Time to get a little more personal and gush about my recent solo trip! It was just two nights in a tiny home two hours away from my own home, but the impacts were deeply felt.

What drove me to go

Well I drove myself (I couldn’t resist), but know you what? I drove myself, literally, and figuratively. This spring, I found my self-confidence really lacking. Nervous more than usual. Unsure of my abilities, my decisions, my purpose even. I increased my journaling, meditation, talking with friends & family…  this all helped, but as soon as I was fully vaccinated, I felt this urge (drive, if you will) to take a solo trip.

The itch to travel was definitely wanting to be scratched, but I also felt called to take this trip on my own. To make my own decisions, to have to lean on my own abilities, to test my skills and get out of my comfort zone. I also knew it didn’t even need to be a big adventure to get out of that comfort zone. No bungee jumping or sky diving here, but just ordinary hikes and scenic drives. Like most people I’d imagine, my ‘comfort zone’ had been drastically reduced during the height of the pandemic. Staying at home, seeing very few people had become the norm. As had doing just about everything with my husband. I’m very grateful for his love and companionship and that we pulled out of the lockdown even stronger together when so many did not, but I also saw my self-reliance slipping.

The universe said “Go!” 

And if i had any doubts about the reasoning to go, the universe provided a hard push as I was planning the trip. One of the activities I had on my list was to play golf at The Course at Sewanee. It’s a 9-hole course associated with The University of The South, first developed in 1915 and was restored in 2013. Needless to say, it’s historic and also sits on a ridge of the Appalachian mountains. The views were said to be amazing!

So I pulled up the website to call for a tee time! But I got sucked into the hype of how hard the course is. I read reviews of tough holes and undulating fairways & greens while my heart sank and my inner critic whispered “who are you to play this course? They’ll shake their head at your lack of skills.” I didn’t call.

But then my inner coach yelled out “this is exactly why you NEED to call, why you need to go on this trip!” How ironic – I said I needed more self-confidence, then backed down from doing the very thing that would boost my self-confidence.

So I went!

Yes, I even played the course! I was so nervous, but yet so excited too! My game wasn’t at its best, but that’s OK. I conquered my inner critic and really enjoyed the experience. I crammed sooo much into the two and a half days I was in Sewanee/Monteagle/Tracy City area in Tennessee! Besides golf, there were lots of short but steep hikes to pretty waterfalls and a longer hike to a beautiful overlook where I explored some watercolor plein air techniques. And I also made time for doing nothing. In fact, I made it a point to get bored and wallow in the boredom – to resist that pull to check my phone.  Which leads to….

Lessons learned

  1. I learned I use my phone as a distraction WAY more than I thought I did. That pull to check email, to scroll, is strong and something I want to learn to curb. The scrolling is mind- and heart- and soul-numbing. I should instead wallow in and explore whatever I’m feeling at the moment I feel that pull. Am I avoiding a difficult activity? Maybe my brain would rather “be numb” than push through a creative block? Is this pull to scroll a hard check on my current activities? If you’ve read “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield (highly recommend BTW), this is The Resistance and oh boy, am I fighting it!
  2. I learned I’m not nearly as physically strong as I’d like to be. I love my yoga practice and walks on our 16-acre property, but that definitely needs to get amped up! I had to be super cautious on the descent into the waterfall honey holes and back up again. Lots of rocks and roots on the trails. And even just the elevation changes got to me. I want to be able to play golf, hike, and stay active for as long as possible, so my activity intensity at home will (and has already) need to increase!
  3. I can and do make good decisions. From how to solo hike safely, to what roads to take, to how far to push myself, these types of decisions built up a library of positive outcomes which all led to a really nice boost in that meager self-confidence. I read recently that confidence really just comes down to trying. And that held true for me – during this trip, the more I tried new things, the more confident I felt!
  4. I like me. OK, I love me! This time to myself helped me reconnect with myself. And I was very pleased with what I saw. Definitely have lots of room for growth, but I am pretty awesome right this very day. And that room for growth? Well, that just begs for another solo trip!