My mom told me right before I left, “If one thing goes right in a day of traveling, count it as a good day.”
When traveling alone in a foreign place, this could not be more true.
Just this past weekend, I decided that I wanted to visit Cardiff, Wales for a concert. This was going to be my first weekend of traveling alone, and I was absolutely terrified and so excited all at the same time. Traveling alone is extremely important simply because you are left alone to your own devices. You can’t rely on someone else’s knowledge or excitement to help you figure out obstacles or take you to see the coolest attractions in a city. Thus, you are left to problem solve and explore on your own! I was told before I came that the trip you take on your own will probably be your best. I would warn fellow travelers, however: taking your first trip by yourself to a completely new place it absolutely exhilarating, terrifying, and transformative.
With this in mind, it is important to recognize that most likely, nothing will go how you imagined! And that is okay! My original plans were to take the Eurostar (one of the fast trains that can take you under the English channel!) from Brussels to London, then jump on a Megabus and head to Cardiff. However, halfway through our journey on the Eurostar, a problem in the Channel Tunnel delayed my arrival time by 5o minutes. Thus, when I finally arrived at Victoria Coach Station, I had missed my first Megabus (only £6), and missed my second bus simply because I was dumb enough to buy a ticket for the wrong date (there goes another £22). Finally, two hours later, I found myself on the third Megabus that I had a ticket for (£20) and was off to Cardiff!
Though arriving and willing myself to explore a dark, foreign city by myself on my first day took a lot of confidence that I didn’t seem to have, I cannot describe how exhilarating it was to not have to constantly worry about the people around you as you explore this new city. Without the distractions that come with traveling in a group, you are able to notice and appreciate the little parts of the city you would never notice in a group. Though traveling in a group is a beautiful and fun experience in itself, traveling alone allows you to notice new details about a city, or meet exciting new people, or even eat at a restaurant you would never even try if you were in a group.
Though it can be scary and exhausting to travel and explore alone, it is an experience I will never forget, and am dying to try once more, even if absolutely nothing goes to plan!