How Traveling Alone Will Make You a Badass
For a long time I didn't know what I wanted. Truth be told, I was too afraid to inquire-never stopping to listen within (isn't this far too common?) to know what I always wanted. At 28 life was robotic, uninspired, and boring. Actually by the age of 28 I had….
- Experienced the loss of three most treasured lives: one being my father, my best friend; second being the sweetness of my life, my grandmother; and the third being my guardian, my uncle who raised me after my father's passing.
- Hustled through high school, paid for college by working 40 hours per week all while taking full time classes.
- Lived in one of the ghetto-est neighborhoods in my city.
- Supported & managed an entire household like the father, breadwinner and mediator.
- Been tested by close family friends who cheated my mom of the money my father left behind, leaving us completely dry.
- Struggled to keep a game face on while caring for my uncle through his last stages of cancer.
So, after all that, I decided it was time for me to have a good look at my-Self. The flame inside was turned on and after 28 years the best way I figured was to escape to see LIFE. I made a radical decision to wake up & explore a part of a world I had only read in my 7th grade history book. When I stopped following the status quo and grew a pair [of wings] I dared to undertake this new adventure and in return found these universal truths about travel..
This is not your ordinary heartbreak. This one is Your. Heart. Breaking. OPEN. No one ever told me to trust strangers, but traveling forces you to do exactly this - to trust. People think I’m nuts because I trust people too much and that may be so, but I have learned that the most beautiful thing in our universe to connect, genuinely with one another and trust that we are here as ONE. I will never forget the most beautiful conversation I had with an elderly man in Barcelona. There I was sitting at the counter enjoying my nice cup of espresso and all the sudden this kind eyed man begins to have a conversation in Spanish (mixed with Catalan). “No entiendo,” Is all I could reply. But he carried on with so much delight that I couldn't help but to carry on the conversation too. There were moments the barista came and translated but most of it was just a mere conversation of connection, laughter, and the fact that we were there listening, hearing and enjoying the company of two estranged souls. At that moment I felt my heart crack open, where a stream of negative feelings just flowed out from it. I could feel my heart crackling and the mushy feelings nourish my soul. This is your heart opening.
At home, I woke up each morning, started the engine to my car and drove to work arriving at 9am then returning home after an hour fighting a war on the highway. Living in Texas, we love our cars. We even take it to the grocery store a block down. I’m not joking. Living in Barcelona. I had no car, I had only a limited amount of funds so I made the best use of subways, trains, and cabs. Most people drove vespas and bicycles anyway. I sat at tapas, drinking a cerveza, alone at 11pm and just people watched. For the first time I felt so alive and joyful because for the first time I was living for myself, navigating the way through the city to places I desired to go, not because I had to. Even carrying my luggage up a 100 flight of stairs at the metro stations felt empowering. I noticed myself, becoming an extrovert (this was huge for a shy girl)- I was introducing myself to strangers and cultivating authentic friendships. This was by far the most freeing moment.
I went to gatherings, met with friends over coffee, joined a gym, made an amazing Catalan friend, and all I could ever do was smile & laugh. I don’t remember the last time I smiled so much. I smiled with my heart & soul. I smiled so much that my eyes were gleaming like drops of jupiter. I knew & I felt beautiful inside out, loving every moment of it. I never in my entire life had recognized my own beauty. I was the ugly duckling at school and growing up I never thought anything I did or said was good enough. Escaping and being here in this newfound magical kingdom, I was able to get in touch with my Self without worrying about how others would judge me, I had a chance to start fresh and give them a look into the real Jasmine, I finally knew. This is the essence I took back with me to start a fresh new life. A turning point.
By Jasmine Shah
Jasmine Shah is a life coach, helping people cultivate & live their passions in the Los Angeles/San Francisco area. She enjoys traveling the world, making authentic connections, and writing on her blog. She is the co-founder of The Pursuit Of Passion and her personal blog can be found at www.jasmine-shah.com.