Twenty years from now – Musings of a solo female traveler

On 29 April 2016, I packed my bags and headed out on a week-long trip that would change my outlook forever. After eons of planning I finally set out on my first solo international trip which would culminate in a Girls’ weekend abroad before we all headed to our respective homes.

 

The days leading up to my trip were a roller coaster of emotions. Excitement about my impending departure, worries about my safety, managing people’s reactions as we broke the news of my trip and sadness, yes genuine sadness, at leaving behind the world’s best travel companion (the Hubby) to explore on my own.

The thrill of my fast approaching trip was tinged with doubts about my own sanity for choosing this path. I wondered if I would get bored or lonely. Should I have planned a shorter trip for my first solo experience? Or should I have picked a destination that would be easier to access in case of an emergency?

But even in my darkest moments, there was an inexplicable sense of calm. A part of me knew I was going to be okay. A part of me always knew. I sensed that this was an occasion where I had no choice. Not going was simply not an option.

My wanderlust heart called and my grounded head answered.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails.

Explore. Dream. Discover.

(Mark Twain)

For my trip I chose to spend 3 days in Vienna, followed by a day in Bratislava and a day in Salzburg before heading to Prague to meet up with four of my Gal Pals. Each of these destinations deserves separate posts of their own but for now, know that I loved every single moment of my trip. Every little doubt, every nagging worry was worth the sheer exhilaration of being out there on my own. I proved to the world, and more importantly to myself, that I can manage on my own.

And I learnt a few things along the way.

I learnt that being alone is not the worst thing in the world. I learnt that opinions matter – even the most mundane and absurd of them. I learnt that people can be surprisingly rude but also overwhelmingly kind. I learnt that a few days in the bosom of Mother Nature is the perfect balm for a city-weary soul. I learnt that you may never feel more alone than when you are surrounded by people but also that you are never more in tune with the world than when you travel alone. I learnt that wisdom is amplified through life experiences. I learnt that it is easier to find yourself in the silence of seclusion than in the cacophony of daily life. I learnt that there is strength in solitude and power in freedom.

I learnt that solo travel is something not everyone will understand. But it has been one of the most exhilarating, liberating and fulfilling experiences of my life.

Until next time…

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52 thoughts on “Twenty years from now – Musings of a solo female traveler

  1. Love this! I travelled for a month on my own a few years ago and left my very handy, rational, know-where-we- are at all times husband at home. I had some adventures let me tell you. I actually wrote a few on my blog!! But everything you say is true, it’s hard work at times but you learn so much about yourself at the same time that it was worth it all. Well done for putting it into words.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. O wow! A whole month? And here I was agonizing about a measly week! 😀 Will have to go back and root through your older posts to read more about those ‘adventures’ 🙂 Any hints on what I should be searching for?

      Like

    1. Wow! Coming from you Divya that is a real compliment 😀 So happy you liked my little corner of blogland 🙂

      Sadly I’m not as devoted to updating my travel diaries as you are. Must be more methodical about it or else my blog buddies will be reading about my trips from 10 years ago soon! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post and lots of lessons learned, Diya! You’ve inspired me. I always travel alone within the US, but I have never traveled abroad by myself…perhaps one day. 😀 P.S. I happened upon your blog at Jacqueline’s party.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Warm, warm welcome to P2N Michelle! 🙂 Thank you so much for your kind words and I’m so grateful to Jacqui for introducing me to so many wonderful bloggers 🙂

      The US alone will take yeeeaars to cover! 😀 And it’s great that you get opportunities for solo travel there 🙂 I do hope you can squeeze in an international trip someday too 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Diya,

    Firstly, fabulous post! And I do hope to travel solo one day too… 🙂

    Secondly, I wanted to let you know that I’ve nominated you for the Liebster Award on my blog today. Please do have a look and it would be lovely if you could participate. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Babz! Welcome to P2N! 🙂

      I do hope you manage to travel solo someday too. Now that is a post I’d be dying to read 🙂

      Thank you so much for your kind words and for the nomination. Will be sure to check it out 🙂

      Like

  4. I really agree on what you mention you have learnt from the experience. Travelling can give you such a perspective on things.
    Wish you the best and to your next adventure!
    Greta

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You are right, it was still set on the “old” one that now is private! Thank you for mentioning that! 🙂 Very welcome if you want to visit it now!

