5 Reasons You Need Solo Travel In Your Life #thesolotravelmovement

“The solo travel movement.”

This is a movement that has been increasing in popularity over the last few years and has started to garner press coverage within that time frame as well.  Reputable companies are now dedicating sections of their websites or full articles to the topic of solo travel (including companies such as Travel + LeisureNational GeographicForbes, and more!), which is only bringing more information right to our fingertips and thus encouraging this trend to continue in a positive direction.

But what exactly is solo travel? Well, it’s as simple as it sounds. Solo travel is the act traveling and having experiences on your own! Whether you’re traveling internationally or just exploring your hometown, solo travel, and solo experiences in general, can have an incredible impact on your psyche and be great opportunities for self-discovery and self-development.

Now as a precursor to the rest of this article, I have not had the opportunity to travel abroad in any capacity yet (one day!), but I am not unfamiliar with solo experiences!  What prompted this article was my most recent trip to New York City.  In September 2018, I attended a work marketing event in the daytime in Union Square which ended at 3:00 PM.  Instead of traveling home on the train as soon as the work day was over, I decided to explore the city and check out some iconic and unique places I had yet to visit- on my own.  I finally explored the Empire State Building, walked through Strand Bookstore and other small shops in Union Square, and even saw a Broadway musical completely alone! (P.S. I saw Waitress and I HIGHLY recommend the show. It has an incredibly funny book by Jessie Nelson and beautiful and catchy music by Sara Bareilles & The Waitress Band.)

 

 

The following days, as I recounted my mini-trip to coworkers, family, and friends, and many were surprised to hear I had traveled alone. To me, there was nothing strange about that. I’ve gone to dinner and the movies alone before. I’ve flown in a plane and rode trains and taken Greyhound alone before.  I’ve spent time and had experiences prior to this alone before. To me, there was nothing weird about this experience, but to others, it was something strange and completely out-of-the-ordinary; something they had never experienced.

So today, I’m here to tell you to find the courage, take the leap, and spend some quality time with yourself.  There are innumerable benefits to solo travel and solo experiences and I do not want you to go through life without being privy to these beautiful self-discovery, and ultimately fun, opportunities.

So here are some of my favorite benefits/things you learn from solo travel and solo experiences:

  1. As I somewhat eluded to above, solo travel helps you find comfort in your own company. Some people are truly uncomfortable and anxious when it comes to solo situations.  I cannot deny the validity of how someone else feels, but pushing yourself to have solo experiences, large or small, will slowly start to help you prove to yourself that maybe these situations aren’t as scary as you initially thought.
  2. Traveling solo will also help you hone your decision-making skills. I can firmly say that I am that person that says “I don’t know” when you ask me what I want for dinner. However, when I’m walking around the city alone or deciding to go see a movie or a play, I am forced to ask myself what do I want right now?  And the only person who can answer that question in that moment is me! Even when it comes to simple questions such as do I want to stop for a smoothie or for coffee, I know that I am the one who needs to make the decision for something to happen next.
  3. What is also great about solo travel is that it gives you the time to clearly pick out what you want to do- no compromise needed! Your opinion, when on your own, remains uninfluenced by other companion travelers, so you are able to clearly see what you want and then follow through. Compromise is important in so many aspects of our lives, our work life, home life, and within our network of friendships, that sometimes we have a hard time tapping into ourselves and figuring out what we need and what we want. Solo travel is all about listening to that inner voice, getting to know yourself a little better.
  4. When traveling in a group, you have the option of being the leader or a following group member.  Group travel doesn’t necessarily work well if you have multiple people directing the group in differing directions- simultaneously.  What typically happens is that certain people will opt to take a back seat and follow the emerging leader.  When this happens, for many, your level of awareness of direction and your surrounds may drop a little.  However, when traveling on your own, you are the leader and so that level of awareness will need to be heighten.  For people that are not used to leading the pack, a great way to develop these skills is solo travel because it forces you to become the person you usually rely.  Solo travel puts you in the place where you need to be in charge of understanding the layout of your environment, you need to consider safety, you need have street skills ready and on your sleeve.  Solo travel is a great way to hone that sense of awareness that you may not otherwise tap into on a regular basis.
  5. This would not be a complete article about solo travel if I did not mention confidence! Confidence is definitely one of the top skills you gain from solo experiences and travel.  When you are on your own, you need to rely on your own ability to make sure you get what you need when you need it and say what you need to say when it needs to be said. You are your own representative when traveling alone, so this forces many outside of their comfort zone and to be more vocal and communicative in the situations they find themselves in.

