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I Spent All Of Last Year Craving A Life Change — So This Year, I Took A Month-Long Trip All By Myself (Here's What I Learned Along The Way)

It was a life-changing experience.

Hi! I'm Fabiana, a single 28-year-old woman who has decided to make this year about herself and is learning to take more risks. 👏🏼

the author standing outside smiling

Since my job allows me the flexibility to work remotely, I decided that this was the year that I fully embrace being able to work from wherever. I knew I wanted to travel a lot this year and honestly, I didn't feel like waiting on my friends to find out when their schedules freed up, where they wanted to go, or for how long. TBH, I wanted to be the one to call these shots. So I figured go big or go home — and I decided I was going to book a month-long solo trip in one of my favorite cities: Miami.

laptop at a table with a coffee and smoothie

That same day, I booked a month-long stay at a studio apartment in a condo building right on South Beach — where I was most familiar from past vacations — for the month of May that I found through a Google search. This was my largest single expense of the trip (about $3,000) — but it was one that I was able to afford thanks to living with my parents and saving on rent, and because I planned on aggressively budgeting even more in the months leading up to the trip. (More on this in a bit!) Also, I just wanted to say that I realize that not everyone has the privilege to be able to reduce their expenses in this way — or the flexibility to work from anywhere — but I wanted to share how I personally approached things, in hopes that it might be useful to some.

I had five months — with a few short trips to different places in between — to mentally prepare and financially plan for my first month-long solo trip. I had some doubts, some fears, and a few moments where I double-checked the booking's cancelation policy. But now, after being back home in New Jersey for a few weeks with time to reflect, it's safe to say that this trip was one of the best months of my life.

Here's all that I learned and some tips to pass along if you too are thinking of taking your first (or your next) solo trip adventure.

1. Since it was my very first solo trip, I wanted some familiarity — and I didn't feel pressured to book somewhere that I've never been before.

palm trees

2. I made sure my booking had a flexible cancelation policy.

3. I used the Hopper app to keep an eye on flight prices.

a plane taking off

4. Since I booked my trip so far in advance, I budgeted and saved money specifically for this trip in the months leading up to it.

crumpled up dollar bills

5. To bring me some sort of comfort, I packed things that are a part of my usual daily routine at home so I could keep up with my daily habits while on my trip.

packed suitcase

6. I packed a safety device to have with me at all times.

keychain alarm

7. I worked my full-time job the entire time I was on my trip and it was easier than I expected.

the author writing in her notebook

8. I walked all over, especially to get groceries and essentials, and took occasional Ubers/Lyfts at night.

the author holding plastic shopping bags and a water bottle

9. I had some things planned in advance — but I also left a lot of my schedule open.

screenshot of the notes app with different restaurants and things to do in the city

10. I took a variety of workout classes to experience a different fitness scene while also meeting like-minded people.

sign that says, Barry's Miami Beach

11. Making new friends as an adult can be challenging — so I made sure to put myself out there.

the author posing with two people after a workout class

12. I made sure to connect with locals to learn about hidden Miami gems.

street in Miami

13. I carved out time for things that were a priority to me.

author's feet on the sidewalk

14. My solo trip experience was what I made of it.

beach

Overall, the month to myself was one of the best decisions I ever made.

The month flew by and by the time I was packing up my suitcase to come home, I was overwhelmed with emotions. I felt a special connection to the city of Miami so much so that I'd love to move there sometime in the near future. 

I definitely lost a bit of myself over the past two years and I was fortunate enough to be able to get back in touch with myself and relearn what makes me happy and how to listen to my inner voice. 

I think sometimes it's easy to get caught up in all the noise in life and kind of lose yourself, regardless of what your situation is. This time to myself allowed me to find my way back and learn to love this new version of myself. 

Although I was fortunate enough to be able to spend a month away by myself, that doesn't have to be the case for everyone. I think ultimately, carving out time — whether it be for an hour or a few days — it's important to prioritize time for yourself. I'm a firm believer in filling up your cup first before you fill up others. 

Have you ever taken a solo trip? How did your experience go? Tell me in the comments below!