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19 Things Nothing Else But Travelling Alone Can Teach You

19 Things Nothing Else But Travelling Alone Can Teach You
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I had this longing to get away from everything and everyone for a while. I had been suffering with an illness for about four years and after continuous negative news from doctors, exhaustion got the better of me. So, I quit my job, bought a one way ticket to the other side of Australia and went travelling for six months with no plan what so ever.

Here are 19 jewels of wisdom I learnt travelling alone and now apply to my everyday life back home in Perth:

1. Depending purely on yourself 

Sometimes we don’t realise how much people can influence us in our every day life, whether it’s our family, friends, partner, collogues or social surroundings. I had been putting too much emphasis on other people’s opinions of what I should do, over listening to my own voice. Travelling on my own was the first time I can really say I truly depended on myself more then ever without feeling bad about it or having to explain myself.

2. Learning a new culture

We can become so accustom to our surroundings, home and society that we operate subconsciously without thinking about whether it’s helping us grow or not. Embracing other cultures and ways of living can broaden our lifestyle views. On the contrary, I grew a deep appreciation for what I had back home like being able to visit my family any time I wanted.

3. Making new friends outside your circle

I became one of those tourists who made sure I let shopkeepers know I wasn’t a local. Not that they asked or anything. Amazing how quickly you can make friends that way by just talking about yourself. Awkward. I was nervous checking out new places with someone I didn’t know. There is nothing like hanging out with that friend (back home) who you can be 100% percent yourself around, however it was exciting to do something I hadn’t done before. I was shown amazing sites, forests, hidden away caves and made memories for a lifetime.

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4. Freedom

The freedom was the best part of travelling alone, doing what I wanted, when I wanted, how I wanted. Whether we are travelling or not this is the ultimate feeling. However, once back home, our daily demands, responsibilities and the people in our lives can be the cause of freedom being a mere fantasy. The feeling of freedom when you are travelling or on holiday, I believe is something you can feel in everyday life. And it’s because of this experience that I pushed towards that belief and implemented it into my daily attitude giving myself more time to do the things I love doing. I feel I am actually living MY life now.

5. Hearing your inner voice

Being alone most of the time, you can hear your thoughts a lot more! Even though I did spend time listening to my thoughts back home, being completely alone for a while heightened them. I was able to listen a lot more and see aspects of myself that I had ignored or not even noticed. It definitely sharpened the importance of digging deeper into myself and really focusing on my inner thoughts, habits and reactions to life.

6. Re-inventing yourself or truly being yourself

No one knows you, so it’s a great opportunity to try that style you think about but haven’t had the courage to try! Or is that just something I daydreamed about? I had been in the corporate world for many years but secretly I wished I could embrace the beach hippie in me at times. Oh and I finally did. I went to the beach almost everyday, left the salty water in my hair for days, wore comfy clothes and my jingle bell anklet. I absolutely enjoyed not having to worry about how I looked for anyone or anything. It certainly made me realise how much effort I put in for people and work, a habit of which I have now definitely broken.

7. Going without make-up

For those who wear make-up everyday, this is such a great opportunity to let your skin breath. I took advantage of letting go of my ‘need’ for make-up as I wore it everyday for work for years and it became second nature. At first it was a vulnerable feeling wearing no make-up to places that I would usually wear it, but after some time I felt liberated and my need for it daily is no longer. I wear it when I want, not because I have too. And do you know how much more time you have on your hands when you don’t have to put on another face? Time gained equals more adventures.

8. Break from Facebook

I took one month off Facebook completely closing my account on my travels. Rather then upload all my adventures and check in everywhere, I wrote about it in my journal. Spending time in nature without the use of Facebook or my phone on many occasions, became a clear indication of how much I was using it mindlessly and missing out on what’s going on around me. It was liberating to disconnect for a while and be content with the moment, with the view and with my own thoughts. The mind needs to be free at times to be creative, to think clearly and to refresh.

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9. Doing all the things you have been putting off

There is more time on your hands to do some of the things you put aside due to restrictions and responsibilities at home. Depending on your interests and hobbies, this can be a great way to throw yourself into your passions using inspiration from your travels. I spent so much time reading and writing which actually assisted in my pursuing of it now.

10. Reassessing your life

I wanted to study for years and also write, but due to focusing on Real Estate, I kept postponing it. Whilst being I was away I made the decision to go after my dreams and stop waiting for the perfect moment. Re-assessing my life helped me let go of what did not serve purpose in my life anymore and having the courage to pursue what I believed did.

