Introduction by Caron Guillo: I’ve known full-time solo world traveler and photographer Lisa Crawford for a few years, and we’ve traveled tandem throughout parts of Asia. Lisa’s practical–and sometimes slightly-less-than-practical–approach to life are a couple of things I like about her.
She’s willing to get out of her comfort zone to try something new. Which is not always easy for the rest of us. In this guest post, Lisa lays out some foundations for her common-sense approach to life.
In Lisa’s words . . .
I used to be a hospice volunteer. Without fail, people’s biggest regrets were things they wanted to do but didn’t.
People are often ruled by fear of the unknown. They sit in their living room watching Eat, Pray, Love and dream that they are that girl, someone who could just go fearlessly into the unknown.
I hear it on a near constant basis. “Oh, you’re so brave. I wish I could travel like you do.”
But I’m not fearless; most of us travelers aren’t.
I’d say I’m more determined to do things in spite of the fear, the what ifs, the OMG what was I thinking?!
My fall back position is always this: if it really sucks, I can always go home. Or, if I go to someplace too foreign, I can always head somewhere more familiar.
The bottom line is–as my dear friend Stephanie, who passed away at 40 ended every conversation with me–“Life is short. You are my inspiration for living your dream!”
Life is indeed short; none of us knows what tomorrow brings.
At the end of my life, I would much rather say, “Holy $#!*, did I really do all that?” or even, “I probably shouldn’t have done that.”
I don’t want to say, “I wish I had done something interesting.”
I don’t consider myself brave at all. Rather, I force myself to do something out of my comfort zone. Once I’ve accomplished that, it gives me courage to try something else. When I prove to myself that I can overcome a fear or challenge, it makes the next one that much easier. Baby steps!
If you dream of spending a month in Rome by yourself, start small. Book a trip out of your area. Then try a big city like New York or Chicago. Find some blogs or travel articles on Rome, so you know what to expect. Follow bloggers, Facebook, Instagram pages, or YouTube channels of other solo travelers. Learn from their mistakes. Have some idea of the challenges you may face and what other people did to overcome them.
But understand you will make mistakes, and that’s okay
I’m very impulsive; I don’t do much planning. I decided to move to Europe on a whim.
I did some Googling, and Malta kept popping up. I had never heard of it, but I looked at some pictures and thought, “Okay, that works.”
A month later I landed and found an apartment. Then I realized there were rules about living in Europe. Schengen Zone? What’s that? That’s another story, but the point is that I always manage to figure things out.
When traveling solo, don’t be afraid to connect with others.
I’m single, but I don’t always travel alone or stay lonely in a place. I’ve made both temporary friendly acquaintances and true friends.
Some of those friendships don’t work out, but why sweat the small stuff?
And really, what does it cost me? I meet someone on a day trip and become friendly. It makes the day more enjoyable for each of us. Who cares if we never see one another again?
I suppose I think of all the new people I meet in this same way: you’re a nice enough person to have a conversation with. I go forward with no further expectations. Maybe we just enjoy this conversation standing in line in a supermarket, or maybe we end up six months later, traveling through Southeast Asia on an unforgettable trip and forming a long-term friendship, who knows?
Find Lisa’s photography and blog online for more adventures and inspiration. Watch the OFF and Running site for more of her story, coming soon!
All photos used with permission from Lisa Crawford
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