I wish you all the best and hope you have some amazing and eye-opening solo travel experiences.  Whether you’re just exploring your own town or you’re traveling internationally, the solo trip is always an adventure.  Let me know in the comments section what your favorite solo trip is!  What places should I travel to?

All my best,

AlexandraMottershead.com

All About Contemplation Cards

I actually have an abridged version of this post as a highlight on my Instagram page, but I wanted to talk about my contemplation cards deck and explain what they are, how I interpret their purpose, and how they can improve your life.  I post about these cards on my Instagram daily, so I wanted to take some time to explain them further and hopefully inspire others to think about their purpose.

(1) What are contemplation cards?

They are a deck of 60 cards that have single, though-provoking words on each card.  The creator of this particular deck states that these cards are a “tool for introspection and positive intention.”  I use these cards for reflection also.

Contemplation Cards FAQ - Card Deck

(2) How do these cards work and what do you do with them?

There is no right or wrong way to use these cards.  For me, I choose one card from the deck each day.  It’s as simple as that.  For others, they may choose a card for the week, for the month, for special occasions, and so on.

(3) What do you mean by affirmations, intention, and reflection?

We are surrounded by constant stimulation and are constantly on the move, so sometimes we need some help to focus our minds and reflect on our lives.  I use these cards to choose a word that I will then think about in reference to what has been going on in my life and what I want my life to include in the future.  For example, if I picked the word love, I could reflect on the opportunities within in this day that I got to spend with my family and friends and be grateful for the support they provide.  Another option is to set an intention or create an affirmation based on the word.

Let’s break down the difference between those two, since it is a hotly contest topic as to which is better, before I continue on with my example…

Affirmations are declarations that something is true.  These are written and stated in a positive and present tense.  Think “I am.”

Intentions are commitments to carrying out an action in the future.  These are written and stated in a future-thinking tense and are also positive in nature.  Think “I will.”

As I was saying, if I were to set an affirmation regarding the word love, I could say “I am loved.”  If I was creating an intention, I could say “I am striving to surround myself with love and to send love out into the world.”

These types of thoughts are extremely powerful and are helpful tools for getting your mind into a positive and grateful place.  It is easy to take for granted the little things in life and it is easy to get bogged down my negative people and energies, so it is important to have little daily reminders of all the good you are surrounded by.

(4) Where did you get your deck?  Who made it?

I bought my deck at one of my favorite stores in Philly: Open House!  Next time you’re in the city make sure to check them out.  (They’re right across from McGillin’s!)  You can also check out Chronicle Books, the creator, and buy the same deck online right here.

(5) What inspired you to buy them?

My first inspiration to buy cards likes these was Broadway actress Sierra Boggess.  She has an Angel Card deck, which is also a deck of words used for contemplation, that she chooses words from and posts on her website log and on her InstaStory/Feed.  If you’re interested, join her mailing list so you can get each month’s keyword that unlocks her “I Am Enough” section of her website where she writes about the Angel Card she pulled for that month.

My second inspiration to buy cards like these was my yoga studio, the Prancing Peacock!  There is a portion of the yoga class I take that is dedicated to meditation.  During that time, John, my usual instructor, will ask us to set an intention for our practice, or for our day.  Hearing about that in class made me think about setting intentions and thusly inspired me to buy my contemplation cards deck.

(6) How can these cards actually improve your life?

As I talked about in my answer to question #3, these cards can be used a tool to help you focus in on various, positive aspects of your life.  The deck contains words such as celebration, communication, creativity, renewal, detoxify, hope, acceptance, responsibility, and more!  An easy way to become a more introspective person is to take a few minutes out of each day to focus on a single word and how it relates to your life or how you want it to relate to your life in the future.  This is a very simple form of personal care, self-assessment, and positive thinking.  Everyone could use a little more of those things in their lives, so an easy way to start down that path is to pick one card a day and watch how your life changes one little step at a time!

