Why I’m Considering First-Time Solo Travel

***Note from Noelia: This article, “Why I’m Considering First-Time Solo Travel,” was written by my cousin, Roxanna Khan.  Our affectionate nickname for her is “Suggy.”  I recently told her that I’ve been working on an article discussing why solo female travel is important ~ & she said she had her own thoughts on why first-time solo travel may be just what she needs at this point in her life.  Enjoy!

Growing Up in Two Different Cultures, Why I'm Considering First-Time Solo Travel

Me & my cousin, Suggy.

Why I’m Considering First-Time Solo Travel

Why First-time Solo Travel is Important for Someone Like Me…

As I approach my 55th birthday, everything is in flux. Though I’ve been many places on the globe, I have never embarked on a solo journey.  Now, I believe my spirit is ready to do so.  It reminds me of this idea that the artist creates, not necessarily for their audience, but more because the artist cannot survive if they don’t create.

My first trip started when I was three months old, on a plane to India.  Since then, I’ve traveled far & wide ~ but always with an agenda, purpose, or person.  Someone I knew lived in a city, or I needed to get to school, or I was visiting a friend.  Never did I travel somewhere alone, to a place I’d never been before, with the road ahead of me: open & unknown. 

I went to Singapore in 1994 for a week: a good friend of my late husband lived there, & was away for spring break.  We had the good fortune of using their home.  I visited friends & relatives in Hong Kong, London, ZurichNew York, & Delhiall for similar reasons ~ a person took me there, or the visit was a byproduct of knowing someone.  I took a few breaths around new cultures, foods, & spaces. 

But never alone.

Why I'm Considering First-Time Solo Travel, Girl Who Travels the World

The author with old friends in London.

At this moment, when many things are uncertain in my life, when finances are being budgeted, & the mind is being forcefully quieted, I’m ignoring the “rational” part of me that says a solo trip may not be a wise idea right now.  I’m learning instead, that it’s important to surrender to my intuitive voice: the one that is quiet & soft, not loud & “rational.”  I believe, in fact, that it’s crucial for me to listen to this voice right now ~ since I’ve never listened to it before.  I want to build strength & show courage by doing so.  I know it will serve me later. 

What is this inner voice?  The soft-spoken inner promptings that speak to me, in feelings & nuances that help direct my path…  

“Go this way, do that, consider this, you may not want to do this, speak to this stranger now, & be extra friendly, call or email an old friend that you haven’t seen in years….”

And when I actually listen to these voices, to that soft, knowing part of me: I receive almost instant confirmation that an old friend was indeed thinking of me, & how did I know to call them right on schedule?

Why I'm Considering First-Time Solo Travel, Girl Who Travels the World

Roxanna in Pakistan.

Another time when I most assuredly hear this inner voice is early in the morning, when I’m just waking up.  The volatile voices of the world are quiet at this time, & my own inner voice rings through.  I also hear it when practicing that precious “Step 11”: Prayer & Meditation.  During prayer or mental quiet, that which has been confusing becomes clear.  Confusion & doubt close their doors, while clarity & confirmation open before me.  And that’s all I need, the next step on this solo inner journey. 

As I contemplate first-time solo travel out in the world, I ask myself: have I already been on a solo journey, all along?  Perhaps it is time for the inner journey to simply mirror the outer one.

Why I'm Considering First-Time Solo Travel, Girl Who Travels the World, Roxanna Khan

Roxanna, in college days.

Why I’m Considering First-Time Solo Travel

Finally, when I’m out walking in nature, God’s splendor ~ with majestic vistas surrounding, the inner voice becomes a tad louder than a whisper.  There’s an assurance I cannot explain, where the silence of nature meets the quiet of the meditative mind.  And the message is loud & clear.  It may as well be a cosmic billboard on the ventromedial prefrontal cortex of my brain ~ the part, according to many scholars, that harbors intuition.

It’s important for me to value what I have in the here & now ~ & to value where I am.  I have been running long & fast, metaphorically speaking, without much appreciation or understanding of the amazing people & places that are part of my daily experience.  A pause away would enhance this sense of gratitude for what is, while highlighting new ideas to focus on, & possibly eradicating ideas that no longer serve me.

A solo trip would be a trifecta of restoration, introspection, & rejuvenation ~ & may be just what I need, as change swirls around me, both in my personal & professional lives. 

Why I'm Considering First-Time Solo Travel, Girl Who Travels the World

Suggy on the trail.

A first-time solo journey would layer complexity & wonder onto the rich patina that is my life’s journey ~ one that has taken me from Pakistan & India to California, & many places in between.  It would nurture my cosmic bloodstream, allowing me to widen gateways into byways.  It would allow me to change my story, into one I might never have imagined.

Good thing I recently renewed my passport, obtained a Global Entry, & have a blank journey ahead that is calling my name ~ with a gentle, yet persistent whisper. 

xoxo Roxanna 

Read Next, by Suggy: Growing Up in Two Different Cultures

Roxanna Khan

Roxanna Khan

Author

Roxanna Khan grew up both in the United States & in India. Today, she lives in Palm Springs, CA, & returns to India every few years. She is very active in her community & is always busy working on her latest creative project…

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