I can see you. You have 30 different tabs open on your laptop and a notebook beside you. You are scribbling down prices, city names, restaurants, and hotels. You have tripadvisor open and you are scrolling through “Things To Do In _____.” You have calculated to the last possible decimal point how much money you’ll have to save, in order to live off of €50/day. How do I know all of this? Because I’ve been there. But I haven’t always been this travel savvy.
Up until a month before I turned 22 (in 2010), I didn’t even own a passport. Travel was always a faraway dream for me. It was something I aspired to do, but never actually thought would happen. I didn’t want it to be just a dream, so I made it a reality. Easier said than done, you say. But it’s really not. Solo travel doesn’t have to mean spending thousands of dollars on a plane ticket halfway across the world. Solo travel isn’t about where you go, it’s about how it makes you feel and how it changes you. And it will change you.
I had social anxiety. I didn’t like speaking to strangers and I worked in retail. Imagine that. I had barely gone to the mall by myself let alone thought of traveling to a completely different city. The sheer thought of me eating alone was unfathomable. What would people say? What would people think? “Oh look at that loser, eating alone. She probably has no friends.” The thing is, NOBODY CARES. I’m telling you right now, nobody, and I mean nobody, cares. When I see someone eating alone, I smile and go on with my day – and so does everybody else. And if they’re not, they’re probably thinking how much they wish they had the courage to eat alone.
I remember sitting in front of my computer and heavily debating whether to just book the trip. My friends couldn’t come with me as their spring break did not fall on the same week as mine. For those not in school, getting time off was an issue that couldn’t be fixed. And then I thought to myself, why waste such an amazing opportunity out of fear? The trip was 4 night cruise, docking in Key West and Cozumel. I had the money, I had the time off, why not go? And so I did.
It was the best decision I ever made. As soon as that seatbelt sign went off and I looked out the window and saw those puffy, white clouds – I knew that I was about to embark on an incredible journey and that there was no stopping me.
The great thing about solo travel is you’re in control. If you want to spend 5 hours in a museum, you can. If you want to extend your stay in a city, you can. If you want to eat gelato for every meal, by God, you most certainly can!
I have traveled over 70,000 miles in FOUR YEARS. If there was unlimited fuel in a plane, I could almost go around the Earth 3 times. 5 years ago, I never would’ve thought that I would have seen so much, done so much, and met so many incredible people. That never would have happened had I not taken that risk. So take yours!
My very first solo trip! 2011!