Travel Adventure Self-Care Challenge by Anna Szabo

Have you been considering travel for adventure? I recently started a new self-care challenge 2020: choosing a destination and traveling there. It turned out to be so much fun! That’s why I want to invite you to join me. This is my solo female travel blog! Let me give you a few of my travel adventure ideas and tips and share some travel adventure blogs.

Travel Adventures of Anna Szabo

Introduction

Growing up in Soviet Russia during the crush of USSR, raised on welfare by a single mom with severe mental health issues, I did not get to experience travel. Only one time was I ever taken to the Black Sea beach, which was more of a miserable experience, since my mom complained about the hot sun, her cellulite, and everything else, including me. I was very little.

At 16, I got to travel around Russia on my own. I loved every moment! Museums, theaters, comedy clubs, jazz cafes, and local restaurants – I explored it all.

At 18, in a beauty pageant, I won an international solo-trip to an all-inclusive fancy hotel in Turkey, which was a heavenly experience full of adventure. Then and there, I fell in love with travel.

In my 20s, I was traveling for adventure with my American fiancée to many exotic locations, such as Barbados, Bali, Singapore, Jamaica, as well as exploring Saint Petersburg and Moscow in Russia. I married him and emigrated to the United States. That resulted in domestic violence and my story of going from being homeless to an MBA graduate – in just a few years.

In my early 30s, more adversity happened to me. Though I tried to maintain my optimism, the resources of fortitude and perseverance were running low in my body and mind.

I experienced severe suicidal depression in my third marriage and lost all my zeal for life. I had no desire to even get out of bed. I was unable to perform such simple tasks as loading and unloading the dishwasher or doing laundry.

I suffered from Psychomotor Retardation: from washing my hair and taking showers to going outside and even eating – all self-care and hygiene tasks in my daily life became a challenge because I simply did not want to live. I saw nothing exciting in my future. I preferred to die.

I was depressed and suicidal.

That was a difficult season. Not only was I not interested in traveling – I was not interested in living. My home life was miserable and I was dying on the inside while still driving 50 miles to work each day to earn money and maintaining a smile on the outside.

This all happened due to the narcissistic relationship abuse imposed on me by my third husband. Recovery from that season of trials and tribulations took a long time and a lot of effort. Restoring my desire to live had to do with my decision to persevere and heal. Actually, I committed myself to thrive eventually. And I got there, one small step at a time. The journey required me to decide: do I want to drift or do I want to live? Many people do live life, however, they are not fully alive: they drift aimlessly and they don’t care about anything.

Depression recovery challenged me to commit my everything to living my life fully alive, completely engaged in the process of living, and feeling excited about my present living, as well as my future.

READ: How To Be Fully Alive

Once I decided that I wanted to live and I wanted to live alive instead of drifting half-dead, self-care became my priority. On this Christian blog for women, I talk a lot about taking care of oneself and its effects on mental and physical health. In fact, I wrote many articles about self-care tips and ideas.

The Bible teaches us to honor God with our body, which requires us to flee from sexual immorality, eat healthily and avoid the sin of gluttony, sleep at night trusting God with our anxieties, and exercise to be able to run our life-race and finish strong.

We are also challenged by the teachings of Jesus to take every thought captive and think about whatever is honorable and praiseworthy, as well as be alert and of sober mind, watchful at all times because Spiritual Warfare is real and Satan wants all children of God to be depressed, suicidal, and drifters.

Everything the Bible teaches us to do is possible if we practice self-care in order to maintain a strong body, a healthy brain, a clear mind, and a positive spirit.

Not practicing self-care robs us of health and zeal, which causes us to drift carelessly throughout our journey instead of being fully engaged in the process of living life. If we want to walk with God and live out His purpose for us, we must be healthy and strong. That’s why self-care is key!

SELF-CARE IDEAS

Travel Adventure Anna Szabo

Why I Started Exploring New Destinations In 2020

In 2020, I dedicated a lot of time to this blog. That means that I spent numerous hours sitting on my butt and writing for days at a time. Soon, I realized that I was beginning to resent my blog and my Christian Podcast for women because I was experiencing burnout. That was a wakeup call.

I adjusted my lifestyle and began working out again. This was in the midst of the global Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. Everything everywhere was shut down. So, I began walking 10,000 steps around my neighborhood, running up and down the hills outside my front door, kayaking on the river where I live, and doing many other fun things, which all helped me lose weight and build muscle again.

