• Nikki Vergakes


Two weekends ago, I took myself on a solo retreat trip. The idea to do this came from a place of darkness, when I was looking for the light. I'm not totally out of the darkness, either. I am in a bit of a better place than I was, however.

This trip idea stemmed from an anxiety-ridden panic attack in the middle of the night. The kind that keeps you up. The kind that makes you question every one of your life choices, including what color socks you wore that day. Thankfully, my loving and supportive partner was there for me that night - and every night. He is actually the one that recommended that I take a weekend off. "Tell everybody no for one weekend, get away so you can reflect for one weekend." That's exactly what I needed.

Of course, I can't do anything just "normally", so of course I had to book an airbnb on a seaside Rhode Island town. If I was going to be secluded and serene, why not go all out?

Many of my problems started when I was in an emotionally abusive relationship at the end of high school that lasted to the beginning of college. I often wonder how things would be different if I wasn't - but I would drive myself even more mad if I ruminated on that too much. I just need to focus on now - being more mindful and finding my true self.

Since getting out of that relationship, I've been constantly trying to prove myself to every person I encounter, including myself. In college, I became so focused on achieving, no matter what field or task it was in. I didn't have time to think about what I truly wanted or who I was. I now have to catch up on finding who I am, and what the path for my life is. If that means solo trips, that's fine with me.

I want to think and breathe deeper. I want to create more meaningful relationships with people. I want to do what I truly love - and find what that is. I want to be more honest with myself and others, and live a more authentic life.

I decided to fill the weekend with meditation, journaling, hiking, photography, writing and of course - eating. Journaling really helped me reflect - it actually was how I reflected the most. I also set clear goals for the weekend. I wanted to have future pathways for me to explore, because thinking beyond the next five minutes has been hard for me. I got caught up - and obsessed with just checking to-do's off the list. I definitely still retreat to that place, it's a place of comfort to me. Checking quick things off of the list gives me a fast sense of accomplishment, which I thrive off of.

Through journaling and introspection, I was able to find out many truths about myself as I mentioned above. This is just the beginning of my journey, and I look forward to seeing where it takes me.

I learned some valuable lessons about myself and my future that I'd love to share with you.

1. The Importance of Eating Alone

You know what happens when you eat alone at a restaurant? No one stars. The world doesn't stop spinning. you don't have to split the tip, and you bet better service.

Sweet potato pasta with local mushrooms from Stoneacre Brasserie in Newport, RI (left), and Avocado toast with a poached egg and radishes from Syndey. I would recommend both. Stoneacre was delectably indulgent and had great service. You get a few amuse-bouches to start every meal. I did about three hours of work at Syndey and soaked in the eats and atmosphere at Syndey, and felt truly at home.

2. The Benefits of Journaling

Journaling is a time where I can admit things to myself that I wouldn't normally out loud. I learn more about myself.

3. Traveling alone is Hard....

I wanted to turn around and go home so many times. I tried to convince myself that the idea of the trip was silly, and so was I. You have to really get vulnerable with yourself, and want to get to know yourself.

Have you ever traveled alone before? I'd love to continue this conversation on Instagram or e-mail.

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