On October 5th and 6th 2021, I embarked on my first solo trip.
The Destinations: Big Bear and Joshua Tree
The Goal: To show myself how capable I am at creating my life
I’m a very independent person. I’m the type to do what I want, when I want. I don’t feel a need to constantly be around people. I’ve learned to love myself over many years and I am content being by myself because I love myself. I’m not afraid to be alone or to keep myself company. The challenge came when anxiety started to blossom in my chest on drives alone in Santa Barbara. It started to take over my body when I would get out of the car to explore places by myself. The only thing that helped with that anxiety was by experiencing more of it. I would continue to put myself in those situations, to experience that anxiety, and then take a moment to breathe. I would remind myself that I’m not going to die, that everything will be okay, and that if I’m lost I will find my way back. Those moments to remind myself that as long as I’m on a paved road then I’m not really lost, helped to ground me and slowly diminish those anxious feelings. As the year went on, I slowly was able to manage anxiety whenever it decided to come up. I was able to conquer it.
Years later, I wanted to embark on my first solo trip. I actually had been wanting to do this for years but never got the chance nor the guts to do it until now at 22 years old. I had been wanting to go to Big Bear for three years, so I pulled the trigger and reserved an Airbnb for a party of one in the mountains. I was excited to finally be accomplishing one of my goals and ticking off a box on my long bucket list. As the day got closer to my departure, I began to get more nervous as my mother’s nervous feelings rubbed off on me. I told myself not to back down, because if I do, when will I ever experience a solo trip?
On October 5th and 6th 2021, I ventured out on my first solo road trip. I left early in the morning to start my drive to Big Bear, which was actually not as bad as I thought it’d be. It was an easy and beautiful drive up the mountains that took my breath away. I got to the edge of Big Bear, hopped out of the car, and started my trek up a steep trail to Castle Rock. My first ever hike by myself was successful, leading me to the top of a rock with incredible views of the mountains, tress, and lake. I sat on the rock for a few minutes taking it in. I did this. I drove myself here and climbed this trail and I’m now sitting on a rock in Big Bear. I did this for myself and I am so happy and proud.
I then headed into the Village to grab a burger at Fire Rock Burgers. I sat at the restaurant while watching YouTube videos on my phone and didn’t care one bit that I was by myself. I explored the rest of the Village before trying to visit the Kissing Bridge. I wasn’t able to visit due to construction, but I was able to get a view from the back of the water. Finally, it was around 4pm and I was able to check in to my airbnb cabin. I lugged all of my things inside, and checked underneath the beds and closets before settling in for the night. I attended my online class, ate my pollo bowl, and watched Twilight with my pumpkin spice candle burning. I headed to bed early to be able to wake up early again the next morning for the second part of my solo trip.
I woke up the next morning, made coffee, and got ready while listening to my Lost in the Forest playlist on Spotify.
I packed the car and left for Joshua Tree at about 7:30am. The drive to Joshua Tree from Big Bear was boring, and thus non anxiety inducing.
I finally got to the National Park at 10am and started at Key’s View. The view took my breath away and was one of those views you can’t comprehend as being real.
After tearing up at the insane view of the Coachella Valley, I headed to Skull Rock to climb on some rocks. I then completed an easy and flat route to Arch Rock and saw some interesting rock formations that made me feel like I was in a Star Wars movie. I lastly visited the Cholla Cactus Gardens to see the fluffy yet dangerous cacti.
I finally started to head home, passing through Palm Springs and even passing by Morongo Casino. I got home safely and was able to reflect on my trip.
I drove myself to two beautiful places. I never got lost or hurt. I never got lonely. I had a fun time and saw some amazing things. I never experienced anxiety on the trip. I got home safely and got to see and do things I had wanted to do for a while.
If there is some place you have always wanted to go, but happen to not have anyone to go with, it’s possible to go by yourself. You can do it all on your own and still have a fun and safe time.
Tips for a solo trip:
Do some research before leaving– have at least a rough plan of where you want to go and what you want to do. Look up parking situations before hand to alleviate in the moment stress when you finally arrive. Figure out operating hours of stores and restaurants. Any information you can learn beforehand will be advantageous.
Tell people where you are going– I shared my location with my family and best friend, I shared my itinerary with them, gave them constant updates as to where I was, and even told them what I was wearing for the day. I’ve watched many crime shows and documentaries and therefore know how to keep myself as safe as possible.
Be aware of your surroundings– when I was hiking by myself, I didn’t listen to music like I usually do when I’m with people. I kept my head up, looked around, and listened to my surroundings. I also kept mace and an alarm on me for protection.
Take moments to breathe and acknowledge yourself– sitting on the rock at Castle Rock, I was able to acknowledge what I had just done and take a moment for myself to let it settle in. Taking moments to yourself are important to be present in those amazing moments but also to not get overwhelmed by what’s happening.
Bring some entertainment– whether that’s watching TikToks on your phone or reading a book, bring something to occupy yourself if any leisure time comes about.
Make a longgggg playlist– I played my Lost in the Forest playlist for the majority of my trip and actually ran out of songs to listen to. I did not think I was going to have to switch over to my October playlist, but I did and that one wasn’t even long enough either! Make a super long playlist full of songs you love and fit the ambiance of the place you’re visiting.
Take lots of pictures and videos– having the memories is what is important, but having pictures to go along with those memories is even better. You will be able to show people what you did all by yourself. You’ll also be able to remind yourself of what you did and how capable you actually are.