….from the perspective of someone who does everything.
The consummate solo traveller, I go to be alone with me and (re)connect with what I love.
It began when I realised that for the cost of a ‘casual Tuesday’ in the city after work with the lads, I could fly return to Barcelona.
This changed everything.
Why would I go knock around at Mojos (mainly in the toilets), when I could lose myself in the cobbled splendour of Catalonia?!
So off I popped, Rock Palace Hostel booked (would stay again now), armed with a map and a five museum pass. I would lap the city on foot twice in a day, calling for ungodly amounts of lanacane (girls with great thighs, iykyk), pausing at anywhere offering vermouth from the barrel or some kind of bargainous house wine/tapas combo. I ate, drank and cultured my way around the city, vehemently documenting everything in my trusty notebook. From poems to archive codes for paintings I liked, I wrote down tonnes of things I would inevitably forget about or never look at again…but I felt really cool being someone who makes notes in a gallery. Or like the mysterious tourist in a bar, when in fact I was slightly tipsy and dehydrated often in a place where the golf channel played silently in the background (no idea, but it had great chicken).
When I started travelling again post-Covid, I lauded the halcyon days of my first solo trips and in my mind this would be exactly what I would do wherever I went.
Something, however, has changed.
Maybe it is how I approach holidays after a panny-d.
Maybe it is getting older.
Or maybe it is the realisation that one cannot run at top speed in every aspect of her life and be present for it.
Not only that, if I cannot be present, then how I am going to enjoy it?
And surely the point of making grand plans is to enjoy them.
It is like I say at the top of class - give 60% all the way through, then you can be consistent in each part of the practice. If you do 100% from the get go, crashing out or injuring yourself becomes more likely…so what do you want?
Perhaps, when I was working in hospitality, I had so little free time and so little energy when I did, that the prospect of a break needed to satiate a lot of different things all at once. I was ‘making the most of it’. Now, in a life that is most definitely not slow, but definitely more curated toward my enjoyment, time off away has subconsciously become about how much space I put between me and the business of my busy-ness, if that makes sense.
Last year, on retreat in Greece, I refused to leave the villa for the first three days; attaching myself to the sun lounger with best view of the mountains, reading a little and staring a lot. A recent trip to Essaouira for a retreat ‘reccy’ mainly involved long naps punctuated by the occasional beach trip and tagines in the Medina. I took my yoga mat, but I didn’t fancy asana. Rather I read, or sat or wrote - all of which are integral parts of the yoga experience.
It all sounds absolutely fine doesn’t it? And yet there is a little part of me gnawing in the background, saying I actually have not ‘made the most’ of these trips. Which is bollocks. I thrive on being creative and expanding in different aspects, and I cannot do that if I am knackered. When exhausted, the great ideas or the cool sequences do not flow. The world is overwhelming and I am scraping the ice cream carton of my soul for something to share…and there at that point there is not much more than a slither of cookie or cream. I want to dish up a full luxurious scoop.
Let us leave the ice cream metaphor here because hopefully you get my drift. If I make space, I create. And creativity does not just mean watercolours and pottery (although they are top). Stepping back and creating space can help us gain a new perspective, which could help you solve a problem or move through a challenge in a different way. A new idea, bigger and brighter than what you perceived you had the potential for could be birthed. For example, after 3 days of nothingness in Essaouira, over coffee at a rooftop cafe, I wrote down a plan, a big one. And you know what…in that space, it feels really possible.
I’m saying it - it will happen.
I am writing this in part as a love letter to my younger, less assured self that forms the knowing voice. The one that would have read this years ago and ‘bitch please we have shit to do an bills to pay’. I still have both. She did not know any way other than to hustle all the time. That is the default pattern I come back to, even though I know different. I am growing and evolving and getting uncomfortable in the coolest way - we all are.
If you are not sure how to create space, start small and see how it feels, or go all YOLO and book on a retreat. If you want to run over any of this stuff, message me, I love to hear from you. For now, I am staring at my mat wondering where the magic carpet will take me…or if I am even getting on it for asana today…