croatia

The Inner Journey of the Solo Traveler

Pokonji Dol Beach, Hvar Island, Croatia

Pokonji Dol Beach, Hvar Island, Croatia

After leading a yoga & success coaching retreat in Dubrovnik this month, I did some solo travel north of there in Hvar and Split, two places I’ve been meaning to get to for years now. They did not disappoint! I’ve listed some special places I visited and restaurants I loved at the end of this blog. I haven’t taken a trip by myself in a while, so I found myself reflecting on solo travel - how much it’s changed for me over the years and how much it’s changed me over the years.

I started traveling alone about 11 years ago. I had been in a 4 year relationship where the ending was clearly imminent, and I felt confused and lost about myself and what I wanted. I was compelled to leave town, and hopefully with it, the negative feelings I was having. I only left for a few days and treated myself to a luxury weekend at the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa where I played golf, got a 90 minute relaxation massage, and ate at wonderful restaurants around town. I’m laughing as I write this because my first solo travel experience wasn’t exactly toughing it out somewhere in a distant, exotic or culturally diverse area of the world, and there wasn’t some grandiose intention of healing my life through travel. At that time in my life I had little awareness of how to utilize my time alone for self-reflection, self-nurture, or self-discovery, but I followed a compulsion and it was the first time I had gone anywhere by myself for more than a day without it being for work.

And it felt foreign to me, uncomfortable, and too indulgent. At first I found my mind hyper-focused on my problems and feeling sorry for myself for having to do all these things alone. But then I slowly realized, oh wait, I can give myself permission to enjoy doing what I want to do, when I want to do it. I don’t have to refer to anyone else to decide how to spend the day. Good thing! Oh wait, but I always liked for someone else to decide what to do and when to do it because I didn’t really know what I wanted.

I had always been fiercely independent and self-sufficient in taking care of my external security needs like living expenses, but when it came to my internal needs I really didn’t have a clue because I filtered my needs through the lens of what others wanted. Dare I say I had some co-dependency patterning that affected every relationship I had been in, romantic or otherwise. I began to do some self-inquiry into my people pleasing nature, and the ultimate lack of self-referral. It was the first time I became aware that I needed to understand who I was and what I truly wanted for myself, and traveling alone could give me an opportunity to do exactly that.

Since that weekend, I’ve done so much solo travel across the world and love to spend pockets of time in foreign lands alone, wandering, enjoying the process of self-discovery through following my intuition and seeing what adventure, people, experiences it leads me to. Solo travel represents the Solo Life Journey we all are on, walking each of our individual paths ultimately alone, learning about our true essence and how to engage life from an honest place inside of ourselves, hoping that it leads us to the feeling of being fully alive.

The days I spent alone exploring Hvar and Split led me to some of the most magical places I’ve ever been and in those moments I was present to the very nature of my existence and it’s essential part in the web of life. Being with myself, and being myself, in a completely new and foreign place, I felt at home.

I normally don’t give recommendations for my travels, but I did find some lovely places and ate at some wonderful restaurants so I thought I’d share!
Although I enjoyed both Hvar and Split, I found the energy on Hvar and the surrounding islands to be more peaceful for me. I was only on Hvar for a few days but my favorite beach Mekicevica or Robinson’s Beach, which was recommended to me by my airbnb host. After finding Pokonji Dol beach, you keep walking through a forest along the cliffs until you come to two small secluded coves, the second of which is Robinson’s beach. There is also a quaint restaurant behind it with fresh grilled seafood and good local wine. If you go early enough, you can have the beach to yourself until around 11am or so. Perfection! I also highly recommend taking a boat taxi to one of the Pakleni Islands for a beach day and lunch. I went to Palmizana for a more beach club kind of day and ate at Laganini which had a great DJ and fantastic food.
It was high season in Croatia at the time so Split was very crowded including the local beaches but I was able to find one that was quite beautiful and again mostly empty before noon called Kasuni Beach. It was about a half hour walk from the center of Split. I also had some truly incredible meals in Split, two of the restaurants I’ve listed below and are a must if you go. Croatia also has some pretty amazing white wines, my favorite being the Posip (it happens to have an alcoholic content of 14%, go figure it’s my favorite).

Here are some great restaurants that I highly recommend:

Hvar Restaurants
Macondo
Giaxa
Laganini and also Zori - both on the island of Palmizana

Split Restaurants
Bokeria
Food & Wine Zinfandel