// W H A T . I . L E A R N E D . F R O M . T R A V E L L I N G . A L O N E //
February 1, 2018

What I learned from travelling alone….
I recently took a trip to Seattle. I do travel quite a lot for work, but this trip was different. I was taking this trip without a schedule or agenda, it was in a city that I wasn’t familiar with, and … I was going alone.
I never would have originally planned to take a vacation by myself, but circumstances changed and I bought a non-refundable ticket.
I thought about not going at all, but maybe it would be good for me??? Maybe I would be lonely and weird, but it would be enlightening and I would have this existential experience and really learn something about myself.
Well, I guess the “Maybe this will be good for you” argument worked because the next thing I knew I was buckled in and taking off to spend the next 4 days in a new city.
I told myself to act friendly, smile often, and to not let fear keep me locked inside my hotel room. Deep breaths, Staci, deep breaths.
I arrived on Thursday night and I heard there was an OULA class about a 10 minute Uber ride away. I was already feeling nervous and unsure of what to do with myself, so the thought of doing something familiar sounded nice.
I walked into the little studio and immediately realized that it was terribly familiar. We had done an OULA training here a few months ago! I was immediately flooded with hugs from trainees, smiles from people I had danced with before, and the comforting sound of OULA music. Ahhhh, instant happy heart.
The class, taught by Josephine and Quincy, was amazing!
This wasn’t the uncomfortable, “JUST BE COOL Staci!” experience I was expecting to find in Seattle on my first night. Maybe because I had been to that studio before, maybe because the faces were familiar, or maybe because OULA make me feel like I am home, I don’t know, but … whatever the reason, when Josephine and Quincy asked me to go out for dinner afterward, I said “YES!” and I decided that I would try again to be lonely tomorrow.
I went to a few museums in the morning and by the afternoon was waiting in line at the Space Needle, attempting small talk with other tourists (who were totally creeped out by me). I tried to act interested in the informational posters on the wall when I got a text message.
It was from Amadae, a trainee who I danced with the night before. We had exchanged numbers, but I didn’t think she would actually want to hang out with me! And it wasn’t just her! She started a group text and in no time…. BOOM! I had friends and plans!!!
The rest of my trip was filled with sightseeing, shopping, good food, and great new friends. And on Sunday when it was time to fly home, my new friend Julia drove me to the airport and dropped me off like we had been friends for years.
…. buckled into my airplane seat looking down over the city, I could hardly remember the feeling of fear I had had just days before on this same airplane.
I was expecting to have become a different person because I was able to be uncomfortable, sit with wasn’t familiar, and find some inner strength and peace I didn’t know I had.
But instead I learned that,
1. Very few things turn out the way you think they will.
2. Not every life lesson has to be learned through uncomfortable situations.
3. I didn’t need to have an existential crisis to have a wonderful existential experience.
And 4. As long as you OULA… you have friends everywhere you go.
 Sending love to ALL of the #oulatribe and especially to the#seattletribe