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The 6 Life Lessons I Learned From a Solo Road Trip

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 3/03/2016 Amanda Beilke
LOS ANGELES DRIVING © Getty LOS ANGELES DRIVING




It was August of 2013 and I had just turned 24. I was working fulltime on the women's apparel team at Target Corporate in downtown Minneapolis and living the city life in my adorable little apartment in the heart of Saint Paul, Minnesota. I could walk to cute little coffee shops, meet up for dinner and drinks with friends at trendy delicious restaurants, and take a weekend stroll down to the best farmer's market in the area. It seemed I had it made. I was a single woman living in the city getting to work with the latest fashion trends every day and making a comfortable income. It looked like I had everything I could want right? WRONG.
That's what my life looked like on the outside to anyone who didn't really know me that well personally. On the inside, I was suffocating at work, I had just turned 24 and was going through my whole quarter life crisis a year early, and I didn't know what to do about my situation. I was so SO stuck and I wanted out. MAN, DID I EVER WANT OUT.
I knew I couldn't just quit my job and quite frankly at the time, I didn't even know for sure what I wanted to do that would be different than my current job or where I wanted to work so that didn't help the situation. I was so confused, frustrated, and kept questioning why I was letting this be my life. I knew there was so much more to life than sitting in a cubicle, looking at fashion CADs, spreadsheets, and my never ending email inbox.
The day I turned 24 I knew I had to do something different. I didn't know what or how, but then on a whim I thought "I'm going on a road trip." THAT'S IT! I needed change, I needed a break, I needed spontaneity in my life, and so I picked a weekend that fall and that is just what I did.
This wasn't just any typical road trip that you might be used to. This was me going on this three day trip ALL BY MYSELF. I had no destination planned. I had no map. I had no hotel accommodations figured out. It was just going to be me and the open road leading to endless possibilities.
During this three day road trip, I had so many thoughts and ideas about what's important to me and what I wanted my life to be filled with. I met some incredible people along the way who shared their entire life stories with me. I felt completely independent and so in tune with who I am and how I wanted to feel throughout these days and it was so refreshing.
On my road trip I also created a generic bucket list of all the things I wanted to do on my trip no matter where I ended up. It included things like stop at a local candy shop, get out of my car and explore nature, go out to dinner by yourself, have a dance party in the hotel room, watch the sunset, and so much more.
This is a trip that taught me so much and provided clarity on many pieces of my life. I'm not normally a person who enjoys personal journaling, but I made an extra effort to write down all of my thoughts from this trip and these are a few of the ones that really stood out for me of the important things I learned.

1.Material things are not important, stop placing such high standards on this. Why do you need such a huge house when children in other countries are sleeping on dirt, can't receive an education, and don't have the luxury of trying out a new recipe for dinner each week.
2.Always care and show compassion to others. Everyone is fighting a battle that you know nothing about.
3.Don't sweat the small stuff. You are alive and that is a miracle alone. What would you do if you found out you only had 15 years left to live? (The candy shop owner who told me her entire life story over homemade caramels was dealing with that. A couple months before we met that's the news her doctor told her.)
4.Fear is the root of you stopping yourself from achieving your dreams. Eliminate fear! Just do it and dream bigger!
5.Going out to eat all by yourself isn't so bad. Yes, people stare... a lot of people stare, but you can do whatever you want and you don't have to deprive yourself of certain aspects in life just because you don't have someone to do them with.
6.Don't take for granted the scenery around you -- it's a beautiful miracle. Stop rushing through life and take a moment to appreciate the little things.
There you have it, my gone solo road trip in a nutshell. I may have only ended up right outside of Chicago as my farthest destination point, but it wasn't about the end destination that mattered. It was about the journey along the way that made a difference. Being so in tune to what's going on around you, what you really want in life, and turning your car down any street or state highway you want to just because you're curious where it might lead to is what this this mini soul vacation is all about!
So tell me, have you ever gone on a trip by yourself for fun? Or have you always wanted too, but the idea of actually doing it sounds a little risky or kind of crazy? I want to hear about your experiences! Share them with me. I'm gearing up to go on my next mini road trip one week from today and I'm so excited for everything I'll encounter along the way!

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