Travelling Alone

This time last week I had arrived in Portugal, after travelling alone for the first time. Before setting off I was pretty worried. Worried about having a panic attack, as there were certain things that had triggered them off before while travelling. But after all that I ended up getting to Portugal and back with no panic attacks at all. To say the least I am so proud of myself. To be able to do all of that alone and not have any problems definitely made me feel good.

The one thing that really seemed to make a difference is that when travelling alone, more people began to strike up a conversation with me. It was so nice having people helpful and kind at every turn, even something so small as getting my bag and passing it to me really meant a lot. Then getting onto the plane I even got chatting to another first time solo female traveller, which again was really nice to know that I wasn’t alone in the situation. Even when I arrived into Portugal I noticed there was a difference, not just from staff like the driver to the hotel giving me advice on the best places to go, but even the locals just making chitchat.

As a planner I did a lot of research before setting off, like I would wherever I went even if I was with others. But I think this did help as it made me more prepared, especially in case anything went wrong. Maybe that just me being over-cautious, but I’d rather be extra prepared. Heck I’m that prepared sometimes that on the last night I even quickly totalled up all the cost for staying there a couple of extra days…I know how to find a deal!

Overall though I honestly had an amazing time travelling by myself and would recommend for anyone to at least try it once…I’m even considering booking another trip again soon. On the down side there’s no saying that next time I won’t have a panic attack, but at least for now I’m just proud I did it.

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Best advice I’ve ever been given…

So recently travelling’s been on my mind a lot. I’m seeing more and more people jetting off to just explore somewhere they’ve never been. Because of this I’ve been thinking about when I could go, and therefore I’ve been talking to more people about it.

Now the only people I’ve really spoken to about it to are people who I’m friends with, or people I strike up a conversation with in the cafe where I work. Out of everyone I’ve spoken to in however many years I’ve had this dream, there’s always been one thing in common. This is company. These people have always had someone with them, mainly friends or even family. Now this is great, I’d love to do that…hell I’d probably prefer to do that in regards to the safety issue but this is a problem.

The problem is… with my group of friends…there are two categories. They either have no interest in travelling or they have either already done it or have already everything out to do it. Which leaves me with the option to go it alone.

I don’t mind the idea of being alone travelling because I like to see the benefit to both sides of everything. For example with this, I’d see exactly what I wanted to see without having to take anyone else desires into consideration. I also feel that I would learn a lot from the experience personally, as I believe in finding/discovering yourself when travelling (which some people will laugh at the idea). Plus travelling alone pushes your boundaries by making friends out of complete strangers.

Anyway so onto the advice…today while I was clearing a table (cafe life) a woman struck up a conversation with me. It was a short conversation, but this lady was very easy to talk to…so even though we were only speaking for about 5-10 minutes I learnt a lot!

We talked about her situation. How she used to live quite close to me but then after her husband passed away at quite a young age, she couldn’t afford the house alone, so she had to move. She had spent 26 years with her husband, she had no family left now. But she was happy, content. We spoke about my situation. How I’d been to university, now living back at home with my parents with a performance degree I do nothing with and a dream to travel.

This sparked something. She herself had been travelling. 29 years ago, she set off to Australia alone and it was only when she was waving her family goodbye the realisation sinked in. She was doing this, and she was doing it alone. She talked with so much enthusiasm and insight. She said she never regretted it for a moment, and if she hadn’t of gone she would have never met her husband. As I was just about to return to work, she said…just go. Go live and explore, if it doesn’t work out at least you’ve tried it and you can come back home but just do it…take a chance.

“In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take.” – Lewis Carroll