Since I first became a solo female traveler in October of 2013, just six months ago, I’ve been able to harness something I never thought possible: an inner compass.
We all have one of these, as it turns out, but for the majority of my life I was convinced that mine was broken. My inner voice was like a whisper, my physical guidance as per my locality would fail me very consistently, and I’d often find myself unpleasantly corrected when it came to judging character.
I always yearned for my inner voice to speak up, and I always wished to develop a certainty in it that would allow me to follow my gut instincts with blind belief. But even wanting that so bad, nearly every time that inner voice and that gut instinct would show itself, I would second guess it.
I’d find myself in certain situations, sometimes with other people and sometimes just with myself, and my inner alert would be shouting and blinking at me in emergency-like warnings. At times I would be in a situation, for example, where I’d know and feel immediately that I was being lied to, but I’d rationalize all possibilities, and ultimately tell myself I was just wrong. Of course, most times I wasn’t wrong at all.
As we age we might find that we begin to finally give this inner voice the credit and cooperation it’s deserved for so long. After we’ve been through enough experiences that have shown us that “see you were right,” we find it less compelling to rationalize ourselves into believing we must be wrong.
Apparently traveling, and perhaps specifically traveling solo, has a way of catapulting us into enough situations where that “inner voice” is needed and required so much more, thereby giving it the practice it needs to strengthen. So maybe this is the ultimate benefit of traveling alone. You get to truly submerse yourself in self-development and bond irrevocably with that ever-growing, increasingly apparent inner voice.
As it turns out, this strong bond with your inner voice may have many more applications than might have occurred to you. Though it works like magic when navigating your way through a new city, an important decision, or a relationship debacle, it also works like magic for you, just you.
Over the last six months of expansive self-development and bonding with that inner voice, I’ve discovered that this particular sense of certainty and inner knowingness can have the best of benefits when applied to one’s future.
When you envision your future and try to rationalize what the vast unknown might possibly hold for you, it can be difficult to gain that sense of certainty. Though we’re not meant to know about our futures completely, it isn’t a part of life we can just leave out with the sheets to dry, either. So we think about it, and if everyone’s like me, we think about it a lot. I mean, a lot, a lot.
I used to look at my future with plenty of fear and uncertainty, but with this heightened bond and trust in my inner voice, I find that I now look to my future with confidence. I am confident in my future because as I tap into my inner voice I can feel what’s going to happen for me. And what I feel is in my future is all very pleasant, indeed.
Harnessing this inner compass is an accomplishment that isn’t something I can show to anyone. It isn’t a material item I can hold up in front of my friends and describe, nor is it something I can paste into a scrapbook. I suspect, however, that this inner compass will lead me to places and things that are very tangible and real indeed.
And just because we can’t hold it in our hands, doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Sometimes all it requires in order to reach its ultimate height is to have the power relinquished, to have your full and undivided attention, and of course, to have your unwavering trust and faith.
Your inner compass, after all, is just what you need to lead you to a future you’ve only ever dreamed of.