I remember when I was told I had a week off from work, I told myself I wasn’t just going to sit at home. I had the urge to travel, to go somewhere new, warm (this was a must!!), and alone. I searched so many places but the perfect airfare and Airbnb I found was in St. Maarten. When I was booking everything, I became a little hesitant and questioned if I should invite a friend but there was something liberating about the thought of traveling to this island and figuring everything out on my own. And let me tell you everything was what I expected it to be and more! There are so many things I can tell you but I am going to answer the three most common questions I have been asked.
(1) Were you ever lonely?
NO!!! I was honestly concerned of this myself because I love being around my friends, laughing, and having fun. However, I am a firm believer that spending time alone will help you recharge. I really enjoyed laying on the beach and people watching, it was entertaining watching the Americans try to act like professional nudist (there were times I just had to close my eyes and smh.. ha!). During meals, I would watch people interact and would often have long conversations with the waiters. Talking with the locals helped me learn the different culture and would help me figure out the different places I wanted to visit. At night, I would stay in my villa with the windows open reading and searching what I would do the next day. I always wanted to go to bed early so I could enjoy the sun the next day!
There was one day I took a day trip to Shoals Bay in Anguilla, a twenty-minute boat ride, to one of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean. This was a group tour were I met people from all over. When lunch was served on the beach two girls offered for me to sit with them and we ended up talking for over an hour and it was a coincidence because they were future counselor too! I even ended up going out with them that night which was so fun to experience the nightlife in St. Maarten. I found it hard to be lonely. I felt I made the best out of every situation and would always be open in conversation!
(2) Were you ever scared?
Not really. When I was planning my trip I wanted to make sure I was in a safe area. The property of the villa I stayed at was gated which made me more comfortable. I was careful when talking to people, I rarely mentioned I was alone. I made sure to have the international package on my phone and connected my family on the “Find my Friends” app, so they would always know where I was. The only time I was really concerned was trying to find a taxi to my villa from a beach I was at for the day, Friar’s Bay. I had the number of a taxi but it wasn’t working so then I went searching online for taxis and I could not find anything. (Where is Uber when you need it..ugh!) Eventually, I asked someone who worked at the restaurant if they could call me a taxi or if they had a number of a taxi. To say the least the guy made a few awkward jokes, but I did not think much of it and he called a “taxi” for me. After waiting about fifteen minutes my taxi finally arrived. When I got in the car the mess in his car made me think it was definitely not a legit taxi!!! I said as little as possible and he asked me why I was alone, I said a little white lie and told him this whole story about how my parents were back at the villa waiting for me! He only charged me $10 and the average ride was usually $25. When I got out of the car he gave me his business card and it was for a car rental company- little different than a taxi service.. haha! But I made it safely and before I left anywhere again I made sure I found a legitimate taxi service I could always call. I was very lucky that nothing bad happened but that was honestly the only real uncomfortable situation I was in. Overall, I always felt very safe and the people were always very nice to me.
(3) Why did you want to go alone?
Like I mentioned earlier I am a firm believer of taking time to yourself to recharge. I graduated a semester early, I was working 50+ hours a week and moved home. I have lived in a one-bedroom apartment and have always valued the time I could just light a candle and spend my nights curled up with a glass of wine, reading a good book. I felt like during this time I would just be able to take care of myself and appreciate the strength I had to have accomplished all that I have. With this mentality, no longer having a college students bank account, and a week of no commitments all I wanted to do was go somewhere! Not only was I able to do this but I was able to learn more about myself and the capabilities I have. I have learned that you must love yourself to love others, take care of yourself to take care of others. This is exactly what I did and I returned with a cup overfilling so I can love on and help others around me.
I have been blessed to go on many incredible trips with my family and friends but this one was different, it was more than a vacation and completely exceeded my expectations! I understand not many people can take off a week and travel, let alone it can break the bank. However, there are other ways one can feel liberated by hiking alone, treating yourself to a nice meal alone, going on a day trip to a new place alone! My wish is that everyone understands being alone is not bad nor embarrassing but a way of respect to yourself and your beautiful soul! So where are you going to go?
Go somewhere and Shine Like a Diemond, babe!