A lot of people ask me why do I travel by myself? or if I feel lonely? or the most typical, am I scared about traveling alone?…
There are many reasons why I travel on my own. I also travel with friends or family and sometimes I even bring my dog (although it’s been a while). But not everyone has the opportunity as I do or the ‘time’. Most of my friends are working full-time or with kids. So it’s not as easier for them as it is for me. I work from wherever I have my laptop and even with my phone, it makes it easier.
After I was done with college in 2008, it was super hard for me to get a job (digital filmmaking and video production, they just wanted me as a freelancer – this during the economical crisis). I was already making videos/photography about trips for Acceso Total 29. So I thought, let’s travel, keep making videos for this blog and after a year or so, I’ll come back to Florida for a (regular) job. I didn’t.
Of course, while traveling, friends from South Florida were making their own life, friends from Venezuela started to move to other countries (thanks to the political situation in my country -but great because I get to visit them 🙂 – ). It was even harder for them to travel with me. And I’m not gonna change a plan just because someone can’t make it. Unless they can make it another time…
My 1st time alone, naturally I felt weird and didn’t know much about what to do. It was when I went to Paris for 2 months that I first made a stop in London and during the day I just walked around the city while some friends were at work, later at night we were hanging out. Then, it was Paris, stayed alone for 2 weeks before my sister in law came to live with me for a while. I think after that time, strolling Paris, visiting museums, having few lunch at some cafes and sometimes a snack at Jardin des Tuileries or Jardin du Luxembourg, started to feel good.
Before that, I only drove to some towns nearby but never stayed the night. Plus, I’ve been living alone since I was 18 years old.
I think it makes you stronger and you get to know more about yourself. I also believe that ‘being alone’ is just a feeling, try not to think about it. If strolling around a town, there are so many people around you that you shouldn’t feel alone. I always recommend to friends to go on a solo trip at least once. Come on! Do it! You know you want to 😉
Eating alone I think it was the difficult part for me. I mean, I could eat alone at home, but going to a restaurant by myself ‘party of one, please’ it was a bit scary. That time in London I just went to a Starbucks and grabbed a sandwich with coffee because I’ve done it before and I wasn’t the only one eating alone. I guess little step by step will help.
Then in Paris, although I usually tried eating at home, I decided that I needed to go to a restaurant and have a meal with myself. Plus I think it was a good city to start, I could see at a lot of restaurant and cafes people on their own having coffee or a small dish. I visited an Italian restaurant close to where I was living. Yeah, a mix of cultures haha. But it looked good, it wasn’t that crowded at that time so I just gave it try. I actually had wine and a delicious dish. The waiter started talking with me, even asking why I was alone. Plus great time to practice the little French I was learning.
A tip if you are a woman traveling by yourself. Most of the time, I say boyfriend is feeling a bit sick in the room, he’ll join me later or friends decided to go shopping instead. It’s not common if I say I’m alone. Ladies… always trust your instincts!
You’ll get better at taking ‘selfies’ or ask someone to take your pic! I have a ‘selfie stick’ but I don’t like it, I got it for some things but not to be traveling with it at all times. And I also think it’s a good opportunity to meet new people by asking someone to take your photo. Most of the time I look for a family or a couple and ask them if they want me to take their picture as well. I think those selfies stick is something to push you away from being social, ask someone! Talk to people!
Why not in a relationship and go with your boyfriend? Well… it’s been kind of difficult to find a great guy to travel with me. Since I keep going around, they all have to work at an office, even when all of them (not all my boyfriends, but guys I met lol) tell me ‘I love traveling too’ but they rarely do it. And if I meet a great guy on a trip, they usually have a girlfriend or it’s too complicated to be with someone who doesn’t even live in your country… so.. it’s been difficult. Of course, when I find that wanderer as me and he also really wants to see the world (even if he has a job at an office), I guess I’ll stop traveling on my own… well, maybe 🙂
Friends? I do travel with friends! Sometimes. While in Madrid, my friend Paty and I try to visit a different city every time I am over there. in 2014 we went to Ireland, and 3 different places in Spain (Galicia -various cities-, Valencia and Majorca). In 2015 we went to Paris (her 1st time) and to Copenhagen (my 1st time). We had so much fun on those trips. When Ana and I started Acceso Total 29, we also went to so many places in Venezuela, around Florida and in Spain. Hopefully we can go on more trips together (with her husband who also loves traveling!) And a lot of friends always tell me to go on trips with them, and I can’t wait to do it and see more places.
My family, parents and brother, love traveling. I’ve been around in Europe few times with my parents, in Peru and Colombia too. With my brother so many places as well, including Mount Roraima or when we are ‘bored’ in town we drive somewhere or go biking or kayaking at a different park. It is always fun!
If you want to travel on your own, you can do it. You should do it at least once! Really! (am I being too pushy with this?) It is an amazing experience and you get to meet more people. I’ve met people during a flight, at a museum, coffee shop… I always recommend staying at a hostel because there are more solo travelers as you and you get to meet more people that maybe can join you to get to know that city. Not at a hostel? Trying different sites to meet local people or even other travelers. Otherwise, enjoy some ‘me time’ on your trip! Why not?
Maybe you are traveling alone, but would like to meet new friends, even travelers like you, use social media! I’ve meet wonderful friends just talking about my trips on Twitter. A while ago, in Spanish, there was a little conversation we had about our experiences. There are so many of those ‘chats’ I’ve read where you can share and learn about other travelers. And get to know them, maybe they’ll visit your city or you’ll go to theirs! Remember to follow me on Twitter, I’m always happy to meet new traveler friends and love showing around my city (either in Venezuela, South or Central Florida… even Madrid!)
Sometimes when traveling with companion, either family or friends, it gets a bit challenging to see everything you want to see. When I’m with my parents, they love to see everything they can, but of course they can’t keep my pace, sometimes they just go and take a nap at the hotel while I go out for a walk or to a sight I want to see. With friends everyone wants to do so many things that sometimes it’s not what you want. When I went to Copenhagen with a big group of friends, we just sat and ‘created’ a tour to see the most that we could, it was perfect! Although I wanted to see more, but I’ll come back haha. Traveling alone YOU get to see whatever YOU want to see, at the time you want to, eat at the place you want to, wake up at the time you want to… everything it’s about you and you get to decided whatever yo want to do without asking for opinion! Isn’t it great?
And the best part… enjoy the whole journey! You are traveling! You are seeing new things, having new experiences, trying new dishes and drinks… oh by the way, it’s okay to have 1-2 drinks, but never get drunk if you are alone. Enjoy your trip, it’s something you will never experience in the same way.
Are you ready for your solo trip?? Any tips you would like to add? Let me know!! 🙂