A solo trip; the shining light at the end of a very long 2019. I had all the hot tips for holidaying alone that were sure to have me diving head first into a journey of self discovery and boundary pushing....right? Every man and his dog knew about my plans and I couldn't wait to finish up work for the year and head off on an adventure to the Philippines.
December rolled around and the reality of flying overseas alone started to dawn on me. I'm not the best on planes in general but the thought of flying on my own, to a third world country was consuming me with fear as D day edged closer and closer.
"You must be so excited!" people said when I told them about my trip and I would smile and nod while wondering if Qantas had a refund policy for people who lost their nerve.
As I boarded the plane to Manila, every worst case scenario crossed my mind. Would someone put drugs in my bag? Would I be held up at customs? Would I be kidnapped by a rogue taxi driver? You name it, I thought it would happen to me. I remember sitting on the plane and thinking "It's only ten days Alyssa and you'll be safe and sound back at home."
Here I was about to travel halfway across the world to a country I'd never seen and I was wishing the time away. Idiot! I was so frustrated with myself for feeling that way especially as I'd taken three weeks off work to take this holiday.
It took me two days; two days of getting to know the twenty strangers in my tour group to realise that most of them had felt the exact same fears and concerns that I had leading up to the trip. We were all in the same boat so if they could relax and enjoy the holiday, then I could too! I decided in that moment to stop worrying about the bad things that could happen to me or I knew I would always regret it.
I'm not going to lie and say I didn't wear a three inch shield of mosquito repellant every day or practically drink the large bottle of hand sanitiser I brought with me but I didn't allow my fear of E.coli to stop me from living in the moment. I walked barefoot along the streets, I ate alllllll the different foods, I had bucket showers, I drank more alcohol than I should have and I HAD FUN! By the time I left on day ten, I was sad to leave the Philippines and (ironically) a little worried to return home. I wanted to stay in the holiday bubble just a little bit longer with my new found friends and sense of freedom.
So I made a decision.
This year has to be different than the last. I plan to find a balance between responsibility and living in the moment or I risk losing that carefree feeling forever. I know it's normal to feel more relaxed on holidays than it is at home but it's not okay to work myself into a state of stress like I did last year.
More trips away, less worrying, doing more things that scare (and fulfil) me; these are all recipes for a great year ahead and I intend to stick to my plan even after this "post holiday" feeling has well and truly left me.
SO bring on 2020, I say! Who's with me?