Grace Notes

a blog about life’s everyday magic

June 23, 2017

A Ticket to Courage

Words: Cassie Rumsey
Photo credit: Madelyn Mulvaney


Ticket booked, suitcase packed, passport in hand, there’s no turning back now. It’s time for you to embark on your first trip … alone.


Thoughts rush through your head as you sit on the plane with no one but strangers surrounding you. What if I get lost? What if no one understands me? What if I am too scared to even venture out of my room? What if I feel awkward or embarrassed walking around a strange city by myself?


What if I get lonely?


Well, my friend, it is with complete honesty when I tell you that all these fears will become reality during the beginning of your first solo adventure. You will get lost. You will feel lonely. You will feel embarrassed and awkward while you’re eating dinner alone in a restaurant. You will want to hide in your room and cry, on more days than one.


But I can also promise you this will be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life.


You will find a new confidence in yourself you never knew you had. You will learn to see each day as a new adventure. You will be put in situations that will make you braver than you’ve ever been before.


Marissa Schulze describes her first traveling experience in Issue 9 — “If you’re brave (and dear one, you’re going to be brave), you will receive the best feeling in the world by the end of it. You will own a place that was never meant to be yours. Every path that you walk will be a conquered one. Every bus you take to the right stop will be a monument. You can do things – hard things – and survive still.”


Before taking your first trip alone, making a list of all the goals you wish to accomplish will give you daily motivation and courage. When that awful question of, “why am I here?” comes back again to haunt you, the list will give you a sense of peace, reassuring you that you have many reasons to be exactly where you are.


Your list may consist of easy goals, because I can assure you, even the simplest successes during your trip will feel like huge accomplishments. Here are some examples:


  • Try a new type of food at least once a day

  • Attempt to order a drink in the foreign language

  • Take 3 different buses to 3 places in one day

  • Make friends with a local

  • Bask in the sun for an hour

  • Buy fruit at the market down the street

  • Bring a book to the local coffee shop and enjoy a mocha

  • Treat yourself to breakfast

  • Pet a stranger’s dog

  • Jump into a body of water

  • Take a selfie in front of your favorite restaurant (so far)

  • Go on a run

  • Say hi (in their language) to 3 strangers

  • Go shopping

  • Buy souvenirs for the family


Every day will get easier. Your confidence will grow as you start to become more familiar with your surroundings. You’ll learn to look at each day as a new wonderful adventure.


The plane ride home is different. All the fear that once consumed you has vanished. You glance at your paper which was once a terrifying list of tasks, to see each item boldly crossed off.  A young girl sits next to you. She’s alone – eyes wide and looking worried as she nervously fidgets in her seat. She instantly stuffs her headphones into her ears and sinks into her chair. For a brief moment, you see a glimpse of your past self.


You turn to her, smile, and say softly, “everything is going to be ok …”



Need some more traveling inspiration? Here are some tools to help you get ready for your first (or next!) solo adventure:


                 The Travelers Bundle                                         Assorted Art Postcards                                          Adventure Fund Project


What goals do you have for your solo adventures?

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Comments ( 3 )

  1. Janet Fitzpatrick

    April 19, 2023 at 4:25 pm

    Wonderful advice! It reminds me of when I moved to NYC many years ago!

  2. Terry Gassett

    April 19, 2023 at 4:25 pm

    I love this Cassie! Although I have never been on a trip alone, I have learned to be comfortable going out to eat alone, or to a museum, or a local flea market. If my hubby is working and I can’t find a friend who is available to go on an outing with me, then why stay home? Great ideas to try at home or abroad! I do hope I will have occasion to use them in Paris one day – my dream destination!

  3. Bridget Hutchens

    April 19, 2023 at 4:25 pm

    Cassie, I read your article on the first day of a 10-day international trip, and it was exactly what I needed to read. Thank you for sharing your wisdom.

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