Solo Traveling Tips

People ask me often why do I travel solo? It would be more fun if I went with other people. I don’t disagree; however, in the past, I missed out on places waiting for other people to be available. It’s a difficult thing to say go at it alone. It can be a nerve-racking and overwhelming experience. The biggest thing I learned is that you come away with much-needed confidence about yourself. You have to be comfortable with yourself to travel solo. You have to start small and work your way up. Before you decide to plan that huge trip, read the steps below to help you become a master at solo traveling.

Plan Solo Dates

Start planning dates where you spend time with yourself. For example, movies, spa or even dinner. The whole point of this is to get familiar with yourself. It may seem strange at first, but once you do it a few times, it becomes second nature. Once you learn how to deal with your own company, it makes it easier to solo travel. Also, one of the benefits of solo dates is that you get to do what you want when you want. Experiencing this type of freedom is what you can look forward to when you travel solo.

Take Weekend Trips

I would recommend staying somewhere that you previously been before. Remember the point here is to build up your confidence with traveling. Going somewhere familiar takes out the guesswork of finding activities and helps you to relax more. The more fun you are having, the more likely you will continue to travel. Write down all the things you want to do but weren’t able to do previously. Some activities can be due to a lack of enthusiasm from others or a general lack of interest. Now is the time to experience those adventures during your single weekend.

Plan Your Itinerary

Nothing screams lonely like having nothing on your agenda. The best way to fight those feelings is to have your days planned out. Of course, leave your plans open for change as something more exciting can arise. However, having a day planned makes you forget that you are solo. You’ll be having so much fun even to notice that you are indeed by yourself. That is how you fight the solo blues. My recent birthday trip was solo, and people said OMG you went to Las Vegas alone. That’s the whole point of traveling! Enjoy your time on vacation and stop worrying about why you are alone. Live in the moment as you don’t get those moments back.

Let Friends & Family know your Whereabouts

When traveling solo, it is especially important to travel smart. You must let someone back home know where you are going and your activities for each day. God forbid if something was to happen people will know where to tell the authorities where to look. Especially if you ’re going out at night. Give an estimated time of when you will return. Also, be sure to let someone know you made it back to your residence (travel accommodations) safely. Even if they are sleep due to the time difference or late hours once they wake up, they’ll know you’re okay. Be careful with posting your every move online. I understand this is easier to update friends and family. However, a predator can use this information as a way to stalk you. Please take proper precautions as you want to return safely back home from your trip.

Don’t do what you wouldn’t do at home

Don’t get into a stranger’s car unless it’s Uber or Lyft. Stay in well-lit areas with a large crowd of people around. Don’t get too comfortable that you step far outside your comfort zone that you become easy prey. Have the same street smarts that you have at home while on vacation. If something feels wrong, it probably is a bad idea. If you get this feeling DON’T DO IT! Don’t open yourself up to be an easy target. People are looking for unexpected tourist to rob or take advantage of their kindness. Don’t walk around with a large purse and keep your phone close to you at all times. It’s a good idea to set some folks including 911 on speed dial just in case of emergencies. Stay away from tight spaces like a club for example. Avoid places like a club because you can’t fully see your surroundings. You need to view all exits if necessary. Of course, keep drinks close to you at all times. Never sit your back to the door. Otherwise, it makes it easier for people to sneak up on you without your knowledge.

Give the Illusion of Confidence

Even if you aren’t confident then fake it until you make it. Never let anyone know you are alone, where you are staying or reveal too much about yourself. I’m not saying you can’t interact with others, but there is a difference between friendly and overly revealing. It can backfire and cause you to put down your guard rather quickly. Remember you’re solo so don’t put yourself in harm’s way unnecessarily. If you come off as shy or uncomfortable, you open yourself up to be easy prey. Not everyone has bad intentions, but the wrong person can see this and use it against you. Keep in mind Google gives you the right directions to the bus and train now. There’s no need to be nervous about solo travel! The more you do it, the easier it will become. There is too much of the world out there to explore to wait around for other people. If they aren’t available to travel, then you become a world traveler. You never want to look back and wish you started what you keep putting off today.

What was your experience traveling solo for the first time? What other tips would you recommend for first-time solo travelers?

My Thoughts on Jussie Smollett

I was wrestling back and forth about writing about this Jussie Smollett fiasco. I’m not sure if he did this to bring attention to a cause or if he’s a pathological liar. This story has lasting damaging effects that we haven’t even begin to scratch the surface. Whatever he believed he was doing set the movement back. Some may disagree, but I feel he made it harder for victims of assault in the future. Everyone will start to side eye victims going forward. Jussie will forever be someone who elaborately lies. The new slogan will be, please don’t  “Jussie Smollett” us with your story. It’s very frustrating hearing stories like this because you want to believe the victims. At the same time, you have to be skeptical of the story. Some folks lie to provoke a particular agenda further. Unfortunately, there are hate crimes and assault cases happening every day. There’s no need to make up a story. Lying about an attack that didn’t occur impacts current, future and cold cases. Time and resources are moving away from solving actual crimes to a fabricated crime. Detectives may even expect for the victim to provide the burden of proof before they investigate an alleged attack. Thanks to Jussie solving these types of cases just became more difficult.

