Travelling Solo

The most common questions I’ve had when people have asked about my recent European road trip are all to do with the fact that I did it by myself. There have been a lot of ‘weren’t you scared?’ and ‘didn’t you get lonely?’ and ‘but you didn’t really do it all by yourself, did you?’, so today I just want to talk a little bit about what it was really like.

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Firstly, with the exception of my birthday weekend in Disneyland Paris, and my last day, yes, I was 100% unaccompanied on my travels. I did all the planning and all the driving and all the adventuring by myself, and that was exactly how I had planned it. Not only was it about doing it for myself, but being alone also gave me so much more flexibility in terms of being able to go wherever I wanted and do whatever I wanted. It also meant I only had myself to worry about; if anything had gone wrong, I wouldn’t have to stress about the safety of another person, or have another person stressing around me to make things worse.

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Now it also meant I was a lot more efficient. I’m a fast walker, and don’t tend to hang around too much, so not having anyone around to slow me down resulted in me spending a lot less time on certain things: museums, general wandering around etc, so I found myself travelling through places a lot quicker than I had intended. When I had planned the trip, I thought I would easily be able to fill days just ambling around towns, taking in sights etc – which I could do in some places, but not everywhere – so I quickly had to change strategies, instead spending more time (and money) on museums and other attractions. I also had to change my own mindframe a little; slowing my walking pace, learning to enjoy sitting in cafes and keeping my brain a little busier at times.

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Yes, I did feel nervous and a little scared at times, but this always went away. I’m a hugely anxious person at the best of times, so rocking up to motels late at night or parking in side streets did have me a little worried, but for me it was a huge comfort having my car. Not only was it a home comfort having my own car instead of some rental, but it also meant that if for any reason I had felt unsafe anywhere, I could have just upped and moved onto the next place, and if something really awful had happened, I could have just driven home.

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Lonely? Sure, a little bit sometimes. It was especially bad the day or two after my family left, but I kept in contact with a lot of people while I was away; I texted my mum pretty much every day, and had Facebook and Whatsapp to keep up with friends in the evenings when I had wifi. The truth of the matter, though, is that I’m quite happy with just myself for company, and I knew that when I planned the trip. Generally, I kept my day packed with activities, then enjoyed peaceful evenings of reading and writing, or watching cheesy local television!

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As for the driving, it was actually considerably easier than I thought it would be. I maybe even enjoyed it! Before this trip I’d never driven more than maybe 2 hours in one go, yet I threw myself in at the deep end with 3+ hour drives most days. Car time pretty much meant singing along loudly to CDs and conversations with my satnav, while forever keeping a close eye on my petrol gauge! I could not have done the trip without a satnav, even though I did buy a regular atlas too, and the truth of the matter is that driving was probably when my brain was most pre-occupied, and I had some incredible views!

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But really the greatest part of doing this trip solo was the feeling of empowerment, not just during the trip, but also going back into real life. At times, I felt like I could do anything, and the cool thing was, I could! I changed my plans a few times, ate what I wanted, went where I wanted, even if at times it meant worrying about my budget a little. I found places I loved, sometimes completely by accident, and I could enjoy and appreciate them without needing the approval of others to do so.

Part of me still can’t believe I really did it, and I’m so proud of myself for it. (And I don’t feel silly about feeling proud of myself). I’ve come home with new found confidence, and a whole new perspective, and I would 100% recommend doing something like this to anyone, at least once in your life. You’ll discover the world, and discover yourself.

Adventure is out there!

xo

2 thoughts on “Travelling Solo

  1. Traveling alone changed everything for me.
    I loved it for the same exact reasons! I traveled through Thailand for three weeks, but I definitely want to do a road trip around Europe too!

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