How I Discovered My Greatness Within On A Solo Vacation
In April 2016, I felt an insatiable itch to go on a tropical vacation to Mexico, a place I’d never been. I had never traveled alone, and so I naturally felt nervous; but the calling to go was so strong, it seemed impossible to ignore. Despite this sense of urgency, I had concerns traveling as a single, attractive woman to a country that had its fair share of real and stereotyped safety and security issues.
I decided to turn to God and prayed for a sign that I should heed the call. After all, I wasn’t entirely sure that this was just some rebellious need to escape the problems I was dealing with. Trust me. There were many. I was on the way to the bank when I quietly asked Him what I should. At that moment, I saw a man wearing a jacket with the map of the world on its entire surface, and the words in white embroidery on it, “Go for it.” I let out a shocked laugh. If that wasn’t enough to convince me, I later happened to park in front of a car that had a bumper sticker that said, “Go have fun.” Without hesitation, when I reached home, I booked the ticket for June. There was no backing out now. The nervousness kept creeping up on me, but I tried to stay positive that this was going to be a fabulous experience.
I’d always enjoyed packing fun, feminine outfits and costume jewelry, not to mention fancy high-heel shoes on past all-inclusive beach vacations. By no means did I want to sacrifice my choice of clothing simply because I was going alone.
Thoughts flooded my mind about what it would be like to dine alone, as I had never done this before in my own home country, Canada, let alone a foreign country. Would I feel that slight tug of loneliness watching other people eat and laugh together?
I didn’t want to be that person who felt she had to hide in her room and order room service because God forbid, mealtimes might feel like a torturous itch to crawl out of my own skin and run away. I was determined to enjoy my meals and do so without distracting myself with my cell phone, a book, or scrolling through pictures on my camera.
I arrived safely at my destination and was wonderfully surprised when I was offered an upgrade to the grand hotel for free. I thought to myself, Wow, if this is what it is like to travel alone, I am in!
On the first evening, readying myself for dinner, I could feel my courage unraveling. I felt really beautiful in my floral print bodycon dress and nude high heels. Then, the ego kicked in. Some audacity you have, dressed to the nines, to eat by yourself. Who are you to do this?
On the walk to the restaurant, my heart was beating fast, and my pace quickened. I had to repeatedly tell myself this is what courage feels like. I got to my reservation on time and was led to my table. I felt my face flush. I had been seated next to a table with two couples. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see them whispering and snickering. I had no way of knowing whether this was about me. My ego took over. My mission was failing. I took out the phone and starting texting my friend. While I had enjoyed my meal, my bravery tanked, as I headed quickly back to my room.
The next day, on my way to the first excursion off the resort, I saw the words, “Curb the ego,” written in graffiti on a wall separating a poor neighborhood from the road. It amazes me how divine guidance shows up in the most humbling places.
That evening at dinner, I practiced mindfulness. This time, I focused my senses on my meal and my surroundings. I could finally appreciate the décor, the food, fellow vacationers, and my view of the deep blue ocean waves.
Suddenly, there I was on day five, by myself as I had been—but now, I was with and for myself, too. The ego quieted down. My higher self was winning this time. It dawned on me that I was called all the way to Mexico to befriend myself. A smile slowly spread across my face.
As I dressed up for my last dinner in Mexico, I looked at myself in the mirror and was reminded of a beautiful but long forgotten Buddhist greeting, Tashi Daley: I honor the greatness in you.
The journey afar led me to my true destination: Greatness Within.