I’m Finally Ready to Talk About Why I Quit My Solo Trip
How A 1 Year Trip turned into 3 months By Mia Dunlap
5. Survivor’s Guilt: my grandma’s last words to me before I left were, “how you got money to travel but not to send your damn family?” Yeah, that’s right, how could I? I was an imposter… and selfish for thinking it was ok to take a sabbatical from a near 6 figure role to just travel. So while away, I couldn’t get that voice out of my head. She recently passed. I wished she’d apologized before she left.
4. I didn’t know how to be free: I kept being in fear that something bad was going to happen to me. While there were only two distinct times during my travel that were life jarring scary, daily I felt like, I didn’t deserve to have that kind of life and as a result, something bad would happen. And the worst thing that happened was I couldn’t let myself be free.
3. Trust the Process…NO! Where was my big aha??? Wasn’t I supposed to have a moment that I could tell everyone about? A moment where I changed??? When was that thing supposed to happen? Why won’t it hurry up so I have a story to tell people? A reason for why I made this decision! Wasn’t I supposed to turn into someone new — - suddenly become a minimalist and suddenly have more answers than when I left? See… more evidence for why I’m not the person for this trip, right.
2. I Ached for Intimacy: I got scared. Lonely. I didn’t know how to be with myself… for so long. The only was there was me. All day, everyday. While I love silence, I couldn’t turn off the noise in my head. I couldn’t interrupt it. Being solo reminded me that I was alone, absence of physical touch for days at a time. I felt cold. Distant from the world I knew. I wasn’t sure if that was ok to feel… I knew how to ache. But I didn’t want to. Hadn’t I ached enough in life? I felt guilty when all I wanted to do was sit and do nothing all day, “are you kidding me?! You came all this way to be scared!!!? To rest? No way! Go make friends with strangers!” GET THE HELL UP.
1. My Friend Needed Me: My former principal called and said she needed me for the role I’d left… “oh! I have a 7 day silent retreat in Portugal next week, I will call you after that to let you know if I will come back,” was my immediate response to her request. She was my friend. I’d worked beside her before. If she was calling me knowing I was on a 1 year journey traveling the world, surely she was desperate. Did she really need me, though?
*To date — NONE of the reasons were reason enough to come back. One of the few regrets in my life.
That was 2016… this is 2019. There is still something that feels so incomplete.