I’ve been eager to get away on a solo trip for awhile now. The last time I travelled alone was to Mexico for 5 days in 2015. I checked the forecast and jumped on the opportunity to take advantage of warm, sunny weather. The final weekend of September would be last call (in 2020) for summer temperatures so I departed to Niagara Falls for two nights. Regardless of how often I visit the Falls area there is always something new to discover.
The majority of the day was spent outside wandering around and I was back in my room before dark. The hotel (Crowne Plaza) was conveniently located across the street from these beautifully manicured grounds with charming nature spots and a trail close by. I enjoyed walking along River Road which runs parallel to the Niagara River gorge. It is lined with a heritage neighbourhood displaying unique homes, grand and modest, which are mostly in the proximity of being a century old. I decided to explore Queen Street which is a quaint spot (near the bus terminal) that was reminiscent of a ghost town. There was barely a soul around and most shops were closed but I could still appreciate the tranquility. I also stopped by the Bird Kingdom because I love winged, feathered creatures.
Overall, the trip was a success and I’m very grateful that I went.
I cherish being in the company of others but I wholeheartedly love being alone as well. I try to maintain a healthy balance between the two but if I had to pick, solitude wins. As far back as I can remember, I’ve always felt at ease in my own presence. Even as a child, my parents didn’t have to expend much energy in keeping me entertained. I was interested in a multitude of things so boredom was never really a thing.
I crave and carve me-time because that’s the way I function best. To many, it’s a foreign concept that stirs unsettled feelings and can be downright scary. But it’s for this reason that I consistently advocate for going solo because of the immense value it’s had on my life. There are plenty of benefits to being alone and I will share a few of my top reasons.
There’s a considerable sense of freedom from constraints because I get to call the shots. I can spend time the way I want by doing the things that I enjoy without obstruction. This boosts my creativity by alleviating any inhibition or pressure caused by having to conform. I allow my mind and body to be liberated from any impositions so that they can recalibrate. We serve in many different roles so it’s easy to lose your identity when faced with continual demands. For example, as a mother I had to learn how to make responsive adjustments to preserve my autonomy.
I don’t want to get swept away and lost at sea without a compass.
Being alone sets the stage for thoughtful observation and evaluation which requires a tremendous amount of unadulterated honesty. This results in increased emotional strength and awareness in order to be better prepared for future challenges. There is a mighty resilience that is cultivated when we purposefully detach from everything and everyone. By doing this, we take away the power of being codependent because we are deeply-rooted in a firm foundation that cannot be shaken. Since I choose to fellowship with God, I make a daily, conscious effort to be with Him.
This may sound counterintuitive but our relationships also get a lift when we choose to be by ourselves. Sometimes we take people for granted because excessive closeness has the potential of becoming a burdensome bother. But when we separate for a little while, we tend to come back with a greater fondness because distance tends to do that. It’s in that space we can reflect, become more empathetic and truly value their existence. It’s also a chance to assess the quality of our connections in case there is something that needs to be addressed.
Jesus loves people dearly but even He had to retreat from it all. At first, there may be a feeling of guilt but if God needed room to breathe so do you. It’s important to note the reasons which prompted Jesus to withdraw from the world.
Preparation for a Major Mission (Luke 4-1:2) After His baptism, Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness to pray before beginning His public ministry. It was also during this time that He was tempted by the devil.
Restore Energy (Mark 6-30:32) After the disciples returned from ministry, Jesus encouraged them to go to a quiet place and rest.
Work Through Emotion (Matthew 14:13) When Jesus learned about the beheading of this cousin, John the Baptist, He went away to grieve.
Before a Big Decision (Luke 6:12-13) Jesus went out to a mountainside and spent the whole night praying to God. In the morning, He chose the 12 disciples.
Time of Distress (Luke 22:39-44) Hours before Jesus was arrested, He went to the Mount of Olives to pray because He was in great emotional turmoil.
Focus on Prayer (Luke 5:15-16) Jesus spent a lot of time in private prayer with the Father.
Rest easy because God is always with us.