        Like

  5. Great post Diya. Beautifully written. I’m so happy that you fulfilled dream of solo travelling . And you have inspired many as I can see from the comemnts above 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Mini! 🙂 The euphoria from the trip just wouldn’t let me be silent 🙂

      As for inspiration, it’s a vicious cycle. I got inspired by other bloggers and now it’s my turn to spread the virus 😉

      Like

  6. Wonderful post, Diya. You really have a gift of writing. I could feel your emotions as I read. I am so glad you had a wonderful experience and learned so many things about the world and yourself. It is a wonderful quote from Mark Twain. I would probably be the one regretting what I didn’t do, as I do like to play it safe. I just have to remember what I did do 😉 So are you already planning your next trip or are you letting this one soak in for a long while?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awww thank you Ginny! :* I love reading your comments ❤ You are always so thoughtful and encouraging. It's easy to see you genuinely read every word and take the time and effort to make a meaningful contribution to any discussion 🙂

      I've lived practically my whole life playing it safe and sticking to the rules. It's only recently that I've dared to venture from the beaten path and it has been SO liberating!

      That is not to say my earlier life was a waste. I'm sure everything we go through has a purpose. Every experience has cumulatively made us the people we are today. And you have done plenty to be proud of! We see a teeny tiny part of it through your blog and you have an impressive legacy to leave behind 🙂

      I'm still on a high from this trip and I'm going to hold on to it for as long as I possibly can 🙂 That isn't stopping me from dreaming though 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I love vienna and salzburg.. I was lucky to travel to these places with my gf. We had a train breakdown while using the train from Linz o Prague.. and half-way we had to take a bus. My gf panic a little.. but luckly for us we had kind locals to help us.

    My first solo trip was to Phuket..and i landed Phuket in the night (to save on cheap air-tickets)..
    However, I didn’t skimmed on the transport to the hotel. I booked a taxi to my hotel (paid a little more).. Not saying that Thais will do anything strange.. but for a female traveling in night is always dangerous. Till this day, I thank my lucky star that nothing bad had happened to me.. and of course.. i avoid landing on foreign lands late in the night. 😉

    I love travelling and hope to see more..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are so lucky to have had the opportunity to travel 🙂 Would love to hear more of your travel tales 🙂

      Your bus breakdown sounds like quite an adventure. And you’re absolutely right. More often than not people are willing to help when you find yourself in a tight spot 🙂

      And Phuket sounds like a great place to kickstart solo travel 🙂 I would have done the same thing and caught a cab. Money versus safety? I’ll take safety any day 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Woaaah 😀 Those are some serious thoughts and we are seeing the other side of the fun loving lazy Gemini eh ? 😉 I love the quote too 🙂 It was my desktop wallpaper for sometime 😀 And kudos to you girl for achieving this dream 🙂 such an inspirational post 🙂 Looking forward to the country wise post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cough! Cough! Lazy? Who me? 😛 Whatever gave you that idea?

      Hehe… like I said in my About page, I overthink sometimes 🙂 Blessing or curse depending on how you choose to look at it 😉

      That is one of my favorite quotes too. Truly words to live by 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. WoW…I’m Jelly (Jealous) :-O Wow, I have no clue where any of those cities are but it sounds Amazing. I am geographically challenged. LOL All Alone… I would of been scared outta my mind but I’m sure once you get going it would was great. Great Post!! Love your writing style!! ❤ Be sure to come back and visit me anytime 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hehe… solo travel is definitely not for everyone 🙂 It takes a certain amount of narcissism to enjoy your own company so much 😉 Just kidding… Personally I loved the experience and would jump at the chance to do it again someday 🙂

      I’m glad you enjoyed the blog. Will definitely be visiting you regularly too 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi Diya,

    Your adventure sounds like it was a success and I was really happy to read your post. I need to read more about solo women traveling both to fuel my excitement and calm my nerves!

