In the last three years, I’ve had the incredible opportunity to travel all over the country for work. Throughout my escapades, I’ve often made these trips alone nearly giving my poor mother a heart attack as she has constantly worried about my safety. Recently, as I’ve reflected over the lessons learned from the last few years or “season” as I call it, never have I truly considered the lessons I’ve learned from traveling alone- until today. I sat on a service panel at Howard University and listened to experts from City Year and Peace Corps share their experiences when one young lady expressed her gratitude for being able to travel the world and ultimately become more comfortable with being, well, alone. It was in this moment that my mind began to gather all the ways in which I’ve grown from simply traveling by myself. Traveling alone has strengthened me in ways I never imagined and as I think deeper, I can draw so many connections to the spiritual journey I’ve also traveled alone- without a significant other that is. So as I walk through my top 5 lessons, I encourage you to 1. Think about the ways you’ve allowed yourself to travel alone spiritually and 2. How have you grown while in that season?
Top 5 Lessons I’ve Learned While Being a Lone Traveler:
1. I now ask the right questions.
So instead of asking students on campus to point me in the direction of a particular building, I’ve learned to ask students to actually escort me instead (which students are absolutely willing to do). In my spiritual life, I’ve learned the same lesson in what I now ask of God. Are you limiting what God can do for you by asking Him the wrong questions?
2. My sense of direction has become a lot stronger.
Before traveling, I legit had no sense of direction-just ask my friends and family who can attest to the fact that I NEVER know how to get places I’ve been a million times. Now, after being in the most no-where of places (shoutout to Waller, TX) I’ve developed an internal compass that guides me even when I have no clue where I am. One time while in Houston, in the pouring rain, with a dead phone and no GPS, I miraculously drove over 50 miles from the airport to my hotel, never once getting lost, something I would have NEVER BEEN ABLE TO DO 3 years ago. Have you developed your internal compass, ie, the Holy Spirit? Do you trust Him enough to get you to your destination?
3. I really appreciate alone time.
I literally love being around myself and find myself to be incredibly entertaining lol. Traveling alone has forced me to become comfortable in my own skin where eating alone in public, waiting alone in public, and working alone in public are now natural habits for me. Are you comfortable going to church or bible study by yourself? Can you handle doing the work of God WITHOUT a team?
4. My critical thinking and decision-making skills are much stronger.
If things go wrong while I’m on the road, I have to depend on my own ability to find solutions. No thought partners, no moral support, nothing. Just me, my bags, and my brain. Being able to think on my feet and change course as needed was something I learned when I was teaching, but those skills have definitely been sharpened. Are you confident in the decisions you have to make in the spiritual realm on a day-to-day basis? Have you allowed God to sharpen your spiritual critical thinking skills?
5. I trust my gut more.
One of the biggest lessons that I’ve learned from traveling alone is how to be in tune with my intuition. Whether that’s been walking to my car late at night after a long day on campus or meeting people who didn’t have the best interests at heart, my ability to discern what doesn’t feel right has greatly improved. Do you hear God? Can you discern His voice above all others?
For all my single folks, in what ways are you allowing God to work on YOU? Have you grown since your last relationship? If so, how? And if not, why not? While I selfishly write as though this were a diary, Im hopeful that my very personal lessons are relevant to someone, somewhere. Love yall and I’ll catch you next week! Side note, forgive any spelling/grammatical/syntax errors as I legit typed this on my phone on a train lol.