Contemplation Cards FAQ - Instagram Stories

I hope this post has inspired you to buy your own deck, or at least start setting a little time aside each day to think more consciously about your life!  You can check out what my word of the day is in my InstaStories and by checkout out the hashtag #contemplationcards on Instagram as well!  Happy intention setting!

All my best,

AlexandraMottershead.com

 

Credits:

 

Meet Alex!

I guess introductions are in order: I’m Alex!

This post will be a mix of who I am in a personal and professional sense, because those two sides of my life and my personality are very much connected.  (However, this post will not cover the story of how I became involved with theatre.  If you’re interested in reading more about that, click here!)

I grew up in Bucks County, PA, just outside of Philadelphia, so I am on Team Wawa, I say “wooder” ice, and cheesesteaks and soft pretzels have always been go-to foods for me!  (Edit: I’m a vegetarian now so cheesesteaks probably shouldn’t be on that list anymore…)

I have two wonderful parents who somehow managed to raise me and my three other siblings without going completely insane, and I am very thankful to be surrounded and supported by all of them (and my extended family as well).  Bailey, the family dog, is boxer-hound mix and pretty much runs the house.  The day we adopted her she gave us each and actual HUG, with her paws around our necks, and we were sold right then and there.  I am also incredibly fortunate to have friends around the world who love me unconditionally and keep me grounded as well.  Lastly, to my professional network, thank you for your guidance and for providing me with keys to open doors to the adventures I’ve already gone and and those I have yet to start.  I would be remiss not to mention the foundational role all these people (and animals) have played in my life.  To all of you, I am eternally grateful and thankful.

The Blog: About Alex! - Family, Friends, Network

As I grew up, the Arts were a big part of my life.  We played art school around the living room table when I was young, I joined local community theatre groups and choreographed for others as I got older, I played mallets until I graduated high school, and have dabbled in writing, doodling, and various Pinteresting pursuits over the years.  I’ve learned a lot about who I am and have been fortunate enough to be able to extract and hone various transferable skills from these endeavors.

As for my education, I went to Temple University in Philadelphia, PA and received a Bachelor of Science in Tourism and Hospitality Management in May 2017 from the School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management (STHM).  I graduated with honors, Magna Cum Laude; with a minor in General Business; as a member of the University Honors Program; and as an inducted member of the International Hospitality Management Society, Eta Sigma Delta. (P.S. I had the honor of being the keynote speaker for the 2018 induction ceremony!)  My next educational pursuit is the Event Leadership Institute’s online Technical Meeting & Event Production Certificate course so stayed tuned to hear how that works out!

The Blog: About Alex! - Graduation 2017

Through my education and my career thus far, I’ve had the opportunity to intern and work for a variety of companies on the East Coast.  As this blog progresses, I am hoping to pull out some stories from those experiences and share them with everyone.  But, the last piece of information I wanted to share in this first blog is the my professional brand statement.  Over the last several years, I have been editing and reworking this statement to highlight things that I want my career to reflect.  As of right now, I boiled it down to two beliefs and two promises:

I believe…

…in encouraging people to visualize success, work hard, and exceed their own expectations of themselves; to rise above the constraints they’ve created.

…that all industry experience is relevant experience, and that a diversified experience portfolio is the key to success and innovative thought.

I promise…

…to take the intangible ideas and concepts of others and transform them into experiences that exceed expectations and leave a lasting, positive, and memorable impact on others and the industry as a whole.

…to create spaces where acceptance is not a stranger, and creativity and artistry are free to grow and inspire.

Well, thanks for stopping by and following my adventures in hospitality, entertainment, and events!  I would love for this to be an interactive site, so please send me a message or leave a comment on what you think, stories of your adventures, and even something as simple as your favorite quote.  Let’s stay in touch!

All my best,

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Credits:

 

Edited: 02-21-19