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.
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…