Seems like another fun topic to write on. So, here’s my take.
I think everyone should travel alone at least once in their life. It may seem scary, but my motto for scary things is to do them, and then they aren’t scary anymore.
The thought of traveling alone scared me too at one point, so I booked myself a weekend in Germany not knowing a soul including the person I was staying with. I met her online at Couchsurfing. We exchanged a few emails and it seemed good enough for me. Another girl I met on the same site picked me up from the airport and then dropped me off to meet the girl I was staying with, it was perfect. I liked them both! And I had a great weekend seeing the sites in and around Frankfurt.
My next solo adventure happened more recently. Last year I quit my job so that I could do some more traveling overseas and then move to a new city upon my return. I know three weeks in not nearly long enough for backpacking through Europe but it’s the longest vacation I’d ever had as an adult. You have to start somewhere. Take the leap, whatever it is! It’s worth it!
I spent the first part of my three weeks in Europe with a friend, we visited another friend and met some more fun Couchsurfing hosts. It was a great time (see Spain, Copenhagen and Oslo). The second half of my European adventure was solo (see Belgium and Amsterdam). I did have a great time on my own. I had no one to answer to. I could get off the train when I wanted to. I could eat when I wanted to. But of course I also enjoyed the time I spent with my hosts and new friends I met wandering the cities. It is true that when you are alone you seem to step more outside your comfort zone. However, travel to any foreign city is a step outside the comfort zone so it just depends on how far you want to push yourself. For me, I like to keep pushing. Life starts when you’re outside your comfort zone!
My last solo adventure was a long delay at the Dulles airport. As you know, I love adventure. Stay at the airport or go out and explore? Of course I went out to explore! I wished that I was able to go downtown but being conscious of the budget and time I asked what I could do that was close to the airport. I ended up at the National Air and Space Museum. What a cool place?! I got to see the Discovery space shuttle that I saw land in California in my youth. Talk about full circle. I also saw the concord. What a shame that it’s sitting there but so cool that I could see it. This museum was a great treat for a traveler, having spent a lot of time in airplanes. I highly recommend the trip if you are in the Washington DC airport. You can catch a shuttle for a dollar, one way.
The shuttle! That reminds me of the kindness of strangers. On solo adventures you can’t help but ask for help sometimes. I asked so many people at the Dulles airport where the dollar shuttle was. Well, on a holiday apparently everyone had a different answer. Finally found another couple that was having the same issue. They were also under a time crunch so they offered to share a cab. Sure, anything to leave the airport at this point, I was so close. I only had a 20 and some cards but they didn’t let me pay at all. Believe in nice! Then on the way back to the airport I found out the shuttle only takes exact change. Problem. So I asked anyone if they could spare a dollar because I didn’t have change. A kind man gave me a dollar and I offered to get change and he said don’t worry about it. Believe in nice. Sometimes I forget that nice really does exist. More than I think sometimes. Thank you strangers for making my short stay in Dulles an extraordinary memory.
Cheers to solo adventures and travels abroad! May you have many!
P.S. Amsterdam is a place I recommend with a group, not solo. It’s like Vegas on steroids, best visited with a group.