Then, my friend Maria mentioned that she booked a solo-trip to the beach for herself. Her message turned on the switch of some sort in my brain! I realized that the last time I saw the ocean was four years ago when I was dealing with depression. Then, I went to the beach in hopes to recharge but it was just one painful blur because I was married to the narcissist still and literally saw no hope for the future.

When I realized that I had not been to the beach in four years, I decided to take the travel adventure challenge and go to any beach I wanted. I chose the Hilton Head beach and went. It was so awesome! So, I decided to do it again, and I went to Siesta Key Beach. It was an incredible experience full of adventure. Now, I am hooked. My next trip is St. Simons Island.

Here’s what I wrote on my Facebook as the result of this experiment with traveling for adventure all by myself without much planning.

#OneThingILoveAboutLife is adventure. When I go on an adventure, my creativity skyrockets. But what also increases significantly is my level of joy and satisfaction with life. It happens as I meet kind and interesting people and have new positive experiences in the world. This new habit of solo-travel helps me dream of a greater future for me, my country, and all the people, an exciting future of peace and oneness! This encourages me to live more mindfully and courageously.

Anna Szabo on Facebook

Something really important happened as a result of my travel adventures. I’ve had a unique breakthrough that caused me to dwell on my deep gratitude for these experiences! I realized the most profound truth about myself and my happiness. And I shared it on Facebook as well. Here it is.

I was taught as a little girl that there was SOMEONE out there who would SOMEDAY make me happy.

Then, all my troubles would disappear forever and I’d be living my happily-ever-after.

I was taught that the one actually able to do that kind of magic was a HE, a Prince Charming who’d be perfect in every way, love me genuinely, enrich my life with exciting experiences, and remain committed to me for the rest of my life.

So, I married and divorced 3 times...

Then, after my third divorce, I finally met that magical person whom I was taught to seek all those decades ago.

I met the very special person I was seeking, the one who loves me genuinely, enriches my life every day in every way, and is committed to me forever, until my last breath.

Though it’s not a HE. It is a SHE.

Also, that person is not perfect but honest, open to failing and learning, able to take risks, and is always committed to growing and evolving.

Ain’t no happily-ever-after out there.

Everyone’s life sometimes rocks and sometimes sucks. But with my special person, life is an adventure full of hope.

Having a friend who can understand me and help me work on things bettering my future makes the sucking part of life not so bad.

My special person helps me see meaning in suffering and remain faithful to God through adversity.

I remember seeking that SOMEONE all over Russia, then overseas, then all over America... All those efforts were fruitless.

But finally I discovered a unique place where my special person was waiting for me, ready to commit to me forever, ready to learn how to genuinely love me, ready to embark on an exciting adventure for life, and ready to be patient as I’m doing my best to navigate both the rocking and the sucking seasons of living out my human journey.

What is the special place where I found my special person?
Mirror.


Anna Szabo on Facebook

If you’re looking for someone to come rescue you and finally make you happy, start in your mirror. There’s no permission you need from anyone to live your life to the fullest, to change yourself, to improve your lifestyle, to optimize your health, or to jump in a car and go have a blast.

You, together with yourself, can embark on a travel adventure and explore the world, both our outer world and your personal inner world. You can get excited about living life! You can improve your engagement with your everyday experiences in life. You can learn a lot about yourself and the people around you. You can be adventurous starting right now!

Traveling for adventure doesn’t have to be expensive. I’ll share my frugal tips with you below so that you can see how I travel on a budget yet still have a lot of fun. And the way I look at it is this: traveling for adventure is a much better investment than doctors, medical procedures, therapy dependency, or Rx-drugs. Self-care is the best therapy, and it ensures my excellent health at a fraction of the cost of physical and mental illnesses. Most importantly, it helps me live my life to the fullest!

Why not join the travel adventure self-care challenge?

Self Care Challenge by Anna Szabo - Siesta Key Beach Sarasota FL

My Travel Adventures

As I mentioned above, I love exploring: museums, theaters, galleries, poetry, comedy, music, and other performance arts, as well as architecture, waterparks, beaches, farmer’s markets, farms, and local restaurants. Also, I love animals: snakes, kangaroos, dolphins, whales, turtles, lions, bears, orangutans, etc.

