Why (and how) I solo travel

Hello, my name is Laura and I'm the founder of Par en Par.

 No Instagram husband? No problem! I’ve learned to use just about anything to prop up my phone. This photo was shot with my phone leaning against my car tire. Wearing Par en Par  The Easy Tunic  and  The Tie-Waist Culotte , both in natural khadi.

No Instagram husband? No problem! I’ve learned to use just about anything to prop up my phone. This photo was shot with my phone leaning against my car tire. Wearing Par en Par The Easy Tunic and The Tie-Waist Culotte, both in natural khadi.

My relationship with solo travel was an accidental one. After a group trip over New Years one year, I decided to stay behind an extra few days. And after a few times, I noticed the solo days always the most transformative. To be alone with my thoughts without the distractions of daily routines was at first slightly uncomfortable; I was forced to ask myself questions about what I really wanted to do. It would start with the smaller questions, “What do I want to eat today?” (a surprisingly liberating question if you really ask it open-endedly). The questions naturally graduated from “What do I want to do for the rest of this trip?” to “What about the rest of the year?” This time of introspection has been super special in allowing me to design and architect what my life looks like today and going forward.

After a pretty serious breakup and being afraid of being alone, I’ve learned to treasure the days of solitude. Over the past few years, I’ve been able to travel solo near (Hudson, NY and Wonder Valley, CA) and afar (India and Spain). On my most recent trip to Arcosanti, AZ, I realized that solo travel is now a transformative pattern in my life. So I wanted to share how I do it in case it sparks any inspiration or a gentle (yet needed) nudge.

 Exterior of  Arcosanti , an experimental town exploring the concept of arcology  - a combination of architecture and ecology

Exterior of Arcosanti, an experimental town exploring the concept of arcology  - a combination of architecture and ecology

THE LOGISTICS

The making of a good solo road trip:

  • Look at a Google Map and click to zoom out eight times from where you are. Seriously, eight times. If you have access to a car, this is the radius for a perfect three-day road trip.

  • I packed up my car with a couple La Colombe draft lattes and healthy snacks.

  • On my phone, I loaded some podcasts I’ve been meaning to get to, the Big Little Lies soundtrack, and a voice memo app to record anything and everything that came to mind.

  • I love to stay in places with character that match their settings. In Arcosanti, it was a natural fit to stay in this Airbnb on a solo budget.

 My Airbnb made for a perfect inspirational home office for a day

My Airbnb made for a perfect inspirational home office for a day

WHAT I PACK

  • Baggu weekend bag

  • Par en Par The Easy Tunic and The Tie-Waist Culotte in natural khadi - I love to wear solid uniform sets both at home and on the road. I feel like a blank canvas to my settings.

  • Reusable water bottle

  • Filt large net bag - super compact and perfect for a trip to a local grocery store or farmer’s market

  • Healthy snacks - apples make super packable snacks

  • Hotel pens, aka the most useful souvenirs - this one is from a hotel in Marfa, TX

  • Palo santo

  • Peet Rivko travel kit - the size of these bottles are perfect for solo travel

  • Warby Parker sunglasses

  • Unlined softcover notebook - I love unlined notebooks because they enable me to think beyond list form

  • Macbook - because bleisure is real

  • Allbirds wool runners in natural white - I’m a self-acclaimed brand ambassador

  • Vintage pajama set - after local grocery stores, my second most favorite type of shopping to do while traveling is thrifting. Double Take in Santa Fe, NM was a treat!

THE DEEPER JOURNEY (in my miiiind)

Around the midway point of my trip, either at a meal or in the middle of a desert, I’ll open a notebook and start asking myself questions. This is my time to not think about the details, but the larger milestones. Since I don’t have a boss as an entrepreneur, this is the closest to an annual review I’ll ever get.

The 8 questions I asked myself:

  1. What are the key words to describe my ethos at this moment?
  2. What does not bring me joy in my life?
  3. What does bring me joy in my life?
  4. What are some comforts and help I could be more open to receiving or creating for myself?
  5. What can I control that is directly correlated with my own happiness?

  6. What were my key milestones this past year?
  7. What do I want my milestones to be this next year?

  8. Describe my best life in 10 years.

It’s fun to look back at my previous notes and compare how the answers to these questions change over time. I generally gain an intense clarity coming out of this self review. So much so that by the last day at Arcosanti, I was eager to come back and get back to work.

 The sunrise, an ultimate moment of peaceful solitude

The sunrise, an ultimate moment of peaceful solitude