Some of you may know that I’ve dipped my toes into the world of solo travelers last week, as I’ve tried to update my Instagram feed and stories as I went.
I chose to visit Stockholm, as it was a place that intrigued me, that I knew was not too far out from France in Europe, and was still a country that excels at English communications! Also, I knew the interior design stores would bring me so much joy!
I think it’s hard to describe how I’m really feeling towards this experience, and while I was being there I couldn’t tell exactly. I’ve tried to gather my thoughts in this post, and by taking a step back, I’m sure now it was a great experience. That’s why I’m hoping this article will guide those of you who are hesitating over taking the leap.
I’m glad I’ve challenged myself
I do believe that setting yourself challenges in life is a way to evolve and make progress, as well as sprucing it up a little. And I’ve challenged myself with this trip in many ways.
First, by traveling abroad, and that means getting around without ending up totally lost (although I have a pretty good sense of direction, I think, I managed to go in the wrong direction a couple of times).
I’ve also done things I never usually do like eating at the restaurant alone. I’m not gonna lie, it was super hard the first time I did it. Like the first restaurant I went, on my first night in Stockholm, I spent a good amount of time texting a friend on WhatsApp, it totally made me feel less alone. But eventually it got better and I just couldn’t care less in the end. I only ate in the flat twice over the course of 4 days so it’s very surprising. I spent more money on food than I did on goodies to bring back home. But it’s okay, I like food and trying out restaurants so it’s all good, I don’t regret it!
Speaking up was also a challenge. It may be surprising as I write and read in English constantly on the Internet, but I rarely ever speak English so I feel uneasy quite quickly when I have to. It’s also made worse by the fact that I’m incredibly shy.
I wish I had someone to share the moments with
I’m very independent in my day-to-day life, as I already live alone and do things on my own at the weekend, so it didn’t change much on that front, and in any case having to discover a new city gave me purpose and rhythm to my days. But on the contrary, I can feel lonely rapidly, which is always a state that can bring me down so fast and play with my mood.
Traveling with a buddy often means laughing at the little things, fangirling over a few purchases, but also sharing the anxiety if you find yourself in a nerve-racking situation. It suddenly becomes half stressful if you have someone by your side, doesn’t it?
It was exhausting but I wouldn’t waste any minute
I get bored pretty easily if I stay in one place doing the exact same thing for several days and this means my kind of traveling is all about discovering new places and soaking up the views.
It certainly doesn’t allow much time for leisure which means I was dead tired at the end of the day (some people wouldn’t call it a holiday then, I know), but being alone also meant I could organize my days as I intended to. I took a break when I couldn’t go on, got back on track, stopped for a photo (or two), walked in a direction just to see what was around the corner, went back where I came from, etc.
The best way to discover a city in my opinion is by foot, and if the city was so confusing at first (I mean, it is part of an archipelago of 30 000 islands, yep, not making that up), I’m very glad to know more about it after 4 days, and I’m pretty chuffed to be able to locate the neighborhoods and that I « kind of know my way around » now. Of course, I’m not saying I’ll keep all this in mind until my next visit, but for the time being, I’m happy with all the added knowledge.
It’s a positive experience
I feel more independent and ready to do it again. Because yes, I’ll probably do it again. Being alone doesn’t restrict you in any way. You shouldn’t stay home just because you have no one to go on a trip with (if you like traveling as much as I do and you can afford it, of course).
So even if that wasn’t really my original plan for this Summer holiday, and that I planned this all in a flash, I’m really grateful for the experiences and for what 2017 brought me in terms of travel so far. Looking back I was really lucky to visit my father’s family this February, to go on a road trip with one of my oldest and dearest friends in May, to spend a weekend in the south west of France in June, to go on my first solo trip and to hopefully take some time completely off with my parents at the end of the month in Corsica.
If you’ve been itching to go on a holiday by yourself, do it. Maybe you’ll love it, maybe you’ll hate it. But at least you’ll know. And no one says it has to be a long trip. A day spent in another city is already a great adventure!
Have you ever been on a solo trip? What was it like for you?