    I’ve traveled for work alone but only short trips and never left the country alone. I am now planning a month in Ireland and the UK and I am so excited for this trip. The things that scare me are are all challenges I face at home…often. Running out of money and getting lost. When I get honest with myself, I know how to deal with these turns of events. So what do I look forward to in solo travel? Being alone, have time to write, meeting people and talking with them about their stories and my story. I’m excited about museums and walking through parks and down long streets in the rain. I’m excited about pubs and music. I’m excited about castles and wandering through ruins. I’m contemplating bringing a small watercolor set up so that I can paint too…

    Thank you for your post. Your contemplations make me know even more that I need to do this trip.

    Happy Travels! Amy

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey Amy!

      I’m so glad we live in a world where solo female travel is possible 🙂

      And you’re traveling for a month?! :0 I am so green with envy right now 😀 I am sure you will have a wonderful time 😀 Can I ask why one month? And any reason for those places in particular?

      And yes, the practical side does tend to hold us back. But like you said there are always workarounds. I suggest you look into one of those travel cards where you can pre-load currencies. It was invaluable to me when I ran out of funds towards the end of my trip. I just had Hubby transfer some additional funds and I was good to go. Of course you’ll still have to carry some cash but I felt so much safer not having too much currency on me.

      As for directions, Google maps was my best buddy for that week. It does need a data package but when you’re there for a whole month I guess you will sign up for a local SIM anyway.

      I LOVE your idea of writing and painting on the go. It is a perfect time to tap into your creative, reflective side and I’m sure you’ll come up with some absolute gems 🙂

      Can’t wait to read more about your adventures 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. My first solo trip started in Vienna, then to Salzburg and then on to Budapest and Prague. It wasn’t nearly as hard as I had built up in my head! People really are kind and helpful. I made friends that I will always keep! Happy Travels!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That sounds wonderful Pat! It gives me a warm fuzzy feeling to see how similar our trips were! 🙂

      I would have loved to visit Budapest too but it deserves way more time than I had so saving it for another day 🙂 How long were you there? And what did you think of the places you saw? Please please tell me you have written about it somewhere. I LOVE reading other people’s travel tales 🙂 Also how did you find the solo experience? Have you done it often since then?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was in Europe for 3 weeks. I’ve never written about it. It was magical. Walking through the graveyard from the Sound of Music and running down those same hills singing. I loved the park in Vienna, the stadspark across from my hotel, The Intercontinental Wien. You could stroll there at 3 in the morning and feel safe and listen to the music. I took a hovercraft down the Danube and a train to Budapest where armed men came in my cabin to check my passport. I remember paying a guy $15 to bring me some ICE! I went to a ball at the Summer Palace and felt like Cinderella. I actually won the trip from a local television network for doing over a million dollars in advertising one year. My boss had no interest in going and gave it to me. I have been on many solo trips since. I really should write about it. My next solo adventure is in September when I go to Scotland for a family reunion.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Wow! Your trip sounds absolutely dreamy! 🙂 And that too as a reward for your hard work! Sighhh…

          I do wish you would write about it. Sounds like you have tons of memories from your time there. Lol… I know I would like to read more about the 15$ ice 😛

          And Scotland? Whheeeee!! That’s way up there on my hubby’s wishlist so I’m sure we’ll get there someday. Until then we’ll live vicariously through you 😉

          Liked by 1 person

  12. Looks like your solo adventure was amazing! I’ve lived alone (which meant I’d to travel alone to reach wherever I lived), but I’ve never traveled across a continent alone for fun. I think about it now and then, though. Reading your feelings now might just make that thought appear a bit more frequently, and the day I leave a bit closer. 🙂
    Looking forward to hearing the details of your vacation!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re really lucky Annie (hope you don’t mind me calling you Annie) to have the freedom to travel when you please 🙂

      I think if I have set off a spark for solo travel in at least one person my work here is done! 😉 😀 Go on… think harder about it, start dreaming and start packing 😛

      Liked by 1 person

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