I’ve visited many theaters and performance arts in both of my home countries: in Russia and in America. In various cities, I’ve attended jazz festivals, plays, art galleries, and poetry open mics. I’m a Poet.

I’ve been to Disney, award-winning waterparks across the globe, the most famous zoos and aquariums, as well as museums of all sorts. I’ve visited The Biltmore House eight times in my 12 years in America.

So, this year, it’s time to explore some beaches!

It’s the season of the COVID-19 global pandemic so road trips are my preferred way of traveling for adventure. I live in Atlanta, GA. There are many beautiful beaches in GA, FL, and SC, all within 5-9 hours of drive.

So, I grabbed my beach chair and blanket, a couple of towels and a swimsuit, some cash and change for parking, and on my way I was, starting with South Carolina!

Driessen Beach Hilton Head SC 5-30-2020

All I did was prayed to God asking Him to lead me to where I needed to go so He could use me there for His purpose. I looked up GA, FL, and SC – all states showed rain. Oh well, I am not made of sugar, so I decided to go anyway.

It was Friday.

In my blog about how to hear God’s voice, I share about the voice of the Holy Spirit, which guided me to choose Hilton Head, SC. I loaded my Camry with fuel, bought bottled water at Publix where I also got some cash and sunscreen, and off to the Driessen Beach I went on Saturday, May 30th, at 7:40 am EST. By the way, I woke up at 5 am, worked out, made a salad, ate breakfast, packed, and then drove to South Carolina.

How can I explain my feelings?

What I felt was indescribable and so intense!

I felt free, free, free!!!!

I’m crying now as I’m typing this.

Why?

Because I know what it’s like to be a slave. I was kept in slavery for eight months after my arrival in America. My first husband didn’t allow me to even talk to people. I wasn’t allowed to go anywhere or even learn English. I taught myself how to speak, read, and write in English while I lived in the shelter for battered women where the police officers, who conducted my rescue operation, took me in 2009. I also know what it’s like to be depressed and suicidal and be disengaged from life completely. Both of those traps had to do with my husbands. Traveling alone felt liberating and freeing!

I was divorced from my third husband in 2017.

Narcissistic abuse recovery took a long time for me. So, I did not exercise my freedom. Though I had money, my own car, all the documents, and everything needed to go anywhere I’d want, I didn’t want to go anywhere.

Here is what I wrote on Facebook that Saturday.

Freedom is only felt when it’s realized and exercised.

Anna Szabo on Facebook

Also, I wrote this in my journal.

Enjoying my own company and being comfortable in solitude is a blessing! Having a body that is able to wake up early, drive for 9-10 hours, play for hours in the ocean, run and plank on the beach, and have no aches or pains - that’s a blessing! I got to minister to a family from Ohio. And I got to enjoy the beach. I brought my own salad and ate in the water, sitting on the white sand, being one with nature, feeling happy, joyful, peaceful, and fully alive! 

As a member of the Yelp Elite Team, I wrote a detailed review for the Driessen Beach in Hilton Head, SC. I enjoyed the white sand, the safe environment, some sun and some rain, a nice beach run, and of course, the people I met.

Yes, God sent me there for a reason.

There was a couple who had a tent. I asked if I could leave my bag there when it began to rain. They were friendly and let me use their tent. Then, they started asking me questions about my life. We ended up talking about my poetry. That was how I shared the Gospel. Then, we talked for hours and they introduced their children and grandchildren later in the afternoon. We all got to talk about Jesus and life’s struggles.

When we were done talking, I washed off at the beach shower, changed, packed, and went back to Atlanta. At 12:26 am on Sunday, I arrived home, one hour before the racial protest and violence took over. It was a day trip. My gratitude was hard to express in mere words. I knew that my travel adventure was ordained by God. I felt purpose-driven and fully alive.

Traveling for Adventure Anna Szabo - Driessen Beach Hilton Head SC

Siesta Key Beach Sarasota FL 6-7-2020

For the next few days, there was a 6 am-9 pm shelter in place curfew in GA due to the racial conflict and violent protests, so I stayed in the neighborhood. One evening, I was called by God to do this again.

I prayed and ended up creating an Airbnb account. This time, I was called to go further, so I’d stay in FL overnight. My next trip was to Sarasota’s Siesta Key Beach, which is the #1 beach in America. Guess what? Again, the weather prognosis showed rain and even a storm. Oh well… No problem!

