And I was doing that. I was creating space. And as Debussy says:
“It is the space between the notes that makes the music.”
So how do you create your own music on your solo journey?
Actually, there are seven keys to it. Some are easier than others.
The first is, you have to be brave. You have to take a stand and say you know what, I’m going to do something and I’m going to do it for myself and I am willing to make a commitment.
And I’m not asking you to do an Eat, Pray, Love adventure around the world for a year. Hey I’ll be happy to go to the movies by yourself. It can be something as simple as going to another city or going to a café. But if you want to do an adventure, go for it.
But first step is to be brave and make the commitment that you are going to do that.
The next is to be faithful. And I talk about being faithful, I am talking to being faithful to somebody that we rarely are faithful to. And that’s ourselves.
Buddha says world peace through individual happiness. You break that down, world peace through individual happiness. So the first thing we got to do is figure out what makes us happy, and figure that out is it going to be a day in a park reading a book, is it going to be a trip to Paris to visit the museums, is it going to be a weekend on a beach and getting your feet lapped by warm Caribbean water.
It doesn’t matter what it is, because it’s what you want. This is your itinerary. This is your chance to find your own space.
So after being faithful, be wise. The truth is there are places in the world that don’t like travelers. There are places in the world that are not safe for women. There are places in the world that are at war.
And before you go on any adventure what you need to do is figure out if the place that you want to go, is going to be safe. And it’s going to allow you that experience.
Once you figure that out, you need to be liked. Because when you travel alone, got nobody to help you. And so I ask that you leave a few pieces of baggage at home. The first one is fear.
In her book, in Louise Hays book- ‘You Can Heal Your Life’, she talks about fear as being the biggest resistor that we have. It says, no I can’t do that… no you’re not allowed to… no it’s not going to happen… FEAR.
But what’s so interesting is that when I researched the women in my network about what they were afraid of when they traveled by themselves, it wasn’t scorpions or being taken by terrorists, it was dining alone. It was eating by themselves.
The two words that came up were ‘shame’ and ‘embarrassment’. So please leave those at home.
Once you’re liked, the universe has a way of wanting to fill in the gaps. And so the best thing to do is when you leave something behind is to pick something back up. And so pick up some beautiful.
The one thing that I always tell women when they travel put on a scarf, put on a little bit of lipstick and put a little snap in your step. It’s amazing how the world views you when you’ve got that little bit of confidence.
Another thing is patience. The truth is that a New York minute is not like a Hawaiian minute. Every culture rolls at their own cadence. So allow that cadence of wherever you might go, to just engulf you.
Arianna Huffington talks about we have a deficit in right now, and that deficit is time. We are so worried, we’re so busy… we’re scurrying scurrying scurrying… but the truth is that we all have the same amount of time. Is it what are we going to do with it?
I say I’d rather be on a plane that is late than a plane that is on time and missing a bolt because somebody was in a bit of a hurry. Take a step back for those people that have got kids. Take a step back for those others that are in a rush. Sometimes it’s not about leaning in, sometimes it’s about leaning back.
Next is to be generous. And yeah, I would love it if everybody leaves huge ginormous tips. But when I talk about generosity, I am talking about something greater. And it’s the generosity of you, the compliments, being thankful, be respectful.
The truth is that, when you travel by yourself you have an opportunity to learn about new cultures, about new experiences. And give back: give a smile, give a compliment. How many times have you just had a really bad day and somebody says, ‘man your hair looks great’. You’re like, Wow! That just made my day.
You can do that for people everywhere around the world that you travel. In his book, ‘Flow’, the author talks about that happiness is found when we live a purposeful life… if we live our daily life having some kind of purpose. So make your purpose that when you travel to be generous. Generous with a kind word, generous with a smile.
And finally, and the most important is to be soulful. It is our responsibility to share what we experience on our trips. We’re not the same people when we dine with a family in Italy or we see a beautiful child smiling in Germany or when we walk the steps of Auschwitz or we climb the pyramids of Giza, you’re not the same person. You change, and you turn into something way more beautiful than you were before your departure.
So all of those trinkets that you bring back, make those souvenirs. Be the knowledge that you’ve gained, the encouragement that you found, and the inspiration that you gained. Let it be all of that understanding and wisdom about a new place and a new culture. And then when you get back here, share it with others.