Summer 2017, the first time that I traveled completely by myself. The thought of wandering alone use to scare me only because I could never could recall a time where I was ever walking the streets by myself. But I guess when it is something you feel like you have to do, you do it regardless of fear.
In 2016 I made the decision to travel across the sea and unfortunately none of my friends were able to accompany me. Being the impatient person that I am I then decided that I was going to spend some time in England no matter if I was going alone or not. I was done waiting for people and I felt that if I spent my whole life waiting for someone I would be wasting time wishing I hadn’t waited for anyone.
When I booked my trip and started to talk about how excited I was people would ask me, “who are you going with?”. When I said I going alone people then would follow up with a series of things, “are you scared?”, “your’re crazy”, “be careful, it’s dangerous”, “why don’t you wait for someone to go with you” or “didn’t you see the news?”. I knew people were just showing me they care or worried about my well-being but I didn’t let those thoughts get to me. Sure, I was nervous but I was determined to go and I didn’t want think “what if”.
I have come to find that I don’t mind being alone simply because my own company is always enjoyable. Traveling alone helped me discover more things about myself and allowed me to self reflect. For me, independence is a big thing but then again it’s probably because I grew with parents who metaphorically threw me in the deep end to try to teach me how to swim. Going to another country was sort of like that for me because I had to be this person who would rely solely on myself with the help of strangers.
On that note, one of my favorite things about my trip was meeting new people. I asked them about themselves and they told me their stories. I found that people were friendly and willing to help. When with a friend, it is easy to pay no attention to others around you and stick to each others company whereas, traveling alone you are somewhat forced to talk to others around you. Once you speak to the people around you, you start to truly understand that everyone has their story to tell and listening to real life stories grants you satisfaction. An example of this is when I was on a four hour train ride to Scotland from England. I met this old man who talked my ear off about his lovely family and community at home. He told me about the life he had lived which was pretty neat.
Another thing that I enjoyed was making my own plans and doing them on my own time. For the days that weren’t planned it was my chance to do what I liked and in all honesty, I played it by ear. Even when I met up with my tour group, we had some free time in which no one was obligated to stay together. Having things planned is a great thing but there are times when “going with the flow” makes an adventure within itself.
At the end of my trip, traveling solo made me feel like I could accomplish anything. It felt like I had conquered the world in a sense that I earned my place in it. People thought I was crazy for going alone but maybe that is the whole point. We, as people, should do some crazy things every once in a while or even the things we fear. Traveling alone should be encourage. Read about a place, do your research and book the ticket. It doesn’t even have to be to another county, it could be to a city an hour away from your house. The point is to put yourself out there in a way you haven’t done before. You can travel alone without completely being alone. The world is a wonderful place and it would be ashamed to miss it because you were waiting on someone else or because you were scared.