Go Solo: Open Your Eyes and Your Heart
Theresa Polley
January 26, 2020
September 7, 2023
Be Inspired

It’s an Adventure! Traveling with my young children, my common phrase when things didn’t go as planned (which is quite frequently when you’re traveling with children) was “It’s an Adventure!” Of course they grumbled and made fun of me (and still do!), but now I know when things don’t go the way I plan, it is indeed an adventure. Whether in travel or in life.

Ten years ago, I was stressed and going through a divorce.I knew I needed to do something for myself. Something to challenge my comfort zone and give me fresh perspective.  I did exactly that, planning a solo adventure to San Francisco for a yoga conference and a couple of days in Napa. The days leading up to it dizzily flew by with drama from the soon to be ex. Before I knew it, I was sitting on an airplane. As I relaxed back in my seat getting ready to enjoy some quiet time (the seat next to me blissfully empty – no children arguing or ex wiggling around making strange noises), I had a thought, “Holy S***! What was I thinking?!” By that time it was too late to turn back.

Aside from a few mishaps, where I repeated to myself “It’s an Adventure!” through gritted teeth, everything went remarkably well.  

My trip was an adventure of the best kind, I found a new perspective, re-discovered myself and realized, I CAN do anything.

My favorite adventure is solo travel. The absolute best place to travel to by yourself is Retreat in the Pines. Find your tribe at a retreat.

Go Solo at a Retreat

More than half of guests at Retreat in the Pines come solo to a retreat. They share with me that it's a deep dive outside of their comfort zone, but by the end of the retreat they have made new friends and discovered that good things really do happen outside of a comfort zone. I've noticed that the women who come on their own, tend to be more open to interacting with the other guests. I often seem them deep in conversation with one guest and then later on, laughing with another guest. If you're ready to dip your toe in and take a solo adventure, I recommend a retreat as your first stop. It's a way to get a taste of doing something on your own, while having structure and a schedule to make it easier just to jump in and follow along. I'd love to have you join us for a retreat.

Start Small: Adventure Close to Home

  • Explore an art or science museum. Wander through the museum at your own pace, choose to read the descriptions. Or not. Then enjoy a coffee or tea in the museum café. I’ve seen some of my favorite exhibits this way.
  • Take in a movie, play or concert. Blessed silence! No one to distract you by talking during the good parts.
  • Savor a meal at a favorite restaurant or try a new one. I’ve found sitting at the bar is ideal for this. You’ll be able to talk to the bartender or other diners. I’ve had great conversations and meals like this in cities all over the country.

Go Big or Go Home: Adventure Further Away

  • Choose a Big City – Some places – the beach, Disney, wine country  where  you’ll find mostly couples or families – may not be the best place for solo travel. I felt a little lost when I visited the beach and wine country by myself. In a city, you fit right in, there are lots of people on their own and they’re all doing their own thing.
  • Be Open – Normally when the guy in the seat next to me begins to chat me up, I give him the cold shoulder. I’m not interested in the mile high club, buddy. On the way to San Francisco, I talked back and heard some amazing things about the city we both loved.
  • Walk Everywhere You Possibly Can – You can see so much of a city when you walk. Or take public transportation. People watch. Get off your phone and look out the window. Enjoy the beauty, notice the underbelly, and take it all in. Savor the experience. It’s almost impossible now to get lost, so take a chance.
  • Explore the City like a Local – The true heart of a city resides within its residents. Slow down, smile, ask questions, talk to the locals, most of them are happy to help with directions or tips. I had a guy come up to me in NYC when I was looking warily at the subway entrance and tell me “Everybody takes the subway, it’s safe, you’ll be fine.”  Find the local park, pizza place, dive bar and check it out. When I do that, I feel like I’m home in a city that I love.
  • Enjoy Downtime – As many things as you want to see and do, know that you’re not going to be able to get it all in. Enjoy time in a coffee shop or wine bar, maybe reading a book or newspaper watching the crowds go by.

Remember a key to being adventurous is putting down your phone. I know it’s a security blanket, but you’ll miss out on so much if you’re focused on your phone. Put it in your purse or pocket, I promise what you see will be so much more interesting than anything on your phone.

You can choose your adventures or you can let your adventures choose you. Which will you choose?

Ready for an Adventure at a Retreat?

Take a look at our upcoming retreats to find a date that works for you, or find your perfect retreat type!

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Theresa Polley

Theresa believes ALL women have the right to live life on their own terms. In 2004, she created Retreat in the Pines to give women a safe space to be their authentic selves without apology while finding the healing and renewal they deserve.

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