11. Experience and memories only you know about

We love sharing memories and experiences with others, but lets face it when we share our stories of travelling with most people they are hardly interested. Doing things that only you know about is actually a wild feeling. It’s like a friendship between you and yourself that no one understands, experiences only you feel. Keeping them close to your heart is sometimes better then sharing. I definitely built a better relationship with myself and smile at all the wonderful things I have done, on my own.

12. Trusting yourself to think and decide for yourself

I was always someone who gained advise from others who I trusted and whilst their advise wasn’t ‘wrong’, it was my need for it that kept me away from doing what was in my heart to do. I didn’t trust myself enough to follow through with ideas that I had, also leaning on my career as an excuse many times. Until I went travelling alone, I wasn’t aware of how much I relied on others rather then myself. Trusting my inner intuitions and what I think is best for me has assisted in my health, physically and mentally. The unknown doesn’t seem so scary now. Sometimes we want people to advise us because we are too fearful of taking a step out on our own, but what if what they are saying is the reason you prevent yourself from living your dreams?

13. Overcoming the fear of being alone

Doing everything by yourself for a period of time shows you how much you really can be happy, content and safe in your own company when you want to be. It breaks the tendency to just ‘hang’ with people due to not wanting to be alone. I will admit, there were periods of time where it felt awful on Saturday nights with no one but myself, however, I got through just fine and I became more engaged in my writing, reading and music. Sometimes over socialising is a distraction from doing what we really need to do on our own; self-development.

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14. Patience

From observation, in today’s world patience is a characteristic in the human being that is being very quickly replaced with the need for everything now. Whether it is success, the ‘perfect’ body, money, overcoming battles, relationships, there is urgency in our social surroundings to scrap patience and rush through life. I wasn’t working and I didn’t know what the next day would bring or whether I would have enough money to keep travelling. As I committed myself to being open to whatever happens is meant to be, patience grew. I was able to grasp the importance of patience and put it to practice.

15. People back home

Being apart from loved ones is difficult but it is also a great way to strengthen the bonds you have. It was also an eye opener to how much I gave myself to some people who took our friendship for granted. When it comes to friendships quality over quantity is best and the time away really set that in stone. I came back uninterested in friendships that were filled with neediness, control and drama. My time is precious and I finally took the courage in setting barriers against the life suckers. Amazing how time away alone can really open your eyes to unhealthy friendships that were right under your nose for a long time.

16. Gratitude

The amount of gratitude I experienced came on many levels. I really appreciated the opportunity to be able to travel as well as what I already had back home. I met a woman on my travels that really placed emphasis on the importance of taking the time to be thankful for things in your life daily and how you will receive more by doing so. Taking it on board straight away, I started voicing my thank you to life and looking for things to be thankful for. A deep appreciation for what I have each day, the people I meet and the challenges that come my way has opened my heart to the blessings that are existent every single day.

17. Time to re-focus on your health

As we are always growing and changing, so do our bodies. Different circumstance in our life may bring about better or worse health. For many years I suffered with an ongoing illness, doctors and specialists had no answers for me and I grew exhausted from the never ending bad news. I was leading a healthy life but something was missing. Part of the reason I decided to travel alone was to explore other avenues of gaining health after researching stories of people who had made amazing comebacks after serious illnesses. I spent majority of my time focusing on my health, relaxing, distressing, researching, trying out new foods, meeting people in the health industry and again being open to other ways. It was a big wake up call to stretch myself and knowledge in nutrition and the viscous poison of stress! Let’s just say I don’t suffer with illness anymore.

18. Not caring what anyone thinks

As I walking down to the beach one particular day, in short shorts and my pale white skin I felt insecurity setting in as I compared myself to the beach babes that were like…everywhere! Thankfully a wonderful and very true thought struck me, why do I care about what others think of me? And how do I even know if people think about me? I mean, conceited much? It was in that moment I made a choice to push aside those limiting thoughts and be proud of who I am, even if I have cellulite wobbling around. Beaching it on the Gold Coast daily, with that new insight made it so much more enjoyable.

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19. Going with the flow

I seriously got a really big dose of what it feels like to go with the flow. Every time I feel fear or stress creeping in, I think back to this adventure. It has become a reference point and reminder of how letting go and being open to whatever happens, can do wonders in your life.

This was a decision that changed my life for the better. Doing something completely for myself, out of my comfort zone has bought about expansion and awareness.Try it for yourself and add to the list!

Happy travels!

 

Featured photo credit: http://photopin.com/search/gold-coast

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Featured photo credit: photopin via photopin.com

More by this author

Anjelica Ilovi

Anjelica writes about how to grind and unwind for increased productivity, focus and joyful living anjelicailovi.com {grind + unwind}

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)
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You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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