I can’t believe that Jussie would go to these great lengths to prove a point. You’re upset that the threatening letter you received didn’t garner the attention you felt it deserved. That doesn’t mean you orchestrate an attack to get more attention. You should’ve gone to law enforcement to report the incident. You could’ve used this an opportunity to have a teachable moment. You completely missed the mark on this one. With your notoriety and celebrity status, you could’ve drawn more attention to a serious topic that is plaguing many people. You could’ve put together a PSA with other victims of assault to bring more awareness to a significant issue that is impacting people of color and the LGBTQ communities. However, to file a false police report is beyond ridiculous. Now you have been charged with filing a false police report and disorderly conduct which is a class four felony. If convicted this carries a one to a three-year jail sentence. Your credibility is nonexistent, and your career is definitely in jeopardy. Who knows maybe you’ll pull a Winona Ryder and make a comeback. It took her a long time to come back after her shoplifting scandal. Honestly, I still feel like her career hasn’t been the same since then, but she was able to turn things around.

Jussie you need to hire someone who specializes in crisis management because you need all the help in the world to deal with the drama you caused. Let this be a cautionary tale to everyone out there. When you start one lie, then you have to tell several more to keep it going. You eventually go down a rabbit hole, and it becomes harder to get yourself out of it. Remember if you tell the truth you don’t need to remember what was said or happened. When something happens to you, and you don’t get the attention you want don’t go to this extreme. Seek help from friends, family, therapist, pastor or a trusted individual. Going to extraordinary lengths of an elaborate falsehood isn’t the way to go. You will be causing more unforeseen damage than you realize.

Let me know your thoughts on the Jussie Smollett case. Did you believe or disbelieve the story from the beginning? Do you think this story has negatively impacted victims of assault?

Toxic Friends, Maybe It’s You

Before the start of the New Year, I see the same old rhetoric. I’m getting rid of the poisonous people in my life before the New Year. I don’t want to go into the New Year with the previous year’s drama. The thing I find most interesting is the need to do this every year. Do you have that many toxic people in your life? Is it necessary to remove these people regularly? This predicament got me to thinking about a few things. Are these people toxic or is the poisonous person you? Think about it for a few minutes. How many times did people leave your life and the first response is that person was toxic anyway. After a while, you need to start looking at the person in the mirror. Maybe you are having so many issues because you are the toxic person you are trying to remove. Self-reflection is a hard thing to do, and sometimes it’s difficult to admit destructive behavior within ourselves. Acknowledging that you might be toxic is scary at first. However, the reward for fixing yourself is very fulfilling.

It can be hard to admit, but each of us has toxic behavior. Even I have to correct the harmful habits that I have. There is nothing wrong with accepting you have an issue. The problem is never altering your behavior. I understand that looking inside yourself could be a mortifying experience, but you can’t think that everyone around you is the toxic one. If you find that you are always losing friends and people are habitually walking out your life then maybe you are the problem. You are the company that you keep. If you have to get rid of people often, it’s time to reevaluate your discernment for picking friends. You have chosen these folks to be in your life. Why would you select toxic people in the first place? Once you see that someone is displaying bad behavior, it is up to you to say something. Waiting until the New Year to remove someone from your life is problematic. It took the New Year for you to notice this behavior. Why wasn’t this person gone months ago? We are responsible for the folks we allow to stay in our lives. At some point we have to say to ourselves I wanted this to happen.

Again, think about it for a few more minutes. You like something about this person to keep them around. They are only as toxic to your life as you allow them to be. Once the toxicity has lasted long, you have to look inward as secretly you like the chaos. That’s the only explanation for all the drama to fester for so long. Once the spectacle consumes you for an extended period, you become the very thing you dislike. When this occurs, you now become a toxic friend who then causes people to run away from you. It is so important to protect your peace from outsiders. Once that is disturbed no matter how much you want that person around you must remove them out your life. Your mental state isn’t worth the headache. Before concluding I need to get rid of toxic friends determine if you have become toxic.  If so, work on that so you can be a better person for yourself and others. The energy you are getting from other people could be what you are giving out inadvertently.

What is your experience with toxic friends? And how did you conclude to remove them from your life? Did you realize that you were becoming toxic? Is so, how did you fix it?