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Going it alone takes guts, I’m not going to beat around the bush about that. The first time that I was traveling solo was when I was 13 years old. I went on a plane from New York to California by myself. It was a bit nerve-racking, especially since the flight attendant was supposed to check on me and never did. That’s neglect lady! Any who, now that I’m older I have traveled a lot more by myself, and more than just a plane ride. Traveling on your own is an experience unto itself.
This past summer I went alone to Europe, for the first part of the trip anyway. I went to Ireland completely alone. I’m not going to lie, there were times before the trip that I thought it was going to be a terrible mistake. But what really pushed me was that it was going to be an experience. I could do whatever I wanted, when I wanted. I wouldn’t have to consult with anyone! Ah the freedom! I’m also pretty terrible about being with someone 24/7. Don’t get me wrong, I love people, I just don’t want you in my face 24 hours a day! What wound up happening in Ireland was one of my favorite experiences of my life!
I stayed in a hostel while I was in Dublin. The hostel in Dublin was awesome, super safe, clean, and centrally located! However, that wasn’t the best part! I met some of the nicest people in the world. Now before I get carried away, there were a couple girls in my room that I didn’t click with. There were 6 beds in total, but 3 of us really hit it off! We hit it off so well that we actually wound up going on excursions together.
I can still remember waking them up at about 7am to go to Kilmainham Gaol. They thanked me later when we met the gorgeous Irish man who was our guide. What was especially wonderful is that it was really relaxed. Some days we’d go out on an adventure together, some we’d just met up for dinner. It was really enjoyable to share an experience like that with others with no pressure.
Time alone allows not only for freedom, but for the opportunity to think. It would take me posts and posts to write about all I thought. The short version is, it put me more in tune with what’s important to me.
Before I left, a friend gave me a journal complete with pen and glue stick! This was the best gift I could have gotten before I went. I used up the entire thing! Whenever I got the chance, I wrote down what I had done and my thoughts in general. I also pasted in ticket stubs, brochures, and other bits. Looking back I really can see a difference in myself over those three weeks. The journal is something I can keep forever, and know who I was then, and who I am now.
Cross Country Road Trip While Solo
Another trip I took while a lone traveller was a road trip across the United States. Many people told me that I was ludicrous for doing a solo road trip which took me through California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Canada (Toronto), Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. Just to break that down, that’s approximately 3,286 miles. I forgot to set my odometer before I left so I’m sure there at least 50 or so miles unaccounted for, but 3,286 is a good guess. It took me 4.5 days to do this. Note to all drivers, take a break while driving. You will get burnt out. I stopped for two days in Chicago and a day in Canada. And yes, the last few hours of my trip I went into “am I there yet” syndrome! It’s not just for kids! However, I am incredibly proud I did this cross country road trip.
A Lone Traveller
Driving by yourself isn’t all that bad. It actually gives you a lot of time to think. Anything and everything pops into your head on that stretch of road. You find out how quickly it takes you to get bored as well. For me, that wasn’t long. I found myself listening to audiobooks to pass the time. Let me just say Peter Pan is boring to listen to, but Game of Thrones audiobook is amazing!
All in all I’d say solo travel is a rewarding experience that everyone should do at least once in their life. Young or old, try it if you haven’t. It takes nerve, but you’ll thank me later once you’ve done it! You won’t ever regret it!