There's nothing wrong with indulging in 'me, myself and I' – especially when life gets a bit much. And when it comes to self-care, travelling solo is at the top of our list
I'm sitting near the window in Brehon Bar, at Knockranny House Hotel, overlooking the town of Westport. In the distance, the clouds have lifted and the peak of Croagh Patrick has come into view. I'm happy. I'm relaxed. More than I've been in a long time.
Have you ever felt like life is getting a bit... much? Please say I'm not the only one. Between work deadlines, puppy-training and countless personal issues (namely finances, health and social pressures), my mind has been feeling overwhelmed of late. Which is why, this week, I decided to get away.
Just me; nobody else. Time to unwind and escape it all.
'Oh really? But... why?'
I boarded the train in Dublin and didn't look back. With every field that passed, with every cow and sheep I counted, I quite literally left my troubles behind.
Some people hate doing things alone. When I told people I'd be travelling to Mayo by myself, spending two nights in solitude, I was met with raised eyebrows and a lot of, "Oh really? But... why?"
To me, travelling solo is therapy. I get to sort my thoughts; look out at the world, think and gain perspective. Since starting this article, the previously visible Croagh Patrick has disappeared behind a raincloud; a flock of birds is flying speedily past and a black cat is darting through the flowerbeds towards shelter. And me? I'm in Brehon Bar, in awe of it all.
The world is much bigger than my problems. If I had come here with someone, I'd be unloading my negative energy onto them. Here, as I enjoy a pint of Bulmers by the fire, I can see the bigger picture. There's a lot to be said for peace and quiet (and a lot more to be said for the calmness of the West).
Lots to do
"But what will you DO?!" is another question I heard a lot; as though I'm incapable of functioning without company.
"I'll do lots," I replied.
This is my second night here at Knockranny House. I've already enjoyed a massage and a facial in Spa Salveo; I finally got back to the book I've been reading (Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman) and I watched a few nostalgic episodes of Sabrina the Teenage Witch in my luxurious king-sized bed.
I indulged in an extra-long shower. I spent time in the jacuzzi bath without feeling I was hogging it from somebody else. I slept in this morning without being wakened by somebody snoring or someone else's alarm.
I strolled into the town of Westport at my own pace. And the best part? I did it all on my schedule.
This time away has been for me, and as selfish as it might sound, I deserve it.
Photos: Knockranny House Hotel
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