I went anyway. Left on Saturday, June 6th at 5:40 pm EST and arrived in Sarasota at 2 am on Sunday after a long drive through the rain listening to an awesome audiobook by Deepak Chopra about the human brain.

At 2 am in Sarasota nothing is open during the pandemic, except the one and only 24/7 Walgreens. I parked in the dark empty parking lot and walked in. I asked the manager if it would be ok for me to walk 10000 steps around the store. He said yes. His name was Michael. The nice lady who worked there also allowed me to bring my stretch band and work out a little bit. Her name was Tina.

At 6:40 am, I left and went to Siesta Key Beach. It was raining and storming. Palm tree pieces were everywhere and some roads were flooded. I parked and went for a run. My glasses were instantly covered in sand but I didn’t care. All I felt was freedom and joy!

I ran and ran and ran, ocean water splashing everywhere, the wind pushing me backward, and the rain covering my glasses in a wet mess. It all felt serene as I was running barefoot and smiling. I felt fully alive!

Then, I grabbed my salad (yes, I brought my own food again) and blanket and went to picnic on the beach in the rain. Instantly, I was surrounded by birds who craved my salad. They screamed. I shared. When we all finished eating, I lay down, covered myself with a towel, and napped for two hours in the rain on the sand. Here’s what I texted my friend Jennifer about it.

It was excellent and I’ve learned so much about myself sleeping in the rain surrounded by loud birds demanding my salad from me and covered in sand. I learned a lot running 5 miles on the beach, exploring Sarasota on my own, and ministering to new people everywhere. These are unique experiences. God is stretching my comfort zone!!!

At 12:20 pm, I went to check in to my Airbnb and met the owners. We talked. They gave me a tour. I took a shower and napped, then, I went to explore the town. In the morning, I ate, cleaned up the place, packed, and went to explore some more.

I met some really cool people.

One of them was a photographer from NY.

Frank approached me at the Bayfront Park and asked if he could photograph me, to which I said yes. His friend, he, and I walked and talked, and I got to share the Gospel. Frank experienced many challenges in life. Once he shared with me, I knew why God called me to Sarasota.

After that, I went to the beach and ran for many miles. In the late afternoon, I ate dinner and drove back to Atlanta. I arrived home at 1:30 am on Tuesday feeling fully alive! On my way back, the idea of this blog was born.

What I want is to challenge you to travel for adventure by yourself without much planning and just trust God completely. By the way, I wrote a blog post called How To Trust God Completely. I want you to challenge yourself and explore new places. I want you to meet new people and do new things!

Of course, I left a detailed Siesta Key Beach review on Yelp, as well as gave an excellent review to my Airbnb hosts Fabiola and Manolo. I know that Sarasota is a place where I plan to come back for sure. It was magical! And by the way, on day two, the Monday this week, there was no rain and no palm tree debris anywhere. It was sunny, clean, beautiful, and peaceful.

Traveling for Adventure Self-Care Challenge

What is this self-care challenge all about? It’s about you engaging in life fully and gaining new experiences while also stretching your comfort zone. Note that over-drinking alcohol, consuming drugs, shopping, or sleeping with strangers are not on the list of fun things to do.

The things I want you to do when traveling for adventure are these: explore local museums, restaurants, poetry open nights, beach activities, or animal-adventures, such as swimming with the dolphins. You can go kayaking, plank or do pushups in the water, do a 100 squats challenge, or try skydiving. Your goal is to meet new people and learn new skills. Meeting new birds counts, too!

I want you to get healthier as a result of this self-care adventure. Be wise and prudent, don’t be foolish. You are valuable, remember this! No going to dark places or random boats with strangers! But trying to save a baby shark is cool, so do it!

And share your experiences with me in the comments below. I want to cheer you on. This self-care challenge is new to me, so I definitely will use this blog post to update you on my travel adventures.

