I always thought of myself as someone who was outgoing, determined, and brave. But, in my safety bubble of suburbia and college towns, it was apparent that I never put those descriptions to the test. When I traveled completely alone I was never more unsure of myself (although moving away to college comes in a close second). I’ve learned some amazing things, some ideas that I really can’t comprehend still. But below are some lessons that I got to take away from my first solo travel.
Eating alone is…well…lonely
I spent my first night in Dublin exploring the Temple Bar District and spent too much money on an average meal. What I was warned about, yet didn’t fully realize till I did it myself, was how weird it can be to eat alone. I ended up mooching of the restaurant’s wifi and eavesdropping on a nearby table full of high schoolers from Maine. After that night, I went to the nearby supermarket and picked out the food I would want to eat for dinner and bring it back to the hostel cafeteria. Not only was this a cheaper option, but I got to actually sit with people and talk with new travelers.
I like to stop and smell the roses
literally and figuratively. On my second day I spent the morning at Trinity College and Grafton Street. It probably takes twenty minutes to walk all of Grafton Street, I but I spent three hours there! I found a bookstore/coffee shop and set up camp there for lunch. I couldn’t think of a better way to spent the morning than to take a step back and self reflect in a very aesthetically pleasing environment. If I was traveling with anyone else though, I don’t think I’d gain that experience.
I know I can be independent and confident
I never thought of myself as a dependent person but if there was ever a test to see, this was it! When I say I traveled by myself, I did it all. I researched by myself, chose the location, and paid for it. Also as a personal victory, I never asked for directions. The first moment I got off the airplane I was overwhelmed with the magnitude of what I was doing. And again when I was walking to the hostel I couldn’t believe where I was. But I did it. And I never could decide if I was the type of person who could travel solo.
I know I love home
Some solo travelers I met expressed their need to get away from everything in their old life. I learned that I really have no reason to travel for the sake of running. I love my life, my home, and my people. I was so excited to come home and tell them about my adventures and to sleep in my own bed. Not everyone get bitten by the travel bug on their first trip, and that’s 100% okay.
I know I’ll do it again
That being said, nothing about this trip swore me away from traveling again. I loved the independence I gained, the friends I made, the stories I get to tell, and the adventure I conquered all by myself. Before I head back to school, you’ll definitely be seeing me pack my bags.
What’s something that you learned after you traveled solo?