I invited Gwen McCauley to contribute this month because of our theme of pursuing your personal legend. Gwen is a Canadian Life Transition Coach, author, artist and facilitator of secular retreats and culinary programs in the Algarve, Portugal. Her most recent book Gwen’s Guide to Dining Well in the Algarve is available as a free e-book. You can learn more about off-the-beaten-track Algarve from her blogs: Algarve Experiences and My Algarve. You can also follow Gwen on Twitter.
I breathe deeply and feel the bubble of release move through my core …I am free! The adventurer I see myself as, can ‘adventure’ at will. For the next two weeks I will ramble the Algarve as the mood strikes, letting whim direct my daily activities with not another soul’s needs to consider or attend to.
“I travel solo to notice boundaries and discover more about myself.”
My life is filled with people. I love the interactions I have with my coaching clients and friends. But there comes a time when my need for time, space and adventure bursts forth. The Algarve has become one of my favorite places to explore the adventurer in me, to notice my boundaries and to discover more about mySelf.
These periods on my own are typically times of exploration – finding new roads that I haven’t rambled down before, discovering yet another isolated beach, dining solo in a new roadside cafe or restaurant, seeking out friendly folks to have conversations with. I am inspired by the state of solo exploration, my essential nature surfaces. Some deeply held identity comes out to play. The safe environment provided by the Algarve offers the added bonus that I feel totally free to go where I wish without concern.
I am as likely to explore the micro landscape as I am to discover the macro. My car can frequently be found pulled over while I wander through an abandoned field, seeking interesting plants and rock formations or listening to bird songs that are foreign to my North American ears. Spring is an especially lovely time because the fields are awash with wild herbs in bloom. The countryside is lush with delicate blossoms.
Precious memories traveling alone.
One precious memory is driving down a pot-holed dirt road and pulling over by a south-facing hillside covered in wild thyme. The only sound I could hear was the droning of dozens of bees feeding on the wild thyme and lavender flowers all around me. I stood there for a long time soaking up that precious experience that could only happen because I was rambling solo. What a delight.
The magic of solo travel includes the confidence and increased Self awareness that it offers. Reconnecting with myself as ‘Adventurer’ renews and refreshes me. It invites me to move forward in life in new ways. I always return to my family, clients, friends and colleagues as a better person having spent time by myself. The Algarve, in particular, provides me a vibrant yet gentle place in which to discover new depths within me. What a wonderful way to live life!