100 Squats Challenge - Siesta Key Beach Sarasota FL

Travel Adventure Ideas and Tips

  1. Decide where you want to go and just go
  2. Don’t worry about the weather, decide to have fun regardless
  3. Bring your own picnic and drinks to have a good time and save money
  4. Make your travel adventure a road trip
  5. Listen to an interesting audiobook while driving
  6. Ensure you have cash and change in case you need those
  7. Bring a blanket and some extra-towels to nap outside
  8. Talk to people genuinely and see how God will use you
  9. Be open to opportunities to glorify God and honor Him
  10. Be wise and avoid doing stupid things you may regret later
Frugal Travel Adventure Ideas and Tips by Anna Szabo

Travel Adventure Blogs

  1. The Blonde Abroad – Solo Female Travel Blog
  2. Adventurous Kate – Solo Female Travel Blog
  3. Be My Travel Muse – Solo Female Travel Blog
  4. World of Wanderlust – Solo Female Travel Blog
  5. The Wandering Blonde – Solo Female Travel Blog
  6. Girl about the Globe – Solo Female Travel Blog
  7. Jessie on a Journey – Solo Female Travel Blog
  8. Young Adventuress – Solo Female Travel Blog
  9. Traveling by Faith Alone – Alison Karlene
  10. The Reasons To Travel Solo at Least Once in Your Life
Travel Adventure Blogs - Solo Female Travel Blog

Travel Adventure Quotes

Solo travel adventures are scary yet liberating. It’s the best way to learn to trust God completely and practice good discernment in real-life settings.

Anna Szabo (click to tweet)

Hitting the open road and feeling the wind in one’s hair easily goes down as one of the most liberating things to enjoy.

Hostelgeeks (click to tweet)

I quit my job to travel the world alone in 2010. Nine years later, I’ve traveled to 83 countries and all seven continents! Oh, and I never went back to a “real” job. 

Kate McCulley (click to tweet)

My vision of a better world is one where more women are empowered, brave, and confident in their abilities. Where we explore other cultures, spend more time in nature, and come to love our world more. Solo traveling is the best thing I’ve found to promote these qualities. We become the chief architect of our own destiny. Everything is new and our entire surroundings are an opportunity to grow. 

Kristin Addis (click to tweet)

Life was not meant to be lived in one place.

Brooke Saward (click to tweet)

Traveling solo empowers you and when you’ve done it once, there will be no stopping you.

Girl about the Globe (click to tweet)

You do not have to wait until you have a ton of money or a travel partner to start traveling now… Explore the globe and enrich your life with unique local encounters.

Jessica Festa (click to tweet)

Everyone has specific characteristics that affect the way they travel.  Being a young, solo female traveler, I make choices that large, fearless men would scoff at.  Similarly, my religious beliefs greatly affect the way I travel. Being a Christian abroad can be equally as difficult as it is rewarding.  While there are times I reluctantly hide my faith, am mocked for it, or find myself out of my element; I have also been challenged, supported, and encouraged along the way.

Alison Karlene (click to tweet)
Siesta Key Beach - Anna Szabo

Summary

This was my first solo female travel blog. I shared with you about my travel adventures and also gave you some great resources in case you decide to travel solo, explore the world, and see what God can do in and through you.

Traveling solo is empowering. After just these two road-trips, I feel empowered! I feel free, independent, alive, and strong. I feel adventurous, joyful, excited, and curious. I feel creative and happy!

Disclaimer: the solo female travel blog options provided above are examples and not my recommendations. I personally did not read all the content on those websites and do not necessarily endorse them. I shared the blogs only for your quick reference in case you need some tips, considering that this article is the only resource I’ve created on this topic so far.

In this post, I shared some travel adventure blogs. I also provided some quotes to encourage you to try solo traveling for adventure.

You got ten travel adventure ideas and tips from me here, and I hope you feel inspired to go somewhere where you can be challenged, where God can use you for His divine purpose, and where you can meet new people, as well as learn new things.

Solo-travel expanded my horizons and helped me grow.

I told you some of my stories: how I was depressed and suicidal due to abuse and how I survived and thrive today. The healing journey for me began by discovering what God says about me. From there, I committed to living life fully engaged and fully alive. Now, we are here: I’m healthy and whole traveling solo to minister to people and to glorify God!

As a result of my journey, today, I help women see themselves the way God sees them. I’ve specifically been focusing on identity in Christ. From the Bible, I discovered 52 incredibly-positive things God says about us as His daughters. Those 52 precious discoveries turned into 52 Biblical affirmations I created to encourage and empower Christian women. 

To help share this life-changing information with you, I created an ebook called #52Devotionals. Download it now for free

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