, all the way to New Zealand! It was amazing! The more that I read, the more inspiration took root! The stories gave me the confidence to stop waiting and just do it! I set a goal for the number of trips, made a wish list, and then started making it happen! Funny enough, I was able to knock off two bucket-list items within a year. I of course, made several mistakes, but it only taught me that planning was essential! Which is how I ended up here in my happy place!
Since being here, I have been amazed at how different I feel this time around! It’s not just in my head but in my body. The anxiousness and self-consciousness are long gone. As I lay in the sun, I can’t help but question what changed so drastically in a year? All that comes to mind is that I stopped waiting and started embracing. In an interview, Ava DuVernay once said: Enjoy your time being an unknown. I didn't get it then, but now I see that a cost of fame is losing that time of being an observer. Which is an essential practice for a writer. I’ve come to embrace it by traveling solo.
Traveling has allowed me to see that I am a dope person- in real life. I am always amazed at how I can converse with anyone. My Dad calls it the 'gift of gab,' and I have it by the ounces. It was what landed me my internship at a Big Four Accounting firm at the tender age of seventeen. It was also what helped me get an upgrade for my rental for my mini-road trip. I originally booked an SUV. But when I saw it, it was huge! Luckily the attendant loved my energy and allowed me to get a Mustang instead! The funny thing is, as a kid, I always imagined myself driving to Los Angeles in a Mustang, and now it's happened!
Every time I got inside that car, I was in awe. If it was a movie, I would have pinched myself to ensure I wasn't dreaming. This was a dream I never had to courage to say out loud, and yet, somehow, God heard it anyway! As I drove out of the parking structure with the top down, I knew I could no longer doubt God. He saw and heard all my wishes, even the ones I was too afraid to say out loud! As I zoomed down the freeway, I couldn't help but think God didn’t forget about me! For two years, it felt like nothing had changed in my life, no matter how hard I worked. But the truth is I was the one who still needed to change.
I was praying and wishing for all these things while still hiding away in my apartment. It wasn't until I began to return to the world that I saw God's presence everywhere! I saw him in, the Uber driver who had his son give me a free ride and put money in my pocket when his car broke down. I saw him as the attendant at the rental place. I saw him in the bartender, who kept giving me drinks from his leftover cocktails! These experiences taught me that God can’t bless me in my head. He’s an energy that likes to move through people. I’ve learned that the best way to see God’s presence is to simply live your life!
My happiness has always been based on other people. But for the first time in my life, this happiness that I am feeling is all due to me! The Law of Correspondence says your external reality directly reflects your internal state. While the Law of Attraction says that like onto itself is drawn. So, that means the more I love myself, the more the world will love on me! I didn’t realize it then, but now I see my solo- trip was different this time because I felt different on the inside. These trips have taught me that I want to explore the world and not just for the sake of my timeline. But to be present and in the moment. I noticed that whenever I did, I was amazed by the people I met!
As for time, it flew by! It's comical to think about how much I stressed over ‘what I would do!’ Being alone has allowed me to explore and discover things I never thought I would see! The other day I randomly stumbled upon this art gallery with photos of one of the most expensive pictures in the world. Ironically enough, the photographer happened to be self-taught! I'm at the point where it is no longer enough to just talk about it! I really want to experience these adventures! I have lied to myself for the last five years, saying that I've been moving on. But really, I have been using my dreams to distract myself from the world. I wasn’t truly living. But now, that has all changed!
Now I am focused on living, finishing shit and never waiting for the perfect moment, opportunity or man to come!
Have you ever felt like you were waiting for life to happen?
Has fear ever stopped you from going after things?
What is one baby step you can take out of your comfort zone?