Welcome to my very first blog post for The Art of Travelling Solo!
Travel has always held a very unique place in my heart. I simply love it. The excitement I feel when venturing somewhere new is one of my favourite moments in life. As it turns out, a lot of those ventures so far have been as a solo traveller. Now I like to consider myself to be a fairly strong-minded and confident person, but I have to admit that before and sometimes during every trip, there lies within me a dash of nervous apprehension about travelling by myself.
Personally, travelling solo is not something that’s always been intentional. For no other reason, it’s just simply the way things have worked out. It seemed easier the younger and less inhibited I was of course, because that’s what you do when you’re young and have the means; hop on a plane and explore the world – you fit right in. When I first travelled alone though, I sought safety in numbers, I followed the well worn paths and the crowds. It’s only recently that I have felt truly comfortable travelling by myself. I think it comes from the fact that I know what I want from my trips now, and I’m not afraid to delve away from the comfort of the usual tourist trails and be my own navigator.
These days when I travel I love finding hidden gems, whether it’s boutiques, restaurants, delis or cafes unique to a place and populated with locals. I cherish the fact that when I travel alone I can set my own itinerary. I can pick the places I truly want to see, avoid the ones I don’t (even if the guidebook lists them as ‘must-sees’!) and take my time to wander, pause, photograph, read, people-watch, and most importantly, relax in my own company.
Of course sometimes I have moments where I suddenly long for a travel companion – even for just one minute. Such as the time I had a spectacular pavement dive right outside the Musee D’Orsay in Paris but with no one by my side to laugh it off with. Or when my dear granddad died the day after I arrived on a three-month work trip to Uganda. These are the moments when the challenges of being by yourself present themselves suddenly, and sometimes cruelly. Ultimately though, I know that am a better traveller, and a stronger person for them.
So I hope you enjoy my blog posts and find something relevant for your own journeys. Whether it’s your first time, or your hundredth, travelling solo is one of life’s greatest of pleasures. And if I can say one thing about it then it would be this – try it, just once. It’s one of the most important gifts you can ever give yourself, something that will truly enrich you on every level. So go! Master the art of travelling solo!