Independence and exploration
I rode scooters in Rome, couch surfed on some guys floor near the Eiffel tower, had haggis after hiking the Highlands in Scotland and closed the bars down in rainy Ireland. All these experiences were possible because in my third year of University I studied abroad in England and traveled around Europe to prove to myself I could function independently away from my boyfriend.
This small town rural girl navigated public transportation in a foreign country, sometimes in foreign languages before google maps was a thing. I flourished, and am so thankful that I pushed outside my comfort zone.
It comes as no surprise really that I’ve continued to be surprisingly comfortable taking and making time for myself, even when in long term relationships. I’ve taken to calling the outings “self dates”. Why not date yourself?
What is a self date anyway?
I call it “me” time. I do something I love or want to do, and I do it on my own. I love doing things with friends and family too, or a partner (when I have one!) but I go on self dates even when I’m in a relationship. The outings are about spoiling myself, resting, recharging, respecting myself, honouring commitments to look after myself, showing myself self compassion, relying on myself to make decisions and to navigate on my own. Self dates are fantastic for proving to yourself that you are capable and can make your own happiness, thus you have less self doubt, which means you’re less likely to allow others to treat you poorly. Self dates could be fun or relaxing, you could learn something new or do something that pushes you outside your comfort zone. I often seek outings that light me up and that make my heart full. Self dates bring me immense happiness and satisfaction.
Examples of my self-dates/outings/trips
◘-I took a pottery class this summer, that alone was time carved out specifically for me, but I’d also follow it up by getting take-out lunch somewhere and eating at the tidal bore park in Truro. I adore that place, love eating and learning new things/art is on my list of things I love, so it’s all perfect! Sometimes I even take a book to read.
◘-I often go on hikes with my dogs to Thomas’ Cove, backwoods trails, Five Islands Provincial Park, and if I’m near a restaurant, you can bet we get take-out and try to catch a sunset if it all aligns.
◘-Sometimes I’ll drive to destinations, though I’m not a big fan of driving, sometimes you need to drive to get to somewhere cool. Last summer I drove to Advocate to teach yoga, then I played tourist on the way home, stopping at all the neat little towns, museums and look offs on the way home.
◘-I’m a huge fan of self care days. Pairing a meal (do you see a theme yet?) with a massage, pedicure and maybe even a yoga class.
◘-Speaking of yoga classes, I also love heading to the farmers market and then attending a yoga class, and you betcha…I’ll squeeze breakfast in before, or lunch afterwards.
◘-I’ll take in a sunrise or sunset whenever I can. I also love stargazing and have been known to drag bedding to the back deck.
◘-I’ve gone to numerous live theatre shows at Neptune on my own (last minute rush tickets are super affordable!)
◘-Can we say thrift shopping? Value village on a big city day (buy four books, get one free!), but Frenchys will do in a pinch.
◘-Another indulgence is a used book store, mmm the smell of books! I could spend hours wandering and perusing.
◘-I’ve packed my golf clubs and sneakers before to go to the driving range on my own.
◘-Heading to the movie theatre solo is also a neat experience.
◘-Brunch/Breaky and the crossword puzzle is high on my list.
◘-I recently kayaked into an island to camp in Keji on my own.
◘-I’ve gone to Newfoundland solo and car camped for a few days.
◘-When I first finished university I tried to hitchhike across Canada on my own.
◘-I’ve hunted waterfalls in New Brunswick in the middle of winter.
Solo events are thrilling in so many ways, you decide, you problem solve, you evolve, grow and blossom. Take yourself on a self date, trip, or adventure- you might just be surprised at what you discover.